Writing great online content is key to driving more customers and/or readers to your website. However, writing a great piece of content, such as a blog post, sometimes isn’t enough. If you want people to find your content then you need to know how to create SEO friendly blog posts. Because after all, if your content can’t be found, then what’s the use in posting it?
I have been working in digital marketing roles for over 7 years now. And I have been blogging for longer than that. My love of blogging (about the best topic in the world = wine!) led me to my career as an SEO consultant. I am consumed with creating blog posts that attract readers over the long term.
Since March 2014, my blog Travelling Corkscrew (which I do as a hobby in my spare time), has had over 350,000 visitors from organic search. When I say organic search, I mean search engines like Google (the majority of visitors), Bing, Yahoo, etc. Here’s a snapshot of my organic traffic growth over the last 4 years:
I attribute the growth over the years to search engine optimisation (SEO). The more I fine tune my SEO skills, the more I can create even better SEO friendly blog posts.
If you want people to find your blog posts through search engines like Google, then you need to make sure people are actually looking for content like yours.
Each page should target a specific keyword phrase or theme of keywords. Bearing in mind, if you have 2 pages targeting the same keyword phrase, they will then compete against one another. And if you have 1 page, targeting a host of different phrases then your SEO efforts will be diluted.
How you format your blog post can help it become more SEO and user-friendly. The key elements for SEO friendly blog post formatting are:
Use headings (there should be an option in your content management system to add ‘heading 1’, ‘heading 2’ etc). The main heading on your page should be a ‘heading 1’ followed by subheadings that are ‘heading 2’ or 3 or 4.
Avoid large blocks of text; use short sentences and paragraphs alongside bullet points, blockquotes and images where appropriate.
The readability analysis in the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin will also help you format your blog post so it’s more SEO friendly for Google and your readers.
Bonus tip: When you have published your post, don’t forget to check how it looks across devices, especially on mobile devices.
3. Internal links
Adding internal links into your blog posts can be so powerful for your overall website SEO efforts. It’s also one of those things that a lot of people don’t do. Within every blog post, you should try to link out to 1-3 other blog posts or pages on your website.
By adding hyperlinks to other posts/pages on your website you’re helping Google crawl your website and you are also spreading around your ‘link juice’. But they’re not just for Google, it’s also so you can point your readers to more relevant content on your website that they might be interested in.
When I publish a new blog post, I always take the time to look at which other pages/posts I can add a link to my new post in.
Bonus tip: Website best practice is that all internal links open in the same window and if you’re pointing any links to another website (including to your social media channels) then these links open in a new window. And feel free to link out to other websites if you think it’ll be of use to your readers.
4. Optimise metadata
Your metadata is the title and description that shows up in the SERPs (search engine result pages). It should be unique, optimised and enticing. As after all, it is the first interaction a potential website visitor will have with your content.
But not only that, Google particularly looks at the ‘meta title’ (some content management systems call it the ‘SEO title’) to help it decide whether to show your website at the top of the first page or on page 2, to never be seen.
How to optimise your meta titles:
It should reflect exactly what someone can expect from the page
Try to put your most important keyword right at the start
Put your brand at the back
And if possible a unique point of difference in the middle
It should be no longer than 70 characters
It should be unique (no other page on your website has the same meta title)
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, it will help you ensure you are within the right length. I also encourage my clients to check how their website is looking on the search result pages by doing the site: command (see example below). This will pull all the pages Google has indexed of your website.
However, it’s important to realise changes will not be reflected immediately. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
How to optimise your meta descriptions:
Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor for Google. However, they do help entice people to click on your result and visit the website. They should be:
Reflect the content on the page (essential)
Actionable, use an active voice
Include a call-to-action
Include your target keyword
Be unique (e.g. every page should have a different description)
Only 150 characters are typically shown, however sometimes up to 300 can be shown. Therefore I recommend the first 150 have the most important information and if you go over this character count, the following characters include less essential information.
Just like people, Google is not a fan of typos and badly written content. Therefore it’s super important you proofread your posts.
I like to write a blog post, and then leave it for either a few hours or a day and then go back and re-read it. I also find reading the post out loud is a really good way to make sure it sounds great. Or get someone you know to read it.
6. Optimise images
As they say, pictures can speak a thousand words. They are also good to break up large chunks of text and can show in Google’s image search. Therefore all images should be:
As small as possible in terms of file size. I aim for under 100kb if possible without losing out on quality. The bigger the file is, the slower it will make your website, and the slower the site is, the more likely people will leave your website. I always edit my images to be the size they are going to show on the website and then run them through a tool like Website Planet’s Image Compressor or Optimizilla to further optimise.
Prior to uploading the image, name the file as to what the image is of.
