The topic of an SEO content strategy has long been a complex and ever-changing discussion. Since earning a significant share of the internet’s landscape, the mechanics of the web have altered, which places SEO as a fundamental attribute to a website’s digital reach. This is true, now more than ever and what's more? Businesses know it! Within this guide, you will discover 10 search optimization techniques to boost your company website/ blog’s visibility within search results, whilst learning the answer to questions such as; ‘What is SEO?’ and ‘How is blog marketing beneficial for online business?’. Let’s start with the basics, beginning with the definition of SEO:
What is SEO? (Search Engine Optimization) - In order to comprehend the definition of SEO, it is essential to be able to understand the reasoning behind search optimization. Today, there are currently 1.5 billion websites on the internet. Under 200 million of these websites are classed as ‘active’. To have millions of pieces of data stored under one metaphorical ‘roof’ requires some sort of filtering system.
Using Google as an example, the search engine relies upon such a system in order to prioritize webpages/ sites deemed to be deserving of visits. The search engine’s users trust in the page ranking system to deliver relevant and quality content. Thus, giving Google the responsibility to filter out the old and ferry in the new, credible and, consistent data. This means that the websites/ web-pages which rank highly via online (AKA within the first few pages of organic search) acts as a signal, revealing that a domain offers both valuable content and reliability as a source in the opinion of the search engine at hand. So, what is SEO? Search optimization, is the procedure in which a website has taken steps in order to broaden its digital outreach via online results.
The very nature of an optimized web-page/ site would lead to organic/ unpaid traffic, securing the domain a place within the page ranking system on search engines such as Google. This can be achieved by applying the SEO driven methods featured within this SEO content checklist. Before we reveal 10 optimization techniques, the role of blog marketing within online business should be understood:
Blog Marketing & Online Business -
Blog marketing is arguably one of the MOST important aspects of your business’ online sales and growth strategy, making SEO a multi-dimensional marketing tool for business. The goal is to ensure that your website is visible through search engine results. The role of blog marketing (AKA managing a company blog) introduces the concept of an SEO content strategy to your website, ensuring that your domain’s contents remain both fresh and current. This is a characteristic worthy of appraisal in the eyes of a search engine, which is how SEO (and in particular SEO content) can help your site land itself a respectable page ranking.
Developing an SEO content strategy is invaluable as a marketing tool for company websites in particular. Blog marketing is statistically proven to aid businesses within the online economy. Company websites with an active blog receive a 97 percent increase in backlinks on average to their website compared to company websites who do not run a blog, not to mention the likelihood of indexed pages increasing by 434 percent. Digital users of a website may initially stumble onto a web-page through an article of interest. Blogs set the path for new audience members to discover businesses which have not been heard of before. If blog content offered upholds relevance and value to the target audience, digital users are likely to return to your blog, earning your site a 55 percent increase in page visits. Companies with active blogs should offer content which remains in-keeping with the website’s niche. This is an important aspect of SEO content to uphold in order to ensure the company blog’s content reaches the identified target audience. The close utilization of this technique will generate traffic to your web-page/ site, allowing your domain to sit favorably within online search results.
Page visits aside, the running of an active company blog will increase the likelihood of digital users exploring the corners of your site. Initially, it may have been an article of interest to grab a visitor’s attention, but once within your domain, the chance of landing sales from new customers will increase dramatically. Managing a blog alongside a business is an ingenious way for companies to connect with their target audience, turning visitors into readers, and readers into customers/ clients. This will result in a generation of sales for your business and the validity of your website checking out in the opinion of search engines such as Google. Since the definition of SEO has been addressed, alongside the role of blog marketing within an online business, it’s time for the 10 search optimization techniques to be introduced:
N0.1: SEO-Friendly URLs -
URLs which channel SEO-friendly characteristics are web addresses which are designed to meet the needs of digitals users and online searchers. More specifically, SEO-friendly URLs are optimized with the purpose of SEO at the heart of their structure. Simply put, this means that URLs of an SEO-friendly nature tend to be; short in length and keywordrich, providing a well-organized website for search engine bots to crawl. We’ll get to the topic of ‘crawling’ a little later within this SEO guide, but for now, let’s take a look at the reasoning behind URL structure and why it is a contributor to your site’s SEO. Beginning with a generic URL format, a web address will start with the root domain of a website. The domain will look a little something like this - www.yourwebsitename.com. The goal here is to define what follows for individual pages.
