As writers we like to think the quality of our content is enough to attract readers. And it is—kind of. The truth is even Shakespeare would be hard pressed to find an audience if nobody can discover his plays online. Today, SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the most important tools a writer has at their disposal (aside from words themselves, of course). But learning SEO best practices can seem as daunting as reading one of Will’s long-winded tragedies. Don’t worry: even if you know nothing about HTML or Google Analytics or web traffic, there are a handful of basic things you can do to give your writing the best chance at being seen on the internet.
Start with the right keyword
When choosing a keyword to optimize your blog post, there are several factors that you should consider. The first is the relevance of your chosen keyword to your blog post. Is it directly relevant? Does it have something to do with the topic at hand? The second factor is the relevance of your chosen keyword to your audience. Are they likely to use this search term when looking for information on this subject matter? The third factor is its relevance to your business/website. Will including this keyword in our content help us achieve our business goals (like increasing sales)?
Finally, choose a keyword that’s relevant within its industry or niche market – this will ensure that other people in the industry will be using it as well!
Write a high quality post
- Use a high-quality title.
- Make sure the post is well researched.
- Use proper grammar and spelling, as this will reflect on your brand.
- Make sure the post is well written, and that it engages with its audience
Optimize title and meta description with the keyword
The title and meta description of each blog post is the most important part of your blog. These are the only things people see when they do a Google search or click on an article in their Facebook feed. It’s also the only thing you have to convince them to click through and read more of your content!
The best way to optimize these two fields is by including keywords for both SEO and user experience. The goal is for users to see what they’re looking for, but it’s also important that search engines can recognize keywords as well–otherwise we wouldn’t be able to rank organically!
Put keywords in the first 100 words of your post
- Put keywords in the first 100 words of your post.
- Use the keyword in the first paragraph and sentences.
- Place them in bold or italics, if possible (but don’t go overboard).
- Think about other ways you can use your keywords: include them in links to relevant content, include them as hyperlinks to external resources relevant to your topic, etc.
Use the keyword in the URL slug
The URL slug is what appears when you click on a link to your blog post or website. If you’re blogging about arthritis, for example, then your URL slug would be arthritissymptoms. Don’t confuse this with the “permalink” of your post which is how it’s named on WordPress. You can create a custom permalink if you want but I always set them up as “postname” so I end up with something like http://exampleblog/arthritissymptoms – if you’re using WordPress there’s no need to worry about this at all!
If you’ve followed the previous steps then it should be pretty easy now: just type in the keyword that relates most closely to the topic of your blog post into both places (the title and/or meta description).
Include the keyword in subheaders (H2, H3)
You can use H2 and H3 tags to highlight important points. Make sure you don’t go overboard, though! 2-3 lines is usually a good maximum length for an H2 tag and 3-4 lines for an H3 tag.
H2 tags should be used to highlight key points in your article or blog post, while using H3 tags makes things more readable by giving the reader subheadings that break up the text and help them consume it more easily.
Use keywords in your images alt/title text
Adding keywords to your alt text is a quick and easy way to improve your SEO. Alt text can be used by screen readers, search engines and social media. You can use it to help people find your images when they’re looking for something specific—like an image of the Eiffel Tower for Paris travel inspiration or an infographic about organic fruit vs. conventional produce.
Facebook does not support the use of keywords in titles and descriptions, but it will pick up on them if you include them in the alt text of an image that’s posted on Facebook. This means users can see what they are clicking on without having to click through into another page or expand the image as they would if they were using Twitter or Instagram where hashtags are supported by default!
Link to other pages on your website (minimum 3 times)
- Link to other pages on your website
- Link to other relevant authority websites (like Wikipedia and Britannica)
- Link to other relevant pages on your website
Link to other relevant authority websites
It’s important to link to other authority websites that are relevant to your content, as these will help boost your own domain authority and thus the overall value of your website. If you write about a specific industry, for example, then it makes sense to link out to other authoritative sites within that industry.
This can also be done on a micro-level: linking out from articles related to a specific topic can increase their ranking in SERPs. For example, if you write an article about how readers can get ripped abs by using dumbbells instead of machines at the gym, then it would make sense for you give links back at the end of that article pointing readers towards articles on strength training with dumbbells or even more general resources like Muscle & Strength (which ranks highly).
Applying these practices is a good start for writing a blog post people will actually read
When you’re writing a blog post, it’s important to find the right keywords that will attract your audience. The most popular keyword research tools include Google’s Keyword Planner, Ahrefs and SEMrush. These tools can help you determine which keywords are more likely to be searched online and include more popular search phrases such as “SEO best practices for bloggers.” The most effective way to use these tools is by running a search for your desired keyword and seeing what results come up first or second on Google. Then cross-check those results against what other popular websites are using in their titles, headlines and descriptions (you’ll want something unique!).
The next thing you should focus on when creating quality content is making sure it has all the elements needed for success: keywords in H1 tags; description tags (for blog posts) or meta titles/descriptions (for web pages); clickable links throughout the article; etcetera—all of these things will help improve its ranking potential because they tell Google what type of content this is so that they know how relevant it would be if someone searched that term!
It’s going to take some time and effort, but if you start applying these practices today, we believe you will see a dramatic difference in how your blog posts perform. We hope you found this guide helpful!