10 SEO Questions You Should Answer before Posting Your Blog
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
may be a philosophical question about reality and our powers of observation, but it also illustrates an insightful point about blog content and the importance of SEO. If your blog is posted without proper optimization, it becomes like a virtual tree that falls in the massive internet forest when no one is around to hear it.
Bottom line: Without proper optimization, the messages you’ve crafted for your blogosphere will be missed by the dream customers you’re trying to reach.
As a part of any content marketing strategy, blogging is a critical cornerstone for success. Assuming you’re working a well-defined integrated marketing strategy, the first thing you’ll do is define what you’re writing about, i.e., the topic of your blog article. To assure it is search engine optimized from the start, you should identify target keyword(s) and, more importantly, a long-tail keyword that your topic will address. (More on the importance of long-tail keywords in a future blog.)
To attracted the desired attention from your buyer personas as they comb the search engines for the answers to their pain points, there are four elements of your blog that you should optimize: title, body, image and meta. This is SEO 101 stuff, but it is often forgotten in the rush to get things done.Title Optimization
- Is there at least one keyword in your title?
This has significant impact on search engine results. Even better, try to incorporate a long-tail keyword in your title.
- Is your title length 70-characters or less?
The title length should fall in the 70-character sweet spot. If your title is too long, it’s possible that the most important part of the title related to your topic keywords gets truncated in the search engine results.
- Are relevant keywords used in the body?
Common sense. Nuff said.
- Are there a few links to relevant pages of your website?
Including one or more links to other relevant blogs and/or pages of your website will help improve overall SEO. They can be linked within the narrative or added as a ‘Learn More’ or ‘See Also’ list at the end.
- Is there at least one call-to-action (CTA)?
When you select your blog topics, do so with CTAs in mind. What action do you want the reader to take? Download an e-book? View a video? Register for a webinar? Make sure you add a CTA that invites them to take that action.
- Have any keywords been repeated too many times?
If you’ve used a keyword over five times, this can be considered spammy by the search engines. Use keywords naturally, but don’t overdo it.
- Does your blog include at least one image?
The data shows us time and time again that we are visually-driven. A relevant photo, illustration or infographic says 1000 words (and sometime more!). Having the right image can draw the right kind of attention to your blog topic. It can be humorous, fun, witty, impactful -- but be sure to make it relevant to the topic. TIP: Also be sure the image name and the image description are optimized as well.
- Is your meta description short enough?
Search engines only display the first 150-characters of your meta description. Keep it within that limit for the best SEO impact.
- Are there keywords in your URL?
Do your best to include at least one. This will make your blog very easy to find in the search engines.
- Are there keywords in your meta description?
This has a similar SEO impact as including keywords in your URL, while also establishing the fact for your readers that the topic in which they have an interest is covered in your blog article.
These simple rules for SEO are easily implemented in any blogging tool you use. An added benefit of using HubSpot is the SEO View within the blog tool. It helps integrate these rules into your writing processes and red flags any missing blog optimization, providing you with an SEO sanity check.
With a bit of extra effort, you can guarantee every blog post you release upon the world is in top form for being found by the search engines, and more importantly, will be ‘virtually heard as it falls’ by those dream customers you’re trying to reach.
See also: Do Blogs Drive SEO Rankings? [Case Study]