The best time to optimize your blog content for SEO is when you are creating it, but you can always go back and improve your old articles as well.
Blog SEO is important because it helps you consistently get more traffic to your website. There are many things you can do to optimize your blog posts for SEO.
In this article, we will share our best blog SEO tips to help you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. These are the tips that we use on our own blogs, which gets millions of visitors from search engines.
By the Editorial Staff at WPBeginner, a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Trusted by over 1.3 million readers worldwide.
1. Plan Your Content with Proper Keyword Research
Many beginners just use their best guesses to write about topics they feel that their users would be interested in.
You don’t need to rely on blind guesses, especially when you can do keyword research to find out exactly what your users are looking for.
Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover topics your users are interested in based on the search engine data.
You can then use these keywords to plan your content strategy. This will ensure that you write about topics that people are actually looking for, and it’s a great way to find new blog post ideas.
We recommend using keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. They offer in-depth keyword data, competition analysis, keyword position tracking, and tons of other useful features.
Once you have blogged for a while, you will have enough content that you would want users to read. With internal linking, you can send new readers to check out your older relevant posts.
Internal linking is a great way to develop a contextual relationship between your new and old posts. It also allows you to pass relevant link juice to your older articles.
WordPress makes it easy to search for your old posts right inside the post editor. Simply select the text that you want to link and then click on the link button.
A text pop-up will appear below your selected words. You can start typing to search for the older articles that you want to link here.
Making internal linking a habit will make sure that your on-page SEO is good, and that your older articles continue to get new links.
Often beginners make the mistake of doing 1-way internal linking where they link to older posts from new articles. You can and should also go back to edit older posts to link to your new articles for maximum benefits.
5. Add Images and Videos to Your Blog Posts
Search engines often rank engaging content higher in search results. Images and videos are far more engaging than plain text.
You want to make sure that your blog posts contain images between paragraphs.
When adding images, you want to be careful about image copyrights. Often beginners copy images from other sites to use on their site, and this can get you in legal trouble if you do so without proper permissions.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of places where you can find royalty free images to use in your blog posts. You can also use your own original photographs or use websites like Canva to create engaging graphics.
The meta description is an HTML meta tag that you can add to any page. Its purpose is to provide a short description of your article for search engines and other crawlers.
Some SEO experts believe that the meta description tag on a page has become irrelevant. However, many others would disagree. At WPBeginner, we recommend using the meta description for all of your posts.
A good meta description can explain a lot more about an article. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also display it when your articles are shared on those platforms.
Since now you know that people are going to be reading your meta descriptions, you want to make sure that it’s helpful.
You also want to make sure that you at least mention your focus keyword once in the meta description for search purposes. The character limit for Meta Description is 155 characters.
Try to stay within that limit or your meta description will be truncated after 155 characters. You also want to make sure that you use the focus keyword earlier in the meta description rather than later.
To add meta description, you need to scroll down to the Yoast SEO meta box on your post edit screen.
7. Make Your Articles Easier to Read
Readability is an important factor considered by search engines. Articles that are easier to read often rank higher than articles that are not user friendly.
Computer and mobile screens are still not an optimal platform for reading.
This is why most users just scan through articles. In fact, studies found that users spend less than a second to decide whether they want to stay on a page or leave.
That’s a very short time for you to convince the user to stay and scroll through. By improving readability, you can make it possible for your users to quickly scan an article.
You can improve readability by using shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, punctuation, headings, and bulleted lists. We recommend adding white space around text and use images to make your text look easier on eyes.
You can use tools like Grammarly, which allows you to check grammar, punctuation, and spelling on the fly. It also gives suggestions to improve the readability of your articles.
Yoast SEO plugin also comes with a built-in readability checker. It shows the flesch reading score of your article under ‘Readability analysis’ tab.
9. Aim to Be The Featured Snippet in The Search Result
Google has been trying to answer user questions as quickly as possible. As part of this effort, they have introduced the featured result or answer box.
This is the highlighted search result that appears on the top. Google generates a custom snippet from the article’s content highlighting the part that their algorithms believe to be the answer of user’s query.
