For most IT business sites, the main goal of a blog is to drive traffic that can turn into leads and customers. In order to do this effectively, you need your blog to be found when people are searching online for the types of products and services you offer.
If your blog isn’t properly optimized for search engines, and Google in particular, it’s going to have a much harder time coming up in search results and driving traffic to your site.
We’ve got our favorite tips below to superpower your blog for better search rankings so you can drive more traffic to your tech business website.
What are the Best Ways to Optimize Blogs for Search Engines?
Why optimize your blogs for search when you can just pay to have an ad come up on page 1? Besides the money savings, 70%-80% of users ignore paid ads and focus on organic search listings because they feel they’re more relevant.
There’s no magic involved when it comes to getting your pages to come up on page 1 or 2 of searches for IT business services in your area, it’s all about applying SEO best practices when you’re writing and posting your blog to give it the best chance for a great ranking position.
Choose a Target Keyword
The first thing you should do when deciding on a blog topic is to decide what keyword you want to optimize for. HubSpot recommends using just 1-2 longtail keywords maximum on each blog post. Too many keywords, and your keyword concentration on the page is diluted and Google’s won’t be really sure what topic the blog is focused on, which can hurt rankings.
To maximize your blog SEO strategy, you want to use different keywords for each blog, so keep this in mind when choosing your keywords. For example, you don’t want to use “computer backup services in Toronto” for every single blog post or your end up competing your pages against each other for the same keyword.
Tips for choosing good keywords:
- If you’re a local IT business, use geographic service area names in your keywords
- Ask friends and family what they would use to search for your services
- Keep a keyword master list so you know what you’ve used or not used yet
- Use search tool, like WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool
Your keyword is what everything else in your blog should revolve around.
Use Your Keyword in the Title, Headings, and Text
Use your keyword in target areas on your blog. But, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing, which Google hates, as do your blog readers. Google’s gotten wise to this tactic many years ago, and their emphasis is on relevancy, readability, and whether the visitor sticks around or leaves due to lack of relevant content.
So, while you don’t want to spam your blog with the keyword, you DO want to make sure it’s included in important spots that Google looks for to find out what your page is about.
You want to use your keyword in:
- Post tile
- Post URL
- Headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Throughout the body text
How many times should you use your keyword without it being considered “stuffing?”
We went to SEO experts Yoast, makers of the popular SEO plugin for WordPress, and they recommend a keyword density on your webpages and blog posts of between 0.5% and 3%.
Use Related Key Terms (aka LSI Keywords)
One data point that Google uses in estimating a page relevancy to a keyword search is latent semantic indexing (LSI). LSI correlates closely related words that people use surrounding a given topic.
By sprinkling some LSI keywords, terms typically used with your main keyword, into your text and sub headers, you can boost your relevancy in Google’s eyes and get a better page rank.
If your keyword is: “business cloud hosting Omaha”
Two LSI keywords could be: “tech companies omaha nebraska” and “managed IT services omaha”
Here are a few LSI keyword search engines you can use to generate ideas:
Create a Strong Internal Linking Structure
Linking to pages both within your site to other sites, helps your overall search ranking. Internal linking can boost relevancy, help with link equity throughout your site, and provide an informational hierarchy for your website.
For internal linking, you typically want to choose which pages are your “cornerstone content,” this includes the most important pages of your site. For a tech business website, it would typically be your service pages and maybe a few blogs that contain important content that’s not on the service pages.
Your blogs, other than those few important ones, would typically not be cornerstone content, but you would want to link to your cornerstone pages from your blogs to help establish your page hierarchy.
Use Smart External Link Practices
External links are a helpful way further educate your readers and cite sources. However, you want to be careful who you link to and stick to trusted sites. Search engines use a number of factors to judge the “helpfulness” of the external link to your own site’s SEO.
According to Moz, these external linking factors include:
- The popularity of the page
- Trustworthiness of the page
- Relevance of the content
- Number of links to the same page on the source page
- Number of root domains linking to that page
- Ownership between source and target domain
One more important thing to remember when doing both internal and external linking, use keywords in your anchor text. So, in the following sentence, you’d want to avoid putting your hyperlink on “according to Acme” and instead place it where italicized:
“According to ACME company, managed IT services in Omaha have grown 20% in the last 10 years.”
