Writing SEO-Friendly Blog Posts; 8 Suggestions
Google’s so-called “Farmer” algorithm update emphasizes original, unique content for favorable organic search results. Frequently-updated, keyword-optimized, topically-relevant blog posts can provide your ecommerce site with original content, and improve its search engine rankings. I have seen it happen with my own blogging efforts time and again. In fact, I believe blogging is its own form of search engine optimization. And while there is no way to guarantee better SEO results, here are some guidelines that will help.
Update Content Frequently
A question I am routinely asked about blogging is, "How often should I post?" The answer is, "As often as you can." If you are planning to use a blog for marketing and search engine optimization purposes, the more frequently you can update content, the better. Google thrives on fresh content. I recommend a minimum of three to five times per week. And blog posts don't have to be long — 350 words is a good average length.
Frequency alone will not dramatically help improve search engine rankings. The use of keywords is vital as well. I am not talking about old tricks such as keyword stuffing - search engines are too sophisticated for that. Nor am I suggesting that keywords are all that matter. That is not the case.
The job of search engines is to provide the most relevant returns for a given search. One way they accomplish this task is by attempting to understand the value proposition of a site as a whole — how one page within a site relates to the other. The better they can do that, the better a site will rank. Keywords, used judiciously, are one way to assist the search engines in that process.
8 Suggestions for Relevant Keywords
Here are some suggestions for properly using keywords in a blog post:
- One keyword per post. Decide on a list of keywords to use with your site, then choose one particular keyword for each post.
- Use keyword early. Include the term in the title and early in the post, if possible. That is to say, use the keyword term early, rather than later.
- Repeat keyword. Put the keyword in your opening sentence. Then, depending on the length of the post, use the term again in the body content.
- Link the keyword to other content. When possible, hyperlink the term to relevant content. That could either be other posts within the site itself or on other sites.
- Include in the URL. Put the keyword in the URL of your blog post. Blog platforms such as WordPress will use the blog post’s title in the URL, so that reinforces the need to get the keyword into the post title.
- Include in H1 headers. Put your top few keywords into level 1 headers, known as H1 tags in HTML. Most blog platforms will automatically place the blog title inside an H1 tag. If that is not the case with your particular platform, it may be possible to edit the style sheet to correct the problem.
- Use tags and categories. These are not only used for organizing content within a hierarchical — or taxonomic — structure, but are also keywords themselves. Or, at least they can be. When it comes to creating categories and tags, think keywords.
- Don't overdo it. If you have the keyword in the post URL, title and body copy a couple of times, that should be sufficient. Avoid keyword stuffing your posts, which could lead to SEO penalties from the search engines.
Getting back-links is a long-term search engine optimization staple. That's one of Google's most important criteria in determining how it prioritizes search results. We've addressed legitimate link-building ideas here, most recently at "SEO: 5 Ecommerce Link-Building Ideas."
Bloggers tend to be natural linkers. Adding hyperlinks to blog posts goes back to blogging's earliest days when posts were little more than lists of links.
Remember to syndicate blog post content to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It's not just a matter of "write it and they will come." You have to get your content out to the places where people gather. These days, that means social networks.
Also, when you write something particularly newsworthy, put out a press release. In the past I have used services like PRWeb.com to get the word out about a post.
The key to successful blogging is to write genuine, helpful, humanized posts, combined with the building of relationships with other bloggers, and with friends, fans and followers on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In the long run, that approach will pay more dividends where SEO is concerned than anything else I know.