How to SEO optimize a blog post to rank #1 on Google
A solid SEO strategy is crucial for driving consistent organic traffic to your website. Having your blog posts and website rank high on Google makes your content much easier to find for readers and results in significantly more clicks.
SEO is a daunting topic for most. For some, It can sometimes feel like there is SO much that goes into a solid SEO written blog post and finding where to start is a challenge. While others may feel like no matter how hard they try with their SEO efforts they are not seeing results.
Today I am going to solve all these SEO mysteries for you and tell you how to SEO optimize a blog post to rank on Google. If you are able to grasp these basic SEO elements you can easily write a blog post search engines will love!
What is SEO?
SEO (search engine optimization) is optimizing online content so that it is more attractive to search engines. There are various search engines out there – Google, Yahoo, Bing - however, we will focus on Google as this search engine dominates the market.
It is important to understand the basics of SEO and how Google works to rank content before hopping into the details of how to do it.
Please read: “The Basics of SEO” before this to deepen your understanding of SEO.
How to SEO Optimize a Blog Post
The foundation of a good SEO strategy is keywords. But you can’t just choose any keywords, you have to do some research first.
Choosing the Right Keyword
Keyword research can be a tedious task, but once you find the perfect keyword with high searchability and low competition you are on your way to writing a post that can rank #1 on Google.
You should be looking for keywords with monthly searches between 1000 to 5000 and a competition score of "low". As time goes along you can start writing for higher competition keywords which will have higher searches. This will all happen in time, just be patient.
In order to find keywords with a low competition score, you will most likely need to focus on long-tail keywords such as “Pinterest tips for beginners” instead of just “Pinterest tips”. Also, the monthly searches of your keyword will depend on your niche, so don't be stressed if you have to opt for lower searches.
While you are researching for the main keyword be on the hunt for one or two secondary keywords that are also related to your topic and you can add in a few times. For example in addition to “Pinterest tips for beginners” you can have a secondary keyword of “how to use Pinterest for beginners” and “how to use Pinterest for business”. These are great to use as subheadings.
Keyword Research Tools
There are quite a few keyword research tools available ranging from free to quite expensive.
- Google Keyword Planner is a good free tool.
- Keysearch is a low-cost tool that provides incredible insights.
Each of these platforms allows you to type in a keyword and see its competition and monthly searches.
I use Keyserch because it is much more detailed than Keyword planner and shows information such as the Domain scores of the top ranking websites for the keyword, the exact competition score (not just low, medium and high), and where your competition has placed this keyword. Plus there are a ton of really great features like rank tracking, content assistance and more.
Keysearch is quite complex. Here is a guide on how to effectively use Keysearch in your keyword research.
After doing your keyword research you need to know where to strategically place the keywords you have found. The following areas need to be keyword optimized in order to effectively SEO optimize your post.
Keywords in the Title
The title of your blog post is the main attraction and selling point for both readers and search engines. It is essential to have your keyword inserted in your title so that readers and Google bots know what your content is and what it can be categorized as right away. The Main title is also called Heading 1 (H1).
Keywords in Subheadings
Other than the main heading the subheadings also have an impact on SEO. The subheadings include H2, H3, H4. Including the keyword in the H2 is a good idea but be sure to not stuff it in every heading as this will look spammy.
Keywords in the URL
The URL is also important for SEO. Be sure to put the keyword in the URL right away. Do not change a URL after the post is live if you change a URL 3 months after it goes live you will lose all SEO links and growth it has had.
Keywords in the Meta Description
The Meta description is the short description that gives a quick insight into what the post is about. This is the snippet that shows up on google search and should include the keyword in it. Just be sure it is less than 155 characters, it is enticing, and more than 50 characters.
Keywords in the body
Keywords also must be used in the body of the text. However you shouldn't stuff them in as much as you please, there is a very sweet spot with these that depends on text length. I highly suggest you get the YOAST SEO plugin as it will tell you if you’ve over-optimized or under-optimized for your keyword.
Writing a perfectly SEO optimized post doesn't mean anything if the content quality is bad. Google has shifted its focus recently to look for content that is of high quality. This includes the readability, the amount of advertising on the page, the amount of images, and optimizing for a single keyword.
No matter how hard you try to SEO optimize a blog post, if the quality isn't there it will not do well.
A blog without images will not do as well SEO wise compared to a blog post with images. Visual content is more appealing for human readers which makes a post more attractive to Google. When using images you need to be sure to add a relevant image title and ALT tag.
An ALT tag is a short word or phrase that is used to describe the contents of an image. This tells the search engine what the photo is and is also a place where you can add your keyword (sparingly) to positively affect your ranking.
Length does matter for blog posts. A post should be no shorter than 400 words, but the ideal text length really depends on the topic you are writing about. A nice feature of Keysearch is that it shows the word count fort he posts rankings to number one for the keyword you are trying to rank for. I use this as a guide to writing my content.
Post length really depends on your niche so look into industry standards!
Internal and External Linking
Link building is a hugely important SEO factor. Internal linking is links that are added to your blog posts that link to other posts on your blog. These links keeps the google bots on your page and show more relevant topics and posts on your website.
Whereas, external linking is linking to other websites and having other websites links to you. Linking to one or two pieces of content that are from high domain websites is a good SEO practice. If you are directing your readers to other domains that give further relevant information this shows that bots you are supplying more value.
When determining a posts rank Google looks at the speed of your website. A slow website is ranked lower than a fast one, therefore, be sure to optimize your images and all other website loading speed factors to ensure you are running optimally. Check your website speed here: https://gtmetrix.com/
Domain Authority Ranking
Your domain authority is the overall rating Google gives your platform. The ranks range from 0-100 and the higher your overall domain authority the higher chances you have to rank for blog posts. Increase this with links, high-quality content, fast website speed.