High Performing Blogs Optimized for SEO

Research has found that companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites. Businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t. Marketers with blogs are 13 times more likely to generate positive ROI. Below are tips for how you can optimize your blogs for readership and SEO.



Focus Blogs on Evergreen Topics
That Relate to Top Keyword Themes

A key part of achieving successful blogs is to create content around topics that will always be of interest to your audience and are among the most searched keyword themes related to your brand, product, or service.

Evergreen posts will accumulate traffic and links over time, especially if you refresh them regularly. Evergreen web content has (virtually) no expiration date and ideally will retain its value over the long-term. 
Topics that relate to highly searched keyword themes will further enhance the level of authority and trust among search engines for your site.
Below are some common evergreen formats you might consider in generating lasting content.
  • Lists
  • Top Tips
  • Instructional “How To” Tutorials
  • Encyclopedia-esque Entries
  • Product Reviews
  • Videos

The problem with generating good evergreen ideas is that the best topics have already been covered, maybe even in excess. In this case, you need to add a unique viewpoint to a popular topic, or go into more depth and provide additional details.

Topics Built Around Keywords With Volume and Value

Through a process of using Google’s autocomplete and related searches and tools such as Ubersuggest, Twinwords Ideas, Answer the Public, Semrush, and Google’s Keyword Planner, publishers must identify keywords that are searched most often and are most appealing to their target market. Once these have been identified, evergreen topics should be organized around the phrases that offer the greatest potential volume and value to their readers.

Find Your Niche

While identifying top keyword phrases, look for long-tail keywords that have volume but not super-high competition. If you have a specific niche market, you may find that there is less content on the web about your topic, making your evergreen blogs even more valuable.

Create Irresistible Headlines

Headlines are one of the most important parts of your content. In fact, studies have shown effective blog headlines to drive 500% more traffic.

Create Awesome Visuals

Use design tools to illustrate concepts, visualize data, and recreate charts in your branding. When other sites use your images, they’ll link back to your site. Plus, Google has started showing more images in regular search results, giving you more opportunities to rank and increase the appeal (and therefore click-through rate) of your result. Text-based content is all well and good, but video can attract more visitors and keep them engaged. Here are some ways to use video to get more website traffic:

  • Embed videos into your blog posts so they can appear in video search results
  • Do YouTube SEO to rank higher on YouTube, then add links to your website in the video description.
  • Add call to action buttons directly in your video that send people to your site.

Optimize Blogs for SEO

When optimizing for SEO, identify high volume keywords and utilize long-tail keywords (longer phrases that people use) to bring in the most relevant traffic.
Place Your Keywords Strategically
Be sure to place your target keyword in the following locations:
  • Title tag (meta title)
  • H1 heading
  • At least two H2 headings
  • Naturally in the body
  • The first 100 words
  • Image file names and alt text
  • Meta description
Optimize Your SERP Appearance

Optimize these important pieces of information to improve their appeal on the SERP  (search engine results page) and encourage more organic clicks.

  • Meta description: Keep this between 155-160 characters, indicate the value the reader will get out of the post, and make it actionable.
  • Meta title: Make this 50-60 characters or less, with the keyword close to the beginning, and indicate some sort of value or benefit.
Optimize Meta Tags

Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content. The meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but rather in the page’s source code. Meta tags are essentially short content descriptors that help tell search engines what a web page is about.

Meta Tags – 4 Major Types
There are four major types of meta tags that dictate how search engines crawl, index, and rank your blog.

Title Tag – This is the text you’ll see in the SERP and at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page. Title tags are the most important of all the meta tags. These tags have a real impact on search rankings. You’ll find them in the search results page.

Meta Description – The meta description explains to search engines and (sometimes) searchers themselves what your page is about.
Parts of a search engine result. Title Tag and Meta Description.
Alternative Text (Alt) Tag – The Alt tag is important for any images, as search engines cannot read them, so adding the proper Alt text to images helps the search engine to identify them. Meta Robots Attribute – This provides an indication to search engine crawlers (robots or “bots”) as to what they should do with the page. With this attribute, you’re telling the search engines what to do with your pages:
    • index/noindex – This tells the engines whether to show your page in search results or not.
    • follow/nofollow – This tells the engines what to do with links on your pages: whether they should trust and “follow” your links to the next page or not.

Link Internally

When creating and publishing content, be sure to add at least 1-3 anchor text links to other pages on your site. Anchor text tells readers what they will be linking to. Links will help drive traffic to those pages, but also, it keeps visitors on your site longer, gets them to view more pages on your site, and allows them to get more value out of your site—all of which improve your ranking and drive more traffic to your website.

Improve Page Speed

Page speed has always been and continues to be a very important ranking factor. Blogs need to be as technically optimized as possible, including image file sizes, page structure, and the functionality of third-party plugins.

Implement Schema Markup

Schema markup (also commonly referred to as structured data) is a vocabulary that helps search engines better understand the information on your page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on.

When search engines recognize the schema markup on your page, they serve rich results, or rich snippets which are more prominent SERP placements, and more clickable and desirable to users. Rich results are normal Google search results with additional data displayed. 

Most search structured data uses schema.org vocabulary. Schema.org markup is a shared vocabulary of microdata that helps major search engines better understand the content in blogs and on web pages.

Regularly Refresh Your Content
Content freshness is a ranking factor. Even if your post is still ranking on the first page of Google, you’d be surprised at what a content refresh can do. A new publish date on the SERP can significantly increase CTR and bump you up a few positions, which can lead to a surge in traffic. Here are some strategies on how to get more traffic from evergreen content:
  • Update and/or add new information and stats.
  • Replace outdated visuals and/or create new ones to illustrate concepts.
  • Add new links to more recent resources.
  • Fix broken links and images.
  • Add new keywords from the query report in Search Console (more on that later).
  • Tweak your meta title and meta description.

Include Backlinks to Your Website

Use blogs as an opportunity to achieve backlinks from quality, reputable sources. One of the most influential Google ranking factors is the quantity and quality of links to your website. The more links you have from credible sites with high Domain Authority (DA), the more you increase your own Domain Authority. The higher your DA, the higher your rank and the higher your traffic—not to mention any traffic you get to your site from the link itself.

Consider Featured Snippets

As voice searches continue to grow, Google has rolled out featured snippets, which are well-structured blog posts that answer specific questions. Featured snippets usually occur in 4 forms: paragraphs, bulleted/numbered lists, tables (rows and columns), and videos. Depending on the search query, Google can pull out any piece of content from a top-ranking web page and display it as a featured snippet.  

To optimize content for featured snippets, blogs should be written around top long-tail keywords (longer phrases that people use) with direct answers to questions. Featured snippets frequently occur for searches that are educational, such as “how tos” as well as ratings, reviews, and questions involving the best options for a transaction. These questions and answers often appear in “Answer Boxes” and “People Also Ask” boxes.

Featured snippets, can quickly help you outrank your competitors and get you to the top of the SERP. They can also achieve greater brand awareness and clicks.

Sources: Wordstream, Semrush, Moz, Google, Benchmark – Long-Tail Keywords, Mangools/Blog – Featured Snippets