According to research conducted by Advanced Web Ranking, Answer boxes secure almost 32.3% CTR. This makes them immensely important for your SEO strategy.
There is no specific set of instructions provided by Google regarding how they would pick the featured snippet. Their recommendation is to improve your content and make sure that it offers the information users are seeking.
Search engines love articles that cover a topic with great detail. This is why we asked you to gather the semantically related keywords (LSI Keywords) as part of your content planning step.
These related keywords give you an idea of different variations of user searches regarding that particular topic. By covering those keywords in your article, you would be able to make it more comprehensive, informative, and useful.
You should use headings and subheadings to include those keywords and try to cover as much ground as you could.
Aside from LSI keywords, another tip to create complete content is to type your desired keyword and then switch to Image Search. You will see topic bubbles with a variety of keywords.
We recommend including these when creating your content, so you can have the most comprehensive content.
11. Optimize Older Blog Posts
Many beginners tend to forget about a blog post after they have published it. In fact, you are not done optimizing your blog post for SEO once it is published.
Here are some things that you need to do after publishing your blog post:
Add internal links – Once you have published a post, you can go back to relevant old articles and add a link to your new blog post. This gives your new articles link juice while also allowing users to discover it more easily.
Track search rankings – You have optimized a post for SEO, but how do you keep track of its search rankings? See our guide on how to track search rankings for your blog posts for instructions.
We recommend optimizing old posts on a regular basis, so you can continue to improve your rankings.
When Pantone announced its 2019 color of the year as the bright and vivacious “living coral,” designers and artists all over took notice. And since color and culture go hand in hand, we’ve also seen a few new colors with even more vibrancy now emerging on the scene.
Color has always played a huge role in our lives. We all know our favorites, and it’s not uncommon for us to share a few. Each hue transmits a particular feeling, energy and mood, and by learning more about these trends we’ll be able to explore exciting inspirations we might otherwise ignore.
So let’s take a look at a few more emerging color trends for 2019.
In the creative, makeup and beauty worlds, the color gold is the champion of luxury brands. Models adjust their selfies with that perfect golden-hour glow, artists attach gold leaf to their canvases, and jewelry designers go in on fantastic gold designs.
And with an ever-growing global economy, it’s not a total shock that our tastes are becoming more expensive. The color gold is, in fact, driving this trend as we find ways to exude a sense of confidence in all areas of our lives. Psychology tells us that gold can make you feel glamorous while also inviting courageous feelings of passion and wisdom. Pretty cool!
Are you feeling a little fancy today? Try out one of these gold design tutorials. I myself have already used this color a few times this year! Not only is it applicable across a variety of projects, but it also ranks as the top searched color on both Envato Market and Envato Elements! How’s that forgold standard?
Recreate the metallic sheen and luster of stunning gold letters with this text effect tutorial! Join Enrique Elicabe as he explains how to use Photoshop layer styles to achieve realistic gold textures and colors.
More Gold Tutorials
Want more gold tutorials? Jump to a few of our favorites.
Artists have always been connected to nature—and therefore, the color green. Green is the color of life. It’s associated with feelings of growth, harmony, renewal, and balance. It’s the circle of life all in one color, really. We notice it throughout the seasons, and now that we’re becoming more conscious of our environmental impact, natural green colors are dominating our work spaces, creative activities, and lifestyle designs.
Natural Green Inspiration
Hunter green is one of the most common greens designers are excited by, although you’ll also find many variations. Naturally, it inspires many creative projects with nature-infused themes, but it’s also associated with wealth and finance. So you’ll find it most prevalent in design topics like stationery, websites, and more.
Remember the 90s TV show, Double Dare? Now you can relive all your favorite slime fantasies with one of the boldest fashion statements to hit the catwalk: UFO green. Daring and slightly unusual, this bold color choice has already been favored by fashion giants like Gucci and Versace.
So how do you stand out when everything is already so saturated? Many looking to this bright neon trend might be trying to do just that: stand out.
Neon Green Inspiration
From the catwalks of the spring 2019 runways to the fictional paradises seen in digital art, neon green is definitely a stunner. At the forefront of what you’ll see from this trend are vibrant vacation clothes, graphics, and colorful photography. But you can also check out our tutorials to find out how to use this cool color.
