I’m a content manager; my background is in public relations with a little bit of marketing strategy and graphic design. I’m sitting here thinking, “What do I know about online optimization!?” I’m not a web design guru; I’m no software engineer or web developer.
And then it occurs to me, if I can get the basics done, like keyword research, I can easily optimize those blog posts I write by using a simple tool that is built into our WordPress dashboard, Yoast. I’m sure there are other SEO plugins that do similar things, but Yoast is the one I know so Yoast is the way it goes.
Now that you know my secret tool, here is a step-by-step guide to optimizing your blog posts:
Identify the keywords you’d like to optimize for. This process starts with a basic idea of what your organization (or your client’s) covers, and then you can dig down into the specific relevant phrases that people are using to search for your organization’s product or services.
Pick a focus. Don’t try to optimize one post for all of the keywords you’ve identified. Pick a few that correlate and make sense and then delegate the rest into groups of similar terms as well (those can be for your next post, and then the one after that.)
Write your post. Try to use the exact phrases that you’ve identified in your keyword search, without sounding forced. You don’t want optimizing your blog post to make it unreadable. For example, did you notice I have used a version of the word “optimize” four times already?
Proofread. This isn’t really necessary to optimize your blog post, but a personal preference that you ensure what you’re publishing makes sense. (Thanks!)
Tell the web what your post is! This is where Yoast comes in.
- Enter your focus keyword into the spot that says “Focus keyword.” This is the specific keyword or phrase that you used the most throughout the post.
- Write your SEO title. You might have an awesomely clever title, but if it doesn’t say what your post is about, your SEO won’t be as strong for your blog post. Use this space to write a title that is enticing and clear, and preferably that includes the focus keyword. This is what will show up in search results when someone does an online search for your keyword.
- Develop the meta description. This should have your focus keyword in it, and be in complete sentences. Typically, I like to copy a sentence or two that includes my keyword straight from the post. This is what will show up under your SEO title to give online searchers more information about your post. It should be short, sweet and to the point.
Make sure you get the “green light” on your SEO check provided by Yoast. If you don’t, go back and identify the places that can be improved.
The plug-in will show you if your keyword is being used in each of these places for maximum optimization:
- Article heading
- Page Title
- Page URL
- Meta Description
If you’ve included your keyword in all of these places, you’ll get an SEO green light.
Green light means go!
Publish and share!
Here are some bonus tips to ensure your blog post is optimized to its max potential:
- Use your target keyword more than once.
- Incorporate your target keyword into your URL.
- Include an image that has your target keyword in the “alt text.”
- Pin that image as the “featured image.”
- Link to other blog posts on your site and/or link to other influencers’ content (they will get a pingback to notify them that their content is being shared).
- Apply relevant tags and categories to your post.
- If you can, use your target keyword in a heading somewhere in your post.
So I’m not an SEO expert or web development guru, but with a little research and help from a plug-in, I can optimize my blog posts with the big guns. Do you have any other tips or best practices to share for optimizing posts?