SEO is evolving. Have your search optimization practices evolved to keep pace?
The rules have changed. Competition is fierce. And the search engines continue to find new ways to weed out the junk. If you’re not on top of your game, you’ll continue to fall in search rankings, while your competitors pass you by.
Here are 40 easy-to-follow, white hat tips that will help you keep your web pages at the top.
- Write content for your readers, not the search engines. Check out the SEO growth graph and Google penalties from 2013. The trend is clear. Search engines are favor content that matches a search user’s intent.
- Put effort into organic growth. If your a high percentage of your traffic comes from organic search results, it’s a good indicator of solid SEO practice.
- Find your competitors. SEO tools like LongTailPro and Moz can help you find the websites you compete with for search results. Study what they are doing and follow their lead.
- Follow best practice for the simple things. Make sure that every blog post as a good title, proper H2 and H3 tags, and an image with a meaningful ALT meta tag. A blog without basic SEO will not get search traffic. At the same time, excessive SEO is bad.
- SEO blueprints don’t work What works for my blog will not work with yours. Every niche is different. Every blogger has their own reputation. Find what works for you through trial and error.
On-Site Blog SEO Tips
- It is good to optimize the post URL structure for the benefit of the user and the search engines. Look at the title of this post. It is optimized.
- The post title should be the H1 tag. Don’t add the H1 tag within the content as a sub-head. If you’re using WordPress, the title is automatically given H1 tag.
- It is a good blog SEO practice to mention the keyword in the post title. Of course, don’t compromise the relevancy of the post title just to fit in a keyword. The title should always be relevant to the post content.
- Focus on a keyword, specifically the long tail keywords. These are not the times for short two or three worded key phrases. After he Google Hummingbird update, it is imperative to concentrate on long tail keywords.
- If you’re using WordPress, I recommend you to either install the All in One SEO Pack or the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. These are an absolute must-have for any blog. Both are equally desired and beneficial; use either one of them.
- Break the post into various sub-headings. The sub-headings should have the keyword, of course, depending on relevance. Use the H2 and H3 tags in sub-headings.
- The blog post Meta description should be concise enough to encapsulate the purpose of a certain page. Include the target keyword but make the content reader-friendly.
- Never forget to include a call-to-action (CTA – at the end of each post. It is an intrinsic factor to boost blog conversion.
- Every post should have an appropriate image. While uploading, don’t forget to add the ‘alt’ tag. Every image should have ‘alt’ tag. Try to post custom images. Don’t depend on free images from Google.
- It is important to include social share buttons with each post because social signals play an important role in the blog’s SEO. To know more in detail, check out the Google guidelines page describing some basic SEO considerations.
- Post-2010, there is a difference with which sidebars are utilized. While most of the WordPress themes come with custom widgets to stylize the sidebar, it is good to avoid building a blogroll. A blogroll is a list of sites you recommend. Avoid it as site-wide outbound links can reduce rankings.
- While free domains are attractive, if you’re serious about your blog, get your own domain. GoDaddy is a recommended registrar.
- When you publish a new post, interlink it with older posts. It passes link juice and gives better search ranking. On-site, it helps to keep the reader engaged.
- It is essential to maintain clear and concise blog architecture. Use Google XML sitemap plugin for this. It helps the search engine robots to crawl and index the blog.
- Unless it comes naturally within a blog post, avoid keyword anchor texts for outbound linking. Once your blog becomes popular, you’ll be flooded with guest blogging offers, seeking a keyword anchor link back to their site. Avoid this.
- Google says that the blog page loading speed is an important factor in search engine ranking. Moreover, a blog loses readership if it’s slow. Therefore, improve the blog loading speed by using a content delivery network. Google Pagespeed Insights, Pingdom and Gtmetrix are recommended to test site speed.
- Since the blog structure is important, improvise on the robots.txt file to specify links you don’t want search engines to crawl.
- Some webmasters say that even duplicate content or domains with thin content rank high with black-hat SEO. It is recommended not to engage in any black-hat SEO practices for the welfare of the blog.
- Encourage authors to write on your blog. Content is paramount for the success of any blog. Often, the sole blog owner runs out ideas; hence, it is beneficial to encourage new perspectives. To maintain quality, have an editorial policy in place.
- While ranking is important, do not stuff blog post with keywords. This worked around 2005-2006 but Google has updated its algorithms to discourage content spam.
- Don’t write for search engines, write for the reader – this should be your thumb rule.
- There is speculation that with time, the authority of a writer will outrank the authority of a blog. Therefore, implement Google Authorship on the blog. Contributing authors should add their Google+ profile link and your blog link on Google+ contributor section.
- Take publisher markup. Blog authors should have the rel=author markup and you, as the publisher, should implement the publisher markup. Here is a detailed guide. Content the blog with your Google+ profile as well.
- If you publish a lot of images on the blog, take note of Google’s image publishing guidelines. Besides the use of ‘alt’ tag, it mentions other noteworthy details.
- Similar to the above, if you publish video content; take note of Google’s video guidelines. Bookmark and go through in detail.
- Out of the 200 signals Google uses, a solid link profile is of great importance. This is the reason why link sellers and buyers thrive. Your single most important and risky activity will be to maintain a solid link profile. Buying links is not recommended. Build links as naturally as possible.
- While it used to be a trend between 2003-2009 to publish content in article directories and press release sites to build links, it is not recommended. First, those links are mostly ignored and second, it can harm your blog SEO and ranking.
- While the number of words in a post should not matter if the message is loud and clear, it seems that search engines prefer pages with higher word count. A recent research shows that the average word per page on the first ten results in Google for some keywords is 2000. While this is a lot to write, keeping in mind the need to produce quality content regularly, aim between 750 and 1250 words per post.
- For the blog’s betterment, get involved with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Install the Analytics code on the blog to receive detailed traffic statistics. Verify the blog with Webmaster and get like search queries, incoming links and so on. These two tools are very necessary.
- Set up a custom 404 page. A 404 page is a common occurrence and it tells the user that the page doesn’t exist. Try to minimize the number of 404 pages always. You can see the links showing 404 in Webmaster. Rectify them ASAP.
- If the need arises, use the Google Disavow tool. Sometimes unrelated, bad or spammy domains can link to your blog. Download the list of incoming links from Webmaster and check them. Spammy links will spell doom to the blog’s SEO setup. Round up unnecessary links and contact the domain owners to remove them. If they don’t comply, use the disavow tool.
- If you are a YouTube publisher and have connected it to the blog, here is a detailed guide on optimizing YouTube videos.
- If time permits, be an active guest blogger. You get to publish content on same niche sites and drive traffic and readership back to your blog. While opinion is divided on the relevance of guest blogging, you shouldn’t avoid it. It is great for brand or authority building.
- If you’re serious about the blog, don’t participate in link schemes.
- A good way to build relationship and enhance off-page SEO is to do blog commenting. It is really a tedious and time consuming process but the results are outstanding. Blogs that use the ComLuv plugin let you add keywords to your name as well!
I know this is a lot to consume at one go. Some of you might be following all of these steadfastly and some points might be new. Be ready to explore these in detail. Do more online research. SEO is an industry in itself; commit to it for the blog to excel.
If you have any ideas or questions about these blog SEO tips, use the comment form anytime.