I was asked by a consulting client to send over a list of tips for blog posts SEO. I find myself offering variations on this list to most clients with blogs. I sent the following over and realized that because I share it so often, it makes sense to do that publicly. This was for a retailer, but with minor updates it should apply to every industry – because most should blog. Blogging is always one of my initial recommendations to new clients when they don’t already do it. Here’s the list of pointers:
- Include topic keyword phrase early in the blog post title. Use the most important keywords near the beginning of the title, in exactly the order that you expect people to search in order to find your post. For a retailer selling cleaning tools, instead of using a title like “Time to do Some Spring Cleaning? Clean-up with Tool Kits” say instead “Spring Cleaning Tool Kits for Spring Clean Up” Why? People won’t search for the question, “Time to do Some Spring Cleaning?” but for the product “Spring Cleaning Tool Kits” so put the product first in the post title.
- Use that most important keyword phrase AGAIN in the first or second sentence if possible – stated just a little differently “Tool Kits to help your spring cleaning projects” in that first sentence. That first sentence is seen as your lead and should be the most important words for relevance and also offers a retailer the opportunity to link internally to products and category pages within the body text. (See next three tips)
- If possible, always link to a top level category (In this case “Tool Kits”) in that first paragraph. Having rich descriptions linking to top level categories without much of their own text helps establish relevancy for the hierarchy.
- Link to individual product detail pages when products are mentioned – this can be done anywhere within the post, but earlier is better. Featured products on dated blog posts may also help to connect seasonal product focus by associating with a time of year.
- Link to similar previous blog posts that talk about the same products as you are mentioning in this post. You should always try to link relevant blog posts to each other when you’ve got related posts. Consider installing the “YARPP” (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin) for WordPress blogs.
- Try to repeat the most important keyword phrase two or three times with slight variation in wording throughout the post – beginning, middle and end if possible. You won’t believe how infrequently good copywriters repeat anything – and encouraging them to do it and explaining why, helps them to focus on SEO for blog posts.
- Blog posts should be about 400 to 600 words and all posts should be over a minimum of 250 words long if possible. Complex pages often have about 200 to 400 words including additional page modules and navigation links. But blocks of body text must be significant to stand out as unique descriptive text. Search engines can parse areas of a page to distinguish where that more important body text is within all page text. Here’s a handy word count tool to help your blog editor.
- Share every post on social media (LinkedIn Company Page, Facebook Business Page, Twitter Business account, Google Plus Business Page and others where you have business social media account (food blogs should ALWAYS include Pinterest). Sharing blog posts helps attract and engage new and repeat visitors and makes it more likely the post will be indexed quickly by search engines. Google Plus still includes G+ Posts in search results for those who follow your page or profile and includes your photo or brand logo alongside it. If your brand has active followers in your category, Google Plus posts from your brand in their search results helps to keep them engaged.
Notice that list above has references to internal linking in at least half of the recommendations. Links to internal pages increase relevance in dramatic fashion and should be a core practice of blog posts and pages. I discussed this nearly 10 years ago and still feel strongly that it is of vital importance.
The client I sent this checklist to consistently works with me on blog post topics, post titles and internal links for blog posts, which results without fail in jumps to search engine visibility for their products. Over time it has contributed to substantial additional sales – not just for specific products, but for entire categories of products. Now that the writer has the hang of this – she does it on her own quite well.
Mike Valentine does enterprise SEO consulting and start-up SEO internationally