Good writing, good content, will only take your blog posts so far. You will need to optimise your blog post in order for it to have a steady stream of traffic after you've pressed publish. This post will help you optimise your blog post, and then you can download the SEO checklist so you can remember how to optimise all of your content in the future!
1. Start With Your Content
SEO (being found by the people who use search engines) starts at the content planning stage. If you recall, back at the start of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge I invited you to brainstorm the next 30 days worth of content. This was the start of your SEO activity.
Choose your keyphrases wisely, and remember, human beings read your content so saying something like:
“The lucky black cat walked across the road. All the other cats were jealous of the lucky black cat. The lucky black cat didn't know what to do.”
You can guess from the above that my phrase was lucky black cat. But it doesn't read very well. In fact, it reads like spam, or content from a young child learning to write.
Keyphrases help keep your content on track, and should be used, but not so much that it creates a negative reading experience. The SEO checklist will guide you on where to place your keyphrases. If in doubt leave them out.
2.Blog Post Optimisation
If you're a participant in the 30-day blogging challenge, this aspect of blogging is what will help you continue to grow your traffic long after you've completed your 30 days. Bookmark this page so you can come back to it later.
If you don't use WordPress, please scroll to the bottom of the post to discover how to optimise a non-WordPress blog post.
There are a variety of tools that will help you optimise your blog posts. Most bloggers like Yoast as it's easy to use. I use SEOPressr and TextMetrics. The best tool is the one that you will use.
3. How To Use Yoast to Optimise a Blog Post or Page
First of all, if you haven't installed Yoast SEO, then go and do it. You'll find it in the plugin area. There you can just type in “Yoast” (arrow1) and you'll find it very quickly (arrow 2).
Install and activate the plugin (arrow 3).
Once Yoast is installed, open the post or page you wish to optimise. Scroll down the page until you are underneath the post area. Here you'll see the Yoast SEO optimisation tab.
The areas marked 2, 3 are the ones that you'll use the most.
The cog, indicated by arrow 1 is the advanced settings, and you will use these as you become a more advanced blogger and your content is syndicated (you'll explain how to use this) or, you syndicate someone else's content. But for now, don't worry about it.
The button indicated by arrow 2 is an incredibly powerful marketing optimisation tool – this will allow you to optimise your blog post for each specific social network. That's right, you can customise your headline for each social audience and talk to them directly!
Arrow 3, and edit snippet is what we're going to focus on next.
Click Edit Snippet.
The snippet editor opens up, and you now have some more areas to optimise your blog post:
Arrow 1 is the SEO title. This is often called the title tag. Your SEO title is the title that will be displayed in the search engines, and on Facebook. This means you can have a headline for your readers (the title of your blog post) and a headline for the searchers. This means you can create a brilliant headline and have the findability benefits too. It's beneficial to use one of your keyphrases in the title tag area.
Arrow 2 indicates the “slug” area. What words you put here, will form part of the permalink. This means they're the words that come after the domain name, and they're usually the title of your post. It's beneficial to use one of your keyphrases here as well.
Arrow 3 is the meta description. Don't ignore the meta description. SEO experts will tell you this doesn't matter to the search engines, but remember, search engines are used by people and they appreciate and will click an option with a good meta description. You can add a call to action here, and if you are a local business a phone number here is perfect.
Arrow 4 shows the close button, so you can close this section after editing it.
Looking At The Blog Post Optimisation Analysis
When you've added your blog post optimisation details, close the snippet editor and take a look at the analysis. I've got an amber light (the orange dots). This means the post is optimised okay. This is perfectly adequate if you're in a hurry.
The Content Analysis Close-Up
Here in the content analysis section, you can see the areas that will need to be improved for better blog post optimisation. As you can see from the image below, I have 4 red lights. This tells me that I've not used the phrase that I'm optimising the blog post for, in the right places. I can scroll back up the page and edit my copy to include the keywords in the right places – but only if it sounds right to do so.
The amber lights are also areas that I can improve upon to have a better-optimised blog post.
The last three green dots are the areas that I've got right. The one I'm going to focus the most on this content analysis is the copy score. I'm breathing a sigh of relief to know that it's okay to read. If you discover your text is too difficult try to simplify what you're writing about, which is sometimes easier said than done.
The Yoast plugin will tell you if you've got all the major things right, and what you need to do to make them right.
4. Optimising Your Blog Posts For Social Media
As I mentioned earlier in the post, you can do some advanced optimisation on your blog post so that you can connect with your ideal readers on specific platforms. This is incredibly powerful, and if you have the time to do it, is incredibly worthwhile simply because you will get more social media traffic.
Let's go back to Yoast, and take a look at the social media optimisation options. You can access these by pressing the button indicated by arrow 1.
Arrow 2 shows you the social media platforms you can optimise for. You can choose from Facebook, Twitter, or you can choose both. I'm choosing Facebook for my example.
In the Facebook title area, you can select a headline that's exclusive for Facebook readers. And the Facebook description can be personalised for the Facebook audience. Never underestimate the impact of personalisation on your reader.
Arrow 3 is where you can have an image just for Facebook. If you're having trouble with the correct image showing on Facebook, having the right image here helps.
Here's how this post is optimised for social media:
The image on the left is what will be shared on Twitter, and Linkedin. The image on the right is personalised for Facebook and is what should be shared there. I say should, because social media sites are under no obligation to use the images you select, but most of the time they do.
That's all there is to social media optimisation for your blog posts.
Remember the majority of bloggers don't do this, and neither do most social media experts.
This can give you a nice advantage if you blog in a competitive niche. If you struggle to get readers to click via social media then this will solve a lot of your problems 🙂
5. Not every blog post has to be optimised.
If you write something deeply personal, you might not want to optimise that post. There's no law that says every single post has to be optimised and you must have a green light for every single post. Sometimes, it just won't feel right or the keyword is so obscure that you won't bother to optimise for it, and that's okay. A green light is no guarantee of first place in the search engines.
Remember to download your SEO checklist so you can keep all your content optimised.