In this article I’ll show you the simplest methods I’ve found to setup blog post SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This refers to methods used to improve a website ranking in organic (meaning non-paid) search engine results.
In this post, I’ll show you how to choose the keyword to rank for and what how to setup you post other components of your post are key to getting it listed in the search engines and how to optimise each one.
How to choose a keyword
The ideal keywords will be something that a lot of people are searching for but has relatively low competition (ie fewer other sites are trying to rank for that keyword).
To find keywords you will need to use a keyword tool.
Google has their own keyword tool which can give you a basic starting point as shown below. If you don’t have the funds to use a paid tool this can give you some decent ideas for keywords, but it is lacking in detail.
Two of the most important numbers are how many people are searching for that term each month and difficulty/ competition.
I’ve used the example of The Law Of Attraction below. This is what I call the core keyword for this niche. Using a keyword tool with the core keyword will give you lots of suggestions for keywords to base articles around.
As you can see below the numbers for monthly searches are only given as ranges of 10-100, 100-1k and 1K-10K and 10K-100K.
Competition is also just given a basic label of low, medium or high.
I use a tool called Mangools. This gives you a lot more detail and allows you to see the exact number of searches per month and the keyword difficulty.
For example, if I plug the same keyword into Mangools you can see I get a lot more information. I can sort by search volume and can also see the keyword difficulty.
The idea here is to get the highest search volume keyword that has a low enough keyword difficulty so that it’s easier to rank for (ie it has less competition). Mangools makes this easy for you by colour coding the Keyword difficulty and rating how easy or not it is.
Below you can see that the keyword ‘law of attraction’ has a high search volum of 377,000 searches per month with a KD of 49, which Mangools shows as ‘possible’. I usually try to stick to keywords below 50, at least to begin with.
Before going any further, make sure you have the Yoast plugin installed (if you haven’t done that yet check out my plugins guide here).
Yoast gives you a really simple way to setup your post to rank for your chosen keyword. It uses a traffic light type indicator to show you how well your post is optimised.
First let’s distinguish between the post title and SEO title.
Your post title appears at the top of your blog post and tells people who are already on your site what the post is about.
The SEO title is what appears in search results and snippets and shows people searching for specific information what your post is about.
The main objectives of the SEO title are :
To get people to click, visit your site and read your blog post.
To help you rank for your chosen keyword.
Even though the SEO title and blog post title have different objectives, in most cases you can use your blog title as your SEO title.
If your blog title is a little long, then you can customize this using the Yoast settings. Your title needs to be just the right length so that it doesn’t get cut short in search results.
Having a URL that includes your keyword and is easy to understand will improve your SEO performance for that post.
The two most important things to configure are your permalinks and the post ‘slug’.
Search engines use permalinks to index and visit your site. As such, permalinks are an important part of your SEO strategy.
I always recommend using a simple permalink structure. For most sites using the domain name/postname is the best option. A lot of people recommend adding the category as well, but this can result in URLs that are too long so be careful with the length of your category names if you are considering this.
To edit your permalinks go to settings> Permalinks (Note: don’t change this if your site is already live and has been around a while, it could mess up a lot of things!)
Shown below is my recommended setting for most sites
The slug refers to the editable part of the URL for your page.
You can edit the slug as shown above or by using the Yoast slug field.
To improve your URL for SEO make sure it includes your main focus keyphrase and ensure that it’s easy to read and understand for potential visitors.
As well as grabbing the attention of your readers and hopefully keeping them on the page, your first paragraph also gives search engines clear information on what your post is about.
So, to improve your search engine rankings be sure to include your focus keyword at the start of your post.
As you can see below, Yoast performs a ‘keyphrase in introduction’ check to help you with this.
If the keyword phrase being searched for is in your meta description, search engines will usually show it below your SEO title in the search results. So ensuring that it’s optimised is critical for on-page SEO.
You can create your meta description using Yoast as shown below. Yoast also conveniently shows you if your description is too long.
Body of Article – Keyword %
You should try to use your keyphrase several times within the body of your article. Google and other search engines need to know what your article is about in order to match it with search queries. One of the ways they do this is by picking up on repeating keyword phrases in your text. Therefore you should aim to include the keyword in about 3% of your text.
Yoast is a huge help with this as it calculates this for you and tells you how many times you should include the keyphrase.
Structure and Subheadings
Your headings help to define the structure of your text. They should state clearly what to expect in the paragraphs below.
Using headings to create a clear structure makes your content easier to read. This in turn makes your content higher quality which leads to more engagement and improved SEP performance.
In general, I recommend adding an H2 heading about each topic area that you are writing about. As long as it doesn’t make the heading sound strange, try to also include your focus keyword in some of your headings.
Below you can see an example of the kind of structure I use for my articles:
Image Title and Alt Text
Adding quality images to your articles that enhance your message keeps your readers engaged and can also improve your ranking in image search results.
One thing many people overlook when adding images is the alt text. Alt text improves the readability of your article for search engines as well as enhancing the accessibility of your site so you should make sure that every image you add has an appropriate alt text.
Thrive Architect makes it easy to add alt text to your images as shown below.
Your alt text should always describe what the image is. Where it’s natural to do so try to add your focus keyword in the alt text but don’t overdo this as it can be seen by search engines as ‘keyword stuffing’.
Internal & External Links
For your articles to rank in search engine results they need links. Search engines find your content more easily when they are linked from somewhere else.
Internal links are something that you, as the website owner can fully control. With well thought our linking between your content, you give both visitors and search engines a chance to find more of your content and build a better picture of what your site is all about.
So using internal linking can help to boost your SEO.
Adding links in your articles to other site (termed outbound links) helps Google to find other related content and contributes to SEO in general. Although it may not directly help your own SEO it is good practice to have at least one outbound link in your content.