By presenting your website as an accurate result to your clients’ questions, blogging helps improve SEO quality. Blog entries that employ a number of on-page SEO methods can increase your chances of ranking in search engines and make your site more interesting to visitors.
Factors That Affect Blog SEO
1. Dwell Time
Although dwell time is an indirectly ranking element for Google, it is a significant factor in the user experience – and we all know that when it comes to SEO, the user experience is king. The length of time a visitor spends on the a site on your blog is referred to as dwell time. Dwell time is measured from the time a visitor lands on your site in the SERP to the moment they exit the website. This metric indirectly informs search engines like Google about the value of your material to the reader. It seems to reason that the longer they stay on the website, the more relevant it becomes to them.
However, there is a reason why this statistic is considered an indirect indicator of SEO – it is entirely subjective. Your content approach is unknown to search engine algorithms. Your blog could be focused on short-form content that can be read in a minute or two. You might also include relevant information at the start of your blog posts to provide the best user experience, which means less time spent just on page.
So, while dwell duration can have an impact on SEO, don’t try to adjust it if it doesn’t make sense for your content strategy. HubSpot’s free blog creator enables you to generate high-quality content that expands your brand’s reach and grows your following.
2. Page Speed
We noted previously that visual components on your blog might effect page speed, but it isn’t the only factor. Unnecessary code and excessive plugin use can also contribute to a slow blog site. Removing useless code might make your pages load faster, resulting in faster page loading. Check out HTML-Cleaner if you’re not sure how to detect and delete garbage code. It’s a simple tool that doesn’t require any coding experience. It simply displays the unwanted code and allows you to remove it with the press of a button.
I also propose taking stock of your blog’s plugins. Determine which are required to keep your blog working on a daily basis and which were implemented to address a temporary problem. Plugins that alter your site’s front end are a threat to page speed, and you may be able to eliminate more of these plugins than you think to improve overall site speed.
3. Responsiveness to Mobile Devices
Mobile devices account for more than half of Google’s search traffic in the United States. Individually, your blog site may follow the same pattern. There’s no getting around it: optimising your blog site for mobile will have an impact on your SEO numbers. But what does it really mean to optimise a website for mobile? The industry standard is to keep things simple. Most pre-made site designs are now mobile-friendly, so all you have to do is change a CTA button here and raise a text size there. Then, periodically check your Google Analytics dashboard and run a mobile site performance test to see how your site is performing on mobile.
4. Index Date
Search engines strive to give the most relevant and up-to-date information. The date a search engine indexes the content is one of the factors it considers when assessing what is relevant and accurate. Indexing is the process through which a search engine finds content and adds it to its index. When a user searches for terms related to the indexed page, the page can be fetched and presented in the SERP.
You may be asking whether the date the content was indexed coincides with the date it was published.
The answer is both yes and no. If you submit a blog post for the first time, it’s likely that a Google spider will crawl it on the same day you publish it. However, content can be backdated for a variety of acceptable purposes, such as archiving data or changing a sentence or two.
Implementing a historical optimization approach is one technique to improve this SEO element. This method works well for blogs that have been around for a few years and have a decent volume of content. You can greatly improve your blog SEO by upgrading these previous posts with new insights and statistics without creating a lot of net new content. Site crawlers will reindex the page based on the revised content, giving it another chance to compete in the SERP. It’s truly a win-win situation.
5. Recent Data
Recent data, which is another indirect SEO ranking element, should be presented in blog entries. Recent data provides visitors with relevant and reliable information, resulting in a great reader experience. When you include a link to a reliable site with original, up-to-date data, you are informing the search engine that this site will be useful and relevant to your viewers (which is a plus for that other site). You’re also informing the search engine that this type of data is linked to the information you’ve published. Your readers will grow to love the material over time, as seen by increased time on page or a lower bounce rate.
How to Optimize Blog Content for Search Engines
1. Identify the target audience for your blog.
Whatever industry your blog is aimed at, you’ll want to identify and address the key audience that will be reading your content. Understanding who your target audience is and what you want them to do after clicking on your article will help you plan your blog approach.
Buyer personas are a great method to target readers based on their purchasing habits, demographics, and psychographics. Without this understanding, you may produce grammatically correct and accurate content that few people would click on because it does not communicate to them on a human level.
