Company and personal blogs play a key role in keeping internet users informed. After leaving a good blog, readers or customers should feel like they’ve found the answer to a question.
However, blogs serve another purpose: search engine optimization (SEO). With a few carefully-implemented strategies, a website manager can use blogging as a platform for boosting their site’s rankings on search engines like Google.
Not all SEO is created equally. The SEO tactics you choose can be the difference between a high-ranking, widely-read article and a blog post that goes unnoticed on the fifth page of Google’s results.
Whether you’re new to blogging or a seasoned veteran, mastering the basics of SEO for blogs is essential to your website’s success. Here are five SEO steps every blogger must take to ensure their blog and website rank successfully in 2019:
1. Keyword Analysis
Keyword analysis is the starting point for nearly any internet marketing campaign. In a nutshell, keyword analysis refers to the process of identifying relevant phrases that internet users might type into a search engine when looking for sites like yours.
By knowing what specific words your target audience types into Google, you’ll be able to incorporate those phrases in your blog posts. When the words on your website and search queries match, the site ranks more highly, which brings you more traffic.
Keyword analysis is a multi-step process, and there is no one definitive method for determining which keywords your website should target. A few common methods include:
- Making lists of major topics for basic keyword categories
- Analyzing keyword popularity using software and website tools like Google Analytics
- Researching competitor rankings for different keywords
- Researching which keywords your blog already ranks on
After performing keyword research and analysis, you should have a list of appropriate phrases to begin integrating into your blogs frequently and strategically.
2. Headings and Subheadings
Good writing and good SEO both depend on headings and subheadings. At a basic level, headings guide readers throughout your article, which helps them find information quickly. Headings can also provide greater structure to break up a long piece of writing, making the content look more polished and authoritative.
However, HTML headings are also extremely important tools for search engine optimization. Headings and subheadings create a hierarchy, with H1 tags being used for article titles, and H6 tags being reserved for the smallest subheadings. Logically, Google’s algorithm also uses these headings to understand content by taking H1 headings into greatest consideration.
In 2019, ensure you’re making use of headings and subheadings to help your pages rank. Place important, relevant keywords in H2 and H3 tags whenever it makes sense for the content, and watch your rankings begin to climb.
3. Page Speed
Both users and Google hate slow pages. If your website takes too long to load, your visitors might just leave your page and navigate to a speedier website. Google knows that a laggy page dissatisfies users, and so it ranks these pages lower.
You can check your page speed with tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool uses data from CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report) to create your Speed Score. If your score seems low, it might be time to implement strategies to speed things up, such as:
- Enabling compression
- Cleaning up your code by eliminating extra spaces, unused codes, and unnecessary formatting
- Reducing image size whenever appropriate
- Utilizing browser caching
By taking a few simple steps to make your pages load faster, you might notice that more visitors show up and stick around. A faster page speed might even lead to more conversions in the coming year.
4. Title Tags and Meta Data
Title tags and metadata live near the tops of web pages to first tell readers what your content is about. While optimizing these bits of HTML might not transform your page rankings overnight, a little effort in these areas can still produce surprising results. With well-written and keyword-optimized titles and descriptions, both Google and readers can quickly determine how your pages relate to search queries.
The best title tags and meta descriptions are eye-catching and detailed while still being to the point. Include a relevant keyword, some punchy descriptors, and your business name to help any meta description stand out.
5. Mobile Compatibility
More and more, searches from smartphones and other mobile devices are influencing SEO practices. In recent months, Google has been migrating more and more web pages to mobile-first indexing. This means that Google is determining page rankings based on a company’s mobile website rather than their desktop website in some cases.
In response, many website managers have worked to make their mobile websites more user-friendly by improving load times and altering page formats. Google’s algorithm notices these efforts and adjusts rankings accordingly.
In 2019, it will be more important than ever for companies to ensure their websites accommodate on-the-go searches conducted with smartphones. By making simple adjustments, like forgoing pop-ups and Flash, you can improve mobile compatibility to ensure your rankings keep up with the changing times.
Company blogs provide an excellent platform for businesses to reach their audiences with in-depth topical information. Google’s algorithms consider the content of blogs carefully– after all, users come to the search engine with a question that your blog might be able to answer. Help your answers outrank the others by following these tips. With intentional use of keywords, HTML tags, and site mechanics, any company blog can perform better in 2019.