If you missed the first post in our “SEO for Business Websites” series, it is here: Using Authorship to Improve Your Business Website SEO. Today we are tackling the tedious task of optimizing the “back of the blog-house”, your blog posts. Now, I know that you usually just “Add New”, type your post, add an image, and hit “Publish.” But there are more steps that you’ll want to take if you really want your content to be found by people searching! (Note: In this post, we’re assuming you’re using WordPress for your blog.)
Leaving Love Notes for Your Google-bot
Do the special someones in your life like to find sweet notes from you around the house? Do you put notes in your kids’ lunch box or leave notes for your spouse? Why do you do that? Do you want them to get a particular message?
Well, yes, you want them to get the over-arching message that you love and care about them. And you like to remind them. It just promotes good feelings and relationships.
Let’s think along the same lines for Google-bots. If you have a website or a blog, you need to be using your best love note writing skills to your Google-bot. They have a language, they have places they frequent where they might find notes from you, and they can be temperamental. We have to get to know our Google-bot in order to get them to love us back!
5 Places to leave Love Notes for your Google-bot
- Blog Post Title – KEYWORD your blog post title. A conflict will always exist between writing blog titles that have keywords and blog titles that are catchy and make you want to read them. You’ll want to find a healthy balance between the two. Readability and engagement are key. Remember, you want people to come to your site, but you also want them to stay.
- First Paragraph of your Blog Post – KEYWORD your first 150 words. This first paragraph is the most important part of the post. Do whatever you can to make sure that your main keyword phrase for your post in in the first 150 words. Now, Google-bots are temperamental, so make sure you don’t copy/paste the first paragraph from another post to use again! If you do that, you will get dinged for duplicate content and both posts will suffer in search results.
- Categories and Tags – These are easy to forget, but very valuable. Make a category and a tag for your main keyword phrase for your post. Tags are easy, but categories can be tricky because your navigation menus might be set up as categories, and you may not want your keyword phrase for that post to be a whole category. In that case, try and find a way to exclude that category from your navigational menu (you may need to find a plugin).
- URL – Did you know that you can change your URL in WordPress? When you start a new post, the URL just makes itself. But there is an edit button next to the URL and you should always use it! Make sure your main keyword phrase for your post is in the URL. The auto-URL usually grabs the post title. So if the post title did not include your keyword phrase, then add it to the end of the URL. Also, make sure to eliminate “stop words,” like “and,” “of,” and “the,” and other words that might “stop” the Google-bot from finding your keywords.
- Images – ALWAYS have an image! And optimize it! There are two main ways that Google-bots crawl your images. One is the filename and the other is the Alt-tag. So before you upload an image to your site, make sure the filename includes your keyword phrase. Once you upload an image to WordPress, the name cannot be changed. After you have placed the image in the post, click on it to edit it (click the picture icon on the top left), and type in your keyword phrase in the Alt-tag space.
You are communicating to your Google-bot. You have one message, your “keyword phrase,” that you want to rank for in search. You need your Google-bot to go around your blog and find all the little notes you leave for it, and then leave your site, knowing what your message is. Because if they do, they will deliver that message to search results. And that is when the love comes back to you!
Parting thought: Have you thought to look around to see if we sent love notes to Google-bots with this post? Optimize your blog posts! It will make a difference in the SEO for your business websites!