2. Perform keyword research.
After you’ve determined your target demographic and created a buyer persona, it’s time to determine what content your readers want to consume. If you don’t start with a strategy, keyword research might be a daunting undertaking. As a result, I propose beginning with the themes that your blog will cover and then expanding or contracting your scope from there. Check out our keyword research how-to guide for a more in-depth explanation.
3. Add visuals.
Visuals are important to search engines like Google for particular keywords. Images and videos are two of the most prevalent visual elements on search engine results pages. To land a coveted spot in an image pack or video snippet, you’ll need to create unique graphics, employ original photographs and videos, and include meaningful alt text for every visual element in your blog post.
Alt text is an important aspect in determining whether or not your image or video appears in the SERP and how prominently. Alt text is especially vital for screen readers, ensuring that visually challenged visitors have a great experience while reading information on your blog.
4. Write a catchy title.
The title of your blog post is the first thing a reader sees when they come across your content, and it has a big influence on whether they click or scroll down. A snappy title piques the reader’s interest by using statistics, asking a question, or starting with curiosity.
Power, emotional, rare, and frequent words are among the qualities of a catchy headline, according to Coscheduler’s Headline Analyzer. These types of words in the appropriate proportions in a blog title will capture your visitors’ interest and keep them on the page.
Here’s an example of a catchy title with an 87 on the Coschedule Headline Analyzer:
According to This Popular Fashion Expert, the Perfect Dress Has Three Elements.
- Common words are highlighted in yellow. They are well-known to the reader and do not deviate too far from other titles that may show in the SERP.
- According to Coschedule, the word “expert” evokes strong emotions. The word expert in this example establishes trust with the reader and indicates that this piece has an authoritative point of view.
- Purple words are power words, which means they grab the reader’s attention and pique their interest in the subject.
- The number three is also present in this title. This informs the reader that they will learn a certain number of details regarding the perfect dress.
5. Include an intriguing call to action.
What good is a blog post if there is no call to action? A CTA’s objective is to direct your visitor to the next step in their journey via your blog. A strong CTA is connected to the subject of your current blog article and flows easily with the rest of the material. You’ll need an intriguing CTA on every blog post you publish, whether you’re selling a product, promoting a newsletter subscription, or simply wanting the reader to consume more of your material.
CTAs come in a variety of formats, so get imaginative and try them out. Buttons, URLs, and widgets are among the most prevalent CTAs, and each serves a unique purpose. If you want the reader to make a purchase, for example, include a bold, conspicuous CTA, such as a button. On the other hand, you can simply entice a reader to read another blog post by including a link to it at the end of this one.
6. Concentrate on the reader’s experience.
Any brilliant writer or SEO will tell you that the most important aspect of a blog post is the reader experience. Several aspects contribute to the reader experience, including readability, formatting, and page speed. That implies you should write content that is clear, thorough on your topic, and up to date with the newest statistics and trends. Organizing the text with headings and subheadings is also vital since it allows the reader to swiftly scan the content to discover the information they require. Finally, on-page elements such as photographs and videos affect page performance. Keep image file sizes small (250 KB is a decent starting point) and keep the amount of movies on a single page to a minimum. You’ll be on your way to publishing an article optimised for search engines by focusing on what the reader wants to know and organising the post to meet that aim.
Blog SEO Tips
1. Use 1–2 long-tail keywords.
The goal of keyword optimization for blog posts is not to include as many keywords as possible. Nowadays, this actually harms your SEO because search engines perceive keyword stuffing to be unethical (i.e., including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search).
It also does not provide a nice reader experience, which is a ranking element that search engines increasingly prioritise to guarantee you’re answering your visitors’ goal. As a result, you should employ keywords in your text in a way that does not feel forced or unnatural.
One or two long-tail keywords every blog post is an excellent starting point. While you can utilise multiple keywords in a single post, keep the focus small enough that you can spend effort optimising for only one or two keywords.
You may be asking why long-tail keywords are important.
These lengthy, typically question-based keywords keep your content focused on your audience’s specific needs. For example, the long-tail keyword “how to write a blog post” has a significantly greater SEO impact than the short phrase “blog post.”
Website visitors that use long-tail keywords are more likely to read the entire piece and then contact you for further information. In other words, they will assist you in generating the appropriate kind of traffic — visitors who will convert.