The structure of a URL will relate directly to a larger site architecture. In other words, a web address requires a clear reference to the contents of a specific page, as well as information relating to the larger website taking ownership of the visited web-page.
As an example, the web address for an article posted within a blog should look like this: www.yourwebsitename.com/blog/nameofyourblogpost.
Upon first glance, a digital user visiting the web-page will clearly be able to detect that they’ve stumbled across a blog, as well as learning very basic information about the blog post on the current page. However, in order for a URL to be categorized as ‘SEO-friendly’ by a search engine, it MUST retain the following characteristics;
Both digital users and search engines should clearly be able to identify the contents of a web-page by looking at the URL structure alone.
• Keywords & Structure:
Researched keywords are a fundamental element of SEO-friendly URLs, however ‘stuffing’ (over filling a piece of text with keywords) as this works against SEO efforts.
URL structures which contain keywords relevant to; the location, category, product(s), page(s), and document filename(s) allow the site to maintain a consistent URL structure. This is an extremely favorable attribute where search engines are concerned.
It would be advisable to think ahead when planning your website’s structure. For example, the number of redirects within a domain should be minimized, which is much easier to achieve if URL wholesale changes are not required.
To ensure that content is seen, the concept of - ‘main content & supplementary content' should be utilized. Doing this will ensure that your website withholds an adequate coverage of content surrounding a particular niche/ topic. Thus, maximizing your website’s search visibility.
It would also be beneficial to create an XML sitemap which contains a number of web addresses which you would like ‘ranked’ on search engines. Doing this will ensure that SEO efforts will be rewarded.
N0.2: Target Keywords -
Obtaining your company site/ blog a prominent spot within the page ranks of search engines such as Google will inevitably lead to a surge in traffic to your website generically. In retrospect, the second optimization technique featured within this SEO content checklist is arguably the MOST important part of your business’ sales and marketing strategy.
Before creating digital content for your blog, suitable search terms ranking highly in the system of search engines must be identified. To do this, you must target keywords, optimized for SEO. In order to choose the correct keyword(s) for your blog’s content, you will need to establish which keywords synchronize with your brand, product and/ or service and which ones do not. Then the selected keywords that you have chosen will be able to digitally categorize your content, ensuring that your web-page and its contents will be understood by search engines and located with ease by users. The Moz Keyword Explorer is an excellent tool to have at your disposal in order to locate the correct keyword(s) with the goal of optimizing blog content online. The website offers itself as a free, user-friendly, research tool, generating a magnitude of keywords at your disposal. All you have to do is pick the keyword(s) that aid your website’s niche in order to remain relevant to its context. However, it should be understood that placing targeted keywords throughout blog content alone is unfortunately NOT enough to establish your website within a search engine’s page ranking system. Alas, this is why it comes highly recommended to follow all of the optimization techniques within this SEO content checklist.
N0.3: Alt Images -
Similarly, to the employment of researched and targeted keywords, the utilization of optimized Alt text (image Alt attributes) are essential to the process of supplying contextual relevance for your site. Not only does this apply to the image in which the attribute resides, but the web-page in which the image was sourced too. In Layman's terms, the role of Alt text is to act as a signal to search engines to comprehend both the context of a web-page, which undoubtedly would improve said website’s page ranking and search visibility.
N0.4: Formatted Text -
It should be known that unformatted text is not a friend to SEO. It is thought that web-pages containing unformatted text work against SEO. Therefore, published article bodies that lack this characteristic do NOT make for pleasant user experiences. In order to help avoid wasted efforts, below you will find a list of the general guidelines for text formatting a blog post/ web-page within your domain;
• H1 tags are designed to be used for main titles within a web-page.
