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I have been working on our company’s blog for a few months now. Despite my frequent posts and efforts, I was not getting as much traction as I’d hope. So I went searching for ways to enhance my posts and to get better SEO. I thought I had the typical blog essentials down to a ‘T’. I kept thinking to myself “how do you improve your SEO?” Well, it turns out I was missing a few key points.

I made sure they were tagged by category. Titles were written to be within the suggested limits. Links and images were scattered about in all blog posts. Articles were shared on the company Twitter and Facebook pages.

My efforts did work a tiny bit. But, I decided I needed to do more. I needed help with SEO. It was time to turn to the ever trusty internet. I read all sorts of articles about improving SEO. Then I searched for ways to improve brand awareness. After my industrious search, I learned that I was missing vital steps.

Before I took over the blog, I looked at previous posts and determined all aspects of it. I made sure I had all the same components marked with information. I knew I had every inch covered. It turns out I was missing important pieces of information. Because I was missing pertinent information I have recently gone back and looked at all the content on our blog that is published. A little bit of retro SEO work never hurt anyone. In fact, I think that by updating them I have enhanced their SEO. The key thing I learned from this little retro SEO excursion is that it’s okay to go back. It’s okay to tidy up or add SEO to old articles. Just as it’s perfectly fine to write all your content and then come back in after the fact to work on your SEO.

So here is what I did to get better SEO. Turns out you may not need to rewrite your entire blog. You could just be missing 1 or 2 things. Take a look at these items below to see how you can improve your SEO.

Focus Keywords

Simple Tips to Improve Your SEO

(Focus keywords)

I was skipping one essential part of the blog. The Yoast section. This entire section is dedicated to SEO. What was I thinking? Filling in the “focus keyword” was actually an important step. I knew I couldn’t just throw in any word. The focus keyword had to dissect the entire purpose of the article.

Another thing I figured was that the focus keyword should probably be part of the title. Then I realized, if the focus keyword is part of the title, it most likely needs to be part of the URL. I found out that keywords had a big job.  I then began to think of how difficult it was to pick one word to dissect an entire article. Sure, for some articles it worked, but some articles needed more than just 1 word. So, I searched and low and behold… A focus keyword can also be a key-phrase. Whew!

Focus Keyword Quick Tips

  • Relate to your business
  • Provide a brief description of the article
  • Relate to title
  • Contain aspects or URL
  • Can be a single word or a short phrase

Meta Descriptions

After I learned that placing a keyword or key-phrase in the article is a good idea. I searched on what else I could do to up the SEO. It turns out that adding a meta description is important as well. This 155 character blurb displays right under the article title and URL in a search. If this is not updated, it will use the first sentence or so from the first paragraph.

You might be thinking… great less work. The reader will see what the first sentence is and then they will click if it’s what they were looking for. Well, the whole purpose is to get people to click. Make readers excited to click on your link. I did read that meta descriptions have sort of lost their oomph when it comes to the ranking algorithm. But they are still a great little section to use. They allow you to give a preview of the rest of the article. Previews can be super beneficial.

Images

Shocker, images help readers relate to content. I have always been a firm believer in breaking up heavy text with an image. It helps the eye and mind recalculate and focus. This makes it easier for the reader to continue reading. I did learn that at least 1 image should have an alt attribute. Usually, it should be one of the first images shown.  The alt attribute or ‘tag’ helps explain what the image is. Yoast even makes sure you know when your article needs an alt attribute. So make sure you providing readers with one. FYI: super SEO if your keyword or key-phrase is in your alt attribute!

Simple Tips to Improve Your SEO - add alt attributes

(Add alt attributes to images)

Don’t Forget Categories & Tags

Both of these provide a post with a more enhanced SEO. Categories and Tags play different roles, but the concept is similar. A Post has to be in a category. If you forget to assign a category it will most likely auto select the ‘uncategorized’ option. Categories are the generalized idea. You can use more than one category to give a general idea of what the post is about.

Tags are more specific topics. Using tags is optional. You can also use as many tags you wish. But, if you go overboard with tags your chances are your article will not be in the Topics Listings. The Topics Listings help with SEO.  It allows WordPress members to see your articles based on the tag.

The whole purpose of categories and tags are to help the user find whatever it is they are in search of. If a user clicks on a tag or category on one of your posts, they will see your other articles. Respectively, they will see your articles within that specific category. This means there is the potential of having many articles read by the same user. If you need more information on categories and tags, check out this article.

Yoast Scoring

A good rule of thumb is to check your Yoast score often. This will let you know if your SEO is good. Plus it will also tell you your readability score. You should shoot for green. At least with your SEO score. Not to worry, though, if you have used the above-mentioned items the SEO score should be spot on. The readability takes all sorts of other factors into consideration. Meaning your readability score drops by using long sentences, quotes, and long paragraphs.  So, your readability score may dip below the green or ‘good’ score. Check out the readability tab if you’re not in the green. Yoast will provide you with areas in your post that you can consider tweaking in order to make it more readable.

The Steps to Better SEO 

Simple Tips to Improve Your SEO

(steps to better SEO)

  1. Search to see if anyone is looking for your potential keywords
  2. Write your content based on a topic
    1. Use LSI Keywords. Meaning, write about the main topic, but in a variety of ways. Use synonyms of the main topic throughout the content. Need help? Use LSIGraph.
    2. Tools for keywords.
      1. Keywordtool.io
      2. Serps
      3. WordStream
  3. Craft a catchy headline
    1. Use emotion words like (amazing, perfect, top, biggest, easiest, fast)
    2. Aim for 55 characters
    3. Try a title generator if you’re stumped
  4. Keyword placement is key
    1. Make sure the keyword or key-phrase is in the URL
    2. Add it to your title
    3. Have keyword in the content (especially within the 1st paragraph)
    4. Add it to images as an alt attribute (at least in the 1st image)
    5. Make sure it’s in at least one of your headings
  5. Keep reading very simple
    1. Small sentences
    2. Use headings (H2 & H3)
    3. Bold and italics can help highlight specific parts
    4. Bullets make things easy to read
  6. Add meta descriptions
    1. Make sure they contain your keywords too.
  7. Don’t forget to use images
    1. Break up blocky text areas
    2. Add Alt Attribute to images
    3. Make sure images relate to the topic
  8. Assign a category (or a couple)
    1. Make sure category relates to the topic of the article
    2. Add a tag to sort the article further
  9. Bonus add-ons
    1. Quotes and Block Quotes add an extra element for readers
    2. Use a table of contents for quick navigation within the article
    3. Add Social Media Buttons for easy sharing
    4. Videos are gold. They are the older brother of images.
    5. Infographics help explain information in a fun way
    6. Look at the Readability tab for tips

The Take Home Message

There are a ton of ways to enhance your SEO. The trick is to tinker with all the above-mentioned ideas to create your own SEO formula. Just remember there are certain aspects of a blog post that can make or break your SEO. Make sure keywords are known. Be sure to add keywords to titles and descriptions. Also, remember to add photos and include the keyword or phrase in the alt attributes. Keep in mind that if you use WordPress, Yoast will steer you in the right direction for both SEO and readability. Don’t be afraid to use tools!

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Posted by Megan Mosley

Megan Mosley is a writer for Referral Rock. You can find her poking around online or tweeting about marketing, small businesses, SEO, or even sharing funny memes. She is addicted to coffee and uses it as a fuel to keep her going through the day.