Have you heard of search engine optimization (SEO)? Of course you have, it’s incredibly important for Inbound Marketers and one of the most ubiquitous terms in the industry.
The problem is, it’s incredibly complex. There are so many elements that go into building an SEO-friendly site that many marketers get overwhelmed. In fact, search engine optimization is such a vast topic that SEO specialists are now a common position within marketing teams.
Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. The better your SEO performs, the better traffic you receive to your website pages.
By optimizing your web pages through on-page SEO, you are making your website more visible to people who are entering the keywords associated with your product or service into search engines.
Blogging contributes a key role to your website’s digital marketing strategy. That’s why in this blog we’re going to talk about optimizing your on-page SEO to help ensure your blog is ranking as high as it can.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing each individual web page on your website. By optimizing both front-end and back-end components of your blog, you will help those pages rank higher on search engine results and bring higher quality and more relevant traffic to your website.
There’s a variety of elements that make up successful on-page SEO, including content, URLs, internal and external links, meta descriptions, alt text and much more. We will get into all of these elements in more detail shortly.
Why is on-page SEO optimization important?
On-page SEO optimizes your blog for both the humans visiting it and the bots that search engines use to crawl your website in order to index your pages for keywords.
It helps search engines understand your blog content and identify whether it is relevant and useful to a searcher’s query. As a result, search engines will see the value you provide visitors and rank your content higher in the search.
Optimizing your blogs SEO will ensure that you rank higher on search engine results, and this will result in attracting new, high-quality traffic to your blogs and website pages.
What elements make up on-page SEO for your blog?
Providing fresh, relevant and valuable content is crucial to your digital marketing strategy, and regular blogging will significantly enhance your SEO efforts - but simply writing a random blod and publishing it isn’t enough.
To maximize reach and attract new visitors, you need to ensure your blog is fully optimized with on-page SEO best practices.
Here are the different elements that you need to focus on for optimized on-page SEO:
Utilize long-tail keywords in your content (but don’t overdo it)
Keywords are the most important aspect of blogging SEO, but it’s absolutely crucial that you don’t cram your blog with as many keywords as possible. While many marketers think that this will help their marketing efforts, cramming your blog with lots of keywords actually hurts your SEO efforts and may go contrary to your strategy.
Not only do search engines consider this keyword stuffing (content is now about creating value for your readers), it also doesn’t create a great reader experience. Instead, you should focus on using keywords in your content where they feel natural.
Inbound Marketing best practices recommends using one to two long-tail keywords in each blog post. Long-tail keywords are longer, often question-based keywords, that allow you to spend your time writing concise blog posts that are specifically optimized for just one or two keywords.
Wondering why long-tail keywords? Here’s what HubSpot says:
“These longer, often question-based keywords keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience. For example, the long-tail keyword "how to write a blog post" is much more impactful in terms of SEO than the short keyword "blog post".
These keywords should be included in your title tag, headers and body of your blog content, URL and meta description.
Use the Google Search Console to find keywords
Google’s free Search Console has a section called Search Analytics Report, which will help you analyze clicks from Google Search. If you want to learn which keywords can help your SEO efforts, this is a great place to find the keywords that people are using to find your blog content.
Google calls this the title tag, but this is the headline of your blog post. Your blog’s headline will be what defines your blog’s content - it’s the first thing both readers and search engines use to determine whether your blog is relevant.
Your headline should include your keyword and should be no longer than 70 characters. It’s best to get your keyword in the first 60 characters as Google can cut the headline off after that.
Headers and body
Throughout your blog content, in both your paragraphs and headlines, you should mention your keyword in a natural and reader-friendly way. Content should be first and foremost about answering a question or problem that your buyer persona has, not stuffing it with keywords in the hope that Google likes it - because it won’t.
The URL of your blog is another element that search engines scan to determine what your blog is about and its relevance. Therefore, it’s important that you include your keyword in the URL.
Your meta description provides a brief summary of your blog, which search engines display in search results under your blog headline. Include your long-tail keyword in here but make sure it’s engaging enough to drive traffic to your page. Keep it under 155 characters as that’s where Google’s search snippet will cut it off.
Optimize images and add alt text
The addition of images to your blog makes it reader-friendly, engaging and more enjoyable to read for your visitors. Search engines, however, don’t look for images when ranking your content. Instead, they look for alt text. Alt text tells a search engine what that image is about.
Make sure your image alt text is descriptive in a helpful way for both readers and search engines. The text should describe the image and also include your keywords, but don’t use it for keyword stuffing as that will hurt your SEO efforts.
Topic tags help organize your content and can help your visitors find related content. It's important not to have too many topic tags and they absolutely should not be similar to each other.
You should have topic tags that are related to completely different topics. If you have tags that are similar, it’s possible that you may get penalized by search engines for having duplicate content. That’s because search engines will think you're showing this content multiple times throughout your website.
Include both internal and external links
Using inbound links to other pieces of content across your website will help validate your blog post to search engines, and you should make sure that other pieces of content on your website link back to your blog post as well. Link to related content that can help answer your customer questions in more detail.
Outbound links are also important, and will help to validate the content in your blog even further. Inbound and outbound links will move you towards becoming an authority on a particular topic.
Use HubSpot’s topic clusters
This leads us nicely to our next point, to become an authority on the topics and keywords that are important to your customers, it’s now crucial that you structure your website content around pillar pages and topic clusters.
By selecting the broad topics around what you want your website to rank for, you can then create content based around specific subtopic keywords related to those topics. You can then link these subtopics to your main topics using the HubSpot portal backend, helping you to establish broader search engine authority.
Want to learn more about the importance of topic clusters? Read our blog titled ‘Pillar Pages and Topic Clusters: Why Are They Important For Your Inbound Marketing Strategy?’
For more information on optimizing your website or blog content, please contact the Brit Agency today. Our team of Inbound Marketing experts would love to answer any questions that you may have.