SEO optimization for blogging is one of the most powerful marketing strategies. However, many bloggers are stuck wondering if blogging and SEO actually work together and how to use SEO properly when blogging.
There are several opinions out there about SEO and how it works with bloggers. You must be careful what you listen to, as some bloggers try to game the system, which usually backfires, sooner or later.
If you’re new to blogging and SEO, you may not remember the impact of major Google algorithm updates. I remember watching a few of my clients get destroyed because they were gaming the system with bad linking strategies, keyword stuffing, and other black-hat tactics.
When you decide you want to use blogging and SEO together, you have to be aware of what works and what doesn’t. It’s also important to set your expectations properly and have patience.
I am going to introduce you to my blogging and SEO strategy, along with a few blogger SEO tips you can use to better optimize your blog for the search engines.
Blogging and SEO: Hosting & Platform
The first thing you need to get right when it comes to blogging and SEO is your blog hosting and platform. If you don’t get this right, everything else you do will only garner average results, at best.
Choosing the best blogging platform for SEO is pretty easy. The best blogging platform for SEO is WordPress. Just make sure you’re using the self-hosted version of WordPress and not the free version.
Once you’ve decided to use the best blogging platform for SEO (WordPress), you need the best blog hosting for SEO. There are a few good options out there, but in my experience, only two fit the bill as the best blog hosting for SEO:
- SiteGround WordPress Hosting – For those working with a smaller budget
- Kinsta WordPress Hosting – For those wanting to pay monthly (not annually) or those with a larger budget
Overall, Kinsta hosting is the best you will find for blogging and SEO. However, they start at $30 a month, which is a bit steep for some. They do offer two months free if you pay annually and they do offer the option to pay monthly.
If you don’t have the budget to support Kinsta, use SiteGround Hosting. They are great for blogging and SEO, especially for those using WordPress. However, you won’t be able to pay monthly, unless you start with a 30-day trial.
Overall, SiteGround is cheaper, but you have to pay for at least one year to get the best deal. Kinsta hosting is the best for blogging and SEO, but they are also more expensive. If you want to pay monthly, Kinsta offers this option, while SiteGround doesn’t.
Blogging and SEO: Post Format
There are only a few things you need to make sure you do when writing your blog posts for SEO. Before I get into the SEO portion of the format, I want to make one thing very clear:
ALWAYS WRITE FOR THE READER FIRST!!!!
Your readers are far more important than the search engine, and you’ll naturally have better SEO if you write for your readers first.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, here’s what I recommend when it comes to post format for your blog’s SEO:
- Choose One Main Long-Tail Keyword Per Post
- Choose One to Five Supporting Keywords Per Post
- Use the Main Keyword in the Title
- Use the Main Keyword in 2+ Sub-Headings
- Use the Main Keyword in the First Paragraph
- Use the Main Keyword in the Meta Description
- Use the Main Keyword as an ALT Tag of One Image per 500 words
- Use the Supporting Keywords & the Main Keyword where they fit naturally
Blogging and SEO: Linking
When I talk about linking, I am NEVER referring to backlinks or buying links. I don’t believe in buying links or doing anything unnatural to build links to my blog. I will explain further in a minute.
The linking I am referring to include external and internal linking within your posts. One of the best ways to build your SEO for each blog post is through proper linking.
It’s really pretty simple:
- Add one to three links to other blog posts/pages on your site in every post
- Add one to three links to external websites/blogs in every post
This isn’t a hard rule to follow, and you can even break this rule. I do it often as longer posts always have more than three of each of these links. Adding one to three internal and external links is the minimum!
I suggest adding a link every single time you quote a source, or you use information from another website or blog. Give them credit and link to them.
I also suggest adding links to other blog posts and pages on your site anytime they fit in naturally.
Why I Don’t Buy/Build Backlinks EVER
The best blogs don’t buy/build backlinks because it’s unnatural. Google updates its algorithm often, and they go after unnatural practices, such as link building.
Over the years, Google has become smarter and smarter. Many updates have crushed websites and blogs due to poor link building strategies that were thought to be industry standard, at the time. Don’t fall into this trap.
Buying backlinks and using “industry standard” link building practices, such as guest posting, will backfire sooner or later. Let your link building happen naturally.
If you provide high-quality, comprehensive content, people will link to you. It won’t happen as fast as paying someone for backlinks, but it won’t get you penalized when Google rolls out another update, either.
These are my blogging SEO best practices I use for about 95% of my blog posts. Make sure you employ these strategies if you want to use blogging and SEO as part of your marketing strategy.
In addition, read the following quick blogger SEO tips for even help with SEO optimization for blogging.
7 Quick Blogger SEO Tips
When it comes to SEO optimization for blogging, it can get complicated if you let it. Use my blogging and SEO strategies from above; along with these seven blogger SEO tips, and you’ll be in great shape.
