keywords

Quit Blogging if You Don’t Use These 10 SEO Tips [Part 2 of 2]

We took a long break there but now we're back to finish off our list of 10 can't-live-without SEO tips for bloggers. This is the second of a two-part series.

Tip #6: Tagging and Naming Images

When web audits are run on new clients at Search Engine Savvy, it is not uncommon for over 1,000 images to be flagged as missing titles and alt text.

As you blog over the years, omitting information for one or more photos per post adds up.

The best thing to do is to add alt text, a title, and use proper naming protocols every time you add a photo.

We could use this photo of a horse with yellow hair, taken by me, as an example for what to write for each.

blogging-tips-horse-example

File Name

It's tempting to accept the default names given to photos as they are uploaded from your camera to your computer, but resist the urge. Search engines crawl files names for keywords in addition to crawling titles and alt text.

For our horse above, a good file name could be:

blogging-tips-horse-example.jpg

Title

The title can usually be seen when you hover your mouse over an image. This should work if you hover over the horse image above.

Titles should be catchy and descriptive and follow the rules most titles do. Additionally, keywords should be included.

For our horse:

Yellow Haired Horse Teaches Image Tagging Guidelines

Alt Text

Alt text displays when the image doesn't and is also used for the visually impaired to help describe the image. For SEO purposes, the alt tag is relied upon heavily by search engines to determine what the image is.

When creating alt  text, include keywords, why the photo is included, and a good description. Keep alt text to about 150 characters.

Photo of horse with yellow hair for image tagging example.

Tip #7: Hook Your Readers in the First Paragraph

Sure, there are some visitors who are only skimming headers. But there are some who are there to read the whole post.

Here are 5 techniques to use in the first paragraph of a blog post to hook the readers and possibly a skimmer or two as well.

1. Identify a Want and Fulfill It

The holiday season is in full swing and before hanging your exterior holiday lights, follow these tips so your home is the talk of the neighborhood!

(From a Free Contractor Quotes Company)

2. Create an Interesting Image

"There's little better way to celebrate the bounty of early summer or to nourish your body than with a bright and beautiful salad.  Enter the Strawberry and Pickled Beet Salad...."

(From an Organic Skincare Company)

3. Pull a U-Turn Mid-Sentence

Virginia may be a Southern state, but some winters leave Northern Virginia residents wondering if they really live in the Arctic Circle.

(From an HVAC Company)

4. Share Ground Breaking News

On its fifteenth birthday, September 26, Google shook up the SEO world once again...

(From an SEO Company)

5. Pique Their Curiosity

It’s not often that Ed Schultz and Mark Levin agree on something. But when it comes to Chris Christie, they both agree that he is a terrible human being.

(From a Republican Pundit)

Tip #8: Use <H2> Tags and Make Posts Skimmable

Author Steph McGuinn holding up a sign: People Have Short Attention Spans

Header tags, specifically <H2> tags are important for two reasons:

1. Headers provide Google crawlers with information.

Headers are used by crawlers to decipher what the post is about.

2. Headers help readers skim your post.

Let's be honest people have short attention spans when it comes to reading on the web, so it's best to write in sections with each subject labels with a header.

Tip #9: Make the Content *Really* Useful to your Target Audience

Define your target audience and determine what would be useful to them. Also base what tone, language, and photos you include on who the audience is.

Ryan Homes has a blog called Bedrooms to Backyards that makes a perfect example. Bedrooms to Backyards is divided into parts that directly correlate with target audiences:

Screenshot of Ryan Homes blog with useful content categories.

  1. "Savvy Homebuying" => home buyers with a DIY mindset
  2. "Money Sense" => home buyers on a budget
  3. "True Style" => first or second time home buyers
  4. "Keeping House" => first or second time home buyers
  5. "Living Green" => eco friendly home buyers

Tip #10: Use Keywords Responsibly

KeywordExampleWhatNotToDo

It can be easy to fall into a keyword happy state of mind when blogging for SEO. The best way to rank for keywords in our post Penguin/Panda/Hummingbird world is to create a separate landing page for each keyword and make them truly useful and relevant.

As you blog, here are some Dos and Don'ts.

Keywords Dos

  • DO use your keyword in your SEO title, meta description, body text, tags, and alt text.
  • DO make sure your keywords make sense everywhere they are used.
  • DO keep keywords to 2-4 words.

Keyword Don'ts

  • DO NOT use your keyword in nonsensical sentences (like the picture above).
  • DO NOT use one keyword more than a few times in your post.
  • DO NOT use stop words because search engines ignore them.

Now, GO GET 'EM

Congratulations! You're now armed with enough basic SEO knowledge to write an interesting, easy-to-read blog, that is optimized for search engines. So now it's time to get out there and blog like you've never blogged before!

Follow Steph McGuinn on Twitter, @HeartBuzzAgency.

Is Getting Traffic to Your Blog as Difficult as Getting This Dog to Take a Bath?

If yes, then this post is for you.

Whether you're just starting a blog or you have been writing one for years, here are 4 strategies to get more traffic.

1. Reconsider Your Target Audience

Could the audience you have been targeting be saturated? Is it time to think of another group of individuals to start targeting and go a little more easy on your current group?  Or it could be that you have yet to target an audience?

Targeting an audience is important because in order to properly market content, you must first understand who you are marketing to and how to reach their influencers. You will also be able to learn which social platforms they are using and what types of language, videos, and photos are best to engage them.

2. Use Your Social Networks

Once you determine who your target audience is, you can set up accounts on social networks for you blog, or rework accounts you already have to better speak to your audience. Don't be afraid to explore newer platforms like Vine or Wanelo. By the way, staying up to date on the latest trends in social networks isn't a bad idea either. Make sure you're plugged into a few good blogs that will keep you updated.

3. Make Friends Who Are "Link Buddies"

What I call "link buddies" are people who you have connected with online or in person who are willing to promote your content through their networks. Usually these are relationships that take time to build. Just remember the golden rule when working on these relationships: Treat others the way you want to be treated. (I.E. Link to their content!)

4. Use Keywords

Yes, this is SEO 101, but are you overlooking it? Write blog posts using the keywords people are using to search on that topic. Keywords should appear in the blog title and throughout the body of the blog. Need help figuring out what people are typing into Google to search? Set up an AdWords account and use the Keyword Planner.

In closing, if your blog traffic needs a boost, take a second look at your audience and review content marketing strategies like social networks, link buddies, and keywords. Have more to add? Please comment below!

Follow Steph McGuinn on Twitter, @HeartBuzzAgency.