In the Dovetail world, there are two main pros for blogging. The first is that blogs inform customers, typically answering their questions in detail right there on your site. The second, and possibly most importantly for conversions, blogs can boost your website in search engine ranking. However, simply writing a blog does not ensure those search engine rankings you want. That's where a dash of SEO comes in.
Now, we know you're not an expert. It's nearly impossible to be when major search engines change their rules and guidelines constantly. But, as always, we've got your back. Here's a few basics to get you started.
Keywords have been important since the dawn of time (re: search engines), but the way search engines use and target keywords have changed significantly over time. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, where you'd insert as many keywords as often as possible to boost your rankings. Since search engines are user-based, they're no longer trying to help your site out. They're just trying to help out their users, who are looking for genuine content to match their searches. Now, don't go removing every keyword; they're still important. You're simply required to use them wisely.
The best rule of thumb is to choose two-three main keywords that are topic specific to include in your copy. The key is to include them naturally. Remember we mentioned that search engines are smart? Yeah, they know when you're just throwing keywords around willy-nilly. Not only do a few main keywords keep your copy focused, but they also capture the attention of the search engines.
Sure, you can just copy and paste a blog from a document into a blog post, post it, and call it a day, but those search engines wouldn't give it a second look. There are four essential pieces in a blog post that, when you apply keyword integration, are vital to SEO rankings.
Firstly, your title is very important. The title tag is the first thing a search engine will read (much like any reader), therefore, it must include at least one of your top keywords. Additionally, Google only shows the first 60 characters of your title on the search page, so it's best for your top keyword to exist in the beginning of your title. This way, not only will you rank higher, but the reader scanning for relevancy is more likely to click on your title.
Secondly, as we've discussed in number one, your copy should naturally include keywords. Additionally, though, if you're including headers or subheaders in your content, you'll want to make sure those include top keywords as well. Even if they're secondary keywords.
What else is there to a blog? Well, your blog post exists on a webpage, so there's two more places that are important to include keywords. Every webpage has a meta description, which includes a short description of the page for search engines. If it's meant for search engines, you better believe you should include those top keywords! Lastly, there's the URL. You never want your URL to be long and confusing, so throw in those keywords and keep it simple.
Just like any page on your website, you want your blog posts to be mobile responsive. So many users access the internet via a mobile device these days that they've surpassed the amount on desktop computers by a mile (give or take). Having a site that is not mobile responsive is a essentially an online death sentence. Okay, we'll real in the dramatics, but having a responsive website across all devices is important, not only to keep a user on your page, but the search engines are specifically looking for this element as well.
Meta Description Optimization
We've already discussed the importance of integrating keywords into the meta description in number two. However, there's a couple more things you should know. Meta descriptions have a 300-character limit. Use it! Search engines will read it all, so take the advantage to really describe the page content and integrate those keywords. Naturally, of course.
You should always use original content, because search engines will ignore what they perceive to be duplicate content. On the backend, you should optimize images with alt tags, use topic tags, and keep the code clean. Google ranks secure sites over those that are not, so you should also have an SSL. Lastly, the more pages you have, the more opportunity you have to optimize for search engines and compete for rankings.
Feel like you're in over your head? Think your site needs a blog that utilizes more than basic SEO strategies? Give us a call. We'll have your blog optimized in no time.