Not convinced you need to optimize your blog for SEO?
89% of modern consumers use search engines to make purchase decisions, and 75% of search users never click beyond the first page of search results. Your website needs to rank well in Google, Bing, and Yahoo to capture the attention of your future customers. Fortunately, publishing fresh content regularly is one of the best ways to build positive SEO for your business.
However, there are a few additional actions you can take to ensure your website is optimized for search engines and humans:
1. Measure and Improve Your Page Load Time
No one likes a slow-loading website. In fact, Google has used load time as a ranking factor since 2010, rewarding sites that offer speed as a function of a superior user experience. There’s plenty of studies which suggest correcting loading issues can lead to an immediate gain in rankings. Besides, experts estimate that each additional second it takes for your site to load can decrease your conversion rate by 7%.
To measure your site speed, we recommend Google’s own tool. Neil Patel advises ensuring your blog page loads in 2 seconds or less. If you’ve failed the speed test, optimize your blog by removing any extraneous widgets that could be slowing you down. If that fails to help, it may be time to upgrade your hosting package.
2. Utilize Search-Friendly H1 Tags
H1 tags are SEO speak for page titles. In most content management systems (CMS), like WordPress, Blogger and HubSpot, your H1 tags double as your URL. Expert Loolwa Khazoom points out that your H1 tags should include “common sense” keywords – phrases that resemble the language your prospects use to find your website. An ineffective H1 tag for a blog page would be “our blog,” or “news & updates.” A better choice would be “content marketing blog,” or a similar phrase which describes what your organization does.
3. Sign Up for Google Authorship
There are no downsides to signing up for Google authorship, the search engine’s program to provide recognition to quality content creators. When you’ve earned the right to have your picture appear in search results next to your pages, your click-through rates from search will soar:
Scientists have found that human faces are a key tool for establishing instant trust, which is why search results with rich snippets of a headshot drive the most traffic, even if they’re only ranked number two or three in search. Besides, it only takes a few minutes to optimize your blog, and the search engine offers clear instructions on how to get started.
4. Ensure Your Blog Structure is Clear and Easy to Use
Search engines reward websites who demonstrate authority – and it’s pretty hard to be taken seriously if you’re missing some key elements. Optimize your blog by ensuring you have all five necessary components:
1. Navigation options for visitors who want to learn more.
2. Keyword-rich blog tags to help readers browse your historical content.
3. A search box for easy queries of your website content
4. A conversion-optimized widget for your readers to become blog subscribers
5. Post previews to maximize the number of posts displayed on each page.
If your website lacks any of these key elements, adding them can be an important step to optimize your blog by improving user experience and reader engagement with your site, all of which are key to improved search rankings.
5. Avoid Duplicate Content
We get it, it can be hard to continually create fresh content to optimize your blog, especially in technical industries. However, many experts believe the most devastating SEO mistake is duplicate content on your website. Failing to correct it can lead to your content being banned by Google completely. We recommend the use of a tool like Copyscape to ensure your words are truly original before publication.
Also, be cautious with content curation and excessively long quotes from other websites. Avoid republishing evergreen content from your archives. If you want to update and repost a previous article, either update the original page or remove it entirely. Finally, avoid excessive tagging of your blog posts. On most CMS, each additional tag results in another indexation of the page, leading to duplicate content. One tag is sufficient!
Want to learn more about on-page optimization best practices? Check out our article How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO: an Easy-Peasy Guide.