Does this scenario sound familiar? A week ago, you went live with your latest blog post after spending tireless hours crafting copy and design. But, your page rank is low and your organic traffic to the post is even lower!
Unfortunately, you might unknowingly be telling search engines to look at the wrong information within your post.
The key to increased traffic/SEO is to create a roadmap for search engines to understand the key topics within your blog post.
So, where do you start? Let’s take a look at our top 5 SEO tips to help increase organic traffic to your blog:
1) Write Clear and Concise Blog Post URLs
Did you know that your URL structure is important to SEO? In fact, this often-overlooked factor is the first make-or-break point for your post’s ranking and traffic.
First, be sure to avoid using random alpha-numeric blocks as part of your URL unless absolutely necessary. For example, take a look at the URL below:
This URL tells us absolutely nothing about the actual post. What about this URL?
It’s pretty clear what that post is about. Search engines work along the same lines. Per Search Engine Journal, there are two main keys to a SEO-friendly blog URL structure:
Straightforward: the URL should get straight to the point of the post. This can often be achieved by simply matching the blog post’s title
Meaningful: your blog post URL should absolutely contain your focus keyword, which helps avoid viewer confusion
2) Keep your title short and only include one main keyword
The pros and cons of a one keyword per page strategy are often debated. However, when it comes to blog posts, you should definitely focus on ONE keyword within your page’s H1 header/title.
This singular keyword strategy helps search engines immediately identify the keyword and understand the key focus of the post. One of the first things search engines look for when crawling pages is the H1 header. Don’t confuse these engines with a lengthy blog title that contains multiple keywords!
3) Make sure your Subheaders are formatted as H2 headers
Engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo arrive at the page and almost immediately look for H1 headers. What do you think they look for next? If you said the H2 header, congrats, you’re catching on!
You most likely have subheaders built into your blog post. Now you need to make sure they are formatted as H2 headers, which helps the search engine understand where the idea breakpoints exist within the post. Be sure to include a valuable keyword in the subheading.
Note: If you think your H2 header is too large, you can alter your CSS style sheet to decrease the size.
4) Always include an Image and an ALT Tag
Does your blog post have at least one image? If yes, you’ve already taken a great step toward increased page rank and traffic. If no, I recommend adding an image as soon as possible. Per Jeff Bullas, articles with images get 94% more views.
However, including an image in the post is only half the battle. You also need to ensure that your image’s ALT tag is short, descriptive, and includes a long tail form of your main keyword. Why? Because search engines cannot read images, but they can read your image’s ALT tag. Adding ALT tags also gives you a great opportunity to add valuable keywords to the mix.
5) Include External Links within your copy
You often hear that you shouldn’t link to external sites because it drives traffic away from your domain. That is very true for your normal company web pages, but your blog posts can truly benefit from valuable, reputable external links.
Per Andy Franco with Business 2 Community, adding external links to your blog post is valuable because it enhances user experience.
Franco states, “Search engines want you to provide relevant resources on your website that enhance your visitor’s experiences while surfing the web. Your dynamic content and lists of helpful resources will all add a great deal of value to your website in the eyes of your visitors…and the Googlebots.”
So, how many external links should you add? My advice is to add as many as you need to make your point, and not a link more. You want to strongly avoid including spammy links or over-linking your post. However, 3-5 reputable external links can truly add credence to the viability of your post, in both the reader and search engine’s eyes.
These five tips should definitely get you on your way to improved page ranking and traffic, but don’t just stop there. I highly recommend checking out the Moz, KISSmetrics, and SEMrush for great blog post optimization info.