Optimizing Your Blog for SEO? Here’s Where to Start

Many websites have been running blogs for years, since long before the content marketing craze, and have built up large caches of great content. The only problem? It isn’t optimized for today’s web.

Here are some tips on how to take a great blog and optimize it to ensure your site gets the full SEO benefits of all that great content.

Move the Blog to the Main Site

Content, as they say, is king. The more quality content on a website, the more Google will smile on it. And blogs that have built up thousands and thousands of words are one of the best sources of content out there.

But back before recent changes to Google’s algorithm and the rise of inbound marketing, many businesses created blogs that were not on the same domain as the main site. The hope was to drive referral traffic from the blog back to the site.

Times have changed, and now Google rewards sites with lots of fresh, quality content. Moving the blog to the domain of the main site, if it isn’t there already, will boost the rankings of all the pages.

Plus organic visitors to the blog will land right on the site itself, where they can become acquainted with the business and be pitched with more forceful calls to action.

Implement 301 Redirects

When you move the blog to the domain of the main site, you don’t have to sacrifice the authority or link juice those pages have built. All you have to do is implement 301 redirects from the URLs of the old posts to their new locations on the main site.

A 301 redirect, known as a permanent redirect, will make sure users who follow the old URL end up at the same content’s new location. This also makes sure that the SEO benefits gained from all the links that page has accrued will be passed on to the new page and help the main site.

Optimize Each Post with HTML Tags

Every post needs to be carefully optimized with a unique title tag and meta description to help search engine visitors find it. These two tags often make or break whether a post gets any traffic.

The title should be no more than sixty eight characters and should ideally perform three functions:

1. Convey the subject of the article

2. Grab the reader’s attention, and

3. Include valuable keywords, especially those with a high volume of searches and relatively low competition

It’s a tall order for less than seventy characters, but it’s important. The title tag usually shows up as the main line of text on Google search results – the one that’s big, blue, and underlined.

After the title tag, the next most important tag is the meta description. The meta description doesn’t display on the page itself and it doesn’t affect how well the page ranks in the Google search results.

So why is it important? Because it usually shows up on the search engine results page as the two or so lines of text right beneath the title and is a major factor factor determining whether or not a searcher clicks on that result.

The focus of a meta description should be on driving clicks. Write them with human beings in mind, not search engine bots. They should give searchers a compelling reason to click by promising them a benefit that the page delivers. They should be somewhere in the 155-158 character range.

If you are using WordPress to operate your blog, there are several plugins that make managing tags easy. Look into the All in One SEO Pack or WordPress SEO by Yoast.

Add a CTA and Internal Links to Every Post

A blog isn’t just about creating fresh content to improve search engine rankings; it can also be a great source of new customers. Every post written for your blog should make an effort to convert its visitors into customers.

Whether or not you refer explicitly to your business, the copy of every blog post should include internal links to other relevant parts of the site, not just to other posts but to the homepage, pricing page, about page, etc.

Blog posts can also include more explicit and visual calls to action in the sidebar or at the bottom of the post, something that looks almost like a banner ad, driving visitors to create an account, fill out a contact form, or perform some other action.

These are just a few initial actions, but they will go a long way toward optimizing your blog and making sure it provides as much SEO benefit as possible.

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