Procreate is the go-to digital painting app for many new artists. And now you can create epic, neon-colored hair with this tutorial from Maria Dimova. Learn how to use different brush settings and layer styles for a vibrant hairstyle.
More Neon Green Tutorials
Try out this wild color out yourself! Check out these helpful tutorials.
Neon green isn’t the only psychedelic color to emerge for 2019.
And last year we called it! Many fan favorites come in the form of electric neon pinks, oranges, and even some unique purple flavors. Neon colors, after all, are an ode to the eclectic retro ambience of the 1980s. Everything certainly pops with them, and if used effectively, they can bring creative, spunky energy to any piece.
Neon Color Inspiration
Fashion designers like Jeremy Scott are also going full-on construction worker with bright, neon yellow accents for jumpsuits and other quirky designs.
Need some neon inspiration? Try your hand at a bold photo effect like the one below.
In this tutorial, Abbey Esparza shows you how to add a punk-rock pop art vibe to your portraits in Adobe Photoshop. Learn how to create the perfect neon glow and how to bring more vibrancy and brightness to any portrait.
More Neon Color Tutorials
Excited to try your hand at these colors? Check out these amazing tutorials.
Will we ever grow tired of blue? Blue is a color you can feel and also design with. And the cobalt version refers to the extraordinary pure blue pigment discovered by chemists at the turn of the 19th century.
Cobalt Blue Inspiration
Cobalt blue was a favorite among legends like Vincent van Gogh. It also inspires a magical energy you might find in many neon-themed designs. Try out the one below for a cool text effect.
I’m a digital artist with a love of all things Photoshop. Check out my tutorials for great tips on digital painting, photo manipulation, and photo effects on Envato Tuts+! View all posts by Melody Nieves
2. Do Keyword Research to Plan Your Content Strategy
Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover specific words and sentences that users type in Google and other search engines to find the content they are looking for.
Normally, beginners just rely on their best guesses when creating content. As you can imagine, this strategy is a hit or miss.
If you use the “best-guess” strategy, then a lot of your articles will likely not do well in search engines. Simply because no one’s looking for the keywords you have used, or there is just too much competition for those keywords.
By doing proper keyword research, you will unlock the following benefits:
Discover actual search terms people are looking for
Find unique content ideas for popular search terms
Learn from your competitors and beat them with better content
Create a series of pillar-articles to drive steady traffic to your blog
Now the question is how do you actually do keyword research? Luckily, it is not as difficult as you would think.
There are a lot of free and paid tools that can help you do proper keyword research.
All you would have to do is enter a keyword, a competitors blog/website URL, or your own URL to find out more keyword ideas.
The most important thing that users and search engines look for is good quality content.
For a blog, a quality piece of content is usually a comprehensive article on a specific topic that covers all the details. This makes it extremely helpful for users.
These comprehensive articles are known as “pillar articles”. Other experts may refer to them as flagship content or cornerstone articles.
Basically, these are your most important articles. You need choose the most promising keyword and then provide as much information as you could in one long-form article.
You should create as many pillar articles as possible to cover all the important keywords in your industry.
Following are some tips that you should keep in mind when creating pillar content:
Pillar content could be any type of article. For example, a how-to guide, tutorial, comparison article, opinion piece, a listicle, and so on.
The difference between pillar content and other articles is that your pillar articles are more comprehensive and provide in-depth information on the topic.
Your pillar articles are not time-dependent. They are evergreen and always useful. Although we recommend keeping them updated with new information to stay on top of search results.
We will cover more tips later in this article that will help you create high-quality pillar articles to get more traffic from search engines.
5. Make Your Content Readable
As we mentioned earlier, search engines and users love longer and comprehensive articles that provide all the information they need.
Now the problem is that humans have a short attention span.
A slight difficulty in reading or understanding will put off your users, and they will leave without looking at all the useful information that you offered.
To solve this problem before it happens, you need to make all your content easy to read.
A good place to start would be to present your article in bite-size sentences using a friendly tone and lots of visuals.
