Feb 17, 2015
Want to get your blog post found and favored by Google? In 6 easy-to-implement steps we’ll help you get on Google’s good side, climb the search engine ranks and reach potential customers in a more relevant way than ever.
This way please for the ultimate optimization…
Google no longer pulls out specific keywords and matches them to your user queries. Now those crafty Google search spiders crawl your website to interpret your content and draw their own conclusions about what your website offers. But what does this mean? In essence, Google looks for meaning, topics and context rather not specific words.
Did you know, for example, that Google uses synonyms instead of keywords to derive meaning for up to up to 70 percent of searches? So forget exact phrases and add a little fun and playfulness to your words – just make sure your content still delivers on the context you’d like your customers to search for.
Think: 1. How would my customers search for this post and what questions would they like answered? 2. How can I serve them relevant content in an engaging way that speaks to their wants and needs? Only then should you get crafting, writing and optimizing.
If you’re using WordPress, consider using a good SEO plugin like Yoast. It provides an easy-to-fill-in template with clearly labelled SEO prompters. The great thing about this plugin is that it also offers a ‘Snippet Preview’ so you can see how your meta data will appear in search engines as you fill it in and save it.
Yoast also tells you how prominently your ‘keyword’ features in the different elements of your meta data (again think in terms of longtail keywords and topics rather than specific words).
Google doesn’t (and can’t) crawl everything on your blog post. Instead, it takes specific pointers from the most important elements of your content. The great news is that you, as the writer, hold a mighty influence over what Google deems as important and crawlable. By filling in your meta data fully and correctly you can drastically improve the reach and relevancy of that freshly baked post.
Your mission? If it has a box fill it has a purpose – it’s your duty to fill in all information in a relevant and unique way. Don’t worry, we’ll explain the most important meta data elements below and how you can make the most of them.
Your meta description is the snippet that appears in Google when a user searches for a specific term related to your website/blog post. It needs to provide a unique and compelling, yet relevant description of your blog post’s content – this is your chance to set the expectations, yet excite and whet your reader’s appetite.
Top tip: Keep your meta description between 150 and 160 characters as the excess is likely to be truncated when displayed in search engines.
Your excerpt is a blurb that introduces your blog post to the readers on your website. It appears on the homepage of your blog so again it’s about crafting an intriguing and clickable, yet contextual and clearly labelled snippet.
Your URL should be optimized too to provide context to your post. WordPress pulls this in automatically from your title. However, it’s vital to check your URL before publishing to ensure it’s fully optimized and contains the phrases you need. Worth noting: the first title you save gets placed in the URL so if you change your title you’ll have to manually change your URL. You can also remove any unnecessary words like ‘the’ and ‘and.’
Your headline (just like the rest of your article) should be written for users and not search engines. Context is important for headlines but you also want to take into account shareability and likeability So tell your readers what to expect but in a fun way. If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a handy blog post on how to craft the perfect headline and ditch the predictable, keyword-focused and slightly boring titles that aren’t doing your readers (or your brand) any favors.
Your subheadings are the mini headings that appear throughout your blog post to provide pointers to both Google and your readers. They help you create a digestible, readable and easily scannable post. Again, these should be to-the-point but you, as a writer and digital marketer, should never be afraid to have a little fun.
Anchor text is text that appears as a link in your blog post and prompts your readers to click on it. Again you can (and should) optimize this for SEO. So ditch the ‘click here’ formalities and create real and relevant call to actions that clearly explain what your reader should expect when clicking. And remember: this helps Google understand your post too. You can use anchor text for:
Internal links help reduce your bounce rate, assist with navigation and entice your readers to explore relevant aspects of your blog and/or website.
External links help provide value to your readers, enabling you to share helpful content, stats and further information from authoritative and quality sites and blogs.
It is essential to add clear and concise descriptions to your images to help Google’s spiders read and index them. When uploading an image to your blog, ensure you add in all relevant information.
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