SEO FAQs For Bloggers – Ace The Optimization Process – II
Well, you wouldn’t want wasted efforts on your recurrent pieces of work. Would you?
But guess what?
Without the search engine optimization of your blogs, they sure are a classic example of wasted efforts. With no ranking at all (in case you forgot, this is the mantra of SEO’s existence!), try and have people read what you created for them.
In our previous post on the same topic, we came up with a long FAQs list for Blog’s SEO. These were the main topics we covered in the post with the help of almost everything bloggers (or wannabes) have been asking Google:
In case you are worried, the post didn’t only have questions but answers too.
Today, we’d cover a lot more SEO topics important for Blogs and bloggers. Our goal is to help every blogger out there to know the best practices of Blog SEO Optimization. You’d also find many SEO tips and expert recommendations on improving your blog SEO.
So let’s dive in to find the missing part of the answer to the question of “How to SEO a blog”?
What is a meta description?
Meta-description – a summary of your content on a page – is an important meta-tag. When search engines display results in SERPs, your meta-description often makes it to the results snippet.
Are they important for SEO?
Since they communicate the idea of content to the searchers, a well-written, properly keyword-optimized meta-description making to the snippets helps increase the click-through rate.
What else do you want for your blogs from SEO?
What is the appropriate length of Meta-description?
A good meta-description conveys the idea of the content well, which calls for some description. Whatever the length of your meta-description is, Google would only show 155-160 characters in the snippets.
So, while you can definitely keep it longer, the best practices call for keeping them within limits.
How to write a meta-description (best practices)?
Here’s what you should take care of while drafting a meta-description:
- Meta-description should clearly reflect the idea of your blog.
- Explain the benefits of your content in meta-description.
- Address people, not spiders (Google search engine owns many).
- Each meta-description should have a naturally-incorporated primary keyword.
- The earlier your keyword comes in the meta-description, the better.
- Meta-description for each page should be unique.
- Preferably include a call to action that tempts the searchers to click on your result.
Check out the meta-description of this post on meta-descriptions.
Why should you use headings in blog posts?
- Headings highlight the main idea of the entire content. They make your content skimmable with a complete preview.
- They organize and structure the whole content.
- Better structure and comprehensive previews save the readers time – as they can conveniently skip to what they want.
- They also make your copy more appealing and better readable and digestible.
Collectively, all these factors lead to improving the SEO for blogs.
What is an SEO Title Tag?
SEO title tag or your SEO title is the piece you write for the search engine (the title of your content for the search engine).
Often confused with H1 (main title), they are (and should be) different.
How many H tags can you have?
There are a total of 6 Heading tags ranging from H1 – H6.
Your highest heading is H1, as you should have guessed already. As you dig deeper into your content, you can use different lower subheadings at each level.
For a better understanding of their organization and structure, look at the following chart.
As a good SEO practice for your blogs, experts recommend using only one H1. As you keep dividing the subject in further headings, you can have many other H tags.
How to use headings in your content?
Following are the best practices to use headings in your content:
- Start with H1.
- Use H1 only once.
- Divide your content effectively to give it a good structure with the six levels of headlines.
- Incorporate your focus keyword, preferably in the higher-level headings.
- Create a separate sub-heading for every sub-topic.
- Do not write more than 300 words under one heading (divide into more headings if you have more content to cover).
- To maintain the structure well, do not skip any level of headings to use the lower level. For instance, using H4 directly after H2 won’t be a good idea.
- Use questions in your headers to optimize for featured snippets.
- Draw attention by highlighting benefits in your headings.
What should be the length of your SEO Title?
As per the latest updates, Google fully displays a title tag within the length of 55-60 characters. Above this length, the title in your snippet would be truncated.
Interestingly, an incompletely displayed title in desktop searches could be entirely displayed in mobile search results.
Because, while Google displays the title tag on desktop results in one line only, it shows two lines for mobile searches.
What are the internal links?
When you use a hyperlink pointing from one page to another within the same domain, you call it an internal link.
In the layman’s language, when one page of your website is linked to another page of the same site, they are said to be internally linked.
What are the benefits of internal links?
Here’s why you should internally link your content:
- They allow for easy navigation
- They make your website structured, which results in easier crawling by search engines and better ranking.
- Using the power of accurate internal links, you can pass the link equity to more valuable pages.
- You don’t randomly link just anything but highly related material. That’s how they help validate your notions!
- By directing visitors from one page to another, an internal link minimizes your exit rate and increases your page views and time on the website.
All in all, the ultimate result is better SEO for your blogs.
What are inbound and outbound links?
When one of your pages points to a page on another website, it’s called an outbound link. As opposed to that, you call a link – inbound – when it points to content on your website from another website.
Together, inbound and outbound links are also termed as external links.
What is the difference between backlinks and inbound links?
Inbound links, the links to your website from another domain, are also called backlinks.
What are the types of Outbound Links?
There are two types of outbound links:
These are the links where you pass the link juice to the website you point to, with your link.
These are the links where your outgoing links to other websites do not share the link juice.
