5 Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines
Do you have a blog and you want more readers to visit it? You should promote it on social media. Have it listed on blog directories or other online directories. Join blog networks. Also, you shouldn’t forget to optimize it for search engines. Do search engine optimization or SEO.
For the uninitiated, SEO is the use of strategies, tactics, and techniques to raise the number of visitors of a website by making a site or its pages rank high in search engine results. There are many different ways to do this. The following are some of the ones deemed most effective and doable by ordinary site owners without enlisting the help of SEO companies.
Pick a niche
Don’t blog on random topics unless you are just writing a personal blog. If your goal is to have a blog that brings in visitors or something you can monetize, you need to have a niche. You need to choose a particular field of interest, subject, or theme for your blog. This is to make it easier to target certain keywords to optimize for. Realize that in doing SEO, you are not just making general optimizations. You are optimizing for specific keywords. It would be easier to do SEO if the keywords or keyword phrases for your blog are related to each other.
Also, you need to focus on a particular subject so you can establish credibility in the eyes of search engines as well as in the eyes of real people who will be reading your blog. You don’t necessarily have to be a high level expert on the niche or topic you choose. What’s important is that you impart your own perspective and inputs on the topic and that you offer something useful, interesting, and different from what others are already offering.
Consider translating your content in other languages
This is like duplicating your content in a way that will not get you penalized by search engines. More good content is always good for search engine optimization so if you don’t have new good content to add to your site yet, it wouldn’t be a bad idea having the great content you already have in your site translated. It does not have to be a full-fledged website localization project. You can just have the content translated in the language of one region or country where you think you are getting a good amount of readership. The translated content will help you get traffic from searches made using a local language.
Implement basic on-site SEO strategies.
Basic SEO techniques you can do for your blog include the following:
- Add title tags and meta descriptions. These are the texts you see in search engine results. The title tag has to be around 50 to 60 characters while the meta description shouldn’t be longer than 160 characters. You can actually use more characters but it is better to write complete titles and meta descriptions within the character limits to properly present what the site or page offers on the search results. You don’t have to go into your blog’s code to be able to insert the title tags and meta descriptions. There are plugins that allow you to add them while you are preparing the draft of your blog.
- Use relevant internal links. When writing your posts, be sure to add links that point to other pages or posts in your blog. Doing this is not only for the search engine bots or crawlers. They can also help direct your readers to other relevant content in your blog.
- Use header tags. These are the <H1></H1>, <H2></H2>, <H3></H3>, etc. tags in a post or the subheads you assign as “Heading” when you format your texts (the texts that indicate separate sections in a long post). Header tags break down long posts into digestible sections to make them more readable and to emphasize the topic being discussed in a particular section of a post.
- Add image names and alt tags. If you use images in your blog (you should!), be sure to add image names and alt tags. These are useful in identifying images and they allow your blog to attract visitors among those who are searching for images in particular. It would be a waste if you added excellent images on your blog that end up becoming difficult to find (for search engines) because you haven’t added names and alt tags to them.
- Protect your content. It is very important that you protect the content you have on your blog. It’s as important as making sure that you are not copying content from others. You need to protect your content to make sure that others will consider going through the trouble asking for your permission to use or republish your content, so you can, in turn, compel them to link to your blog or specific posts. Also, if you don’t protect your content, search engines may mistakenly see your blog as the plagiarizer and wrongly impose penalties. You could turn off human readers as they might wrongly perceive your blog as the one that steals content from others.
Engage in link building
You can contact other bloggers to exchange links with them or use white hat link building methods. However, arguably, the best links to have are those that you don’t solicit, the so-called organic links. To achieve organic links, you need to put out link-worthy content or content that are informative, useful, interesting, and relevant. Consider having infographics, videos (not embedded from YouTube but hosted on your blog itself), high quality images, tutorials, statistics, podcasts, and other content other bloggers would want to use as reference.
Publish good content regularly
Content is king even in the age of SEO and social media. If you don’t have good content to offer, don’t expect to be in the good graces of search engines even if your blog happened to luckily emerge as the top result for a particular keyword at one time. Be sure to always offer content that is relevant, informative, useful, or interesting to your target readers. Your content should also be unique and not just a rehash of what other blogs have in them. Ideally, a blog has to come with a “personal touch” or reflect your own perspective of the topic. Moreover, be sure to publish content regularly. Search engines tend to favor blogs that regularly offer new content.
These are basic SEO strategies you can do on your own but are guaranteed to create a significant impact in your search engine optimization efforts. Consider doing all of them as much as possible. Also, remember that as you do SEO, you should always have real human readers in mind. The goal should always be to satisfy real human readers instead of focusing on the technical aspects of optimization.
Bernadine Racoma is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. She has notable fondness for things related to technology, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She is also an advocate and mother to 7 successful children.