Blog SEO is a big deal.
It goes beyond just optimizing your posts for a single keyword, although that’s important too. I’ve been studying SEO for over three years now and have a pretty foolproof system for growing organic search traffic easily and quickly for my blog and websites.
Google is always changing their algorithms, so you need to be aware of what’s new in the world of SEO. But, these tips are universal, despite any new mega-update from the Google overlords.
Read on to discover my 5 best blog SEO tips you can do today!
#1 Verify Your Blog with Google Search Console
Google Search Console used to be called Webmaster Tools. It’s basically the place where Google verifies your site’s identity, keeps track of changes to your site (i.e. new blog posts), and controls how your site appears in search results.
It’s free and super easy to setup! Once you verify your site, it will stay that way.
I recommend logging into Search Console and checking your stats every month, just to make sure your website is indexing properly and all systems are go.
To verify your site, login to Search Console with a Google account (either a @gmail.com email, or your G Suite account email).
Enter your website URL in the white box. ☝🏼
On the next screen, you’ll see different verification options. The easiest one is to verify with Google Analytics, which you can find on the Alternate Methods tab. If your Google Analytics account is setup with the same @gmail.com email address, it will verify your website right away.
Or, you can download an HTML file and upload it to your site to get verified. You can upload the file via FTP, or through your web hosting company’s CPanel/File Manager area. (Psst, this is where you would login to manage your hosting account – like on Bluehost or Siteground!)
There are lots of tools within Search Console, but the most important area to monitor for your SEO is the Crawl tab.
Click on Crawl Stats to monitor how often Google comes to crawl your site. This is the number of times Google’s algorithm is scanning your content, looking for new changes, and adding those changes to Google.
aka… how your blog shows up in search results! Super important.
More crawls per day = good!
Another key area to check in monthly is the Sitemaps tab under Crawl. Here, you can manually submit a new sitemap to Google. Many WordPress plugins do this automatically, but it’s a good idea to do it manually once in awhile too.
You can see how many pages of your site are indexed here. To add a new sitemap, click on Add/Test Sitemap at the top.
Then, type in “sitemap.xml” into the box and press Submit.
If you want to learn more about Search Console and all it can do for you, I recommend reading this article from Moz.
#2 Use SEO Keywords in the Right Places
It’s not enough to stuff your SEO keyword everywhere you can find a spot anymore. Google is cracking down on “spammy” keyword stuffing practices and shady over-optimization.
What does that mean?
It means write content for real humans. Don’t worry too much about your keyword. It should organically find a way into your content without you having to wonder where to put it for over a minute.
Focus on writing for humans, not machines, and you’ll be a-okay. However, there are a few places you definitely want to try to use your chosen SEO keyword:
- In the blog post title
- In the URL
- In at least one heading (h1 or h2)
- About 2-3 times per 500-750 words, on average (again, don’t overthink it)
- In your image ALT tags
Related: How to Format Your Blog Posts to Grow Your Audience
#3 Make Your Blog URLs Crisp and Clean
So fresh, so clean clean.
You know when you see a blog URL like this…
Eeeek. For one thing, it’s super long and hard for Google to index. For another thing, it makes your post look outdated. The date clearly reads April 2014. Are you going to trust that post to be up to date with the latest info? Nope!
Instead, you want your URLs to be short, concise, date-less and contain your SEO keyword. Like this:
If you’re using WordPress, you can install the free Yoast SEO plugin (which I lurrrrve) to customize what your post URL will be before you post it, and to ensure it’s SEO optimized.
You can also change the URL structure so that dates aren’t in the picture. Just go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Settings -> Permalinks.
And choose a new setting. I have mine on Post Name, which creates URLs like the good example above. Super easy!
#4 Update Old Content
As I touched on above, no one wants to read outdated content. That’s why getting rid of dates in your blog post URLs is a good idea.
But, you also need to actually keep your content up to date!
This is great for your blog’s SEO because when you make changes to your site, either by adding a new blog post or editing an old one, it notifies Google to come crawl your site again and index those recent changes. aka increasing your indexing speed and getting your pages ranked as fresh content on Google, which can help it appear higher in search results.
Periodically, go back to your most popular older posts and check on the following things:
- Is the content still accurate/relevant? If something has changed, update the post.
- Is it optimized for good SEO keywords?
- Are the images in the post on-brand? If not, create new ones.
- Are informational sources/links still valid?
Updating your posts is great for Google, but remember that it’s also great for your readers, especially people coming to your site for the first time. Give them the best first impression every time by ensuring your content is all up to date.
After all, no one likes to be reminded of that awkward high school yearbook photo… Think of old content as embarrassing like that, and make every effort to keep it current (like your hairstyle). 💁🏼
#5 Link to Your Own Content
Last but not least, link to your own blog posts frequently. This usually looks pretty simple, like pointing you over to a related post, like so:
Related: How to Do SEO Keyword Research
If you haven’t already heard, linking to both your own stuff and other people’s websites is a huge ranking factor in Google. Make sure you don’t have like 20 million links in your posts, but a few sprinkled within your content will help a ton with ranking high in search results.
This is a great item to put on your content updating to-do list as well. As you publish new blog posts, go back to older ones and add links to the newer ones.
This also helps your readers find awesome new content on your site on topics they’re already interested in.
I hope you learned something new today, and are excited to try at least one or all of these blog SEO tips.
I’m truly passionate about growing traffic for blogs… mine, as well as yours. 👏🏼
Go forth and rock your SEO!
Got a question? Ask me in the comments!
Join hundreds of bloggers in my FREE blog resource library!