Have you ever wondered what it takes to get ranked on the first page of Google?
Even if it’s not your primary goal, the thought has probably crossed your mind at some point during your journey.
When you see blog posts on the first page of Google, it means they are optimized for search engines, and Google sees them as a credible source.
The best time to optimize your posts for search engines is before you publish your first one.
Don’t worry, if you already have a website full of blog posts, you can start implementing these tips before publishing your next post. You can also go back and tweak older posts when you have free time.
A little background: I took a small break for about 3 months to start over with Productive Mompreneur, and during that time, I worked really hard on my SEO.
After tweaking my SEO, I waited a few weeks to do another Google search on my first post and it was on the first page of Google (it was previously on page 5)! I was excited, ate some chocolate, and couldn’t stop smiling for about a week.
Now, I’m going to share how making tweaks to my SEO allowed me to go from the 5th page of Google to the 1st.
I have a screenshot below where you can see that Google pulled images from my blog post and Pinterest, in addition to ranking the post itself.
Note: You will see that I allowed the search engine to generate my META title and description by default, but I’ve customized it since taking this screenshot. I initially wanted to see if my post would rank without customizing the META, and it did. You will learn more about META titles and descriptions in this post.
What is SEO and how can you benefit from it?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization), in brief, is a marketing tactic that focuses on increasing the visibility of your blog through organic (non-paid) search engine results.
There are many benefits of optimizing your blog posts for search engines.
The most useful thing search engines can do for you is drive targeted traffic to your blog.
When using social media to market your blog, you can attract many followers who aren’t part of your ideal audience. It could be due to a quote you shared, a pretty picture you uploaded, or because your account was recommend based on your associations (influencers, your followers and who you’re following).
With search engines, your blog post will only be recommended to someone if they are using keywords associated with the content in your post. So if someone finds your blog post via a search engine, there’s a high chance that they’re your ideal reader (and a potential customer or client).
In this post, I am going to be focusing on on-page SEO. When it comes to your blog posts, this type of SEO refers to everything you do to a single post to help it rank higher on Google.On-page SEO Tips for Beginners Click To Tweet
Here’s an infographic you can save before diving into the post!
1. Use the main keyword in your title
Although your blog title won’t appear within your blog post, it will appear in search engines (unless you change the meta title, which I will explain next).
When someone searches for something on Google, the first thing that catches their attention is the large blue title text.
They often make their decision to visit, or scroll past, a website solely based on the title. Using keywords in your title can influence your ideal reader to visit your blog because it will let them know you have what they’re looking for.
2. Use META Titles and Descriptions
If you don’t create your META title and description, search engines will automatically use the title of your blog post (for the META title), and the first ~160 characters of your blog post (for the META description).
While there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be causing you to miss out on some additional free traffic from search engines.
Create a META title that’s different than the title of your post, but relevant to the content inside of it. You want to ensure that you’re using relevant keywords in your META title also.
Your META description is the text that shows underneath your META title in Google. You can use this to give a summary of your post or ask a question and use a call to action (CTA) to influence your ideal reader to visit your website.
People will often refer to your META description if they are still curious about whether your post can truly help them, or if it’ll be a waste of time.
The image below is a screenshot of the META title and description I created for this post.
As you can see, my title is different, but still relevant and specifically states who I wrote this post for. In my description, I ask the same question from the intro of this post, then used a CTA for my ideal readers to click on my post.
3. Use subtitles (subheadings)
It’s natural for readers to skim through blog posts to see how long it is and get a sense of the points it’ll cover.
The use of subtitles help will make your content easier to read, and that’s one of the things Google takes into consideration when ranking your posts.
Subtitles are SEO-friendly and can catch the attention of search engines when someone searches related keywords.
Keep in mind that making your text bold is not the same as using subtitles. They are two entirely different things.
Look at the image below to see how you can create subtitles for your (WordPress) post.
It’s recommended to keep your subtitles short if you are using header tags. And if so, use H2 tags to make them stand out and create visible sections in your post.
You can also use H3 tags, and so on if you have additional points that need to be explained in your subtitles.
4. Use long-tail keywords
Long tail keywords are phrases that consist of 3+ words.
These type of keywords are less popular, but very targeted.
Despite their lack of popularity, they are usually what your ideal reader searches when looking for something specific.
If you create evergreen blog posts, you will be able to reap the benefits of using long tail keywords for years after you publish your post.
Let’s say you have a family travel blog and your next post is a review of hotels in Miami.
You could use the keyword “Miami hotels”, but unless you have a popular blog, you would have a tough time ranking organically since it is very competitive with posts from various niches.
