Importance of SEO When Creating Blog Posts
Every content writer and website owner needs to understand the purpose and importance of SEO, as it plays such a huge role in generating organic traffic to a website or blog post. Whether your job involves creating interesting blog posts and developing on-page content, or you run an e-commerce business and you’re trying to increase sales online, SEO will impact your performance and success rate.
In this article, we’re going to explain the basics of SEO to give you a solid understanding of its impact on content marketing, and then we’ll provide you with SEO best practices and top tips to help you create SEO optimised blog posts, especially for WordPress.
Basics of SEO & Content Marketing
SEO, or search engine optimization involves carefully tailoring your on-page content and blog posts to be attractive to search engines such as Google. When Google sends out digital spiders to crawl web pages and blog posts, as a content creator you need to feed the spiders with the right information so that your website and blog posts appear for the most relevant online searches. By putting keywords that you want to rank for in the right places, you can make it easy for these digital spiders to crawl your website or blog posts, and understand exactly what your content is about. Here is a quick example to help you understand how this process works.
SEO & Content Marketing Example:
- You run an online business selling bridal jewellery and you want to write a blog post about bridesmaid gift ideas.
- You conduct keyword research and discover a high monthly search volume for the search terms ‘Maid of Honour gift’, ‘Bridesmaid jewellery’ and ‘Bridal party gifts’.
- You decide to write a blog post with the page title: 5 Bridal Party Gift Ideas | Bridesmaid Jewellery
- You use these keywords in the page title, meta description, image alt tag and within the blog post itself.
- Google spiders crawl the blog post and understand that it’s about bridesmaid jewellery.
- A bride is searching online and is looking for inspiration for gifts for her bridal party. She types into Google ‘Best bridesmaid gift ideas’.
- Google shows your blog post on page 1, in position 3.
- The bride comes across your blog post and clicks through to read it.
- The bride likes your Maid of Honour gift ideas and clicks on a link within the blog post and is directed to your online collection of bridesmaid jewellery. She decides to purchase a Maid of Honour piece of jewellery, and you make a sale.
How SEO Impacts Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is basically any traffic that comes from an online search. This might be traffic from Google, Bing or Yahoo. When it comes to writing a blog post, if you don’t optimise it for SEO, you’re not going to generate the results you’d hope for. Let’s take a look at another example to illustrate how poor SEO can negatively impact organic traffic.
Poor SEO & Organic Traffic Example:
- You have an online pet food brand and you decide to write a blog post on the benefits of organic dog food.
- You use the page title ‘Organic Food Is Best’, and you write about the benefits of organic food Vs processed pet food. You don’t create a meta description or use keyword-rich image alt tags.
- Google spiders crawl your blog post and read ‘organic food’, ‘benefits of organic’ ‘dog food’.
- An online user searches ‘benefits of organic food’, hoping to find the health benefits of switching to an organic plant-based diet. Google shows your blog post with the title ‘Organic Food Is Best’. The user clicks onto your blog post and quickly realises that this post is about dog food and clicks back off.
- Google doesn’t show your blog post as often anymore due to the high bounce rate.
Best Keyword Research Tools
Before you even think of a blog post title, you need to carry out keyword research. There is no point investing time into creating a blog post if there is no search volume for the topic. You should aim to create content that is in demand and adds value, and one way of doing this is by doing keyword research.
Keyword research will help you to identify high volume, low to medium competition keywords that you can use when creating content, and that will likely generate a good level of organic traffic. Keyword research may also uncover potential blog post ideas and common questions your target audience may have about products, services or general topics. This research and discovery phase will help you to create focused informative and valuable blog posts.
A powerful keyword research tool to use is Jaaxy. Quickly discover unique and easy to target keywords that will help you optimise your blog posts for SEO, and generate organic traffic. Take advantage of Jaaxy’s Starter Trial and unlock the power of keyword research for content marketing. Another useful keyword research tool is Moz Keyword Explorer.
Do Your SEO Homework
Take your keyword research a step further by looking into Google Search Console and understand the exact search terms people have used to find your website or blog posts. Discover the volume for particular search terms and the opportunities to create better-performing content. As a free service offered by Google, Google Search Console helps you to understand how your website performs and where you need to make improvements. You should also be familiar with Google Analytics and use this powerful platform to analyse your organic traffic and the type of people who are reading your blog posts. Developing customer personas from Google Analytics data will help you to create more tailored and relevant content which appeals to your online audience.
Identifying relevant keywords and search terms, and creating content tailored to your unique target audience will help you to rank higher in the search engine results and climb to page 1. The higher you rank in the SERPs, the more organic traffic you’ll enjoy.
SEO Elements For WordPress Blog Posts
Now you have a pretty solid understanding of SEO and content marketing, let’s run through the key elements that make up an SEO blog post on WordPress. Use this list as a checklist before publishing your next WordPress blog post.
Page title: This must be 60 characters or less and include your top keywords. This is what will be shown as the title to your blog post in the search results. It must be clear, easy to read and highly relevant to your blog post content.
Title tags: Use a H1 title tag for the main blog post title. Use H2s to identify sub-headings and H3s for headings within a sub-heading.
Meta description: The meta description is the content shown below your page title in the search results. This must be keyword-rich, include a call to action such as, buy now, read more, discover or learn, and be around 155 to 160 characters.
Image alt tag: Many people forget to use keywords when uploading images to a WordPress blog post but this is a main SEO element so get into the habit of filling in the image alt tag information.
SEO Yoast Plugin: Download this free SEO plugin to make it easier to create an SEO blog post on WordPress. SEO Yoast will give you the opportunity to identify the keyword you’re trying to rank for and format the page title and meta description for you.
First paragraph: Always include your top 3 keywords within the first paragraph of your blog post.
Call to action: Include a call to action at the end of your blog post such as ‘browse our online collection’, ‘sign up to our newsletter’ or ‘read our blog post on…’
Internal links: Internal links allow spiders to access different parts of your website and also direct organic traffic to your product and service pages, as well as other blog articles that may interest them.
Don’t Forget About Engagement
It’s important to remember that SEO and content marketing is a long term strategy, but there are things that you can do in the meantime to increase traffic to your blog post.
Social media marketing is a fantastic online resource that is not only free to use but can also help you to generate a considerable amount of relevant traffic to your site. Share links to your live blog posts on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Encourage users to comment and leave feedback on your blog posts too! A blog post with comments tells search engines such as Google that you are experiencing a high level of engagement and therefore more people might be interested in this content. Google and other search engines will then begin to show your blog posts more and higher in the search results.