Like all writing, creating an effective blog post is a skill. If people enjoy your content, they’re more inclined to like, share, tweet, or link to your post. You can help readers understand the main points of your post by using headings, subheadings, and clearly marked sections. Unfortunately, that alone won’t guarantee a high search engine ranking.
Google’s ranking algorithm remains a mystery to many bloggers. In this post, we’ll share inside tips and lessons from our own experience. Here are 10 things you should do right now on your blog to improve SEO and appear higher in search results.
Add More Text to Existing Content
Long-form content ranks better, especially if your page is already listed in search results. Take advantage by expanding pages where you’re already seeing some success.
First, identify existing content that’s ranking on the second or third page of Google’s search results. Content that’s already ranking can be easily optimized for the first page. You can identify these pages with Google Search Console. Calculate the word counts for each of these pages. Add more relevant text to any pages with a word count below 1,000.
Create More Engaging Content
Google considers bounce rate as an important ranking signal. The fewer people that leave your site without viewing more than one page, the better your ranking is. Make your content more engaging to encourage visitors to interact further with your site. Here are some simple ways to maintain your audience’s interest and attention:
Break long paragraphs into shorter ones, using a few focused sentences. Each sentence should connect with the others using “power phrases” to create a natural flow of ideas. Power phrases grab your reader’s attention while making the shifts and intent of your argument clear. For example:
You might be wondering…
On the other hand…
But that’s just part of the story…
Did you know…
ii) Add images in your content. Relevant images enhance content in many ways. They can break an extended section of text into multiple easy-to-read sections. Images visually illustrate your thoughts and immediately connect with the majority of readers who’ll likely just scan through your page before committing to read.
iii) Include embedded media like videos. A visitor who doesn’t read your article but spends two minutes or more on your page watching an embedded YouTube video is just as valuable as one who reads through your entire content in two minutes. Google will consider both of them highly engaged.
Steal Your Competitor’s Leads
This is especially useful if you have a strong competitor. Most consumers shop around before actually making a purchase decision, and many drop out of the buyer’s journey while simply searching for alternatives to the product they want. Create comparison content around the keyword “[competitor name] alternative” for all your major competitors. This strategy will give you access to some high-converting leads.
Add ‘Freshness’ to Old Content
Google rewards fresh content, but writing appealing new content regularly is tough. However, you can also update older content with some relevant text or images and republish it. On most CMS platforms, the publication date resets for republished content, which in turn reflects in Google search results.
Use Shorter, User-Friendly URLs
Keyword relevance in a page’s URL is a known ranking factor. Many bloggers fill their URLs with long-chain keywords, making them overly complex and unreadable. In actuality, Google only considers the first four or five words in a URL as a ranking signal. Avoid keyword stuffing and create meaningful, short URLs for better rankings. Brands that use shortened URLs with a unique “vanity domain” receive about 25% more clickson social.
Migrate to HTTPS platform
HTTPS is a vital ranking signal for Google. It provides your user with a feeling of trust and security. Users are more inclined to read and believe content when it comes from a secure, trusted website.
Improve Site Speed
Site speed is another Google ranking factor, as it greatly affects user accessibility and experience. Page speed is even more essential now that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches. On slower mobile connections, pages usually take more time to load than on desktop.
You can evaluate your site’s speed using Google’s PageSpeed tool and take corrective action if you’re lagging behind. If you have static content on your site, it’s better to use a CDN (Content Distribution Network) that serves content to end users from high-availability and high-performance servers deployed in multiple data centers globally.
Templatize Your Content
According to a study by HubSpot, businesses with 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than businesses with 51-100 indexed pages. But hiring a team of competent writers to create a larger volume of content may be cost-prohibitive.
One solution is to create a few structured templates and use them recurrently to produce new content for your site. You can plan templates for blog posts, infographics, case studies, and more. Researching and identifying relevant data for case studies and other types of content can be time-consuming, but such tasks can easily be outsourced rather than hiring a full-time writer.
Creating Niche Content
In-depth content on a specialized topic can outrank broad-topic content from a stronger content marketer. If you routinely create detailed, appealing content for a particular industry, it’s not very difficult to beat your bigger competitor in the ranking game.
Create Your Outreach Plan
To effectively distribute your content and build backlinks, you need a strong outreach strategy. You should look for high-authority bloggers or journalists in your industry to talk about your content. This process usually has three steps:
i) Finding prospects.
ii) Looking up their email addresses.
iii) Sending outreach emails.
Outreach is easy if you create, test, and curate your best-converting cold email templates.
Improving your blog content’s ranking in search engines can seem like a daunting task. But in our experience, a few minor changes to your content length, freshness, site speed, and user experience can go a long way toward getting your content to the top of the search results page. LXRSEO is one tool that can help by grading your pages and streamlining your SEO process with a built-in SEO Checklist and Task Manager.