I’m currently very much an advocate of using this time we have been given wisely. On a personal level, that has meant spending a fortune on Amazon buying kitchen gadgets to help me venture into more complex recipes and baking. That may not be all that wise, but cooking helps me relax, so my bank balance will just have to deal with it.
On a B2B marketing level, I think now is a great time, not just for Inflowing and our clients, but for everyone, to focus on doing proactive things you might not have had time to do otherwise. Whether that’s reviewing the tactics you’re using, coming up with new content plans or working on your website, there’s a lot you could be doing to move your marketing forward.
I originally had this piece of content slated to help guide you in your weekly or monthly creation of blog posts, as a sort of checklist you could go through to make sure each and every one was optimised. Current circumstances taken into consideration, I know many of you will have a blog full of content which you haven’t necessarily looked at through an SEO lens before. And guess what, you’ve got time to do it now!
With that in mind, here is a quick guide to optimising your old blog posts – to squeeze as much value out of them as possible – and some pointers for making sure all of your future blog posts are tip-top from an SEO perspective.
Step 1 – pick your worst performers
Ideally, each and every single one of your blog posts should tick all of the SEO boxes. But let’s face it, if an existing blog post is already ranking of its own accord, and highly at that, far be it from me to suggest you start fiddling with it now. For that reason, with this exercise you should prioritise optimising old blog posts that are dragging their heels a little.
Review Google Analytics, take a view of say the last year, and look for posts that have noticeably less traffic than the rest. You can then prioritise ones which you think will actually be of value.
As much as it’s a shame that your “Christmas jumper day 2018” post didn’t get much traffic, I really don’t think ranking number one for that particular keyword is going to deliver much value to your business. Unless you sell Christmas jumpers.
Step 2 – it’s all about the keywords
Chances are, if you’re having to go back and optimise old blog posts, SEO and keywords weren’t necessarily front of mind when they were originally written. The way we inbound marketing mavericks usually approach content planning is to seek out keywords which are relevant to a business, get a decent level of monthly search traffic and are relatively easy to rank for. We then shape content plans around these keywords, building blog titles around them.
You’re going to need to reverse engineer this one a little. Take a look at some of your existing blog posts, and pull out the relevant services or customer challenges – you could even try looking at the title or part of the title. Plug those into a tool like Google Ads or Ubersuggest to get an idea of which keyword presents the best opportunity for targeting with that particular blog post.
Your business sells envelopes. You’ve previously written a blog article called “Selecting the right envelope for your business needs”, which is largely about different envelope sizes. Looking at keyword data, you discover that “business envelope sizes” has a monthly search volume of 20, and with 27,900,000 search results on Google, it is relatively easy to rank for. You then optimise that blog for “business envelope sizes”.
How would you go about doing that? Well I’m going to tell you now.
Step 3 – optimise!
This is the nitty gritty. Once you’ve found your blog post, it’s time to dig in and optimise. Public Service Announcement – if you’re using WordPress or another CMS with similar functionality, now is a good time to engage a free service like the Yoast SEO plugin, which will check all of the below for you. If you’re not using a CMS and this isn’t available to you, follow the below steps.
Even if you have access to a tool like Yoast, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the below and understand why you’re being asked to do certain things.
- Keyword density – best practice suggests that you should aim for a keyword density of 0.5-3% in your blog posts, meaning that the number of times your keyword or related phrases are mentioned is 0.5-3% of the total word count. Make sure these are as naturally occurring as possible and distributed throughout the post, but you should also try to include the keyword in the first paragraph.
- Article title – you should include the keyword, in full, in the article title.
- Subheadings – it’s good practice to break up your content with subheadings anyway as it makes it easier to digest, but they’re also another opportunity for optimisation. Try to include keywords, partial keywords and keyword variations throughout the post as subheadings. When you are uploading your blog post to your website, make sure these are formatted with <h2> tags. If you’re using a CMS, this should be a click of a button, if not, you may need to manually code. Read more here.
- Interlinking – it’s good practice to include links to other pages and posts on your site where possible. It also helps to link to external sources, preferably from high-quality sites (as I did above with the W3 schools link). This all helps to improve the authority of your site and your relevancy to your target keyword and related keywords. You should add links related to your services and products to internal pages and posts as well as external pages where possible.I would probably say to keep it looking natural, aim for no more than 8 links per post.
- Meta titles – make sure a meta title is set for your post which includes the keyword and is within 50-60 characters. If you’re using a CMS you can easily do this using a plugin, but if not, here’s a bit more information on the code required.
- Meta descriptions – make sure your blog post has a meta description. I’ve gone into mega detail in this post about how to optimise them, but here are the main points to remember: make your content sounds engaging, include a CTA, and keep it within 160 characters.
- Image alt tags – this is more about accessibility than it is about optimisation – but it’s best practice to add alt tags to any images in your blog post. Try and include keywords if you can, but they should largely be descriptive of the image. Again, dead easy using a WYSIWIG editor, but here’s some more info should you need to do anything manual.
Step 4 – review and refine
Following the checklist in step 3 should set you about right for getting your old blog posts ranking. But as with anything involving search engines, there are many other factors involved here, so it’s important to review the effects of your activity and refine your approach going forward if necessary. Once you have a good idea of what works, you can largely take this into future blog posts – but it’s important to remember that each keyword and it’s potential competitive landscape is different, so regular reviews of your content’s performance are advised
Our SEO experts can optimise blog posts in their sleep – but it’s not second nature to everyone. If you’d like any more advice or guidance on optimising blog posts or SEO in general – get in touch.