So you’ve just started your Digital Marketing apprenticeship, and you’ve been tasked with producing a blog post to help with a client’s SEO… But you have no idea where to start? Fear not, we have created the ultimate Digital Marketing guide to Maximizing a blog post for SEO
SEO can be a very confusing thing to get your head around to begin with, especially if you’ve only just started your digital marketing journey. It’s crucial to remember that SEO is constantly changing from industry to industry, so it’s unfortunately not a one size fits all solution.
That being said, SEO does not have to be all doom and gloom, and there are a few easy steps us Digital marketing professionals can take to optimize your content so that it reaches more people!
1) Digital marketing basics – How do search engines work …
Lets go back to the Digital Marketing basics and look at how search engines work.
There is 3 main processes:
1) Crawling: When someone first enters a query into a search engine such as Google, the search engine will use computer programs known as Crawlers, Spiders, or other bots to pull together relevant information on the internet
2) Indexing: The Crawling bots will then source a mixture of sites, images, maps, videos, and other forms of content and media and produce a list (or index) of sources relevant to the search
3) Ranking: The search engine bots will then look at the relevant results and rank the content in order of relevancy and deliver it to the searcher, this will be based on a mixture of keywords, titles, Paid/organic content, and several other factors
2) How do blog posts help SEO in Digital marketing?
Whilst on your digital marketing journey, it is likely that your clients will ask you to work on their SEO through blogging for them. Some of the main reasons that businesses start and maintain blogs include factors like:
- Increasing traffic to websites or social media pages
- Good quality blog posts help with search engine ranking
- Blogs can result in increased brand awareness
- Conversions (Sales, Email subscriptions, Signing up for events..)
- Product launches or feature releases
- Educational or step-by-step instructional content (Such as infographics or e-books)
When producing high-quality content, blogging can have great long-term impacts and can be a great way to keep traffic coming through to your website for months and years after publishing. High traffic rates can help with SEO by building authority for your website (which we will discuss later in this article) and can help you rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing. This can help you provide great results to your clients throughout your digital marketing journey
Hubspot studies also show that:
- Companies who maintain a blog receive 97% more links to their website.
- Marketers who prioritize their blog are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.
- B2B marketers who blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.
- Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages (hint: this is huge for SEO purposes.)
( Source: Hubspot’s How to create a successful blog guide)
SO, now we’ve covered the SEO Basics… let’s talk about HOW we can enhance SEO in a few simple steps…
3) Don’t forget about code!
Did you know that HTML and other back-end coding of your website are super important when it comes to SEO?
Throughout your Digital Marketing journey, you may be required to manage your clients website, whoch means you may need to understand the code on the back end of the website to help you maximize your SEO performance. A great place to learn more about simple HTML is Free Code Camp
This is a resource I found helpful when starting my Digital marketing journey, as understanding the basics of coding such as HTML and CSS can make a big difference when it comes to SEO.
But, if you are a beginner, or running a website yourself, a few good places to start are:
Using the HTML5 title element can help search engines determine what content your website provides.
<title> How to maximize a blog post (4 steps for beginners) <title/>
Here I have embedded my title within the <Title> Element in the HTML code on the backend of my website. This will help Search engines understand what my content is about and therefore bring it up in relevant searches.
According to Moz “Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly.”
Relevant body text should be embodied within the text element in HTML with specific keywords (which we will discuss later) so that search engines can determine what your blog post is about
<text> Here is a paragraph as an example of how to use the text element within HTML, Using this Element along with relevant Keywords can help search engines determine what your site is about and help it rank highly within Search engines <text/>
Relevancy is important when it comes to SEO, so make sure your body text is relevant to your audience and buyer personas, and that relevant keyword are used.
Meta descriptions are a HTML attribute that gives Search engines a summary of a web page. Many search engines will present the meta description in search results, just underneath the title.
Although Google has confirmed that Meta Tags don’t have an impact on a site’s SEO, they can increase click-through rates. For this reason, it is worth including them in your HTML
<head> <meta name=”description”
content=”Here is where you will write a description of your site, blog post or content to be read by search engines and visitors.”></head>
According to Moz – “Meta descriptions can be any length, but Google generally truncates snippets to ~155–160 characters. It’s best to keep meta descriptions long enough that they’re sufficiently descriptive, so we recommend descriptions between 50–160 characters.”
