How to Optimize Your Blog for the Search Engines

Have you found yourself writing the best content for your blog, but still not getting a lot of traffic? The biggest reason why this happens to your blog is the lack of SEO optimization. You will find tips below to help you optimize your blog for the search engines, and which are the most common SEO mistakes.

What does SEO mean?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. In broad terms, it encompasses all the things you can do to make your blog attractive for Google’s search engines. In other words, it means increasing your visibility in organic Google search results. Organic search results are results that appear naturally among other Google search results and are ads. You have probably noticed that when you Google, for example, ‘shoes’ the first result to appear is marked as an ad. The mark means that the website owner paid to have it appear first among the results. The results below the first are organic results, because they appear there due to careful SEO. If you do not feel confident that you can SEO your blog successfully, you should consider getting help from Asheville search engine optimization or others.

Write quality content

The hard truth is that you can optimize your blog for the search engines all you want, but if you will not get a lot of visibility in search engine results if you do not have quality content. This is a result of the fact that the search engines today focus more on the quality of the content as a whole, rather than which keywords and popular tags appear in it. The best way to make sure your blog gets visibility is to create valuable content for the search, not just include popular keywords, or click baits in your title.

Keyword optimization

Keyword optimization is quite the deceptive term, and it makes many newbies think that they need to include many keywords in their blog posts. The truth is that you do not get quality content where the same keyword appears repeatedly. You should include keywords the content of your blog post, but you need to include them naturally. The keywords should not appear more than two or three times within a blog post, and the blog post itself must be of good quality and relevancy for it to get a higher level of visibility for the search engines.

Optimize appearance

When your blog appears in search results, the result shows three things: the title, the domain, and the meta description.

The title should include the relevant keyword, of course, but it needs to be attractive too. Do not get too wordy when coming up with the title, and make sure the title is both short and precise. Keep the title short because users prefer to know what they will click on and long titles tend to put them off, and the end of the title will not be visible anyway.

If you are not limited to using numbers in your domain, you should consider structuring it with subdirectory root domains (www.example.com/subdirectory/important-blog-post). Using subdomains (www.example.subdirectory.importantblogpost.com) is more complicated for your overall site architecture. What you need to avoid is using spam-like domain names. These tend to have hyphens and under dashes. Beware from using too many keywords in your domain because Google might label your blog post as spam.

The importance of headings

Headings are important for SEO purposes because they can improve upon your overall quality content. Today, most articles and blog posts are split into sections, or paragraphs, and the heading is there to summarize what the user will read in that section. You need to keep your headings short, attractive, and relevant. If your heading does not match the content that follows it, the overall quality of your blog post will drop. On the other hand, keeping your headings interesting and relevant for the content and for your intended audience will increase the visibility of your blog post for the search engines.

Image alt tags and captions

The caption for the images you have included for your blog posts are important to the overall content quality, of course, but what’s more important in this case are the alt tags of the image. This is because search engines cannot see the image, but they will read the alt tags of the image and thus connect it to a search. Do not use too many words as alt tags, just explain the image in a simple way, and ‘tell’ the search engines what appears in it.

Improve user experience

Today, a large part of SEO falls to user experience. Improving user experience means creating a site that is simple to navigate, has a simple layout, and is free of ads and keywords clutter. When it comes to improving user experience, watch out for using flash, the speed of the website, and mobile optimization. Google has begun to tell the users when a website uses flash and warns them that the website may not run properly on their device. The speed of your website is important because if the user has to wait too long for your website to load, they will just go back to the search results and click on a different one. Optimizing your website for mobile is necessary because, these days, people use their smartphones and tablets more than computers. Your website or blog post will not appear in mobile search results if your website or blog is not mobile optimized.

Common SEO mistakes

By SEO mistakes, we refer to mistakes that will make Google flag your blog as spam. It is better to avoid doing the things we describe below if you want to keep your blog visible in organic search results.

1. Keyword cluttering

If you feel tempted to clutter your web content with keywords, do not do it under any circumstance. Back in the day, search engines used to rate blog posts from the distribution and amount of keywords in the post, but posts that have a lot of keywords do not have quality content. Today, search engines, especially Google, consider these either spam or of horrible quality and instead of gaining visibility, you will not get any visibility at all.

2. Text cheating

Text cheating is adding invisible text, text with the size of zero, or simply hiding text within other means in your blog post. You might think it a good idea to add a few keywords invisibly, but as in the case above, Google will flag your post as irrelevant, or spam and you will lose visibility not only for that blog post, but for all posts on your website as well.

3. Having too many ads

Ads clutter the website, make it slow to load, and have a negative effect on user experience. Hence, websites and blogs with too many ads will automatically appear lower in search results and you will lose visibility and maybe even credibility for your blog.

4. Irrelevant links

Including links to other websites is a good idea, but if you include many links in your blog post, once again, Google will flag your blog as spam. Additionally, if the links in your blog post are not relevant to your niche, if they do not lead the user to more quality content that is relevant to the content in your blog post, you will lose credibility among the readers. You want to become an authority on the topic of your niche, and have the credibility of an expert, not make your readers think you are providing nothing but spam.

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