We’ve all heard the saying “content is king.” Content is obviously the main component of a great blog. But with so much content being added to the web every day, you need to put in a little additional effort to get your post seen by your audience. This is where technical best practices play an essential role in helping you promote your blog. Yes, technical SEO might seem a bit daunting, but it can easily be broken down into a checklist that you can run through each time you create a post.
Here’s a simple, 7-step checklist for improving the effectiveness of your blog in search:
- Article Title & Title Tags
Always think first about the context of the title. Does it accurately describe the content? Would users be able to quickly determine if the post is valuable to them?
In most cases, the article title becomes the title tag of that page by default. So you should always aim to title your post within 60 characters so that it resonates in search engines. While you can always manually overwrite title tags, this can quickly become burdensome for frequent posters, and it’s better to get into the swing of this best practice as a universal, effective approach.
- Internal Linking
Having links in your blog that point to other pages on your website can help to support your site’s overall content, improve site crawlability by search engines, and help send visitors to explore other areas of your website. Here are a few things to keep in mind when implementing links within your blog post:
- Be sure your anchor text is relevant and topical to the destination link
- Avoid the spammy-sounding “Click Here” and similar types of anchor text
- Avoid single words that don’t define where the user is clicking
And lastly, this needs to be said – do not have more links than text!
- Meta Description
While there may be some discussions on the value (or lack thereof) of the meta description as a ranking factor in SEO, one aspect of its value is crystal clear. Your meta description is your chance to help the user know what to expect from this article, should they choose to click-through. You want your meta descriptions to entice that click-through.
Usually, in blogs, the first 145 characters of the post become the meta description by default. Remember this when crafting that first sentence of your post as it is the prime real estate for user click-through from search. And while there is never a 100% guarantee that search engines will choose your custom meta description to use in the search engine results pages (SERPs), you can put your best foot forward by adopting best practices and avoiding truncation where possible.
Archives are a good way of displaying your site’s authority through longevity. There’s value in having articles archived by month and year and being able to view them in chronological order. Visitors can access old articles on topics that may interest them, or at least skim posts while browsing and engaging on your site.
From a technical standpoint, archives are a proven additional way for search bots and crawlers to navigate through your whole site. It never hurts to provide additional avenues that can help with indexing.
Every organized blog includes a variety of categories to sort all of the content. What is often ignored from a user experience standpoint is that one of the best ways to establish these categories are to define them up front.
You know your business. You mostly know the types of things you intend to post about. With a little bit of planning and strategy, you can define post categories at the outset and then spend time writing quality articles that fit these categories. Writing posts on whatever comes to mind and then creating new categories to support your posts will lead to a chaotic user experience and a disconnected blog.
Unlike categories, tags are meant to be created as you go. When completing each new post, you should create tags (keywords) that explain the context of your post, as they will support internal searches and filters as users look to explore content on your site.
It’s worthwhile to “noindex” tag pages to avoid creating multiple, even hundreds, of pages that aren’t beneficial to user experience or SEO.
- Effective Content
Lastly, we should close by talking a little bit more about the content itself. If done correctly, blogs are an exceptionally valuable tool for taking top funnel content and bringing users to your site, driving them inward and ultimately leading them to a conversion point.
This will happen over time and with some fostering. Not every blog post you create is meant to have “Buy Now” (or insert your bottom-funnel CTA here) as its primary call-to-action. This will likely cause a disconnect with your audience.
Many of today’s blogs are ordinary because business owners are cautious, and fairly so. That said, your blog shouldn’t suffer by lacking personality. The stronger the voice your blog has, the better it will stand out from all the other content on the web. But the trick is, everyone needs to agree on that voice and to figure it out starts up front, at the beginning of the process, with the strategy. Getting everyone aligned early on will help to eliminate paranoia and the worry of going too far “off brand” with later posts.
In the end, it’s important that your blog checks these boxes while continuing to strike a healthy balance between bringing in new traffic from search and developing the audience that you already have. Ensuring that you are providing value, engaging your audience, and being as technically efficient as possible – all at the same time – is the sweet spot of blogging.
Written by John Renaldo
Originally posted on bluefountainmedia.com