Following are just some basic tips to make your content more readable and user-friendly.
Use smaller sentences and paragraphs. This leaves a lot of white space around text making it easier to look and read.
Try to improve typography by using more readable fonts, large font-size, and plenty of line spacing.
Check the readability score of your content. Yoast SEO comes with a built-in tool for that, you can also find tons of other online readability checkers
Use a grammar checker. We recommend using Grammarly, it not only checks grammar but actually helps you write better.
Use images, screenshots, videos, infographics, and other visual elements. These media elements make your article highly-engaging and easier to read.
6. Learn and apply the SEO basics to your Website
SEO is a set of best practices that help you make your website more search engine friendly. You don’t need to be an ‘SEO Guru’ to improve your website.
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can do SEO for their own websites without hiring an expert. There are plenty of SEO tools and plugins, free advice, and step by step tutorials available that you can use.
We recommend using Yoast SEO plugin for all WordPress websites. It is the most comprehensive SEO and website optimization tool. The free version includes all the SEO features that you will need on your website.
You can learn all you need to know about SEO, in our complete WordPress SEO guide for beginners. It includes step by step instructions, and it is the exact same SEO setup that we use on our own websites.
7. Learn to Write Great Headlines
When users find your content in search results or RSS feeds, the first thing they see is your article headline.
A catchy blog post title stands out and gets more clicks. Whereas a plain and boring headline gets ignored, and users are likely to scroll by it.
This makes headlines very important.
You need to learn how to write better titles for your blog posts that capture user attention and get more clicks.
Luckily, blogging experts have been doing research on headlines for a very long time, and you can benefit from their findings.
These are the basic building blocks of an effective headline:
A good headline triggers an emotional response (joy, surprise, shock, curiosity, fear, excitement, greed, and so on).
It offers users a reward and value
It promotes the content by including target keywords
Copywriters use power words to trigger emotional responses. They tell users why the article is valuable or what they will get from clicking on the headline.
Lastly, a good headline includes a call to action for users which is often subtle and sometimes implied.
Our team regularly uses these three tools to create better blog post titles and headlines.
8. Make Internal Linking a Routine Task
Now that you have started creating good content, it is important to link to your articles from your existing blog posts. This is called internal linking, and it plays a huge role in SEO.
Here is why internal linking is so important:
Internal links help Google understand the context and relationship between different articles on your website. It then uses this information as ranking signals.
Internal links, when placed strategically and in context, can help you increase page views and reduce bounce rate.
It is harder to ask third-party websites to link to your articles. It is way easier to create links on your own site.
We recommend making it a habit to link to your older articles from your new articles.
Because internal links play such an important role in SEO, we have even made it part of our pre-publish checklist for our writers.
9. Start Generating More Backlinks
A backlink is an incoming links to your content from an external website. Backlinks are one of the most influential signals in Google’s rankings.
Getting backlinks from reputable websites and blogs is very difficult. Not just for beginners, even experienced bloggers struggle with it.
Here are some tips to get quality backlinks to your website:
Reach out to influencers and reputable blogs in your industry, and then tell them about specific content on your website that they might want to link.
Write guest posts on other blogs and websites.
Interview influencers and bloggers on your blog. They will likely want to let their users know to come checkout their interview, and you’ll get a backlink.
The easiest way to get a backlink is to add a link to your website on all your social media profiles.
10. Add Images, Charts, Infographs to Create Visually Attractive Content
In step 5, we mentioned that adding images and charts to your articles make it more readable.
Since visual elements are so important, we believe they deserved their own spot on this list.
As human beings, our brain prefers visual elements. We love colors and objects because aesthetics trigger emotional responses in our brains. This makes us more engaged and immersed in our surroundings.
People love looking at infographics because they make information engaging and easy to consume.
Images in your blog posts grab user’s attention and help them focus on not just the visual element but also the text around it.
If you’re just starting out, then it’s important to know that you cannot just use any image you see on the internet. Images are protected by copyright and stealing copyrighted material can have serious consequences.
Ideally, you want to use your own images, graphics, and photographs, but not all bloggers are graphic designers or photographers.
