Blog Post SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Content

Posted by Kristi Hines - October 19, 2010 - Blogging - 23 Comments

The opening keynote at Blog World Expo was Scott Stratten of UnMarketing, who wanted to convey the fact that “people spread awesome” in terms of content, and that there are five things that “stop the spread.” Number three in this list was Google SEO, and for good reason. There are bloggers that concern themselves with SEO-ing their blog posts first (such as choosing a keyword rich title) and then constructing their post around that and make sure to litter a specific percentage of those keywords throughout the post.

So let’s think about this for a minute. If you want your content to be well received, it needs to be good content. Period. As Scott mentioned in his keynote: no one shares something simply because it is “keyword rich.” They share it because it is great. So can you create great content and then optimize it after the fact successfully? Absolutely! Here are the steps.

1. Write the awesome content first.

Do you have a great idea for a post? Instead of thinking what you should write for Google, think about what you should write for readers instead. What would make someone want to read this post? What will make people want to share this post?

2. Think about what two to three word phrases that summarize the content.

Next, think about some phrases that summarize the main idea of the post. This part doesn’t have to be done in SEO terms – just what you think fits the post.

3. Use keyword tools to see what people are searching to find similar topics.

Now we’re going to get into the search optimization. Although the numbers of Google Adwords Keyword Tool are debatable, it is still a good indicator of the overall popularity of search terms (ie. maybe 260,000 people do not search for that keyword, but if another one only shows 140,000, then you know which is more popular). Type in some of the phrases you thought of above, and let the keyword tool give you suggestions.

Adwords Blog Post Ideas

4. Create your SEO optimized title.

You can easily combine some of your keyword tool’s suggestions to create an optimize title for your post – just keep in mind the 60 character limit. In this post’s case, I could (and might) do Blog Post SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Content.

If you prefer having a shorter title displayed on your blog, but want the full length title for search engines, use plugins like All in One SEO or Platinum SEO Pack so you can put your SEO title in the plugin’s title field so the title you have displayed on your blog will be different.

5. Create your SEO optimized meta description.

Your meta description is the 160 character sales pitch for your post – it will be what is shown in search results, as well as what will be used when people share your post (Facebook share, for example, usually uses the meta description as the description when shared). Be sure to write your description in a way that will attract readers as well as including some of those most searched keywords.

6. Grab some images and optimize them.

This one isn’t usually an issue for me, as I like to throw screenshots into my posts often, but if you don’t have an image, be sure to go out and grab one – try Flickr Advanced Search as a starting point and list only Creative Commons images. When you code it in, add a alt tag that describes the image and (if possible) uses your keywords.

7. Link out to highly relevant resources.

Finally, find some great resources to link to throughout your post. Readers like this because they will see that you are giving them valuable information, and search engines will approve as well.

Beneficial Results of After the Fact SEO

So what is the major benefit to creating awesome content that gets spread? Simple. If people like your content, they are going to share it on Twitter and other social media networks, and when posts become popular, people will link to them in their own blog posts. So you will get social promotion and backlinks to your awesome content, making it more likely that Google will notice it and rank it highly in search results as well. And voila, you will have successful SEO content!

Your Blog Post SEO Strategy

Do you focus more on content that the search engines will like, or content that your readers will love and work on the SEO after the fact? Share your strategy in the comments!

About the Author

Kristi Hines

Kristi is a freelance writer, online marketing consultant, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter.
24 comments
Tech-Magneta
Tech-Magneta

Content formatting is also important. Like using lists, text decoration like - italics/bold. Placing keywords at right places & getting them noticed.

bow mar homes
bow mar homes

SEO and providing good content definitely work hand in hand. Come to think of it, providing good content is part of SEO. One will not be able to pull off a great SEO strategy without good content, and vice versa.

Andrew
Andrew

Im new in search engine optimization and in blogging overall,but now im more focused on writing good and original content for readers and then optimizing it after reading this ....Thanks ,very informative and interesting blog post for me. My recent post How To Get Your Girlfriend Back:Proven Ways to Get Your Girlfriend Back

SEO
SEO

Search engine optimization or SEO is an important determinant factor for small businesses. By learning and optimizing effective SEO techniques, you can get your websites better ranked on search engines. High search engine rankings mean larger online exposure and more traffic to your website. More traffic to your website can easily be translated to more sales and higher profits.

