Whenever I attend my local WordPress Meetup, I run into people who ask me about optimizing blog posts. They run the spectrum from those that obsess about keyword density to those who do nothing because they think “blogs are naturally search-engine friendly.” Let’s begin this post by first dispelling that myth.
While the builders of blogging platforms, like WordPress, organize content and generate URLs that allow for easy crawling by search engines, remember that it’s people that use search engines. All the optimizing in the world is wasted unless it’s done with the people doing the searching in mind.
We use the phrase “optimization” to describe what can be done to boost traffic to your website based on its ranking for a particular keyword phrase (and a keyword is almost always a phrase and not a single word). Proper optimization generally starts with thorough keyword research – that’s likely how you approached SEO for your website. But the whole point of having a business blog is to expand the range of keywords you might potentially rank for. It’s not always going to be possible to incorporate the same phrases you used to optimize your website, so don’t try and force them if they can’t be worked into your content in a way that reads naturally.
When selecting a keyword for your post, try to select a phrase that not only reflects the content of the post, but also makes sense as a term that your readers might be searching for. Generally, you want to include the keyword in your SEO title, meta description and page URL. This is where some folks start to panic.
One tool that can help reduce significantly the anxiety is the YOAST WordPress SEO plugin. We love it for the snippet preview that allows you to see what your SEO title, page URL, and meta description will look on the Google search results before you publish. This simple feature can give you a better sense of what the world sees when your blog post appears on a search results page.
The plugin also provides feedback on a range of other SEO attributes under the “Page Analysis” tab, and guides you towards becoming more expert at optimizing your blog posts.
Truly, the best advice we have to offer when it comes to blogging for business is this: stick with what’s important — delivering quality content. Great content is at the core of what drives all traffic to your site. If you have great content, all other good things will follow – audience, backlinks, social mentions, rankings. Make sure your articles are substantive, useful and/or entertaining. If you’ve got images and/or video, so much the better!