search-friendly blog

What are 10 Ways to Make a Blog More Search-Friendly?

It’s no wonder almost everyone seems to be blogging these days. WordPress.com estimates that there are 56 million new blog posts and almost 47 million new comments on those posts hosted on its network every month. The numbers would be larger if they included blogs outside the WordPress.com network. Even more staggering – these blogs are reaching 409 million people every month.

As if writing compelling blog content wasn’t difficult enough, the sheer number of blogs being written have created a monumental challenge – writing a blog people can actually find. In the midst of 56 million other blogs posted each month, businesses are struggling to position their blog so it can reach more people. Luckily, there are a few search marketing tips that can help.

Here are 10 ways to make a blog more search-friendly:

1. Create a blog title that “speaks” to your audience

Bloggers know to craft blog titles which incorporate keywords used in the content. However, voice search is starting to change the rules of search engine optimization (SEO) and may impact the way blog titles are written. A recent Google blog reported, “…mobile voice searches more than doubled in the past year,” and when people use voice search, they typically ask questions as if they are having a conversation. So, keywords are still important in a blog title, but the title should also be conducive to how someone might ask a question and use key prompts such as what, when, where, why and who.

2. Ask a question in the blog title

In the title, if you can capture a question your audience is asking, natural next steps for them are to want the answer to that question and read the blog. For this reason, blog titles with questions get a higher click-through rate than titles without questions. This format also gives the blog practical utility; in other words, it fills an information void for the reader and becomes a must-read blog, not just a nice to read one.

blogs with a number in the title

3. Put a number in your blog title

People are more inclined to click on a blog title with a number. Why? Hubspot suggests three reasons:

  • Readers perceive the content to be more actionable because it has a list of steps, actions, lessons, or tips.
  • The blog is more easily scanned, and readers know they can jump in and read just part of the piece.
  • Numbers in the title also give the reader a clue as to the length of the blog.

4. Keep the blog title length within guidelines

Although it may be tempting to write whatever title suits the blog, ultimately a lengthy title will be truncated in the Google search snippet. When the title is too long, Google algorithms will cut off some of the text and put ellipses, the three dots at the end. Write a short, punchy title that includes your keyword(s), and when possible, leave room for the business name which WordPress will add in for you. Edit your title in your content management system and use a handy tool to help, such as the one offered by Moz. I have amended the title tag for this blog, for example, to show:

What are 10 Ways to Make a Blog More Search-Friendly?

Left unedited, it would appear:

What are 10 Ways to Make a Blog More Search-Friendly? | R…

5. Segment the blog using subheads

Segmenting a blog is essential. It is visually easier to read a blog that is broken into smaller, more consumable pieces. Most people are short on time, so they scan a blog and read the subheads first to see if anything piques their interest. They provide different points that may entice the reader to jump in partway through the blog.

Subheads are also key elements of the blog hierarchy and are searchable. They provide another opportunity to use keywords. So, well-written subheads allow readers and search engines more chances to find essential aspects of your content.

6. Use tags to give the blog content hierarchy

Some content in a blog is more important than others. The blog title is more important than the subhead titles; the subhead titles are more important than the paragraph text below them. Hierarchy is a slightly technical aspect of blogging, but both essential to understand and easily accomplished! Tag the blog title as Heading 1 or H1 if your platform does not automatically do so, and tag subhead titles Heading 2 or H2 in the content management system to denote their importance in the blog. You can find the Heading 1, Heading 2 tags in the Paragraph drop-down menu in WordPress.

7. Add alternative text to your images

Images are an excellent way to break up longform content like a blog. They can also help make the blog search-friendly and optimize SEO. Content management systems have an image field labeled “alt text,” which stands for alternative text, and it allows you to write a few words that describe the image. Alt text is shown if someone viewing the blog utilizes a device which cannot show the image. It is also picked up in search and provides another opportunity to use relevant keywords that bring people back to your blog.

tags and categories in a blog

8. Label a blog with carefully considered categories and tags

Blogs should be assigned relevant categories and tags. Both are organizing systems, or taxonomies, which allow the reader to search for blogs by topic. My favorite explanation of the difference is by Morten Rand-Hendriksen. He describes categories as the broad system that allows the grouping of similar types of content, and there can be hierarchical relationships between categories. Tags, on the other hand, have no relationship to other tags but rather can help identify content areas covered in the blog. An example he uses is a person’s closet. Jackets, pants and skirts are the equivalent of categories. You probably group your clothes in this way in the closet. Information such as dry clean only, 100% cotton, or made in the USA would be tags. People wouldn’t organize their closet by the tags, but tags represent useful information nevertheless.

