You're a dedicated inbound marketer putting already strapped time and resources into creating content for your blog on a regular basis. And you deserve to get as much return as possible on that investment. But did you know there are some things you can do on top of creating remarkable content that will make those blog posts work even harder for you? Alone, each one of these things may not seem like much; but together, they add up to a powerhouse punch that will bring a blog post from good to great.
These blog post add-ons only take a little bit of time, but they will make your blog content infinitely friendlier to both search engines and readers. Next time you write a blog post, take a little extra time to polish it up with these 16 tips that will make your blog perform better with more visibility and reader engagement.
1.) Include internal links with relevant phrases. Internal linking refers to linking to another page on your own website. If you're trying to drive traffic and rankings for a certain page on your website, internal linking relevant phrases in your blog posts can help you in those efforts. It can also help move readers through to other parts of your website, increasing their time on site and the probability that they'll engage in a conversion event. Just be sure that whatever you're linking to is relevant to the anchor text you select, or you'll have some misled and annoyed readers on your hands!
2.) Insert calls-to-action. You've heard it a million times. Site traffic alone doesn't drive leads and customers! You need to convert that traffic using enticing calls-to-action (CTAs). And each blog post should be considered an opportunity to do that. Your CTAs can be buttons on the side or bottom of your blog post, or embedded within the content of your blog as text links.
3.) Optimize your title. The title of your blog post is one of its most important aspects from a search engine optimization standpoint. Include the keyword phrase you're targeting in the blog post, preferably near the beginning of the title. Alternately, you should optimize your title for higher click-through rate, crafting a title that is so exciting that everyone just has to read it!
4.) Ensure you're using header tags within the content. Header tags are element of your blog post that search engines will crawl and analyze for keyword inclusion. See the bold orange title in this blog post? It's written with a header tag! Not only is this good for your SEO, but it also helps visually break up the blog post for humans, making the reading experience more palatable.
5.) Format content for readability. Since we're on the subject of a pleasurable reading experience, make sure to continue the process of formatting your blog post beyond just header tags. Find opportunities to break up large chunks of text so readers aren't overwhelmed. Bullets and numbers are the easiest way to do this, but you can also include multiple header tags that break up your post into sections.
6.) Insert research and data points. Read your finished blog post. Are there any statements that could be made clearer or more persuasive with data points to back them up? If you haven't already, start a running list of research resources and data points to which you can refer to make this process more expedient for future blog posts.
7.) Add tweet links to interesting data. Once you've found those interesting pieces of data to insert in your blog post, add a tweet link to it! A tweet link is a link you can insert into your blog post that allows users to easily and quickly tweet something you've written with a ready-made tweet that includes your copy and a link back to the blog post. This helps get your content shared on social media to people you wouldn't have otherwise reached, and by extension, drives more traffic.
8.) Include social sharing buttons. Did you know that including social sharing buttons leads to 7X more mentions? (Tweet This Stat! See what we did there?) Extend your reach beyond just Twitter, and include social sharing buttons for LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and any other social media sites on which you participate. If you're not sure how to create social sharing buttons, this cheat sheet will walk you through the process step by step.
9.) Include social subscription buttons. If your content is great, people will want to follow you on other social networks, too. Let them do that right from your blog with social subscription buttons, which you can learn how to make in this social sharing buttons how-to guide.
10.) Tag your posts. Tag your blog content with the keywords that best describe the focus of your blog posts. But beware of over-tagging. Tagging is one way for readers and crawlers to identify and categorize your blog posts, and tagging with too many keywords is not only confusing, but it can also lead to duplicate content issues. If you haven't done so already, sit down and brainstorm a list of the tags you're going to use on your blog. Refer and stick to that list whenever you tag posts going forward, and go back and re-tag content that doesn't fit into that list.
11.) Categorize and archive content by topic, not date. How will people search for content on your blog -- keyword phrase, or the date it was published? This seems like a no-brainer, but it happens all too often. Don't archive your content by month; use the tags you've created to organize your blog content based on topic so readers can find more information about the subjects that interest them.
12.) Write meta data. While meta data has diminished in SEO importance, the meta title is still read by crawlers, and the meta description is still read by searchers. This meta data is also pulled into social media when people share your content on sites like Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Write an optimized meta title that includes important keyword phrases near the front of the title, and write compelling copy for your meta description that makes a reader want to click through to your content.
13.) Proof for grammar, spelling, and wordiness. A spelling mistake or two happens to even the best writers. It's just the nature of the content creation beast. But posts riddled with spelling and grammar errors look plain unprofessional, and your content will lose all authority. Ask a trusted friend or co-worker to review your blog posts before publishing them. They will catch the things your eyes have started glossing over after a few reads. You should also ask them to delete extraneous copy. The more succinct your content, the more likely readers will stick around and read it for longer.
14.) Insert optimized images. Readers respond well to visuals, so make an effort to include at least one image in your blog content. It also makes content more attractive when shared socially, as the image can show up as a preview on social networks. Make sure you include image alt text when you upload your picture so search engines can crawl and index it, too. You can use Creative Commons licensed images to avoid pricey stock photography charges.
15.) Include an author byline. People like to talk to other people, so it makes sense that successful content is often a bit personal. Associate a name with your content by including an author byline so readers know who is writing. You can even link to their social media profiles, include pictures, or link to an author bio if you like! It's also important to note that because of the constant Google+ search updates, not only are social media results beginning to return more frequently in search engines...actual author pages and user posts are returning in results, too!
16.) Optimize your URL architecture. The structure of your URL should include a slug at the end with the title of your blog post. But did you know the slug that is generated for you by most blogging tools doesn't need to read exactly as your title does? Search engines consider the contents of your URL when determining the relevancy of your page; optimize that slug to include the keywords for which you're trying to rank.