The Rookies Guide to Optimizing a Blog Post for SEO
This blog post is near and dear to my heart. For years, I struggled to understand how the internet works – especially when it came to search engine optimization.
If you are struggling with optimizing a blog post for SEO, then this is a guide that you definitely want to bookmark.
I read information from one guru stating “hey…this is what you need to do to get traffic to your website”…and another say “no…this is what you need to do”!
Can we say information overload…
I started to realize that search engine optimization isn’t difficult at all once you understand the basics.
It is from my basic understanding of SEO and keyword research that I was able to build a site that generates more than 200,000 visitors per month…
Why Optimizing Your Blog Posts for SEO Is Important
Optimizing your blog posts for the search engines is important for one main reason: to make it easier for visitors to find and land on your site.
You’re a business consultant and you’re writing a blog post that covers “Tips for Hiring a Business Consultant”.
Someone searching for this information via a search engine like Google or Bing might type in “how to hire a business consultantt”, “hire a business coach”, or “benefits of hiring a business consultant”.
If your blog post is structured correctly and has keywords in it like: “hiring a business consultant”, and “benefits of hiring a business consultant”, this increases the chances of someone finding your content, then clicking to read it.
Understanding how to structure your blog posts for “search” will help you format your content in a way that makes it easy for the search engines to understand them.
Three Additional Reasons Why Optimizing Your Blog Posts for SEO is Important
- Search engine optimization increases the chances of your content getting found online – When people search online for various products and information, optimizing your blog posts with targeted keywords, headlines, tags and etc., improves the chances of people locating your blog posts.
- Search engine optimization makes it easy for the search engines what your content is about – Search engines use “robots” that go out and find websites that are relevant to what people are searching for. So for example, if you were to head over to Google and type in “how to start a business”, then hit enter, Google would give you a list of the top 10 websites that have the best information pertaining to “how to start a business”.
- Search engine optimization brings organic traffic to your site – Who doesn’t want free traffic? One of the main purposes of optimizing your blog posts for the search engines is to drive traffic to your site. The more you blog, and apply basic SEO to your content, the greater the chances that your blog posts have of ranking higher in the search engines.
How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for the Search Engines
If you’re planning to start blogging for your small business or are already blogging for business, this post will help you understand how to optimize your blog posts for SEO.
Each time that you write a new blog post, these are the basic steps that you need to take to give your content the best chance of showing up in search results.
For search engine optimization, I use the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress and recommend that you do as well.
Step 1: Perform Keyword research (30 minutes – 1 hour)
Keyword research is critical. Keywords are common phrases and words that your target readers are looking for via the search engines.
During the keyword research phase, you should look for long tail keywords that have three to four phrases in them. These kinds of keywords are usually easier to rank for.
As an example, “truck driver” is a regular keyword that is too common and difficult to rank for in the search engines.
However, “become a truck driver” is considered a more specific keyword phrase to use and one that would be easier to rank for in the search engines.
A few additional examples of Long tail keyword phrases with “truck driver” in them:
- Truck driver job description
- Truck driver training
- Truck driver seat cushion
- Dump truck driver jobs
To figure out what keywords you should add in your blog posts, you need a keyword research tool.
Three of My Favorite Keyword Research Tools
Three of my favorite keyword research tools are:
Long Tail Pro
Of these three tools, Long Tail Pro is the resource that I use the majority of the time to find keywords. It is a paid resource, but…it is hands down one of the best keyword research tools on the market today.
Here’s a video of Long Tail Pro in Action
I use Soovle primarily to get ideas for blog post subtitles. Using the previous keyword phrase “truck driver”, as shown below when I type this into the search box, Soovle returns a list of keywords and phrases that people are looking for related to “truck driver”.
Here again, I will look for long tail phrases with 3 to 4 keywords in them to use for my subtitles.
Google’s Keyword Planner
Lastly, Google’s keyword planner tool is a very popular resource that people use to track down keywords for free.
With it, you just need to type in a keyword that you are looking for, click on “Keyword Ideas” look for long tail keyword.
Step 2: Add your main keyword to your HTML headings (10-15 Minutes)
I never understood the significance of these headings until a dear friend of mine checked out a blog post I had written and told me… “Kim, you have to many H1 headings in your content that is totally confusing the search engines”
But hey… we live and we learn right?
Anywho….as you are creating your blog posts, there are 3 HTML Headings that you should be concerned with: H1,H2 and H3.
H1 (Heading 1): Is Your Blog Post title with main keyword (there should only be one in your post)
H2 (Heading 2): A subtitle (with your main keyword)
H3 (Heading 3): An additional subtitle (with a variation of your main keyword)
As an example, using the long tail keyword phrase “become a truck driver“, you could structure your blog post headings like this:
H1: Learn How to Become a Truck Driver in 30 Days or Less
H2: 5 Licenses You Need to Become a Truck Driver
H3: The Best Truck Driving Schools in Texas
Step 3: Add your keyword to your content – sparingly (30 Minutes)
I want to preface this tip by stating that you need to be careful with adding your main keyword in your content.
The search engines are very picky these days .
This is why it’s very important that you do everything in your power to play it safe with SEO.
As a rule of thumb, you should not use your main keyword in your content more than 5 times, or else your site could get penalized for keyword stuffing.
Step 4: Add your main keyword to the ALT text tag of your blog post image (5 Minutes)
Anytime that you add images to your blog posts, you should always add the your keyword to the ALT Tag of your Image for SEO.
So instead of “yourimage.png” it should be “YourBlogPostTitle.png”
Step 5: Add your main keyword to the meta description of your blog post (30 Minutes)
The meta description is the block of text under the title in a list of search results. As folks are searching for information, this is the summary they will see under the title of your blog post.
This wraps up the blog post that includes my basic tips for optimizing a blog post for the search engines.
A Quick Recap + Action Plan for You
- Perform Keyword Research
- Add your main keyword to your H1, H2, and H3 HTML headings
- Add your keyword to your content (no more than 5 times)
- Add your main keyword to your blog post images
- Add your keyword to the meta description of your blog post
As you can see, search engine optimization is very important if you want to drive organic traffic to your website or blog.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your peeps on social media.
Here’s to your SEO Success!
For you visual learners, I’ve created a step by step video tutorial for ya. Check it out below:
FREE DOWNLOADABLE PDF + WORKSHEET: The 5 Step Blog Post Optimization Worksheet
Free Downloadable Worksheet
Download my free PDF + Worksheet to optimizing your blog posts for the search engines.