Not long ago, Lee Oden wrote a book called Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing (affiliate link). It’s a top-notch book that’s packed with a variety of terrific tips on how to use digital media to grow your sales and revenues.
One of the areas that Lee focuses on is blogging. What follows is an excerpt from his book that provides tips on using keywords to drive more traffic to your blog. Enjoy the excerpt. And if you like this sample, be sure to check out Lee’s book.
Blogs are one of the most powerful publishing platforms that integrate the best of SEO, content marketing, and social media optimization. Comments, social shares, and integration with offsite social websites create compelling opportunities to engage readers and build a community.
Blog software such as WordPress makes it incredibly easy to organize content in a search- and social media-friendly way. From the blog name and tagline to categories, posts titles, and tags, there are abundant opportunities to provide readers and search engines with clear signals on what your content is all about.
Effective business blogging requires a commitment and a plan. After personally blogging for more than eight years, I can tell you it has been both challenging and rewarding, with the benefits far outweighing the costs in time and effort. Not only has blogging and search visibility of our agency blog resulted in numerous consulting engagements, speaking gigs, media coverage, and new employees, but it has led me to writing this book. Making it easy to discover your blog content through search and social media can have an incredible impact on your business, just as it did with mine.
Since keywords represent our attempt to empathize with customer interests through stories about our solutions, here’s a hit list for keyword placement with blogging. You’ll notice some similarities with some of the optimization principles we discussed earlier in the chapter.
- Blog name: It’s more important to have a memorable blog name than a keyword-rich blog name. If you can do both, it’s a bonus.
- Blog tagline: This text may be very similar to your meta description tag and offers a good opportunity to use the most important keyword phrase that is relevant for your overall blog.
- Logo alt text: The name of your blog, or the single most important keyword phrase, is appropriate here.
- Post titles: Blog post title tags should be written for search engines using the most important keyword first. The on-page title should be written for readers and to inspire social shares. For example,
- Title Tag: Kindle Fire Cases: 5 Reviews of Leather, Fabric & Plastic Cases for the Kindle Fire
- On-page Title: All New Kindle Fire Case Reviews! Find Out Which One Was Rated the Best
- Categories: Going by the top-level topics and target keywords in your content plan, create relevantly named categories.
- Body copy: Going by your content plan, write blog posts intentionally designed to focus on specific topics. You may want to use a more free-form style for train-of-thought posts, but consider the topics of interest to your target audience. Use keywords as a guide, not a mandate, for blog writing. In the end, your blog posts should not look “optimized,” just clear and easy to understand. Remember, you’re writing and optimizing for customers first, then search engines.
- Lists: Sidebar lists of other blogs, popular posts, popular comments, and similar information can be helpful for adding keyword representation to your template.
- Anchor text links: Use keywords when linking from one blog post to another. If the post you’re writing links to another web page or a previous blog post, the text used in that link should reflect the topic of the destination. For example, a blog post about widgets that links to another post about red widgets should use “red widgets” as the anchor text. If the page about red widgets is properly optimized, it will use “red widgets” in the title tag, on-page title, image alt text, and body copy.
- Tags: Not all blogs use tags. Some use categories instead of tags and some use tags in addition to categories. Tags represent a folksonomy of content organization for finding past blog posts. The usefulness of tags essentially equates to keywords. If a category of “widget reviews” is selected, the more specific “fabric widgets,” “leather widgets,” and “plastic widgets” might be the appropriate tags to use.
- Image alt text: Including images with a blog post is almost always a good idea. Images are powerful metaphors or complements to the text content and can also provide an opportunity to optimize. Alt text for an image should be specific to the image or to the most important keyword phrase for the blog post. Focus on specifics, and do not “stuff” multiple phrases or you’ll simply dilute the impact.
Excerpted from Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing by Lee Odden. Copyright (c) 2012 by Lee Odden. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers.