Want to demystify Google? Here you go: Google wants to know exactly what your blog post is about so that it can show it to people who are looking for exactly what you deliver.
Enter SEO, or search engine optimization.
If you want your amazing content to be read, you need to be found. And to be found through Google, it’s essential that you devote some energy to your search engine optimization.
SEO sounds as though it takes a lot of time and a ton of technical knowledge. And while there’s plenty to learn about the fine points of SEO, tackling the basics couldn’t be easier.
If you’re looking for some fool-proof adjustments you can make to your website that will have you reaping SEO rewards for a long time, well, you’re in the right place.
Here are four quick ways you can take your blog post from invisible to optimized:
Choose your key phrase.
Choosing — and telling Google — your key phrase is critical to getting ranked well in search engine results.
So what is a key phrase? It’s the phrase that your readers will type into Google in hopes of finding a page or post just like yours. When your blog post offers information or a solution, the key phrase is the question or problem that search engine users have.
Here are a few examples:
- Italian restaurants in Philadelphia
- how to apply for a mortgage
- why is my baby crying
- SEO for dummies
Choosing the right keyphrase is part science, part art.
Ideally, you want a specific, targeted key phrase (e.g. “Italian restaurants in Philadelphia” instead of just “restaurants”) that addresses your reader’s exact need while having a relatively low level of search engine results competition.
Keyword research is invaluable in identifying a great keyword or key phrase for your blog post. And it’s easy to do.
If you have a Google AdWords account, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to see the search volume, competition level, and more stats for various key phrases.
Tip: If you don’t have a Google AdWords account yet and you want to use Keyword Planner without starting a (paid) marketing campaign through Google, you must follow these instructions.
In addition to Google, I recommend SEMrush not only for keyword research but also to spy on your competitors’ SEO tactics!
Once you’ve got chosen your key phrase, pop it right into whatever SEO plugin you’ve installed on your site. (I highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin.)
Optimize your headline.
Got your key phrase? Good! It’s time to build your headline.
A great headline is critical to getting eyes on your blog post. The headline . . .
- Tells Google what your blog post is all about.
- Entices would-be readers to click over to your blog from Google.
Your headline is an excellent place to use your key phrase and boost your SEO. At the same time, you want to use descriptive and interesting words to grab your audience’s attention.
Want to be graded on your headline? Check out HubSpot’s super popular headline analyzer tool.
Use variations of your key phrase in your blog post.
Don’t post SEO junk.
If you jam your key phrase into every available area of your post, it’ll be terrible reading for an audience. And Google is smart enough to penalize you too.
Skip the keyword stuffing.
Yes, use your key phrase, but use it naturally. (It is what your blog post is about, so having it show up in your text should be a piece of cake.)
And use variations! Instead of just “Italian restaurants in Philadelphia,” include “Philadelphia Italian restaurants,” for instance.
Add relevant Alt Text to your images.
Google can’t see your images. It has no idea if you posted an awesome infographic for entrepreneurs or a cute selfie with your cat.
What Google can see is the text you use to tag that image. So take full advantage of the Alt Text field in WordPress when you insert an image into your blog post.
Optimize that field by using your key phrase, your keyword-rich headline, some descriptive text regarding the image itself, etc. Make your images add to the existing SEO work you’ve done with your blog post and pop in a Google image search.
If you’re tired of ranking on the 100th page of Google search results, it’s time to get serious about your SEO. Zip through these easy-to-use steps on your next blog post, and start pulling in readers from Google.
What’s your favorite tool for boosting your SEO?
Author: Megan Nye
Megan Nye is a personal finance freelance writer and content strategist. Her writing transforms even complex money matters into easy-to-understand and actionable information. She frequently covers topics of credit & debt management, retirement planning, investing, insurance, mortgages and loans, college planning, budgeting, and financial literacy.
Megan works exclusively with financial services businesses to create articles, infographic copy, and case studies. Her writing has been featured by Business Insider, U.S. News & World Report, Credit Karma, Citi, Wells Fargo, American Express, Prudential, U.S. Bank, Discover, Quicken, Fidelity Investments, and Merrill Edge.