Guest post by Emma-Julie Fox
1. Keep Blog Titles Succinct, Catchy, and as Unique as Possible
There’s really no rule as to the number of words that a blog title must have (although many recommend a maximum of 70 characters). The point is to make your title memorable.
Creativity vs. SEO: In deciding on a title, you might also be torn between giving in to your creative inclinations and prioritizing the SEO potential of your blog post. The former paves the way for witty, clever, and unique titles (ex: question titles, titles with emphatic question marks, titles with popular lingo, etc…) while the latter sticks to using keywords in the title. It depends on which one is your priority for that particular blog post. If you choose creativity over SEO though, you can always compensate with the keywords in the article itself.
2. Include Subheadings/Subtitles if your article is too long.
Subheads give a visual break that is necessary if you want your readers to read a lengthy blog post. No one likes reading a single, long paragraph without any hint of a break. Subheadings also allow readers to skim through the parts they’re least interested in and find the information they are looking for more quickly.
Actually, include them even if your blog post is quite short because subheadings are valuable for SEO. Search engines use the titles and subheadings of articles, among others, as basis for generating related content for web searches. A good idea would be to strike a balance between writing attention-grabbing subheads and optimizing them with the right keywords.
3. Insert Pertinent Keywords
We’ve been mentioning keywords during the first two rules, so it only makes sense to make it an official blogging rule. You don’t need to be an expert at keyword research (although knowledge on using Google Adwords is a definite advantage). A good starting point would be to enter a single keyword relevant to your niche in Google’s search box, and make a note of all the suggestions that are offered. Then go to the Google Keyword tool, enter your shortlisted phrases, select ‘exact match’ from the left side bar and study the competition level and search volume of each phrase, to create a list of the keywords you’d like to optimize your posts for.
4. Use Photos and Caption Them
Photos help increase the readers' level of engagement, prolong their on-page time and inject aesthetic value into your blog posts. They give readers a much-needed "break" if your post is quite long. The tags and captions can give you additional keyword juice both in organic and image searches. What's more, if your blog is not ranking high in the SERPs you may have better luck ranking your pictures in the image searches. This may be unconventional, but users will still end up visiting your website.
5. Embed High-Quality Links in Your Blog Post
Links are useful for link building and establishing your integrity as a credible writer who provides readers with valuable references. Don't make a habit of linking to landing pages that's obviously selling people something, or to web pages with mediocre content. You want your readers to trust you. If they know they can learn a lot from your blog, it won't take much to convince them to come back regularly.
You can also link to your previous posts (internal linking) but don't overdo it or else you'll raise a Google red flag.
6. Enable Commenting (but you can choose to screen them too)
You've already said your piece in your post; now give the floor to your readers. Enabling comments invite readers to engage with you and with one another. The comments section in a blog is the place where a community is slowly formed. Interact with your readers, share jokes with them, say thanks, or soothe ruffled feathers.
7. Install Social Sharing Widgets
You cannot afford to not include social media in SEO these days. One of the fastest methods of promoting your blog posts and extending their geographic reach is by encouraging readers to share your work through their social media accounts. Of course, the biggest drive for social sharing is how well you've written your blog post, or how interesting/controversial/thought-provoking/touching (and so forth) it is.
8. Sign Up for Google Authorship.
This will help protect your work from scrapers/duplicators and make sure that you get credit as the original writer of your blog post. When your blog post appears in the SERP, it will also display your Google+ page as the author.
Also Google seems to be on it’s way to include author rank as an important credibility indicator for a blog or website. This means signing up for a Google author profile will help you improve your search results. Of course, having your picture displayed in SERPs is likely to improve your click through rate.
9. Update Regularly
Google loves fresh content, and so do readers! Post to your blog at least once a week. A good idea would be to follow a schedule and fix a specific day for uploading new posts. This can help you in creating a loyal reader base that would most likely bookmark and share your content, thus bringing you some healthy link juice!
See you at the top!
Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too please contact www.pitstopmedia.com