The three best ways to rank highly on a Google search are by using keywords, research, and your wallet. It’s hard to generate traffic when you first start putting your company or ideas out there with blogs. It’s especially hard when big businesses have an advantage with their ad- campaigns and name recognition. We like to think that proper use of keywords and enough research is all you’ll need for drawing people to your post and landing that higher search rank.
Google uses a proprietary algorithm (and updates it regularly!) to determine where your site should rank in respect to other websites. If you’re looking to increase your site’s organic traffic, here are 5 simple tips for using keywords to optimize your blog posts.
1. Use Long-Tail Keywords
The initial keyword you decide on is most likely going to be highly competitive. Say your keyword is ‘guitar’, and perhaps you’ve titled your blog, “How to Play Guitar.” As you can see, there are over 600 million results!
This makes it easy for your post to be lost in the sea of forgotten guitar tutorials.
One way to get started designing long-tail keywords is by typing your keyword into Google search. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find a list of related search terms, which will suggest titles like, “How to play Acoustic guitar” and, “How to play guitar for beginners step by step.” These narrow down the results by a significant amount. Since Google provides the same related search results, this still makes using their long-tail keywords competitive, but it’s a good place to start.
A better way to go about this is to identify your target audience and what you’re going to offer them. Be creative and do some research. Finding relevant and specific long-tail keywords is vital to bringing traffic to your blog, along with narrowing down the competition.
2. Don’t overuse your keywords
You may be tempted to use a common technique called keyword stuffing, but just like over-stuffing yourself during Thanksgiving, you’re going to feel sick before you even move on to your second serving. Repetitive, forced word use is very noticeable and will typically cause visitors to leave your post before they finish reading.
You can’t fool Google, either. If they catch you keyword stuffing, they will penalize your post and lower your rank. Ouch! While it may make sense to keep all your information relevant to your readers, if your keyword is coming up 1-2 times every sentence, rethink your strategy.
3. Don’t underuse your keywords
Now that we’ve scared you out of overusing keywords, remember it’s just as bad to underuse them. Again, Google is skimming for the most relevant information in your blog, so the best way to use keywords is finding that balance between too many and too little. As long as you’re maintaining that balance, you’ll be fine.
4. Make sure you’re placing your keywords in necessary spots
If you can’t overuse and you can’t underuse, where should you be including those keywords? Here are the six key areas you should keep your eye on.
Not only are you going to want to use your keyword in your title, but also find a long-tail keyword that will highlight your blog post. Make it stand out to potential viewers and give them a sense of whether or not your website will be relevant to their needs.
Headings are important and often overlooked. The heading is a good spot to use keywords. It breaks down your blog into the specifics of what you’ll be covering and makes it easier for people to scan through and pick out information.
Incorporating keywords in your body ensures you are clear in your description of the topic. Remember to find that balance. As long as you’re letting your words come naturally, your keyword will fall into place.
There are plenty of tips for making effective SEO friendly URLs. It’s important that you include it in your URL slug (which is the wording after the “.org/” or “.com/”). Be clear in what this url says. No need for cryptic slugs–they won’t help your SEO.
The meta description is what people will see before they click on your post, and search engines will also be scanning it for information. It’s a short description about what people are going to be reading, and it’s important that it provides a well formed introduction between 50-300 characters.
You may not know this, but you can –and should– put keywords on your images. Google can’t actually see your picture or tell if it has anything to do with your topic. It has a language called “Rankbrain” and it will rank you higher on search results if it can tell all information on your page is still relevant to the main topic. Therefore, titling your images using Alt tags when inserting them will increase that relevancy.
5. Keep your blog digestible
So using the information on where to place the keywords, make sure you keep your blog organized. It’s crucial to have concise headings that relate to your topic. That way, you’re breaking down the information for viewers, making it easier to hold their attention. People want to be able to scan through the text, and may not catch every word. Use short, comprehensible sentences. If someone feels reading your blog is more effort than reward, you’ll start losing traffic.
Start using those Keywords!
Whether you’re a large agency, a small business or just looking to get your inspirational post out to as many people as possible, keywords play a big role. We hope these tips will be helpful for you in attracting organic traffic to your blog. It all comes down to playing within the Google search engine rules. So play nicely, kids!