Blogging. You’ve probably heard that it’s important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Well, is it? And if so, why? What type of blogs have the best chance of ranking well? And what does blogging for SEO involve?
In this article, we’re going to answer these questions and we’re also going to highlight The 5 Majors—the five most important things a blog needs to stand a chance of performing well in search results.
(Please Note: this is a post designed for beginners. For a more in-depth look at On-page SEO, see On-Page SEO: 10 Key Metrics for Topical Posts.)
Okay, let’s first talk motive. Our main reason for blogging is to contribute valuable content to the world. First and foremost, we’re aiming to offer content that can benefit others. We’re writing for human eyeballs. Shaping this user-focused content for search engine crawlers is an important but secondary objective.
Got it? Good.
The 5 Majors: Blogging for SEO
1. Keyword-rich Post Title
This is the most important thing you can get right if you’re blogging for SEO. For one, your Post Title tells Google exactly what the post is about. It will also be the headline searchers see in search results.
It should include your keyword phrase, preferably near the beginning, and be shaped to appeal to the felt-needs of your audience. Using questions, random numbers, quirky statements, strong language or current trends, are all known to make titles more appealing.
The keyword phrase for this post is “blogging for SEO”. I’ve placed it at the beginning of my title, and I’ve included a number and a question: “What Are The 5 Majors?”.
2. Keyword-rich Permalink
This is the second most important thing you can do. Yes, this is primarily for search engines (helping to confirm your topic) but it also helps your human audience—especially when they see the link in search results or via social media.
A post’s URL helps to confirm the reliability of the post’s topic to a reader.
A good rule of thumb is to shorten the permalink to include the keyword phrase and a modifier. My permalink for this post is:
I’ve cut the title down to the keyword phrase and a modifier: /blogging-for-seo-5-majors/
(Adding /google/ is a reflection of my permalink structure. It includes the “category” as another keyword. This isn’t essential in most cases.)
3. 300+ Word Count
Google does not ascribe much value to posts with less than 300 words. And the best ranking webpages are typically longer than 1500 words. Yes, length doesn’t equal quality, but Google will value a longer quality article over a shorter quality article every day of the week.
There are many ways to increase word content but if you’re writing on a topic you care about, a topic you feel others can benefit from, you won’t lack for words. Bottomline? Think of topics that matter to you. Do your homework. And then write your heart out.
4. 2% Keyword Density
Actually, the starting point to every blog post is keyword research. I only mention it here because most people switch off when they hear the phrase.
Keyword research is simply determining how to match the topic you care about with search terms searchers actually use. There are great tools to help, but you can just as easily find keyword phrases by tuning into your audience’s needs. Asking them helps too 🙂 Thinking of creative ways to elicit feedback from your clients is a start.
Once you’ve nailed your keyword phrase, the trick is to bleed the phrase throughout the content. Along with the Post Title and permalink, you should include it in the opening paragraph, the closing paragraph and evenly throughout—if possible. How many times? If you’re blogging for SEO, between 1-2% of the time.
So, if you’ve got 300 words? You need to include it 3-6 times. 900 words? 9-18 times.
Does it have to be the “exact match” phrase?
No. Search engines are getting smarter and can detect synonyms for the keyword phrase. That said, aim for 1% exact match and sprinkle enough synonymous phrases in for good measure so that the keyword density is around 2%.
5. Optimised Images
This makes it into the Top 5 Major metrics for SEO-blogging because images can make or break a blog post. How?
Un-optimised images affect page-loading speed and page-speed is a major ranking factor. Studies show that if your webpage takes longer than 4 seconds to load, you’ve lost 75% of your audience. And Google takes this into account.
So, what are optimised images? This is a massive subject in itself and you can read all about it here: Image Optimization: Image Sizing & Page Speed [ULTIMATE GUIDE]
In a nutshell, you should aim for these image specs:
Image Dimensions: 1200px by 800px for the largest images in a blog post (reverse for landscape).
Image Size: between 200KB-400KB
And finally, make sure that you’ve completed the Title and Alternate Text fields for every image. Including your keyword phrase in at least one of the images you use in a blog post is good SEO practice.
Blogging for SEO: Is that It?
Phew! Is that it?
Actually, no. There are 5 other important factors, but if you can get the 5 Majors right, you’ve done well.
Master these 5 Majors and then tackle the other five down the track. You can read about all 10 Key Metrics here.