Blog optimization is a term that gets thrown around often, but isn’t always explained. It’s no secret that blogging regularly is an important strategy in your business’ overall marketing tactics, but how do you know if you’re doing it right? This multi-part series will help you understand the how's and why's of optimizing your blog posts.
Keywords are critical for any blog post. Without them, search engines would have no idea what your post is about, meaning far fewer people would have the opportunity to read it. Since your blog’s primary goal is to get people to your website, it’s pretty imperative that users are able to find it via Google, Bing, etc. Below are some of the most common questions relative to keywords that will help get your blog posts to rank first!
How do I come up with keywords?
You know you need them to improve your search engine ranking, but how do you know which keywords are good keywords? Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there (we use HubSpot and KW Finder) to help you figure out which keywords to target. No matter what resource you’re using, make sure to look for the following things when determining keywords:
- Search volume (About how many people per week/month are searching for any given keyword?)
- Rank probability (What are your chances of ranking for a particular keyword?)
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC) (Roughly how much would each click cost if you were to create a Google ad around a keyword?)
- Current rank (Which keywords are you already ranking for?)
How many keywords should my blog post have?
One of the biggest misconceptions about blog optimization is that the more keywords you use, and the more times you repeat those keywords throughout your post, the better chance you have for your blog to rank well. This might have been effective when SEO was in its infancy, but today, that’s called keyword stuffing (and it can seriously harm your search engine rank).
To avoid this, choose between 1–3 keywords per blog post, and use them sparingly. (A good rule of thumb is to limit use of each keyword to no more than five times per post.) While they are important for ranking, it’s more important to make sure that keywords are integrated naturally into your writing. Luckily, search engines are smart enough to recognize that there is oftentimes more than one way to say something (e.g. “blog writing” and “writing blogs”).
What’s the difference between a short-tail and long-tail keyword?
There are two main types of keywords: short-tail and long-tail. The biggest difference between the two (not surprisingly) has to do with length. Short-tail keywords, like “marketing” or “business” are very general terms that have higher search volume, but are harder to rank for because they’re so broad. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are usually three to four words long, like “B2C email marketing” or “CRMs for small business.” Because they are more specific, less people are searching for these long-tail keywords. People searching for these terms also tend to be more qualified leads than those searching for short-tail keywords because you already know they’re looking for specific topics.
The type of keyword you pursue depends on your overall blogging goals. If you have a specific piece of content you’re promoting, stick to long-tail keywords to ensure a more targeted demographic. If your goal is simply to get as many views as possible, short-tail keywords are your best bet. (Of course, those are usually harder to rank for, so a mixture of short- and long-tail keywords is the most successful approach.)
Where do I need to use keywords?
The secret to using keywords for blog optimization is spacing them evenly throughout your post. Even though it might seem beneficial for your blog optimization efforts to use keywords constantly, that could actually end up hurting your blog optimization efforts.
(Did you catch what was wrong with that last paragraph?)
When it comes to keywords, the most important thing to remember is that they should sound natural within your post—not forced, like the above sample. While it’s easy to get caught up in trying to squeeze your keywords into your post, remember that you’re ultimately writing your blogs for the benefit of those interested in reading your content, not your keywords. Keywords are important, but if they are awkwardly placed or overused, you will end up hurting your blogging efforts rather than helping them.