Google. It serves our every search. Indulges our every inquiry. And even follows us where we go (on the internet of course). It even crawls brands’ sites and the content they produce: blogs, whitepapers, articles, webpages, websites, etc. so that it knows what to serve consumers when they search. So, what can your brand do to make sure Google ranks you favorably? Here are six SEO best practices every blog should have:
A focus keyword (or phrase)
If you search for the “top 10 things you should pack on your camping trip,” you expect just that—the best results that fit your inquiry. But how does Google know? It looks for an SEO focus keyword. What’s that? Well, a target SEO focus keyword is a specific word or phrase that the article is focused on and used both frequently and relevantly throughout.
Additional recommendations to strengthen your focus keyword strategy:
- Include the focus keyword in the title of the article
- Include it in the meta description
- Mention it in the first paragraph of the article
- Use a focus keyword on one page only—the page you want it to rank for
- Include it in the title tag of the web page (for example: how it appears on Google)
Incorporate it naturally throughout the article
A meta description
When you are looking for a new book to read, you want to know what you’re getting yourself into. Is this book going to be adventurous, romantic, etc.? So you read the back cover to get a quick synopsis. Think of your meta description as your blog’s synopsis. What is the quick summary of your blog content?
Recently, the meta description length requirement has increased. Previously descriptions were 150 characters or less. Today it’s advised that meta descriptions be 155-300 characters in length.
An image with alt text
If your content is supported with an image (and it should be), don’t forget to include the focus keyword in the alt text. Why? Google even reads your image alt text – and looks for that keyword your blog is focusing on.
Links (internal and external)
While there is some debate whether you should include external links, Google still likes to see one external link to add credibility to your work. Having at least one external link shows Google that your work was researched. It also finds blog content more favorable when it includes an internal link on your site as well.
Backend programming: Updating the URL and SEO title
A lot of what Google looks for is in the programming of your blog. The backend sections that require SEO titles, SEO description and updating the post’s URL.
- SEO title – Google recommends this include the focus keyword and run about 50-60 characters long.
URL – Google recommends the post URL use the focus keyword. (Again? Yes, that’s right.)
At least 300 words
This rule changes about as often as the weather in Michigan, but the general rule is to keep content at or above 300 words. This is the sweet spot for Google’s scanners to see how effectively and organically the focus keyword is used.
Now that you know the SEO best practices every blog should have, you can start implementing them. Need more blog help? Read the 5 tips for better business blogging.