Use Images with Alt Tags
Remember that keyword you picked in tip 1? Another place you want to use it is in your image Alt tag. This gives Google yet another cue about the keyword your blog post content is related to.
And you definitely want to use at least one or more images in your blog because they really boost your views.
Blogs that include images get 94% more views than blogs that include text only.
Tailor Your Blog Length for Good SEO
If you write a blog that’s 300 words, it’s not going to have much of a chance at garnering a good page ranking due to the limited amount of content. So, what’s the best length for good search engine optimization?
There are a few differing suggestions out there, but most experts agree that it should be at least 1,000 words, and if you go longer, that’s even better.
Here are suggestions from four SEO experts:
- The Hook Agency: 1,705 words
- CoSchedule: 2,500+ words
- Yoast: 1,000 words minimum
- Backlinko: 1,890 words (average on Google’s first page results)
Writing good content is even more important than length when it comes to ranking. You want the reader to be engaged enough to stick around!
Make Your Title Compelling
Once your post manages to get up to page one or two in a keyword search, if people aren’t compelled to click on your link over others on the page, it’s not going to stay there. Click-through rate is one datapoint that factors into the search ranking algorithm.
Some tips for creating compelling titles that people will click on are:
- Use adjectives (like “5 Amazing Ways” instead of “5 Ways”)
- Use a dash, colon, or parenthesis to stand out
- Ask a question (i.e. “What is the safest way to back up my computer?)
- Be original
- Use a numbered list
- Run your title through a headline analyzer
Send Your Blog Link Out through Email and Social Media
You can start generating some of that SEO juice in the form of click-throughs by sending a link to your blog out in your email newsletter and over social media.
And sharing your new blog post link isn’t a “one and done.” It never hurts to send a reminder out 2 to 4 weeks later (or anytime) about relevant content that your followers will find helpful. Each time you send out a link to a particular blog, you’re bound to get more visits, which will translate into better SEO scores.
Use Descriptive Words in Your URL
This tip comes from Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide, and it relates to using descriptive URLs rather than just numbers or non-relevant words.
If your content creation application is auto-generating a blog URL that is the date the blog is written, for example, you’ll want to edit that and instead use descriptive words (your keyword is best).
Google prefers friendly URLs that help the reader understand what the content is and they say to avoid the following when it comes to your URLs:
- Too long
- Generic names like “page1.html”
- Excessive keyword use, like “baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseballcards.html”
- Too deeply nested subfolders, like “blog/folder/folder/folder/folder/folder/content”
Use an SEO Plugin (WordPress Sites)
An SEO plugin is going to incorporate several best practices and give you a template to use while posting your blog. Plugins like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack help you save you time by guiding you through the optimization process.
In Yoast, first you add in your desired keyword, then you’ll get a red, yellow, or green light depending upon how well you’ve optimized your blog post for that keyword. You’re going for all green lights!
The plugin interface will give you detailed suggestions on what you can do to further optimize and raise your keyword’s SEO score, such as adding your keyword into an Alt image tag or linking internally to a relevant page.
Make Sure Your Website is SEO Optimized
You can apply all the best practices of SEO to your latest blog, but your website itself may be dragging it down. Do a search on Google right now… for anything. How many sites on page one start out “http://” and not “https://”? Most likely very few, if any.
There are three key website optimizations that Google favors in overall search rankings, so if you want your blogs to have a chance at ranking well organically, you need to make sure your site is optimized.
- Speed (fast sites rank better than slow sites)
- Security (Google favors https://)
- Responsive (You get penalized if your site isn’t mobile-friendly)
SEO Optimization: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
A big question for many website owners is, “When will I see SEO results?” This varies greatly according to keyword, quality, and optimization, but generally, you can expect to see SEO results in 4 to 6 months, and the longer pages are out there the better their rankings can get over time.
While you may have to wait a while for those SEO seeds you planted to grow, if you follow the best practices of search engine optimization for your blogs and post them regularly, you’ll be generating quality organic traffic for your site for years to come.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to optimizing your blogs for search engines? Share your stories below.