You might look at the link juice as the vote of confidence. With dofollow links, you are giving your vote of confidence for the site you are pointing to. The nofollow link doesn’t earn that vote of confidence.
Why are outbound links relevant in SEO for a blog or other content?
- With what does staying-close-to-influential/famous-people help you?
- Apart from learning, it adds to your reputation as well.
- Similarly, linking to high authority pages helps your site get a good reputation (both by search engines and visitors).
Linking out to them is the beginning of networking. The result? The beginning of more backlinks for you. More backlinks, especially from high authority sources, also means higher ranking.
Why are inbound links important in SEO?
Link building by the right means is half your marketing done right.
The long story:
The short story:
You get more of the right kind of traffic on your site, increasing your chances of conversion.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is the typing alternative of online search, where you directly send a voice query to the search engine.
What is Voice SEO?
When you optimize your content for the keywords and key phrases people frequently use with voice assistants – such as Google Assistant – it is called Voice Search Optimization (or Voice SEO).
Why do you need to optimize your content for voice searches?
There are several reasons you should consider optimizing your content for voice searches:
- Voice searches deliver fast results, therefore improve user experience. Therefore:
- 60% of smartphone users have tried voice search at least once in the past 12 months.
- 55% of teenagers are using voice search daily.
- Voice-based shopping would possibly jump to $40 billion in 2022.
- Ultimately, voice search optimization helps you improve your Ranks in Google. The same applies to the SEO for the blogs.
How do I optimize content for voice searches?
Here’s what Digital Marketing Institute suggests you do:
- Improve the readability and scannability of your content.
- Create Google My Business listing. (our two cents: create other meaningful business listings too to improve your reputation and trust in the eyes of Google. Google, my business would, however, hold the highest rank.)
- Optimize for Long-tail keywords. They are like (or close to) how people speak.
- Create FAQ lists. (Did you notice something about this post?)
- Research the different ways people use voice assistants.
What is a Google featured snippet?
Did you ever see those truly standing out boxes with an answer to your query on SERPs?
The world calls them featured Snippets.
Here’s how they define the term:
Featured Snippets are the organic answering boxes, right under the ads on SERPs. Google pulls these answers directly from different websites that are indexed on Google.
What is the Zero position?
Zero position is the other name for featured snippets – where you get the answer to your query directly on SERPs, without visiting a web page.
What are the types of Featured Snippets?
- Paragraphic featured snippets.
- List snippets (with numbers or bullets)
- Table snippets
What is the importance of featured snippets in SEO for your blogs?
Featured snippets offer an opportunity to show you higher in SERPs even when you are not ranking higher. Showing-up-at-the-top provides the opportunity to earn more clicks and more traffic.
Also, when you appear at the top, you earn more trust from the visitors.
This, precisely, is what SEO does for you.
How do you get featured in snippets?
To rank higher in answer boxes, featured snippets, or zero positions (which are all different names for the same thing), here’s what you need to do:
- Keep tabs on the queries your competitors are ranking for at zero position (and attempt to outcompete them).
- Focus on optimizing your content for question-type, long-tail keywords. Most featured snippets answer questions starting with How to, Why, etc.?
- While optimizing your content, focus on every help you can get, including “people also ask,” “suggested queries,” and “related searches” to know the kind of queries in which are people are most interested.
- Make special efforts to find conversational style questions.
- While optimizing your content for question-queries, ideally keep your answers between 40-50 words.
How long should a blog post be for SEO in 2020?
When Google prefers long-form content on shorter ones, that’s because long-form content covers different aspects of a given topic.
However, there’s a limit to how detailed you can go on a given topic.
Therefore, we are all up for “as long as needed.”
As long as you have provided enough details a user would need in 500 words, going all up to 2000 would be inappropriate.
How can you optimize your blog for mobile users?
- Your mobile readers have a smaller screen and a shorter attention span. Mobile users are usually looking for direct, too the point answers. Therefore, a long, fancy exordium might be quite off-putting for them.
- Give them the exact answer at the beginning and then give them a reason to keep reading your content.
- To improve the readability of your blog:
- Structure your content down with headings.
- Keep your paragraphs short. Restrict one paragraph for only one idea. (You are not making a salad that could use every single item in your refrigerator).
- Breakdown the parts of a process or multiple ideas in bullet points.
- Remember 3S’s of sentence making: simple, sweet, and short.
- Highlight the content appropriately with bold and italics features.
Other Tips, tricks, and recommendations by experts:
Some of the following ideas might not have any direct link to SEO. However, these tips help retain your readers on the post. The longer readers stay on the page, the higher are the chances to rank up.
APP Method catches the attention
Brian Dean from Backlinko suggests using the APP method.
APP stands for Agree, Preview, and Promise.
As per the concept, Brain suggests you start with a statement with which the readers likely agree.
Followed by that, make a relevant promise, and then give them a preview of what to expect next.
Congratulations! Given your content continues to be strong, you have won their attention till the end of your post.
Story beginnings hook for longer.
Almost all the big names agree to begin with an exciting, preferably relatable, relevant story.