• H2 tags on the other hand should be used for the main heading(s) within the text.
• Italics & BOLD text formats should be utilized to draw a user’s attention to the highlighted text on the page.
• Paragraphs within a post should be to the point, making the web-page user-friendly and its information concise.
• When it comes to selecting a text font, suitability is the word to live by. A clear font size and style should ALWAYS be selected.
• Lastly, you should ensure that the text format is user-friendly across all devices.
N0.5: Backlinks -
A backlink is an incoming to a web-page/ site, meaning that they have pointed to a domain from an external website. The insertion of backlinks act as an all-important metaphorical nod from one site to another, which is considered to be a vote of confidence by search engines. As a result, a URL will crawl more efficiently and earn a sufficient place within online page ranks.
N0.6: Descriptions & Titles -
Defined page descriptions and titles are a key aspect of SEO. Below is a list of the MOST important characteristics of an optimized page description and title; To begin, every page within the walls of a site will require a page title which is both brief and descriptive in nature. A page title MUST describe the contents of a web-page precisely in order for both search engines and digital users to understand its value. The homepage of a domain demands a title of its own, this should include;
• The name of the business/ brand.
• The company’s physical location.
• The business’ focus(es) and offerings.
N0.7: Internal Linking -
When it comes to internal linking, there are rules to be abided, however they are simple in nature and should be followed when directing traffic to another web-page on your site;
• Linking related articles together within an online blog is easily achieved by incorporating: researched keywords, relevant anchor texts or external article post titles into your text.
• All links should provide some form of value for the user of a site and the search engine ranking the information. However, internal linking shouldn’t just be practiced for the benefit of keeping in a search engine’s good books. An internal link should also aid your website's visitors with ease of navigation.
• The use of anchor words linking to another page such as ‘click here’ should be avoided, as a phrase such as this will NOT add SEO value to your site.
• Lastly, the volume of 2-3 internal links within an article would be more than enough to fulfil the purposes of SEO.
N0.8: External Linking -
It is agreed by experts of SEO that external links inserted within a body of text are the MOST important source of ranking power for a web-page/ site. This is due to the fact that search engines view external links as third-party votes. More specifically, external links are a form of hyperlink which target a domain outside of a domain. By way of explanation, if one website were to link to another site, this would be considered an incoming external link. Similarly, if you yourself were to link to another site, this would also be considered an external link.
N0.9: Crawling & Indexing -
Search engines have three fundamental functions - to crawl, index and rank. Both crawling and indexing are important attributes in order to achieve a worthy ranking in search, but it should be understood that crawling and indexing have their differences. They are as follows;
The process of crawling is relied upon by search engine web crawlers (also known as ‘bots’/ ‘spiders’) which visit web-pages with the intention of downloading its data and extracting its links. The goal of crawling is for search engines to discover additional pages. The data recorded could take a number of forms such as; a web-page, image, video, or even a PDF, but regardless of format, online content is discovered by links and the use of spiders/ bots.
Indexing on the other hand refers to a page’s eligibility to show up within online results, due to the way in which search engines store information they find. Search engines such as Google can pluck information from an extensive virtual database filled with website and web-page information. All domains featured within a database such as this have been deemed credible and trustworthy as a source to serve up to searchers. So, when a search is performed, online engines scour their indexes for highly relevant information relating to that search. The content discovered is this relayed in an order with the hope of solving a searcher's query. This ordering of search results by relevance is known as ‘ranking’, which is a term that has been no stranger to this SEO guide. As a general rule, it can be assumed that the higher rank, the more applicable the source.
N0.10: Mobile SE0 -
Mobile SEO, also known as ‘mobile friendly SEO’, the last SEO content strategy within today's checklist. Mobile SEO refers to the navigational characteristics of a webpage/ site alongside its presentation. Flawless web-page viewing across multiple devices such as tablets and smartphones will enhance your domain’s search engine optimization. More than 50% of digital users surf the web through a hand-held device today, which is why search engines such as Google favor domains which elude mobile SEO.