So a long tail keyword like “family friendly hotels in Miami Beach” would be more effective for ranking higher and targeting your ideal reader.
I use the free version of Yoast to assist with some of my on-page SEO.
Although I don’t pay too much attention to its critiques on the “Readability” and “SEO” judgements, I still refer to it for a few tips that I feel could be helpful.
It allows you to create a focus keyword that you would like your post to rank for. It also allows you to create a META title and description for each post, as I discussed in point #2.
5. Place your keyword in the beginning of your post
When using keywords effectively, you can boost your search engine ranking by placing them in the beginning of your post. It’s a good practice to have, not only for SEO purposes, but to also prepare your readers for what you’re going to discuss.
Do you remember how I opened up this post? Take a look at the screenshot below.
I opened this post with a question that not only consists of a long-tail keyword, but also reminds you why you clicked on my post, and what you are going to learn.
A few ways you can easily open your blog post with your keyword are by:
- asking a question
- sharing statistics
- sharing a quote
While this is a good strategy, you want to ensure that your introduction flows smoothly with the keywords and you aren’t creating unnecessary sentences just to force them in.
Google penalizes for keyword stuffing.
6. Make images SEO-friendly
If you use images in your posts, making them SEO-friendly can help Google find them and recommend your post to your ideal reader.
Most times, when you Google something, you’ll see related images and graphics appear. The images that link back to websites and blog posts are examples of images that are optimized for search engines using on-page SEO.
When saving an image or graphic to your computer, make sure you give it an appropriate name. An appropriate name would be a name that consists of keywords related to your blog post.
You want to make sure you’re also using an alt tag that includes the keywords. You can create an alt tag after uploading your photo to your website.
When you fail to name your photos properly, you risk hurting your ranking.
So next time you consider saving an image to your laptop as “IMG374efnksk”, or any other random characters you may type when you can’t think of a name, think of how beneficial it would be if you took a few seconds to give the image an appropriate name.
Google can’t see pictures, but the search engine can read!
When you properly name your images, you assist them with recommending your content to your ideal reader.9 Simple SEO Tips to Help Your Blog Rank Higher on Google Click To Tweet
7. Add internal links
Linking back to relevant posts on your blog can help increase the authority of it.
It helps increase your ranking for certain keywords and influences readers to stay on your site longer; which is another ranking factor.
When linking back to other posts on your blog, you want to ensure that the anchor text (the text your readers have to click on) consists of keywords related to the post you’re linking to.
Make sure your anchor text is visible! If your readers can’t see your anchor text, they won’t know it’s there. You can make it visible by underlining the text, making it bold, and/or changing the text color.
If your blog serves a specific purpose for a specific audience, it will be easier to implement the practice of internal linking your posts.
8. Use SEO-friendly permalinks
If you aren’t sure what permalinks are, they are what comes after the “.com” part of your domain name (or whichever extension you use).
Some website platforms will automatically generate an SEO-friendly permalink that consists of the full title of your post, or a shorter version of your title.
There are also platforms that will generate a non-SEO-friendly link that consists of random characters.
An example of an SEO-friendly permalink is “YourWebsite.com/organization-tips-for-small-apartments”. It consists of keywords relevant to the blog post, which can help your post get picked up by search engines and increase your ranking.
An example of a non-SEO-friendly permalink is “YourWebsite.com/?p=8235”. It doesn’t consist of any keywords at all, which will make it harder for search engines to pick your post up. It will also make it difficult for your readers to remember the name of your link.
9. Get rid of dead links
Dead links (broken links, rotten links, etc.) are internal and external links to website pages, blog posts, or anything else online that no longer exists.
Some bloggers and businesses may delete pages on their website or delete blog posts that are no longer relevant.
They may also change their URL to a particular page or post, shut down their website or transfer their content to a new domain.
You may see that some bloggers and businesses will use tools to redirect site visitors to their updated page or post with the content they’re looking for, but not everyone does this.
It’s also very common to accidentally misspell URLs and lead your readers to dead links.
With this being said, it’s important to test all links before publishing your post, and occasionally afterwards; especially if you’re linking to other sites.
Dead links are a signal that your blog is not well maintained. If you are referring lots of traffic to them, your site can be penalized by Google for referring your readers to bad content.
Writing SEO friendly blog posts isn’t as complicated as the technical term sounds.
Even if you don’t have a mission to rank on the first page of Google, you can still utilize these tips to help your readers find the content you created for them.
What do you think about these tips? I’d love for you to share in the comments.
If you didn’t download my free SEO Cheat Sheet earlier, you can download it below!