2. Throughout the blog content, use keywords strategically.
Now that you’ve identified one or three keywords, it’s time to use them in your blog article. But where should you include all the terms to rank high in search results?
You should strive to incorporate your keywords in four places: the title tag, the header and body, your URL, as well as the meta tags.
The title (i.e., headline) of your blog post will be the first step in establishing the relevance of your content for both search engines and readers. As a result, inserting a keyword here is critical. In a search result, this is referred to as the “title tag” by Google.
Include your keyword within the first 60 characters of your title, which is around where Google cuts off titles on the SERP. Technically, Google assesses by pixel width rather than character limit, and it recently increased the image width for organic results from about 500 pixels to 600 pixels, which corresponds to approximately 60 characters.
A lengthy title tag? When you have a long headline, it’s best to include your keyword in the beginning because it may be cut off in SERPs near the conclusion, reducing the perceived relevancy of your content.
In the following example, we had a long title that ran above 65 characters, so we put the keyword at the beginning.
Headers & Body
Mention your keyword in the body of your post and in the headers at a regular cadence. That involves incorporating keywords into your copy naturally and in a reader-friendly manner. Don’t overdo it or you’ll be penalised for keyword stuffing.
Before you begin writing a new blog post, you will most likely consider how to include your keywords into your content. That’s a good notion, but it shouldn’t be your only or even primary emphasis.
When creating content, your primary focus should be on what matters to your audience, not how many times a keyword or keyword phrase can be included in that article. Concentrate on being helpful and answering any questions your customer may have asked to lead them to your post. If you do this, you will naturally optimise for important keywords.
3. Optimize for mobile devices.
We already know that more people use search engines on their phones than on computers.
And, for all valuable searches searched on mobile devices, Google prioritises mobile-friendly results. This is simply another example of Google prioritising mobile-friendly websites, as it has done since the firm modified its Penguin algorithm in April 2015.
4. Optimize the meta description.
To summarise, a meta description is extra text that displays in SERPs that tells readers what the link is about. The meta description provides searchers with the information they need to identify whether or not your content is what they’re seeking for and, as a result, helps them decide whether or not to click.
The maximum length of this meta description is currently roughly 300 characters, indicating that it intends to provide readers more insight into what each result will give them.
5. Include image alt text.
Blog postings should not just feature text, but also visuals that help explain and reinforce your topic. Search engines, on the other hand, do not only look for photos. Instead, people search for images with image alt text.
You may be wondering why this is the case. Because search engines cannot “see” images in the same way that people can, an image’s alt text informs the search engine about what the image is about. This helps those images rank higher on the search engine’s images results page.
Image alt text also improves user experience (UX). When a picture cannot be found or shown, it appears inside the image container. In HTML, alt text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag.
Topic tags can help organise your blog content, but using too many of them might be detrimental. If you have too many similar tags, search engines may punish you for duplicate material.
Consider this: when you create a topic tag (which is straightforward if you use HubSpot, as seen here), you also create a new site page where the material from those subject tags will appear. If you use too many similar tags for the same material, search engines will see your website as displaying the content numerous times. Topic tags like “blogging,” “blog,” and “blog posts,” for example, are too similar to be applied to the same post.
Take some time to clean up your present blog posts if you’re concerned that they contain too many similar tags. Choose 15-25 topic tags that you believe are relevant to your site and are not too identical to one another. Then only use those keywords to tag your posts. Your won’t have to worry over pages this way.
7. Update existing content.
You may believe that in order to increase your SEO, you must publish new blog content. Although this is somewhat correct, you should also devote a significant amount of time and energy to your existing blog content. Specifically, repurposing and upgrading existing content, as well as deleting outdated content.
This is because a completely new piece of content takes much longer to settle just on result pages of search engines (SERP) and earn authority, but you can update a piece of content and reap the benefits almost immediately.
Not only will your updated content rank higher on the SERPs, increasing the number of visits and leads, but updating an existing piece of content takes much less time and resources than creating a completely new post.
Furthermore, upgrading and repurposing your most effective pieces of content increases its lives, allowing you to achieve the best outcomes over a longer period of time (especially if it’s evergreen content).
The final step is to delete any obsolete content that is no longer relevant to your audience. Although your goal is to make your material evergreen, some of it will inevitably become obsolete over time. Statistics, product information (assuming you have any posted in your blogs – as your products and business expand), and information that changes across your industry over time are all examples of this.