They say, “Facts tell, stories sell.”
Given the option, in which option would you be more interested?
(No, we are by no means trying to demean facts telling.)
Hear more from Neil Patel on the topic.
Question-beginnings make them wonder.
People at Pro Blogger – like all the big names in the niche – recommend starting your post with a highly relevant question.
Relevant questions have a better chance of grabbing their attention. Prefer a question that identifies their pain points. Next up, wait for the magic.
Quote-beginnings inspire them
Use famous quotes from an anonymous speaker/author or a well-known, influential personality. As long as the quote is relevant, you have no chance of going wrong.
Bucket Brigade words keep them reading.
If making your content stick to their minds is the question, using bucket brigade words is the perfect answer.
That’s another of Brian Dean’s world-famous techniques to engage users through the end of your content.
He suggests sprinkling the following words and phrases throughout your content, that keeping pushing users down to the end:
- Here’s the thing:
- What’s the best part?
- It gets better/worse
- Yes, you read that right!
- But wait, there’s more!
- What’s the catch?
- Have you ever wondered?
- Can I be totally honest with you?
- You are probably tired of hearing this:
Readability-improvement aids SEO
Even if other SEO aspects of your blog are on-point, low readability can severely affect your site’s user experience. Ultimately, that adds to dropping the SEO rank.
Simply put, keep your eyes on the following factors for improved readability:
- Keep the length of your sentences short and composition simple.
- Do not append multiple ideas in the same paragraph.
- The shorter the paragraph length, the better.
- Restrict the word count under each heading below 300 words. With that arrangement, you should have your headings spread equally throughout the blog.
- They call it a nice idea to start each sentence with a different word. Starting three consecutive sentences with the same word lowers readability.
- Increasing the percentage of passive voice in your blog decreases the readability.
- Sprinkling the entire blog post effectively with transitional words makes for a smoother flow and transition. These words keep the readers going through the end. Therefore, a higher percentage of these words leads to a readability improvement.
- Most importantly, keep your Flesch reading ease score higher.
- The Flesch reading ease formula takes the number of words per sentence and the syllables per word into account. A smaller number of both the elements throughout the blog post leads to an overall increase in the test.
- A higher test score is an indication of better readability. Do you remember the link between the readability score and the SEO score?
Power words convert better.
Smart writers incorporate words and phrases that are more persuasive and trigger an emotional or psychological response. These are called Power Words.
Mary Fernandez at OptinMonster did a great job breaking the words in categories. She goes on explaining the use of words to improve conversions.
Here’s a sneak-peak into categories you’d undoubtedly be interested in:
- Ahead of game
- According to
- No strings attached
- No questions
- Wrecking havoc
Omitting grammar and other mistakes helps with the reputation.
Having drafted a masterpiece, you should pre-book a venue for the celebration. Right?
Sure, if that pleases you.
But, the important question is, “what do you call a masterpiece?”
A piece with Jaw-dropping content, with on-point facts, figures, processes, opinions, and SEO factors?
If only that’s what you’d call a masterpiece, you need to update your definition.
Even if you have compiled jaw-dropping content, when a reader spots a spelling, grammatical or other semantic mistakes somewhere, in the beginning, you lose your credibility and authority (and a reader who could have read your whole effort), right away.
Yeah! Sometimes, such mistakes could go that bad.
Pay heed to what you send their way. Make each aspect error-free, or they’ll make it a point to doubt dependability on you!
Plagiarism-verification saves you the trouble.
Here’s the thing:
Our recommendation, there should be absolutely no way for you to consider plagiarism.
Considering the consequences such an action could have on you, why not ensure you’re not guilty (even if unintentionally)?
Here’s are a few tools online you could use to verify you are in a plagiarism-free zone (or not!):
A relevant question at the bottom engages them.
Neil Patel suggests asking a relevant question before ending the blog. Let us tell you he’s not the only one who says that.
But why does that matter?
See, your reader might have just learned a thing or two from you. The ice is already broken (and they owe you too!).
What could be a better time to start engaging them and lead them into a relationship than this?
And once you successfully engage them in comments, you also have a huge social proof on your post.
SEO Plugin – Every blogger’s best friend!
Here comes the best part for all the blogger friends out there:
Some SEO plugins can take care of many SEO factors for you.
For instance, YOAST SEO is the wonderous WordPress plugin that gives you a detailed report on SEO and readability issues in your blogs or other website pages.
It even rates each of the aspects of your SEO and readability. Based on the feedback, you can quickly fix everything.
Interestingly, there are many other alternatives to this SEO plugin. You could make your pick from the following (and many more):
Before we conclude, let’s discuss one more important question:
Do you really have to take into account all the information in these two posts? Would you have to optimize your blog posts for each of these SEO factors?
In our opinion, not really! But that doesn’t have to stop you from doing your best for most of the factors.
In a nutshell, the more sweat, the more the reward. It’s really your call!
Keeping that in view, where and how would you start your blog optimization process? To which of the blog SEO factors have you already been paying attention?
Let us know in the comments.
Happy SEO for your blogs, bloggers 🙂