Owner of Criterion.B, overseeing client strategy and company culture.
SEO is like a finicky, temperamental second child of your marketing strategy — the one that can accomplish a lot for your business but is extremely difficult to grow.
The task of improving your website’s SEO can be daunting, especially when you’ve already put significant effort into your website content. This is why I recommend making small adjustments to published blogs — it will maximize your time and the outcome of your efforts.
To streamline the process, here are four easy adjustments to make across your blogs:
1. Optimize The Blog Title
It’s likely no secret that your blog title, or H1 tag, is important for optimization. However, do you know the specifics for SEO-friendly headlines?
Here is a quick overview:
• The optimal length for blog headlines varies. Some experts say six words is ideal. Others say 61-100 characters.
• Headlines should include the main long-tail keyword the blog is targeting.
• An H1 tag should be assigned to the headline.
• Each blog should only have one H1 tag.
If you have a lengthy headline that can’t be shortened, the next step is to ensure that your chosen keyword appears at the front of the headline to keep it from being cut off by search engines.
Another option you can explore is editing the blog’s page title. With tools like HubSpot, you can alter the title that appears in search results without changing the title on the blog page. This tactic can give your content the right balance between informative and SEO-friendly. For example, one of our multifamily clients had lengthy blog titles due to the complexity of their content and this negatively impacted their search ranking. However, after shortening each blog’s page title, we were able to slightly increase the ranking of the blogs by a few slots in search results.
Marketing guru Neil Patel ran an experiment on whether headings really impact rankings. In his podcast episode, Patel revealed that it wasn’t the number of H1s, H2s and H3s that made an impact on SEO, but rather whether those titles had bigger font sizes. Based on this, we recommend that not only do you optimize the words in your headline but emphasize them as well.
2. Add An Alt Text, Title And Meta Description To Blog Images
While the inclusion of images is highly important for crafting engaging blogs, search engines don’t actually analyze images, they analyze the text that is attached to the images.
This is why adding an alt text, title and meta description to each image on your blog is so critical for improving SEO. If your blog images do not have these pieces of text, they don’t actually help your optimization.
For example, let’s say your blog, which covers working-from-home tactics, has an image of a woman sitting on her couch with her computer. Here is a great outline for labeling it:
• Alt-Text: Productive When Working From Home
• Title: Woman Working From Home
• Meta Description: Woman on Couch with Computer – Staying Productive While Working From Home
Taking the time to add these three portions of text to your blog images can really boost your overall web optimization. Recently, our team added alt text to over 900 images on a client’s website, making sure those pages would appear in searches containing the targeted keywords.
3. Target Two Long-Tail Keywords For Each Blog
For ultimate optimization, each of your blogs should target two long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are focused search queries that have the ability to drive high-converting traffic due to their specificity. When a user types in a long search query, there is a higher chance of purchasing intent.
For example, a long-tail version of the keyword “social media marketing” could be “social media marketing for small businesses.” Users who search the latter are clearly on the hunt for helpful information they can apply to their business.
There’s a common SEO misconception that shorter search queries have higher search volumes, but often that is not the case. Sometimes, even one additional word can make a significant difference. For example, the query “how to lose weight” has 165,000 searches per month, while “how to lose weight fast” has 201,000 searches per month.
Here are a few statistics to back up our belief in the strength of long-tail keywords:
• 50% of search queries contain four or more words.
• Over 29% of keywords with more than 10,000 monthly searches consist of three or more words.
• About 8% of searches are phrased as a question.
When it comes to the number of times you use a keyword in a blog, it is known that 0.5 to 2.5% of keyword density is considered safe. You can check your keyword density by taking the number of times the keyword is used and divide it by the total word count.
4. Increase Word Count
While sometimes writing more content can feel like a dreadful task, increasing your word count on shorter blogs, as well as lengthy blogs, can really improve your SEO.
When it comes to ranking above your competition, or simply one spot higher in a search result list, it’s all about the balance between word count and keyword usage.
Let’s say you want to rank one slot higher for the search query “tips for productivity.” To achieve this, you just need to use the keyword one more time throughout the page than the result above you.
However, simply increasing the keyword usage alone won’t be successful. To avoid “keyword stuffing,” which Google will penalize you for, you need to increase the word count in relative measure to keyword usage.
Increasing SEO In Small Increments
The task of improving your website’s SEO is much easier to implement when it is broken down into smaller actionable steps such as the ones listed above. By starting with these four, you can make effective changes that improve overall SEO without sucking up all of your time. It’s a win-win!
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Author: Jon Simpson, Forbes Councils Member