I know that search engine optimization (SEO) is a source of major confusion for small business owners. However, if there’s one area of SEO you really need to understand, it’s your blog. Search engines love and reward fresh content – but only if it’s optimized for search.
Here’s your blog SEO checklist:
Choose one keyword per blog post
Only one – not five! The reason will become apparent when you read the next point, but before you skip down, here’s a secret: You will probably need to play around with your keyword or phrase until you hit on the right combination of words. Plug what you want to use into Google Search and see what suggestions the autofill feature starts offering (it uses the most common search terms).
Use the keyword in several places
You can’t use the keyword once; you have to use it in several critical areas:
- The title and page URL (in WordPress, the page URL appears right below the title)
- First paragraph and at least one more time in the body of the blog post
- Meta description (more on that below)
- Alt text of the image
No keyword-stuffing, by the way. Use your keyword too often in the body of the blog post, and you’ll be dinged.
Include an image!
Because humans like images, so do search engines. Subscribe to a stock photo site and add one image to each blog post. (No stealing whatever you find on the Internet – just because it’s there, it’s not free for the taking!)
Write a compelling meta description
The meta description is what shows up in search results; it explains what kind of information people can expect to find in your blog post. You want people to read your meta description and think, “Wow, I’ve got to read this!”
Pick one category
Think of blog categories like food categories: you have fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, cereal, bread. Just as milk will only fall into the dairy category, each blog post can only fall into one category. Oh, and you only need a handful of categories.
Use tags that make sense
So, think of tags like the milk in the dairy category; they are more specific, and you can use a bunch of tags for each blog post. To ensure you are using tags that make sense, think about the words or terms someone would use in search to find that blog post.
Install the Yoast SEO plugin
I recommend that all of my clients install the Yoast SEO plugin on their WordPress site (I use it!). It rates all blog posts (and web pages) for SEO. A green SEO light is great; orange is OK, and red is not – and the plugin even tells you how to fix any SEO issues.
Whether you love SEO or hate it, I am curious: What confuses you the most about it?
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