Another blogging tip is to optimize posts for search engines. As we already covered, the post should be at least 200 words long for search engines to have enough content to analyze. Also, making a post scannable helps, too, especially when we use bold or add a headline tag to subheadings (an easy step I often forget); use H2.
The post title needs to be search-engine friendly, as well as interesting to readers. For example, using “Optimize Before Posting” as a title for this post may intrigue readers, but it wouldn’t help search engines. Conversely, one that search engines would love but not so much readers, might be: “WordPress Blogging Success: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Improves Discoverability”
Many people tell bloggers to research keywords and key phrases to scatter throughout a post. I don’t. I write the best post I can for people and hope search engines like it, too. Though I do try to include words and phrases I might use if I were doing a search on the topic.
Publicizing our posts (which we’ll discuss in two weeks) also helps SEO. Legitimate links from other sites to our posts improve SEO ranking. Also, link to other posts and from other posts.
We need a sitemap. All you really need to know about sitemaps is that search engines expect them and that a plugin can automatically make them. I use Google XML Sitemaps but there are others, too.
Lastly, we need an SEO plugin. There are several options, but I use All in One SEO Pack. This allows me to add three behind-the-scenes SEO elements:
- Title tag, which can be different than the post title. Write a title tag that is descriptive to readers and keyword-rich for search engines. Use up to 60 characters.
- Meta description is displayed in search engine results and some social media platforms. It should interest readers and abound with keywords and phrases. It can be up to 160 characters, and I try to use them all.
- Meta keywords are reportedly not used by major search engines anymore. However, I still enter a few just to be safe, but I only spend a few seconds doing so.
Publishing a post without considering SEO is like writing a book and not telling anyone. We crave readers, and these SEO tips will help us find more.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.