9. Err on the side of simplicity for the blog writing style

By some estimates, the average reading level in the United States is equivalent to that of a 7th or 8th grader, and it’s a statistic worth keeping in mind when writing a blog. In an interesting article that looked at the effect of complex writing on readership, Shane Snow found that simpler blogs get more reach and argued, “…we should aim to reduce complexity in our writing as much as possible…. Our readers will comprehend and retain our ideas more reliably. And we’ll have a higher likelihood of reaching more people.”

Some SEO plugins include a reading ease score for exactly this reason. Readability is a ranking factor in search, but it is unclear that simplicity just for simplicity’s sake has distinct advantages, especially if the content really is about a complex topic. Therefore, align the writing complexity to the content and err on the side of simplicity for more widespread reach.

10. Use bullet points in your blog

In 2015, Google confirmed that for the first time in the US, more Google searches were done on mobile devices than computers. The shift means that more content will be consumed on mobile devices as well, and that content includes blogs. Bullet points are an important construct in the new mobile paradigm because they:

  • break content into easily consumable bits
  • can be formatted to highlight keywords or concepts
  • are viewed favorably in search algorithms
  • can be easily scanned by the reader
  • are mobile-friendly
  • visually break up paragraph style longform blogs

So, in addition to creating well-written content, take the time to learn how to structure your blog in a way that can be more easily picked up in search. There are beginner’s guides to get you started, and as the WordPress.com statistics show, blogging is well worth the effort and a viable way to reach your audience. Follow our 10 tips for a more search-friendly blog and one that can stand apart in a very crowded field.

If you’re struggling to write a monthly post or have no idea how to optimize it, we can assist you! Contact us at (973) 218-6558 or email team@resourcefulbusiness.com. We can help you with your blogging and make it search-friendly too!

Leverage the Inbound Marketing Traffic from your Blog

Motivating companies to organize a blog for their website can be challenging. Often the management of the company do not see the value of it, there is no one who really wants to write it, and the cost of an outside blogger can be expensive. It’s hard. The true marketing power of blogging begins with creative, original content. A great blog can drive visitor traffic back to your website, especially if you understand a little about on-page search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is the ideation, creation and sharing of content with the goal of increasing traffic to your website. Both the content and the target audience should be strategically planned. Inbound marketing only works when you figure out the right content and get it to the right people. There is no better vehicle than a great blog. You wonder whether traditional marketing campaigns can achieve the same results? Not if you know how to leverage the inbound marketing traffic from your blog. Here’s how.

social media

1. Send your blog link out with social media

Use social media to get the word out about your blog. Keep the headline short, around 60 characters. Link the headline to your blog so that people can click-through to your website blog page. If you are using WordPress, make sure to choose a Featured Image for the blog and upload it so that the social media networks populate the picture along with your blog. See our recent blog on the importance of imagery, Why You Must Fix Your Company’s Social Media Imagery and How.

email

2. Add a link to your email signature with your blog

Each time you send an email, take the opportunity to share your blog. Throw in your company name as well and then link it back to the blog on your website. You can place the blog link right below your regular signature.

Name
Title at ABC Company
Contact Details at ABC Company
ABC Company is blogging about Really Neat Topic

 

long tail keywords

3. Include keywords and long tail keywords in your blog

In the main copy of the blog, include keywords or tags, which best describe the important concepts in your blog. Think search. What themes are you talking about and what words might someone use to search for these topic areas? Find long tail keywords, or longer phrases that are specific to your topic, and include those as well as they can attract a more targeted audience. There are several free keyword suggest applications like Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool, which you can use to research the best keywords and long tail keywords.

4. Use image tags

Images are a powerful tool that can drive engagement for your website. Website pictures have image tags. After choosing great photos for your blog, ensure that you have written alternative text or “Alt Text” for each image used. Alt Text is read by text bots, and image tags identify your picture, which increases the chances of it being displayed in search. The effective use of Alt Text is often overlooked, and it can drive traffic back to your website by optimizing images in search.

5. Segment with Subheadings

Partition the blog into core points or themes and use subheads. Each of those subheads can include keywords and phrases that explain the main points of your blog. The phrases should be identified as Heading 3 or Heading 4, a technical attribute which gives the headline more weight in search. When your blog is shared in social media, the subheadings can be used as talking points and sent out as separate headlines on social media with links back to the blog.

Hopefully, you have been persuaded that a blog is not just a digital platform to put your thoughts in writing. Rather, it is a powerful inbound marketing tool that can leverage traffic back to your website where you can share your expertise. You can educate potential customers on common questions and showcase the services of your business. In the call to action, you can encourage a dialogue and hopefully gain a new customer!

If you are ready to leverage the inbound marketing traffic of your blog but feel you could still use some assistance, email us, or call (973) 218-6558 today.