SEO (search engine optimisation) sounds complicated.
For those of you are are new to the subject of SEO, it basically means creating content that is targeted towards a specific keyword, so when people type something into a search engine, your blog post has a better chance of showing on the first page, or in those sought after top three spots.
Because search engines change their algorithms (the way they calculate which webpages get pulled up from a search, and in what order) all the time, SEO also has to change. It’s not about keyword stuffing and link buying like it was in the past.
Some of you WordPress users might have noticed that the plug-in, Yoast SEO, has recently updated its SEO score algorithm to keep up with these changes.
So are you up to date with what you should be doing with your blog posts in 2016?
SEO guide 2016 – Best Practices
Long live keywords.
Keywords are still an important factor in SEO, and sites that have keywords in meta-descriptions and H1 tags rank higher than those that don’t.
Search engines are getting smarter though, so it’s not always necessary to stuff a post with the same keywords over and over again. You can use related or similar words as search engines are a lot better at reading the meaning of text.
Longer posts rank higher.
There was a time when bloggers were encouraged to write short posts with less than 300 words because readers want information quickly.
Though on average, longer posts, around 1,200 to 1,500 words, rank higher than shorter posts. This is because search engines will view longer articles as higher quality, as well as there being more words and images to match and help the post rank higher. They also tend to get more social shares.
It’s still recommended to break up blog posts with lists, headings, quotes, images, paragraphs and the like so people can scan and find the information they are looking for.
It’s not going to be possible to write that many words for every blog post – so don’t worry about it if you’re unable to get a high word count every time. It’s better to be clear with your point rather than waffle on and bore your readers just to up the word count.
Remember – you’re writing for people first and search engines second.
This won’t be a surprise to anyone – but people are searching on their mobile phones more than ever before. I know I’ll often whip my phone and quickly search for something on my phone rather than wait until I’m on a computer!
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly using Google’s mobile-friendly check.
Satisfy your reader’s needs.
Another factor in how well an article will rank is if it satisfies someone’s needs. If someone has asked a question, for example, and after visiting your site, they return to the search engine to look elsewhere for the answer, the search engine will take this to mean that your article hasn’t answered the question and maybe not ranked it as high in the future.
It’s a good idea to keep your articles sticky. A sticky blog post is one that holds people’s attention and encourages to stay on your site for longer and read further posts or pages.
You can do this by:
- Including internal links.
- Having ‘related article’ widgets.
- Having a ‘new reader’ page.
- Ensuring there’s nothing annoying on your site that might turn readers off, like a popup.
- Formatting posts so they’re easy to read.
- Using images to break up text.
- And obviously, ensuring you’re answering the question.
Having internal links is a great way to rank higher in search. If you’re linking to relevant content you’ve previously written within a post, not only will it help keep people on your blog for longer, but it will favour in the eyes of the search engine as being relevant.
This will also help your bounce rate and number of pages visited per user, which also has an impact on SEO.
Watch your speed.
The fact is, if your site doesn’t load in less than 3 seconds, it will probably be abandoned. Fast sites will rank higher in search than those that have the same relevance in all other areas but load slower every time.
You can check the speed of your site on Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
This will then give you suggestions on how you can improve the speed of your site.
Hope this helped give you a few ideas of what to work on SEO-wise this year!
Is SEO something you think about while writing blog posts, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of blogger?