PriyaMehta
PriyaMehta

If you are a new to internet marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is sometimes hard to understand in the beginning. SEO is the ability to make an article or a web page optimized for the search engines. Once the article or webpage has been SEO optimized the search systems such as Google, Yahoo and Bing now have the ability to rank and index the page or article appropriately

Joshua
Joshua

Good Tips! I've trip some of them, and yeah!it helped!creating big traffic on a certain site. SEO is really a big help to rank up a site but you have to make sure that you are not depended to any bots or software that allows spamming in a search engine. My recent post Google+ Now A Part Of Social Search Results

deepika
deepika

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kim
kim

The way in which the results are presented is awesome in google,yahoo and bing. The are some times related in the order presented which is a sign of co-operation.That is great.

Ramiro Rodriguez
Ramiro Rodriguez

Really good advice. Since I started optimizing my images I have seen an increase in traffic. One image, a pic of a woman in a bikini with the YouTube logo has brought in more than 1,000 visitors this week. The alt text is, YouTube is Hot....and I named the imaged, YouTube-logo-woman-bikini The main search term is, hot YouTube logo. I'm still amazed at the power of alt tags and what naming images properly can do for traffic. My recent post How to Create and Sell eBooks Complete Guide Make Money Online

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Thats funny. Google has definitely started showing more image results I have noticed. The traffic may not be the most targeted, but it is an easy optimizing strategy that everyone should be implementing. Thanks for the comment. Mark

sajib
sajib

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Ayush Gupta
Ayush Gupta

Thanks Kristi for this post. It is surely going to help me a lot.

sendil
sendil

Hey Guys, I found this website http://www.webbeez.com. You can add your business and articles for free and it seems to pulled by google as a back link very shortly. Just give it a try.

sevan
sevan

Thanks. The website was very useful.

seo
seo

Quality content is the key to achieving traffic in your blog. If you are able to write engaging content many people will always find it easy to follow. You can also try reciprocal link building it a perfect way to increase your link count organically.

angela
angela

Link out to highly relevant resources. i think this point is very important

Rose @ Oil Painting
Rose @ Oil Painting

I have heard about Google disregard meta descriptions too, but somehow if you are using Google webmaster tool to diagnose issues within your website, you will still get notification of "Duplicate meta descriptions" and "Short meta descriptions" problems. Also to have a well optimize meta description will significantly increase your page CTR's in SERPs. For me, because I just start my own blog therefore I didn't write that much but I do agree with Kristi to finish the whole content that can pleased the reader first and latter try to optimize for search engine. Put in mind that we have to create it in natural way, it have to look natural. Over optimize will be bad.

Henry Bolden
Henry Bolden

Kristi I really appreciate this post simply because I'm relatively new to blogging.I was at odds as to whether I should include meta tags for my blog and I agree that they are valuable.The search results for your homepage and internal pages says it all.

Icechen1
Icechen1

I heard Google now disregard meta descriptions. So there's not really a need to use it anymore.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Even if they don't provide SEO value (which is debatable), the meta description is still used as the description for your homepage / internal pages when they come up in search results, as well as when people bookmark or share your page on several social networks. Both of those make a well-crafted meta description highly valuable.

Dan Stevens @ Keywor
Dan Stevens @ Keywor

I can't say I agree with you Kristi (nor do I agree with Ichechen). The truth is somewhere in between, and it has to do with Google Previews. This new feature makes meta descriptions practically useless in terms of user experience (usability, if you insist) because the preview snapshot highlights the position of a query on the page, along with the surrounding text, making it far more relevant than a meta description. That said, G's algorithm still values these descriptions in terms of SEO (though a lot less than 3-4 years ago), and I believe that it's just a matter of time before meta descriptions become obsolete with the adoption and further development of the previews function.

Stephanie Sammons
Stephanie Sammons

Kristi, very valuable information for helping everyday bloggers increase their opportunities to get discovered!

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Thanks Stephanie! I prefer to write and then optimize - the combination gives you the ability to put out great content and have it valued by search engines as well. Thanks for stopping in! :)