One of the best ways to keep getting traffic for your oldest/earliest posts is to make them search engine friendly.
In the long run, only search engines can help you to get traffic from old posts.
In this article, I will share some tips for writing SEO-optimized articles that will rank better in search engines.
I run multiple blogs and we have several authors working day and night to keep these sites updated with fresh, quality content.
Sometimes, however, quality can drop (which usually happens due to a lack of knowledge).
Every blog post is like a web page in terms of search engine ranking and you can optimize each post with specific keywords for search engines.
When writing these SEO articles, there are several things that you should keep in mind.
Whenever I hire a new author to work on one of our blogs, I have to give them manual inputs and checklists to help them to write better articles. Apart from selecting topics, there is a complete SEO checklist that must be followed.
(Note: I used to send this information out in an email to all the authors in my blog network. So I thought it would be a good idea to compile all of this information into a post. This way, ShoutMeLoud readers will also benefit from this information and learn how to write SEO articles as well.)
Also note that in this post I will not be covering keyword research as keyword research requires a detailed post of its own.
For more on keyword research, check out:
- The Importance Of Keywords In SEO: A Beginner’s Guide
- SEMrush: A Practical Guide For Growing Blog Traffic
- Best Keyword Research Tools For SEO: 2016 Edition
Writing SEO-Optimized Articles:
1. Post Title and Meta Title
First, you need to understand the difference between post title and meta title.
- Post title: How your reader sees the title of the post on your website.
- Post meta title: How search engines show your post in search results.
If you have not specified a meta title in your SEO settings, your post title will be treated as the meta title.
- It is important to have your keywords in the meta title.
You can read more about this here:
- How To Optimize A Post Title For Readers And Search Engines
Pro Tip: Keep your post titles less than 66 characters.
2. Post Meta Description
All of the most popular SEO plugins allow you to add meta descriptions to a post. These descriptions play a major role in search engine ranking.
Think of a meta description as a sales copy for your blog post:
- In 156 characters, you need to add your keywords and create a description that is seductive enough for users to click on it.
If you have not added meta descriptions in the past, you should start doing it immediately.
Meta descriptions are very important.
You should go back to any of your previously published posts which do not have a meta description and add one.
By optimizing your post meta descriptions, you are ensuring that every post you write has the potential to drive a maximum amount of traffic to your site.
Google sees every blog post as a different web page so you can rank every post for certain keywords.
Meta descriptions are great places to put keywords.
3. Image Alt Attribute
Google can’t read images.
- Text is how Google recognizes an image.
To ensure that search engines can understand what an image is about, you must be sure to use proper image names.
Many people make the mistake of uploading images with names like image001.jpg.
- This is a huge mistake!
When naming an image, keep the name relevant to image itself.
For example, if you take a screenshot of an AdSense dashboard, and you name the image “AdSense”, it will not be targeted. Instead, you need to use a name like “AdSense-dashboard”.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, we use an effective plugin called SEO Friendly Image which uses the image name as its “alt (alternate text) attributes”. This way, when people search for an image at Google Image Search, they will land on an image in one of our blog posts.
If you choose to not use such a plugin, you can always manually add alt attributes when you upload an image.
I have seen positive results when using keywords in image anchor text (when naming an image), so you should at least use keywords in your image alt text.
4. Interlink and Anchor Text
When writing a new post, it’s always a good idea to link back to old blog posts so that readers will stick around your site for longer and also so that search engines can re-crawl these old posts.
This helps in better navigability of your site which reduces the bounce rate- another important SEO factor.
When you interlink, you should use the anchor text technique.
Simply put, when you link to a blog post, you see an option to add a link and a title.
Make sure to fill out the post title with the main keywords for the post that you are linking to.
At ShoutMeLoud, we also use a plugin called SEO Smart Links for automatic internal linking.
5. Permalinks: Remove stop words
When we write a post, our post titles usually come with lots of stop words.
(For a comprehensive list of stop words: Go here and here.)
So for example, when we write a post with the title:
- 3 Ways to Make a Blog Business Plan
Our post permalink, by default, would be:
“To” and “a“ are stop words in the example above.
You can click on edit permalink and change the permalink to “blog-business-plan”, thus eliminating the stop words.
- Important Note: Never change your post permalink once the post is published.
6. H1, H2, H3 Headings
We use the Thesis post styling feature to create the style of our blog posts.
This is fine, but we must not ignore one of the most important aspects of SEO:
- Using proper H1, H2, and H3 heading tags.
By default, in any SEO-optimized theme, the post title uses an H1 heading tag. So for the next sub-heading, you can use an H2 heading, and then an H3 heading, and so on.
It is always a good idea to use proper heading tags for effective SEO writing, especially when you are writing a long post.
Please refer to this post and this post for a better understanding of how to use heading tags within blog posts.
According to the SEO community, it’s a good idea to use your keywords in H1, H2, and H3 tags.
- Post title for readers & meta title for search engine (keywords in titles).
- Post meta description (optimize it for better CTR and use your target keyword once).
- Image Alt text (use keyword).
- Interlink within a post using good anchor text.
- Post permalink (remove stop words from permalink).
- Use proper heading tags (keywords in H1, H2, H3 tags).
For more SEO article writing tips, check out:
- How Outbound Links Improve Your Blog’s Authority & Ranking
- LongTailPro Review: The Best Keyword Research Tool?
- On Page SEO Techniques To Rank On First Page: 2016 Edition
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