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Business Blogging
Email Course

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Lesson 6:

Make your post search engine
friendly

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Now that you’ve written your first business blog post, what’s next? Well, we need to upload it and format it in the right way. This is so your audience will find it easy to read and also to please those all-important search engines.

You need to start thinking about those search engines straight away, to ensure your blogs get noticed by the people that matter and start creeping higher and higher in relevant search rankings. So, in this lesson you’ll learn all about formatting your post and about SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It refers to techniques and best practices you can implement on your blog and website to help your content get found more easily for the key words and phrases most relevant to your business. After all, one of the main reasons for having a business blog in the first place, is so people can find out more about you and what you do.

SEO generally falls into 2 categories:

  • content SEO – what you can actually see on the page;
  • technical SEO – the stuff you can’t see, like meta descriptions, keywords and alt tags on images.

But it doesn’t stop there. Sensible blog categories are also important for SEO. And of course Google loves links to and from reputable sites too.

Despite what many people think, SEO is not about getting to No.1 on Google. In fact, it’s not really about search engines at all – it’s about the humans using the search engines. More specifically, it’s about growing the right kind of audience to help you grow your business.

From a business perspective, blogging is important in raising awareness about your brand and growing an audience of returning visitors who may buy from you and may also be your advocates. SEO is an important consideration for businesses with an established blog as well as those just starting out.

Keyword focus

One of the key elements of SEO is keywords. These are words and phrases you can specify as the focus for each page or post on your site that tell Google and other search engines what you want these pages to be found for.

For example, if you’ve written a blog post containing general help and advice about gardening, you might want to set your focus keyword as ‘gardening tips’. If you’re writing about a more niche or specialist topic, or you want your content to be found for something very specific, you would set your focus keyword accordingly, e.g. ‘eco-friendly landscape gardening brighton’.

But be aware that, for the best results, your focus keyword should be used in primary areas like your post title, excerpt and first paragraph, so if you make it too obscure this will be harder to achieve.

So, stay focused and use keywords wisely. Ensure you stay on topic to make it easier for people to understand the point you’re trying to make.

Format like a pro

The formatting of your blog post is another important element of SEO.

Best practice tips for search engine friendly formatting include:

  • Break up your text into shorter, easy to read paragraphs. This improves the experience for your readers too, as it can be hard to follow long blocks of text when reading on screen. The more white space, the better.
  • Make sure your post is clearly structured – break up sections with subheadings and use bullet points or numbered lists where relevant.
  • Create eye-catching, unique headings to grab people’s attention. Using questions as subheadings, and featuring your focus keyword in your headings, are both good practices. If your headings aren’t interesting no-one will even see the rest of your content.
  • Google loves links, so make sure you link between your posts and other relevant pages. Links to and from external sites are important too, but make sure these are reputable.
  • Ensure you include a clear call to action at the end of every post. What do you want people to do next: Sign up to your blog? Download a PDF? Book a free consultation? Make it simple, clear and compelling.
  • After drafting your post, scan read it to make sure your readers will get a good gist of the content and key messages just from the subheadings and overall format.
  • Check your html formatting. Even if you’re not familiar with html, you can go into Text mode (rather than Visual) in WordPress and make sure the text isn’t full of gobbledygook. This often happens when copying and pasting from another application, such as Word or Google Docs. To remove this simply highlight your text and click ‘Clear formatting’ from the editing toolbar.

Add your SEO data

Ok, here’s where it gets slightly more technical. But bear with us, we’ll keep this as simple as possible.

It’s very important to add SEO data for every post you publish on your website. The best way to do this is by installing the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin. Why? Because it’s free and has a great keyword focus tool to help you stay on track when creating content for your website.

There’s also a paid version – Yoast SEO Premium – which we use at Wildheart. But if you’re new to blogging and SEO, the free version is more than adequate.

There are 3 main fields you need to complete for each blog post when using Yoast SEO for WordPress:

  • Focus keyword: as mentioned earlier, this is the main word or phrase you’d like search engines to focus on for this post. This is the most important element of Yoast SEO and should always be completed for every blog post.
  • SEO title: by default this is set as the title of your post, but you can edit it if you need to, for example, if your blog title is very long or doesn’t contain your focus keyword.
  • Meta description: by default this is set to the first couple of lines of your opening paragraph. However, for best results it’s good practice to rewrite this as a summary of the main points of your post and how it will benefit your audience. You can use the same text as your excerpt, as long as it’s not too long – Yoast will tell you if it is.

The snippet preview will show you exactly how your snippet will appear in search results, so you can edit it to fit and make sure it displays correctly.

It’s a good idea to write your SEO data outside of WordPress first, and record this for every post you write. As part of today’s task you’ll be able to download a handy spreadsheet for this. If you need to, you can also add a tab for all the pages of your website too, to make sure all your SEO data is kept up-to-date.

How we do it at Wildheart

Here’s an example of how we’ve formatted one of our own blog posts in line with today’s lesson: How to organise your blog categories. In this post you can see that:

  • we’ve used a clear structure to guide the reader through the flow of the post,
  • we’ve used lots of subheadings, most of which are questions (e.g. Why do I need tags and categories?),
  • we’ve used bullet points and numbered lists to clearly display the text,
  • we’ve used internal and external links throughout the post,
  • there’s a clear call to action at the end (download a free worksheet).

These are all examples of ‘content SEO’ – what you can actually see on the page. We’ve also set the ‘technical SEO’ for this post (which is hidden in the background but important for search engines) as follows:

  • Focus keyword: blog categories
  • SEO title: How to organise your blog categories – Wildheart Media
  • Meta description: We take a close look at blog categories and tags, why they’re important, what the difference is, and how to use them effectively. Don’t miss our top tips!

Today’s task

Now you know how to format your blog post and add the SEO data, you can head back to your email and try it for yourself in today’s task.

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