1. Update Old Posts with Internal Links
Maybe you didn’t used to use an interlinking strategy when you built your blog. If this is the case, go back and add internal links to your old posts.
A blog post written by Kristen Hicks on the Hostgator Blog states, “Now and then, search your website for the main keywords you had in mind for your recent posts. Anywhere in old posts where you used those keywords or similar ones, add a link to the newer posts with the keyword as anchor text. It’s a pretty simple step that can make a real difference.”
2. Do Keyword Research
I mentioned using long-tail keywords before, and I believe this is the best strategy for bloggers. However, you cannot just come up with these without doing your research.
According to an article on OpenVine written by Kelly Thomas Mango, “Keyword research is essential for on-page optimization. Chances are you naturally include keywords without realizing it simply by providing valuable content on a topic. However, there are a variety of tools and techniques for finding related keywords relevant to your blog post that you may not have considered.”
One of my favorite tools for keyword research is Ubersuggest from Neil Patel. It’s free and provides a great way to find long-tail keywords you can actually gain ranking for. If you’re looking for the best keyword research tool and you have the budget to support it, SEMRush is by far the best tool ever created for keyword research and overall SEO. You can check out SEMRush here.
3. Use a Mobile/Responsive WordPress Theme
Choosing a theme for WordPress isn’t always easy. You need to make sure you use a mobile-friendly or responsive theme for WordPress. According to an article from Grant Sabatier found on Millennial Money, “Your website needs to be optimized and fast on mobile devices. Only use high-quality, responsive themes that have a great built-in user experience.”
More than 50% of searches are done on a mobile device. Without a responsive or mobile-friendly WordPress theme, you’ll struggle to keep your bounce rate under control, which is a huge SEO factor.
4. Headings Need to be Written for Readers and Search Engines
When you write your main headline and your sub-headings, they need to be optimized, but they still need to read well and make sense. The right keyword usage in your title and your sub-headings makes a big difference for your overall SEO.
However, if you only focus on the search engines, you’ll confuse the reader. An article found on JeffBullas.com states, “Your heading should be something that ranks well in search engines and also attracts more people to share it over social media. Don’t make your headings just for search engines by adding more and more keywords which don’t make sense as a sentence.”
5. Get the Word Count Right
While it’s not a massive SEO factor, word count does make a difference. Google has shown it favors longer, more comprehensive content, as long as it’s high-quality.
According to an article found on Yoast.com, you want to “make sure your articles have a minimum of 300 words. Google likes long articles; however, if your article is too long – and not so easy to read – it might scare users away. Only try writing long articles when you know you’re a skilled writer.”
I will take this a step further for you and clarify. First, aim for a minimum word count of 600 words, not 300 words. Google has upped the average they would like to see multiple times, and it keeps getting closer to that 300 minimum. It will likely end up closer to 500 words in the future.
Second, I don’t think there is such a thing as an article that is too long. If it’s longer, scannable, and easy to read, it will rank well.
Finally, don’t wait until you think you’re a skilled writer to write longer articles. You need to become great at writing longer blog posts, and the best way to do this is to practice.
Longer content is perfect for blogging and SEO because Google favors long blog posts. However, you cannot just write to write. You have to provide high-quality information your reader can benefit from.
In addition, make sure to use plenty of sub-headings, bullet point lists, and images to split up the content. You should also add a table of contents to make your longer posts easy for readers to navigate.
6. Use the Proper Permalink Structure
When you use WordPress as your blog platform (it’s the best blogging platform for SEO), you need to change your permalink structure.
According to BlogTyrant.com, “it is very important to have a good permalink structure. You can change this in WordPress by going SETTINGS > PERMALINKS and tweaking the options. The best option to have in there, in my opinion, is just the post name.”
7. Add Videos
One of the things I am currently working on is adding videos to my blog posts. I learned this blogger SEO tip from the Location Rebel on YouTube.
While the best method of adding videos to your blog posts is to create your own videos and add them, you can also add other people’s videos. I recommend creating a video for every blog post and adding it to your post.
There are several reasons why I recommend creating a video for each post, including:
- You can link from YouTube to your video
- You have two types of content to share on social media
- You will be catering to both the video audience and the readers
- You have a second place to gain traffic from with YouTube
- It’s easy!
Creating a video can be done with your phone or your computer. You can simply do a screenshot video where you talk about the blog post as you scroll through it. Another option is to do what I do and split your blog posts into tips you can do videos about. Then, go back and add each tip to your blog posts.
You can see an example of how I do this on my YouTube Channel, One Quick Tip.
SEO Optimization for Blogging: My Conclusion
SEO is a great way to build organic traffic to your blog. Every single post you write has the ability to be ranked on Google, Bing, and other search engines. If you want to use blogging and SEO, make sure you employ my strategies above and use my blogger SEO tips to ensure you have the very best SEO possible.