There are at least 10 things you can optimize right now on every blog post you have, and get better SEO results from in the process. I’ll show you how.
Here is actually the list of things I’ll be suggesting you do:
If you want, you’re welcome to go ahead and apply them right now, but you need to be smart about it and if you’re not experienced enough, read through this whole page please so you know how to intelligently apply these tips.
The reason you even want to do this is, is because you can improve your existing rankings quite easily in the process. Imagine your site only getting about 10% of the potential traffic it could be getting, organically.
Any Google result that is on page 2 and down will get 95% LESS traffic than a post ranked on the first page.
That is the reality most bloggers face today and I was part of that majority.
90% of all that hard work results in…no results happening.
That’s how my story goes and it actually is how most stories for bloggers go, even though most don’t even realize it until they start studying SEO and grab their heads in shock of how much they could have done differently to literally get several times more traffic, higher ranked results and more.
I’ll tell you the 10 ways to optimize your blog for SEO very shortly, but you need to read this story and make sure it doesn’t take you as long as it took me to make the corrections:
It has only been a few years since I “mastered SEO” from the point of view that when I create posts, I know how to maximize the effect of it so that Google loves it, that it ranks it well, and that the audience it brings in to view it, also loves it, thus maximizing every angle.
But the amount of NEW content I’ve written since that I passed that “mastery” period has not come close to the amount of OLD content I’ve had up already that hasn’t been optimized.
I’m only going to use 1 website for reference to describe this point, but basically, I have about 90% of my content on that site NOT optimized for SEO correctly, while the other 10% are.
Care to take a guess as to which of that content ranks better? Obviously, the latter 10%.
But what happens to the other 90%? Do I just drop it? Or do I optimize it?
This is where you probably find yourself today if you’re reading this and the answer is that you should carefully select which posts need optimization, then make anywhere from 1 to 10 of the corrections that I’ll be listing here.
Which ones you should choose to improve upon, is something I will be showing you, but the older your site is, and the more blogs it has, the more picky you will have to be about which specific ones you’ll want to choose and fix.
The reason being is that SEO optimization itself for every post you write can add up to a lot of time spent on it and the more of it you choose to correct, the more time it’ll take away from you writing, fresh, new posts that are already optimized for SEO (so you won’t have to correct it later) and it’s the fresh content you’ll want to prioritize moving forward.
So basically, if you find yourself in a situation where you have 100’s of posts that need optimization, select a doable number you know you can fix in a few days time, say a dozen, get it done, write new content, go back and correct another dozen later (days and even weeks later, do it at a pace you know you can do it at), because if you try to tackle that all at once, you’re going to really waste a lot of time focusing on what is essentially a secondary priority, your first should be fresh, SEO optimized content.
Getting started: Which posts should I optimize and which should I drop?
There’s a lot of ways to approach this, but what I prefer is doing this optimization process after getting through these 3 stages:
Only get involved in this whole thing if you have at least 50-100 posts on your site, that site is at least 6 or more months old and you’re not getting at least 100+ organic visitors a day.
If your site is new (under half a year) and you have LESS than 50-100 posts, your site will naturally NOT have a lot of high rankings because it is still new and filtering through the Google dance.
In any case, people who are in the first category, apply the coming 1-10 optimization tips after the second stage, for the selected blogs which need fixing.
If you are in the second category, just skip past stages 2 and 3, and apply the 10 tips for any new posts you write on your site.
Again, if you’re reading this part, you are the person whose blog has 50-100+ posts, over 6 months of age for it and it’s not getting high rankings. Ok? Let’s go:
Next thing you’re going to want to do is separate is classify your existing posts into 2 categories:
Category one (good): The ones which are ranking high, and by that I mean 1st page Google results ONLY.
Category two (bad): Here you will isolate the ones which are not getting good rankings and those will be the targets for optimization. Anything page 2, 3 and under (or basically anything that isn’t page 1) is the target here.
Here’s how to do this:
You need to use Google Webmaster Tools for this, run a 90 day ranking report and see which keywords get the most traffic and highest ranking positions. Those are going to be your good ones that you will omit from optimization (since they are already doing good, don’t touch them).
In regards to directions, follow this guide (use the old Webmaster Tools console, because the new one hasn’t updated to help with this):
1) Open up a Webmaster Tools account and make sure you have a verified site on it (otherwise, stage 2 is useless).
2) In your account, go to “Search Analytics” then make sure you have the following things checked and showing (I’m using one my blogs as an example):
This will filter out ranking results and display from the highest ranking to the lowest ranking, which keywords and the position those keywords are ranking for.
All you want to do is take every single 1st page position you have (anything 10 and under is considered page 1 rankings), cross reference those keywords to the blog posts they are associated for and omit them from this whole operation.
Basically this step helps you identify which blogs are good and that you want to leave alone. You can choose to optimize them, but if they are already ranking well, then improving them may cause them to get re-ranked and that may actually cause a lag time as well as it to disappear for a period from it’s existing high ranking, you don’t want that…
Now that you’ve classified the good and bad ranking blog posts, it’s time to look at only the bad ones, as those will be the ones we will be optimizing in the coming 10 options.
