11 Easy-to-Follow Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

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If you want your blog posts to get search traffic, optimize them for SEO.

But that doesn’t mean shoehorning as many keywords as possible.

2. Align your blog post with search intent

Google wants to serve its users with the most relevant content. It does this by understanding why a searcher is looking for a particular topic. This is known as search intent.

If you want to rank higher on Google, you’ll need to match search intent. 

To identify search intent, you’ll want to analyze the three Cs by looking at the top-ranking pages for your target keyword:

  • Content type – Are they blog posts, product pages, landing pages, or something else?
  • Content format – Are they tutorials, listicles, how-to guides, recipes, free tools, or something else?
  • Content angle – Is there a dominant selling point, like low prices or how easy it is?

For example, let’s say we’re targeting the keyword “how to become a wedding planner”: 

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Here are the three C’s:

  • Content type – They’re mostly blog posts.
  • Content format – They’re mostly how-tos.
  • Content angle – There are a few angles here (“according to experts,” “number of steps,” without any experience”).

So if you want to rank for this topic, it’s likely you’ll have to create a how-to guide (with any of the above angles if you can create something better, or a unique one if you have something different to share).

Further reading

3. Cover important subtopics searchers want to see

If the top-ranking pages cover similar subtopics, they’re likely important and what searchers expect to see.

We can find these subtopics by looking at the common keywords the top-ranking pages rank for. 

Here’s how to find them:

  1. Enter your keyword (e.g., “how to become a wedding planner”) into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Scroll down to the SERP overview
  3. Select three to five top-ranking articles (make sure they’re similar)
  4. Click Open in and choose Content gap
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Here, you’ll see the keywords these pages are ranking for. Click on the Intersection dropdown and choose the highest two targets (4, 5). Then look through the results to find potential subtopics.

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In this example, searchers want to know:

  • The requirements you need to become a wedding planner.
  • Whether you need a degree to become a wedding planner.
  • If you need a license to be a wedding planner.
  • How long does it take to become a wedding planner.
  • How to become a wedding planner with no experience.

If you’re targeting this topic, they’re likely potential subtopics you should cover.

4. Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets are quick answers to search queries displayed at the top of the SERPs. Here’s an example:

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Ranking for a featured snippet is a “shortcut” to the top of the SERPs, and it often has the bonus of driving more traffic to your website

To optimize for featured snippets, search for your target keyword and see if there is a featured snippet. If there’s one, you’ll want to take note of what Google is displaying.

In the above example, Google shows a definition for the query “skyscraper technique.” And this is why we’ve included one in our post:

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Sometimes, Google displays a list:

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In that case, you’ll want to format your content as a listicle too (with proper subheadings).

Further reading

5. Give people a reason to link to your content

Links are an important Google ranking factor. Generally speaking, the more people you can get to link to your content, the higher the likelihood of it performing well.

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How do you get more links to your post? You need to give people a reason to link to your content.

Generally, people link because there’s something unique in your content—either a unique angle or you’ve added unique pieces of information. 

Here are some ideas on how you can make your content unique:

6. Make sure your post is easy to read

Google says it uses user interaction data to assess whether search results are relevant:

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If your post is difficult to read and your visitors bounce—it may not be great for your SEO. 

So you’ll want to make sure that your content is as easy on the eye as possible:

  • Use descriptive subheadings (H2–H6) for hierarchy
  • Use bullet points to help with skim reading
  • Use images and GIFs (where needed) to break up the text
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs to avoid “walls of text”
  • Use simple words that everyone can understand
  • Write like you speak to make your writing conversational
  • Read your copy out loud (when editing) to smooth the flow

7. Get someone with expertise or experience to create the content

Google aims to reward pages that demonstrate E-E-A-T:

  • Experience – Firsthand or life experience in the topic.
  • Expertise – High level of knowledge or skill in a particular field.
  • Authoritativeness – Reputation, particularly among other experts and influencers in the industry.
  • Trustworthiness – Legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy of the website and its content.

Put simply: Google rewards content that displays evidence of expertise or experience.

Sidenote.

This is especially important if you’re writing about medical, financial, or legal topics. Google calls these Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics and requires you to have formal expertise.

For example, most of our blog content is created by our marketing team: a team built from SEOs and marketers with years of experience. For example, my colleague, Chris Haines, has 10 years of experience working in an SEO agency.

Even then, when we’re covering topics where we do not have firsthand experience, we’ll reach out to experts. For example, we interviewed several SEO experts like Marie Haynes to create an article about Google penalties—a topic that she is well known to specialize in.

You’ll want to do the same for your content too.

It can be simple things like actually using the products you’re reviewing. Or going through a particular process or procedure—like actually experiencing intermittent fasting if you’re writing about it. 

Otherwise, if you do not have expertise or experience, hire someone who has it to create or review your content. 

Further reading

8. Add internal links to relevant resources

Internal links are important for three main reasons:

  1. They help Google discover new pages.
  2. They help Google understand what your page is about via anchor text: the clickable words in the link.
  3. They pass PageRank, which is an important Google ranking factor.

So not only do you want to add internal links to other relevant pages on your site, but you’ll also want to add them to your newly published posts too.

The easiest way to find relevant pages to internally link to is to perform a site search. For example, if I want to add internal links to my post on the Skyscraper Technique, this is what I’ll search:

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Besides the first result (the actual post), the rest are potential targets I can add links from.

This method is mostly manual, so a quicker way to do this is to sign up for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools and run a crawl of your site with Site Audit. Once that’s done, head to the Link opportunities report. 

The report will suggest potential internal links you can add.