Add ALT text to every image. This is for visually impaired people who are using screen readers, however, Google also reads it and it has a small impact on keyword rankings. The ALT text should clearly describe what your image is of, and if possible include target keywords.
Bonus Tip: I typically use the same file name and ALT text.
7. Call to action
At the end of every blog post, I like to add a call to action or a discussion point.
This helps entice the reader to interact further with your content and brand. On my wine blog, I’ll ask a question to entice people to comment. Whilst here on my business blog, I will provide details for how people can get further information on the topic or how my services can be of use to them.
Once I publish a new blog post, I always run it through a speed test. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will give you a good idea of how the blog post will perform for both mobile and desktop users. By running it through a test like this one, you’ll be able to see what might be slowing the page down and tweak accordingly.
9. Promotion strategy
Even if your main aim is to attract traffic from search engines, you should also try to promote your content as much as possible. This includes through your networks, social media and your email signature to name a few. The more traffic you can drive to your blog posts, the better it’s going to look in Google’s eyes. So make sure you add social sharing buttons on your posts too so that others can share your content.
Pro Tip: A big part of #winning at SEO is when other websites link to your content because they think it’s awesome! If there are some websites that you think would be keen to link to your content, reach out to them. The more relevant links other websites point to your blog posts, the more popular you are going to look in Google’s eyes.
10. Ongoing optimisation
Once you start getting a lot of organic search traffic to a blog post, this doesn’t mean you stop working on your SEO.
SEO isn’t a one-off task. To obtain top of page 1 results on the SERPs and to maintain those positions, you need to continually be monitoring and improving your content. On an ongoing basis.
A big chunk of my time these days is on analysis and optimising old blog posts to obtain better results.
If you want your blog posts to be found by the 3.5 billion people searching daily on Google, you need SEO. Simply writing a great piece of content is not enough, you need to optimise this content for search.
SEO can easily be done by anyone, it just takes time to master the skill and to implement. If you need help with your SEO from someone who is a blogger turned SEO specialist, then pop me an email today
Casey is an absolute delight to work with. We've seen incredible results across our SEO and Google Ads, and would definitely recommend Grand Cru Digital. Casey really goes over and above for her clients. Thank you, Casey!
GLOW AND GIFTS
01:29 05 Oct 20
Casey is amazing!!1 month of working with her and I know it's going to be a successful partnership with her looking after our SEO. The communication is second to none and she always has answers for my (many) questions.The results from our first month working together have made me so excited to continue working with her, but also excited for the future SEO achievements I know the website will (now) make.Thank you so much Casey! You're a gem!
04:41 05 Aug 20
As a small family run online business, we have worked alongside Casey for many years and cannot speak highly enough of the service that she provides. This lady and her skill set are the reason we can sleep easier at night, knowing that our online presence is in the hands of someone so professional and personable, who gives 100% to what she does and has the results to show for it!
18:36 24 Jun 20
Awesoma and educational posts, nice personality <3
12:52 17 Jun 20
Although I have not yet used Casey's expert services, she is my go-to for knowledge, advice and SEO tips. She not only is amazing at what she does, she really knows how to run a good business.
05:12 08 May 20
Casey has been looking after my SME business SEO for more than 4 years, and I could not be happier with her efforts. She has been instrumental in growing our business, which she has come to know very well. She is on target with her suggestions, thoughts and ideas for us to continue to grow our online presence and we could not operate in the digital age without her expertise. Having Casey work 'side by side' with my business, allows me the time to get on with the business without the day to day time and worry of SEO. As far as I am concerned, Casey is an absolute star!
08:25 12 Feb 20
Casey is just the best. She always goes above and beyond and has helped me more times than I can count. The results I've seen since we've in the past year can be directly attributed to her efforts. She's a rock star. Highly highly recommend.
23:34 02 Jan 20
Casey is AMAZING. She always goes above and beyond what is asked for, she is super friendly and efficient. She has helped me set up google ads/analytics for my business and actually helped make sense of it all (not an easy task).
04:09 23 Dec 19
Working with Casey from Grand Cru Digital has been fantastic in continuing to enhance my on-line presence. Casey is innovative, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and incredibly efficient !
04:12 06 Dec 19
I originally came into contact with Casey through her blog the Travelling Corkscrew. Casey has been a great supporter of our businesses and has over the last several month given me lots of complimentary snippets of information that have greatly helped us improve our business, web presence and social media content. Casey is also just a really, really nice person! Looking for useful & meaning information give her a follow! You won't regret it. Kind regards Karen Civello @MrMustangHire and @MsMu5tang
09:17 24 Nov 19
Casey is a lifesaver! She's helped me on a couple of occasions now where my SEO needed a little TLC - she's thorough, detailed and super smart, and she absolutely knows Google inside out. Plus she's also the nicest person you will ever work with! If you have a small business I would highly recommend Casey as your SEO and Google Ads manager!