Here, you’ll want to divide up the bad ones into 2 categories as well:
Category 1: Bad blog posts which are targeting an important keyword and have good content. Focus on these.
Category 2: Bad blog posts which AREN’T targeting any particular keyword and their content isn’t really that good. Focus on these ONLY when you finish optimizing the first category blog posts.
Now you’ve just cut your workload even less, and are focusing on the ones which are bad, but that can turn good and get better, higher rankings.
Now we are finally ready to start using the 10 options, let’s go:
1) Improve & edit the title of the bad blog post.
Very often people write WAY too much in their title, target a bad, high competition keyword or worse, no keyword at all. Correct these 3 things and that may in fact raise rankings.
Here are the goals for this step:
For character counts, you may want to use this site (I do). Titles with under 60 characters fit into Google’s search better and they DO prioritize titles with under that many characters over ones that are over that amount.
If you’re having more trouble with titles, read about meta titles and making them shine. So yeah, take this info, find bad ranking posts with long titles and make the changes.
Existing blog posts you have will have their own permalink. Even if you make changes to the title, do NOT touch the permalink.
This is one of the easiest things people get wrong. They change the URL of their blog post AFTER it’s been indexed in Google and changing it to something new will make 404 errors. I have gotten MANY messages from people who have had lower Google rankings from making this mistake.
Again, to avoid this problem altogether, do NOT touch the permalink, even if your new title doesn’t match it, just leave it alone.
3) If your meta description is too long, fix it these ways:
Like the title in #1 which is can be too long and needs corrections, the same applies to your meta description which for a lack of a better term is just the first paragraph on your blog post. The longer it is, the worse it looks on Google, so keeping it shorter gets the message across, Google likes it and it raises rankings.
- Keep it to under 160 characters.
- Include your updated keyword anywhere within those 160 characters.
Again, use the character site I linked to before.
4) Alt text images, absolutely include them.
Look at the very first image (the 10 tips) I used above. Right click it, and guess what you’ll see…
The alt text of that image will be the very same keyword I targeted in my title and in my meta description. Do this for at least one of your images (use an image and use the keyword to title that image).
Many posts lack proper linking strategies. They simply either:
- Link no where.
- Link to something like a promotion and nothing else.
- Or they link to other blogs you’ve written that are not relevant to be linked to.
While the SEO issues from those 3 things generally aren’t bad, proper internal linking strategies only help to raise your blog’s rankings and here are 2 intelligent way to use them:
Hogging all those links to just your site or promotion simply isn’t good enough anymore for higher SEO rankings. You are going to want to share some of your site’s value by linking to outside sites which you have no association with, but are helpful for your readers to click through, read and learn from.
Keep it to about under 5 external links or less per 1,000 words. I did it about 3 times on this blog by the way.
7) More content (words) is always a bonus for SEO.
As I said above in the image, 1,500 words. You will probably notice the blog that you see rank least well, generally correlate with those posts having not too much content. Fix that.
Imagine you read through this blog and it didn’t have any H3 headings, and all the text was the same size. Even if I included good images, I assure you, you’d probably be bored from reading this post 20 seconds in.
But because I’ve been properly and intelligently using H3 tags like labeling each of the 10 tips, your attention probably got your eyes this far into this article, which means I did it right. Well that’s what you need to do too.
In doing so, you extend reading time on your content for any reader and this acts as a positive SEO influence. And in some cases, when you truly want to make a big point in your article, I’d even recommend you make that an H2, not an H3.
9) Keep paragraphs short, it makes it easier for readers.
Much like with H3 tags, having gigantic page long paragraphs is tough to read. Our eyes tend to jump ahead while reading text as a way of seeing “how much is left”, and if we see more and more text with no finish, it creates a drain effect on our mind and makes reading further, harder.
Keeping your paragraphs shorter will make the mind recognize that a paragraph is about to finish and inspire the person to do it, then move into the next paragraph, which should also be short.
Again, this all extends reading times for blogs, which you already know affects SEO in excellent ways.
10) After all is said and done, update the post date, and do a URL inspect with Webmaster Tools.
Every time a new blog post is updated, head over to Webmaster Tools and let it “URL inspect” your new post (how to do it). This will speed up the re analyzing of your updated posts and show Google you’ve made improvements to it. Do NOT forget to update the post date.
For example, when I first wrote this post, the date was in November of 2018 but I did go back and optimized it the ways I indicated in this post, and when I did, I changed the date to 6/15/19, before doing a URL inspection.
In fact, I’m currently doing this on an old site I have.
Those are your 10 tips, before you get to work though…
Know that through these optimization tips, you will see improvement and you will be able to track it through Google Webmaster Tools. However, even if everything is done “perfectly”:
Aside from this, keep your focus post optimization on making fresh content and already implementing these 10 things so you won’t have to go back to fix it later.
Final important notes: This is how to SEO optimize your website & articles.
Although the focus of this post was on blogs, I hope that it’s already understood that…
- Doing this across all your blog posts = you optimizing your website for SEO.
- And also articles are blogs or pages anyway, so you can definitely be applying these 10 tips and you’ll still be getting the most SEO results out of them as a whole.
Update: More optimization tips.
While these 10 rock, I have an updated list, which includes them and additional ones you should read here if you wish to improve your rankings.