SEO can leave the best of us feeling bogged down and frustrated. There’s no hard-fast rule to getting it right. There are hundreds of strategies and books out there on the subject. And, it seems, you could spend unlimited time on it and still not get it perfect. If you’ve previously been put off by this then do not fear.
At Exploratree we’re all about helping influencers and content creators create wildly profitable affiliate campaigns with ethical and sustainable brands. One of the fundamental requirements for affiliate success is traffic, and a lot of it. And as SEO is one of the best ways of driving organic traffic to your website/blog, I thought I’d write this simple guide.
In this post we’ll break down the minimal SEO steps you can carry out for blog posts to ensure you benefit from organic traffic and better rankings. As Neil Patel says “you can get away with minimal SEO – and you can get results from it, too.”
It’s not all about being perfect, it’s much more about doing what it takes to make you findable on search engines and rank reputably for your sub-niche.
The Goal of SEO
What with the seemingly endless strategies, techniques and industry jargon leading many to be befuddled by SEO, I thought it’d be best to start out by establishing some simple goals for your SEO practices. What’s more, knowing what you’re working towards is essential for any task in life and helps build motivation and momentum.
“One of the best ways to sabotage your content is to not tie it to your goals. Know why you’re creating content.” — Ellen Gomes Sr. Content Marketing Manager, Glint Inc.
The goal of SEO is to drive organic traffic to your website by optimising your content so it features on search engine results.
The strategies you employ can be boiled down into two simple points:
(1) Create content that sits well with search engine algorithms, leading to you being ranked higher on search pages.
(2) Create content that’s highly shareable by focusing on readability and the reader experience.
Now you know the why let’s jump into the how.
Before Getting Started With Your Post
Decide What Topic to Write On
The first thing you need to do to optimise a blog post for search engines is to decide what you are going to write about.
At a first glance this seems rather basic, but there’s more to it.
By deciding roughly what you are writing about you can start to craft a mental picture of the change you plan on inspiring in your audience. Keeping this in mind will help you stick on the path to SEO friendly content, as you’ll be more likely to produce sharable content if you’ve written it with your audience in mind.
“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” – Doug Kessler
Basic Keyword Research
By conducting some basic keyword research, you’ll identify what people are actually searching for on the subject and build an understanding of what topics to focus on and which keywords to include.
The fastest and easiest way of doing this research is by heading over to Google, hitting in your keyword, then checking the related search results section located at the bottom of every page.
Here you’ll find other questions and related keywords people searched for, enabling you to build a content piece answering the exact questions people have and serve your readers needs more accurately.
That ought to make it shareable. Right?
Once You’ve Written a Draft
With a draft in hand you can optimise your post with these key 5 areas to focus on:
#1: Draw People in with an Alluring Title
The title of your post can make it or break it. A great title will serve the searchers query more accurately as well as motivating the person to click on the link.
What makes a great title?
One that arouses curiosity, anticipation and excitement about the topic. This is not clickbait, unless your post doesn’t actually deliver on its promises.
A brilliant way to create an alluring and interesting title is to employ power words in the text. By doing so you’ll get more people to click, experience higher click-through rates and rank better on search engines.
– Try to create a title that answers the problem the searcher is looking for
– Use powerful language to arouse emotion and drive more clicks to your post
#2: Create Structured Content with Paragraphs & Sub-headings
The structure of a post greatly affects its readability and share-ability.
A great piece of writing is satisfying to read, delivers the information in an interesting and manageable way, and will make you want to share it. When you’re reading it, you are never confused or lost as to what’s being discussed; it’s clear and easy to understand.
Using paragraphs is a fantastic way to isolate your points in the reader’s mind, compartmentalising them and making them easier to comprehend.
Similarly, sub-headings will help provide clear reminders to readers about where they are in the post and what’s being discussed. Furthermore, they help readers navigate the page in a swift and satisfying manner.
Subheadings also affect SEO too.
Yoast, a well-renowned SEO tool for blogs and websites, recommends inserting keywords and phrases into sub-heading as it makes it easier for search engines to spot your SEO efforts.
– Utilise paragraphs to improve readability (and share-ability) of your content
– Increase navigability of content with subheadings
– Insert keywords & phrases into sub-headings to improve rankings
#3: Organise Posts with Tags & Categories
Tags and categories will make navigating your blog more fluid and easy for readers. By doing so you’ll improve the SEO of your blog as a whole, increasing the average SEO score of each of your posts.
Be sure to apply these to all posts, it takes a matter of seconds, will help keep readers on your blog for longer and makes for a better bounce rate.
– Boost your blogs navigability by applying tags/categories to each post
#4: Sell your Posts with Gripping Meta Description
Meta descriptions are a form of “mini-pitch” you make to searchers which lays out the reasons they should read your post. It’s appears just below your title on the search engine, as so:
This short description of your post has got to sell people on your content. Therefore, the text should be all about the reader and the change they experience. It should involve benefit-rich language designed to pull the reader in.
– Use of benefit-focused language to make your pitch irresistible to scrollers on search engines
#5: Use Cross-links & External-links to Build Bridges
All about SEO and rankings, external-linking builds bridges between your website/blog and other websites/blogs. If you link between your blog and a reputable site, and they return the favour, you’ll be rewarded with better rankings. Moreover, linking to content you’ve found useful from across the web is likely to assist readers on their way to their goal, increasing readability and shareability as a result.
On the other hand, cross-linking is creating interlinks between different posts you’ve written on a topic.
For example, imagine you’ve got two posts, one on growing organic traffic and another on paid traffic. Both posts are there to help people get more traffic to their site and if they are interested in one then it’s likely they’ll find the other useful too. In each post you can refer to the other and provide a link for your readers to follow if they like.
This not only serves your audience by providing them with all the pieces of the puzzle but also shows off your authority on the subject.
– Interlink between your content pieces to improve reader experience and demonstrate authority on topic
– Link to external content to offer better advice and content for readers
– Use external links to grow relationships and build bridges from across the web to advance your SEO rankings
Whether you’re a business or personal blogger, the success of your blog depends on the content you produce. Can’t argue with that, right? In addition, the better your content is, the more it’ll be shared and the higher you’ll rank on Google.
Have we just uncovered a little secret there?
To hack SEO, you just need to learn how to write?
If you consider all the points and strategies from this piece you can start to see how all we are trying to do is improve the readability and share-ability of your content; which will be decided by humans, not search engines.
There’re a few SEO specific tactics to consider, however they all point to search engines wanting to provide their searchers with the results they need as fast and as accurately as possible.
Therefore, write content that people will love and you’ll rank on search engines because of it.
SEO doesn’t have to be a scary or boring task. Use this post to break down the key areas to focus on and make sure you tick all the boxes. There’s really not a lot of them and you’ll be surprised by the results if you execute this strategy well.
Thanks for reading!