Clare Wood Coach
04:03 18 Nov 19
Casey is absolutely fantastic! She is knowledgeable and very thorough in her approach and really goes above and beyond. And she does it in a really friendly manner! I highly recommend Grand Cru Digital
05:12 04 Nov 19
So very happy with Casey's services for SEO on our new webpage. Casey went above and beyond to deliver us with the right targets for our audience and worked seamlessly between our project manager and website teams. We highly recommend Grand Cru Digital for all your SEO needs.
05:00 18 Sep 19
Very happy with Grand Cru Digital, so refreshing dealing with someone like Casey who is constantly proactive and creative to benefit your on line presence.
01:51 08 Aug 19
Casey at Grand Cru Digital is amazing! Efficient, effective and also friendly. Everything is executed promptly, results are shown and explained, accurate timeframes are advised and all done in a professional and caring manner. Thank you.
10:48 05 Aug 19
Casey is awesome! She knows her stuff and is a dream to work with! Highly recommend her services!
04:23 18 Jun 19
I highly recommend working with Casey if you need assistance with SEO & Google Adword campaigns. She was great to work with and knows her stuff. We are already seeing terrific results with my businesses online presence and brand awareness and l look forward to seeing this grow. I have learnt alot about SEO & Analytics in my time working with Casey which will be hugely benefitial...Thank you Casey you are a star!
03:47 13 May 19
Oh my god this women is seriously amazing! Thank you Casey for being such a pleasure to work with. Casey knows exactly what she is doing and was very happy to explain to me as if she was explaining it to a 5 year old haha cause I was way out of my depth. I'm so glad I paid for a service that was able to take control, give me exactly what I wanted and take away the stress. The extra bonus is how lovely Casey is and always willing to go the extra mile. Thanks Casey x
10:50 22 Apr 19
Casey has been wonderful to work with. She held our hand every step of the way and gave us so much information to manage our Google listing. With her knowledge and support we have managed to increase our online presence in an new location that we have been targeting. We couldn't recommend Grand Cru Digital highly enough. Thanks Casey!
00:06 27 Oct 18
Casey was a dream to work with - really efficient, incredibly informative. Huge relief to deal with someone competent in this area. Highly recommend! Thanks Casey!
Budget Self Pack Containers Info
04:15 26 Oct 18
Casey at Grand Cru Digital is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in providing SEO and online marketing support. She is brilliant to work with - she responds quickly to all queries and always provides well thought out strategies and suggestions. We have seen a marked increase in traffic to our site since having Casey advising us and her services are excellent value for money. We would highly recommend her to anyone wanting to improve their online presence.
02:18 25 Oct 18
Grand Cru Digital is fantastic to work with. Casey is pro-active, results driven and always making valuable suggestions to improve leads and traffic to our business. An excellent company to work with.
Clarity Essential Wellness
07:08 29 Aug 18
I didn't even know SEO existed till I spoke with Casey. A friend passed her detail on to me. After talking for about a minute I knew this girl was onto it. Casey explained the ins and outs of what she does and why I needed it. Honestly I had no idea about half of what she was saying, haha, but trusted her instantly. And that was one of the best decisions I made. This girl has opened my eyes to the world of GOOGLE. Casey works so hard behind the scenes to make sure everything is spot on. I cant thank her enough. She has quickly become someone I respect wholeheartedly but more importantly a great friend. I cant wait to see what she has in store next
01:36 30 Jun 18
Casey is very generous with her knowledge, extremely helpful and her customer service is second to none! Highly recommend for small businesses who want a personalised approach.
06:23 04 Jun 18
I hit a big problem with the traffic on my website, and every SEO specialist I spoke with wanted to sell me a big support package, whilst I felt I had a fire I needed to put out first. Casey suggested an SEO audit, and uncovered so much useful information in such a short space of time, and got everything back on track. She knows her stuff and was brilliant to work with.
Cat Haven WA
06:15 31 May 18
Casey from Grand Cru is efficient and so helpful! She helped us optimize our website at Cat Haven and walked us through what everything meant and how to complete each stage, resulting in a highly optimized site. She was also able to help apply for our Google Adwords grant and apply the grant so we now have our site showing right at the top of Google search pages. Fantastic service, great result -so happy and highly recommend.
Renee Brown Brown
02:51 31 May 18
Casey is terrific at what she does, one quick audit, and we were ranking organically on first page ! No google ad spend (yet- we might do that later) we couldn’t be more pleased.We are ranking higher than some of the “big boys” in our market.Thanks Casey!
06:03 15 May 18
Casey from Grand Cru Digital is amazing! Her expert knowledge of SEO and GOOGLE is second to none! Casey helps you to grow your business online, whilst providing a personalised service you can trust! Thanks Casey for all your help! I have loved having you as my new online marketing specialist!