Image Alt attributes:
If you use images on your website, it is important that the coding behind them is relevant.
Images within your website/ blog posts should always have Alt text (alternative text) included within their HTML coding, Alt text is an alternative text that is shown when your website has trouble loading your images to website visitors for certain reasons (i.e poor connection)
Search engines aren’t able to see images the way humans do, so adding Alt text to your images explaining what the image shows allows the search engine to determine what the image is, and can help with SEO ranking.
<img src=”SEO.Jpeg” alt=”This is where you describe your image”>
The alt element also makes your website more accessible for people who have sight difficulties, as it allows screen readers to provide a description.
To write a good alt text description, make sure you provide a specific description that isn’t too lengthy, but not too vague. You also want to include at least one keyword, but not too many as this can flag up as spam for keyword stuffing (which we will discuss in the keywords section)
4) Use Relevant Keywords
Next, let’s talk about keywords. Keywords themselves are their own topic, so today we will brush over the Digital marketing basics of what keywords are, how to use them, and what to avoid.
What are keywords?
Essentially, your SEO keywords are the words and phrases included in your web content that make it possible for people to find your sites and blog posts on search engines such as Google and Bing.
Implementing good Keywords is important for SEO performance. Without them, your customers will land on the many other pages of your competitors on the internet, rather than yours.
Like most things regarding SEO, Keywords can take a lot of trial and error to find out which words work best at bringing traffic to your website.
Because of this, it’s important to spend time throughout your Digital Marketing career doing in-depth keyword research to find out what sort of words your customers and buyer personas are searching for to find content similar to yours.
A great place to start with Keyword research is by using tools such as:
- Google Keyword Planner This tool allows you to input information on your website and pull up analytics on what keywords are working well for your site, as well as what ones to include in the future
- Word streams Free Keyword Tool will suggest keywords relevant to your site and show you how competitive they are
- Bings Webmasters tool provides several SEO tools, including keyword research tools and analytics
Keywords must be reviewed on a regular basis, and high-volume, competitive keywords that are used by many other businesses similar to yours, can often be replaced with long-tail keywords to target more specific customers.
Long-tail keywords are highly specific and targeted phrases that are commonly searched by your customers.
For example, let’s say you run a Gourmet Bakery based in Kensington, and are releasing a new Blueberry Muffin on your menu. The competitive Keyword – “Blueberry Muffins” could be turned into a long-tailed keyword by changing it to “Gourmet Blueberry Muffins in Kensington”.
These specific phrases are designed not to bring in just any visitor to your site, but exactly the right visitors, who are looking specifically for your product or service. Therefore, it is worth including Long-tailed keywords in your blog posts to reach out to customers who are highly interested in what you have to offer.
How often should I use keywords?
Keywords should be included throughout your content at a normal cadence, that does not seem robotic to the reader. They should appear naturally within your writing, Image alt text, headings, and meta tags.
You mustn’t overuse keywords as this can appear as Keyword stuffing and could flag up as spam, meaning that Search engines will not show your site in search results.
5) Build Authority
When search engines are going through the indexing phase, they take into consideration 3 things. A sites Relevance, a site’s bid value (only necessary if you are using Google Paid ads, which we will discuss in another post), and Authority.
Authority is important as it can change whether your website and content will rank at the top or the bottom of google.
Authority is based on several things:
- How many links you have to your blogs that are talked about and shared on social media often
- Content that is referred to other websites or blog posts, otherwise known as backlinks. The more backlinks you have from good quality relevant sites, the higher you will rank on search engines.
- Content that is cited by other works (for example press links)
Gaining authority is not something that happens overnight, and takes some work. You can help your clients gain authority through your digital marketing efforts with SEO, as compelling, unique, and high-quality content is more likely to be shared by other content creators and social media users than a website alone would.
You can measure your web site’s authority by looking at the link volume, page views, and time spent on different pages of your site.
You can use tools such as Moz’s link explorer to help you discover backlinks to your site, as well as help you discover links that may be damaging your site authority.
This is also a great tool that provides an estimated rank of your site’s overall authority on the internet by looking at the number of unique websites that have backlinks to your content.
Another great way to monitor backlinks is to set up a Google Alert for any mentions of your site throughout Google.
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