One of the best ways to keep getting traffic for your oldest/earliest posts is to make them search engine friendly. In the long run, only search engines can help you to get traffic for old posts.
In this article I will share some tips for writing SEO-optimized articles that will rank better with search engines.
I have been running multiple blogs, and we have several authors working day and night to keep them updated with fresh, quality content. Sometimes, however, quality drops and that usually happens due to a lack of knowledge.
Every blog post is like a web page in terms of search engine ranking, and you can optimize each post with specific keywords for the search engines. There are several things that you should keep in mind in this regard, and we will be discussing them in this post.
Whenever I hire a new author to work on our blogs, I have to give him manual input and checklists to help him to write better articles. Apart from selecting topics, there is a complete SEO checklist that must be taken care of. I used to send this information out in an email to all the authors in my blog network. So I thought it would be a good idea to compile all of this information in a post. This way, ShoutMeLoud readers will all benefit from this information and learn how to create SEO-optimized posts as well.
Please note that in this post I will not be covering keyword research, though I will do so in a future post, as keyword research requires a detailed post of its own.
Writing SEO-Optimized Articles:
Post title and Meta title:
First you need to understand the difference between post title and meta title.
- Post title: how your reader will see the post
- Post meta title: what search engines will see and show in the search result
If you have not specified a meta title in your SEO settings, your post title will be treated as the meta title. It is important to have your keywords in a meta title. You can read more about this in the detailed post I published previously, How to optimize a post title for readers and search engines.
Tip: Keep post titles less than 66 characters
Post meta description:
All the SEO plugins allow you to add meta descriptions, which play a major role in search engine ranking. Think of a meta description as sales copy for your blog post. In 156 characters, you need to add your keywords, and create a description that is seductive enough for users to click on it. If you have not added meta descriptions in the past, you should start doing it from now on.
Now that you understand what a meta description does, it is very important to go back and add meta descriptions to any of your previously published posts which do not have one.
Every post you write is important from the perspective of ranking and traffic. Google sees every blog post as a different webpage so that you can rank every post for certain keywords.
Image Alt Attribute:
Google can’t read images. Text is how Google recognizes an image. To ensure that search engines can understand what an image is about, you must be sure to use proper image names. Many people make the mistake of uploading images with names like image001.jpg, and this does not serve them well at all.
When naming an image, keep the name relevant to image itself. For example, if you take a screenshot of an Adsense dashboard, and you name the image “AdSense”, it will not be targeted. Instead, you need to use a name like “AdSense-dashboard”.
Here at ShoutMeLoud we use an effective plugin called SEO Friendly Image, which uses the image name as ALT attributes. This way, when people search for an image in a Google Image search, they will land on our blog post.
If you choose not to use such a plugin, you can always manually add ALT (alternate text) when you upload an image.
I have seen positive results when using keywords in image anchor text (when naming an image), so you should at least use keywords in your image alt text.
Interlink and Anchor text:
When we write a new post, it’s always a good idea to link back to old posts so that readers will find the old posts, and search engines will re-crawl the old blog posts.
When you interlink, you should use the anchor text technique to interlink. Simply put, when you link to a blog post you see an option to add link and title. Make sure to fill out the post title or main keywords for the post you are linking to.
At ShoutMeLoud we also use a plugin called SEO Smart links for automatic internal linking. This helps in better linking of articles & reduces the bounce rate.
Permalink and remove stop words:
When we write a post, we usually use a post title with lots of stop words. You can find a comprehensive list of stop words here and here. So for example, when we write a post with the title: 3 Ways to Make a Blog Business Plan, our post permalink by default would be: domain.com/3-ways-to-make-a-blog-business-plan.html
“To” and “a” are stop words in the example above. You can click on edit permalink and change the permalink to blog-business-plan, thus eliminating the stop words.
Note: Never change your post permalink once the post is published.
H1, H2, H3 Headings:
We use the Thesis post styling feature to create the style of our blog post. This is fine, but we must not ignore one of the most important aspects of SEO, and that is using proper H1, H2, H3 headings. By default, in any SEO-optimized theme, the post title uses H1 tags. So for the next sub heading you can use an H2 heading, and an H3 heading, and so on.
It is always a good idea to use proper heading tags for effective SEO, especially when you are writing a long post. Please refer to the following posts for a better understanding of how to use headings within blog posts.< Link1> <Link 2>
According to the SEO community, it’s a good idea to use your keywords in H1, H2, and H3 tags.
- Post title for readers & search engine (keywords in H1, H2, H3 and post title)
- Post permalink (remove stop words from permalink)
- Interlinking within a post with anchor text
- Image Alt text (use keyword)
- Post meta description (optimize it for better CTR, and use your target keyword once)
- Post meta keywords (leave it blank)
- Add links to reliable & trustworthy resources within the blog article
Let us know if you have any questions, or if you have any other suggestions . Feel free to use our comments section below!
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