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Further reading

9. Optimize your images

According to SparkToro, Google Images is the world’s second-largest search engine. Your images can rank and send traffic your way too.

Here’s how to optimize them:

  • Compress your images – This makes file sizes smaller and helps your page speed. You can use a tool like ShortPixel to do this.
  • Use descriptive filenamesGoogle says that filenames give it clues about the image’s subject matter. Be descriptive and succinct and use dashes between words.
  • Use descriptive alt text – Google also uses this to understand the subject matter of an image. Again, be descriptive and concise. Don’t stuff keywords.

Further reading

10. Write a compelling title tag

After searching for a keyword in Google, the first thing a user will see is the title tags.

Family therapy for communication issues near me,Family therapy for communication skills,Family therapy for communication issues online,Family therapy for communication difficulties,Family therapy for communication and trust,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD online,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD near me,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD children,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD adults,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD and depression,Therapy for depression and grief,Depression therapy near me,Grief counseling near me,Depression and grief therapy online,Depression and grief group therapy,Depression and grief therapy,Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques,Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy techniques,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for anxiety,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for depression,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for couples,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for groups,motionally-focused couples therapy near me,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for infidelity,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for communication,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for anxiety,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for depression,Online therapy sessions,Online counseling sessions,Online therapy video sessions,Online therapy chat sessions,Online therapy phone sessions,Online therapy group sessions,LGBTQ+ affirming therapy online,LGBT-sensitive therapy near me,LGBT-friendly therapy in my area,LGBTQ+ affirming psychotherapy,LGBTQ+ affirming therapy for couples,Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques,Evidence-based trauma-informed therapy,Trauma-focused therapy for children,Trauma-informed therapy for adults,Trauma-informed therapy for couples,Individual therapy for anxiety,Individual anxiety therapy online,Individual therapy for anxiety disorders,One-on-one anxiety therapy near me,Individualized anxiety therapy sessions,Individual anxiety therapy for adults,Couples therapy near me,Couples therapy in my area,Couples therapy near me today,Couples therapy close to me,Couples therapy in my city,Couples therapy in my zip code,Best PTSD therapy techniques,PTSD therapy near me,Effective PTSD therapy options,PTSD therapy for veterans,Affordable PTSD therapy services,PTSD therapy for children,Holistic PTSD therapy approaches,Online PTSD therapy sessions,Natural remedies for PTSD therapy,PTSD therapy for first responders,PTSD therapy for sexual assault survivors,EMDR therapy for PTSD,Group PTSD therapy sessions,PTSD therapy for caregivers,Military PTSD therapy options

A good title tag can be the critical difference between a searcher choosing you or the others.

Here’s how you can write one that’s click-worthy:

  • Keep them short – Google often truncates title tags above 70 characters.
  • Match search intent – You’ve done that in step #2, so make sure your titles reflect that.
  • Include the keywordGoogle uses the title to understand what a page is about, so try to include your target keyword.
  • Include the year – Do this if your target topic demands fresh results.
  • Use power words – These words elicit emotion (e.g., awe-inspiring, captivating, etc.). Don’t go overboard—one or two is fine. Use this list to find ones that match your content.
  • Don’t clickbait – #4 won’t shock your readers. Clickbait title tags may work in the short term but will damage your brand in the long term. Treat your readers as smart people and offer them descriptive and truthful titles. 

Further reading

11. Set an SEO-friendly URL

Google’s recommendation is to use words that are relevant to your content. The easiest way, typically, is to use your target keyword as your slug. 

So for a post targeting the keyword “diy seo,” the slug will simply be:

Family therapy for communication issues near me,Family therapy for communication skills,Family therapy for communication issues online,Family therapy for communication difficulties,Family therapy for communication and trust,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD online,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD near me,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD children,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD adults,Cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD and depression,Therapy for depression and grief,Depression therapy near me,Grief counseling near me,Depression and grief therapy online,Depression and grief group therapy,Depression and grief therapy,Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques,Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy techniques,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for anxiety,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for depression,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for couples,Mindfulness-based stress reduction for groups,motionally-focused couples therapy near me,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for infidelity,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for communication,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for anxiety,Emotionally-focused couples therapy for depression,Online therapy sessions,Online counseling sessions,Online therapy video sessions,Online therapy chat sessions,Online therapy phone sessions,Online therapy group sessions,LGBTQ+ affirming therapy online,LGBT-sensitive therapy near me,LGBT-friendly therapy in my area,LGBTQ+ affirming psychotherapy,LGBTQ+ affirming therapy for couples,Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques,Evidence-based trauma-informed therapy,Trauma-focused therapy for children,Trauma-informed therapy for adults,Trauma-informed therapy for couples,Individual therapy for anxiety,Individual anxiety therapy online,Individual therapy for anxiety disorders,One-on-one anxiety therapy near me,Individualized anxiety therapy sessions,Individual anxiety therapy for adults,Couples therapy near me,Couples therapy in my area,Couples therapy near me today,Couples therapy close to me,Couples therapy in my city,Couples therapy in my zip code,Best PTSD therapy techniques,PTSD therapy near me,Effective PTSD therapy options,PTSD therapy for veterans,Affordable PTSD therapy services,PTSD therapy for children,Holistic PTSD therapy approaches,Online PTSD therapy sessions,Natural remedies for PTSD therapy,PTSD therapy for first responders,PTSD therapy for sexual assault survivors,EMDR therapy for PTSD,Group PTSD therapy sessions,PTSD therapy for caregivers,Military PTSD therapy options

Further reading

Keep learning

Check out these resources to learn more about SEO:

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