They say that ‘content is king’, and not without good reason. Almost every single piece of marketing content put out there, since the dawn of advertising, has featured wording of some kind. Visuals might be more attractive than text, but copy will always be required to explain a visual so that the viewer can understand the message. Blogging is the one way that brands can get messages across to their target audience, but without the right search engine optimisation nobody will find the blog articles when searching for relevant information. This article offers an SEO checklist you can use to ensure your blog is optimised for the search engines:
These are arguably the most important SEO elements of your blog. Google and other search engines will scan your content for keywords, and match them to keywords that internet browsers type into the search bar. To find out what keywords are being search most often, use online tools like SEMrush or Keywordtool.io. These will give you search volumes for keywords, and suggest possible keyword or phrase variations you can use.
Your blog should feature a main (H1) heading and a few lower-ranked headings (H2, H3, etc.). Make sure that you include your main keyword in at least one of these. Your main heading should summarise exactly what the article is about, and lower headings should introduce sections in a clear and concise manner. Be sure to only assign one H1 heading, or the search engines won’t know which is the most important and will penalise the content.
How readable is your blog? Search engines measure content against the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test, which grades your piece of content on how easy or difficult it is for the average reader to comprehend. The test assesses text based on a number of criteria, including how long the sentences are, how many sentences there are in a paragraph, and how many multi-syllable words you use. Try to keep your sentences short and sweet, with no more than two sentences per paragraph. Also, try to only use words that contain no more than three syllables
Many bloggers believe that the shorter a piece of content is, the more likely it is to be read. This might have some relevance, seeing as the average person’s attention span is decreasing with every generation, but shorter pieces aren’t good for SEO. In fact, statistics from Google reveal that the highest-ranking piece of content contains more than 1500 words! This isn’t to say that shorter, well-written blogs won’t rank well, though. As a general rule, make sure your blogs are a minimum of 500 words, a maximum of 2000 words.
Search engines love seeing links in blog articles. They enhance blogs by letting the reader discover more relevant information by clicking on a link to another source. There are two types of links: internal and external. Internal links allow you to link from your blog article to another relevant page on your blog platform or website. External links, when clicked on, take a reader to a third-party website. Consider featuring at least two of each type of link in every blog article you upload.
Finally, for a well-optimised blog, you need to include relevant metadata. This information tells a search engine what your content is about, and it appears on the search results page once an internet user has typed in their query and hit the ‘search’ button. Metadata is broken up into two main parts: the title tag and the meta description. Title tags are the green headings you see when searching Google results. They define the page of content in a few words. The meta description is the smaller body of text just below the title tag, which is usually around 156 characters long.
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