Luckily, there are so many great resources to find royalty free images, and there are even tools that you can use to easily create your own graphics. Here are some helpful resources:
This gives you even more exposure as YouTube itself is the world’s second largest search engine, and a popular social media platform.
There are many ways to easily create video content for your website. Here are few that you can start with:
You can create slideshows of how to tutorials with voice over instructions
You can create screencasts
Record interviews with other bloggers and influencers in your industry
Become a vlogger by adding your own videos shot in selfie mode
For video editing, if you are using Mac, then iMovie is perfectly capable of performing basic video edits. Windows users can use free video editing software like Lightworks or Shotcut for basic editing.
12. Utilize User-Generated Content
User-generated content is basically any content generated on your website as a result of user activity. This includes comments, testimonials, guest posts, user reviews, and more.
User-generated content helps you bring more traffic to your website because it gives users multiple opportunities to participate and get involved.
Users are more likely to return, share, and even purchase from your website when they spend more time on it.
There are many different kinds of user-generated content that you can add. You need to choose what works best for your blog and start from there.
13. Keep Your Website Design Clean and Clutter Free
There are a lot of great WordPress themes available on the market. The problem is that many beginners want to use a theme with all the bells and whistles. These themes are not always the perfect design for your website.
Bad website design stops your users from spending more time on your blog which decreases your pageviews.
Whereas a good design helps them discover more content, explore different sections, and spend more time.
Numbers are brain candy. Share your social media counts, email list subscriber counts, and other numbers as social proof.
Don’t worry if your numbers aren’t as big as other successful blogs, they are still powerful social proof.
24. Monitor Social Media
People are asking questions all the time on social media websites like Twitter. Set up alerts to monitor keywords on social media and then jump into conversations to answer their questions with a link back to a relevant article on your website.
You can also monitor social media websites for your brand name, links, conversations, and more.
After you have started creating content and promoting it, you need to track how well each content is performing. Furthermore, which keywords is it ranking for.
You can do this with a tool called, Google Search Console. It is a free tool provided by Google that helps you see how your website is doing in Google Search. We have a complete Google Search Console guide that will teach you how to use this immensely powerful tool, like a Pro.
Next, you would want to monitor your competitor websites. Google Search Console will not tell you who is ranking higher than you and why.
For that, you’ll need tools SEMRush and Ahrefs. Using either of these tools, you can get detailed insights into your competitors, their top keywords, and what you need to do to outrank them.
26. Track Your Website Traffic and User Engagement
Now that you have started getting some traffic, you need to know where your users are coming from, and what they do when they are on your website. Without this data, you cannot evaluate your strategy or plan your next moves.
Knowing this data helps you double down on what’s working, and stop doing what’s not.
27. Continue Learning Online Marketing and SEO
These tips will help you increase your blog traffic and continue getting more subscribers.
However as your blog grows, you need to learn more ways to grow your business.
WPBeginner is the largest WordPress resource site. We regularly publish tutorials on online marketing and SEO. We have a YouTube Channel as well, where you can learn more about WordPress, growing your blog, and SEO.
OptinMonster Blog is another great resource that you would want to follow. OptinMonster is the best conversion optimization software on the market. Their blog is where they regularly publish articles on how to get more traffic, subscribers, and sales.
Google has introduced a new WordPress plugin which brings insights from Google tools to users’ dashboards.
Site Kit by Google allows users to access information in Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, and PageSpeed Insights from the WordPress admin panel.
“With Site Kit installed, WordPress users can access unified insights and Google product capabilities directly from the WordPress admin panel. Where it is helpful, Site Kit will also provide deep links into Google products for advanced reports and product configuration capabilities.”
Google will release Site Kit to beta testers in early 2019. Those who are interested in the plugin can sign up for the beta version here.
Site Kit doesn’t add any new insights that are not already available in Google’s tools, but it does make them easier to access.
For example, users can navigate to a page on their website and click on the Site Kit button in the admin panel to see stats for that specific page.
The plugin will also notify users when they’ve hit publishing milestones and show combined stats for the most recently published posts.
Google plans to expand Site Kit’s capabilities and integrations in the future based on feedback from beta testers.