Blog SEO: 10 Ways to Attract More Readers to Your Blog
Climbing the search engine ladder requires a bit more than just hitting publish on your posts. To show up among those first results, you will first need to get acquainted with this crucial acronym: SEO, or search engine optimization. This simply means making your website easily readable and accessible by search engine bots so that your pages show up for a relevant search. What’s more, your content needs to be updated, and contain unique, useful information readers can’t find elsewhere. Whether you’re creating a blog or adding a blog section to your site, below are the ultimate blog SEO tips.
What is blog SEO and why is it so important?
Search engines find, audit and present blog posts to those looking for them. If your content is the most fitting, informative and in-depth, it’s likely your blog will be shown on the SERP (search engine results page).
By optimizing your blogs for SEO, you can:
Gain site authority
Boost site traffic
Generate more leads
Blog SEO tips
01. Find the right topics
Unfortunate news: Many avid writers with established blog sites have already covered the topics about your industry. So, how can you make sure your blog posts stand out on search engines? Research and intent.
Identify the target audience for your blog
When starting a blog, focus your blog on just a few topics. Create posts that address your target audiences’ needs, pain points and questions. This tailored experience will improve how the search engine views your site as an authority on these topics, and simultaneously offer value to your readers. For example, Wix has separate blogs in fitness, eCommerce, restaurants and more.
Do thorough keyword research:
Your first research goal is to target niche keywords in your expertise to find the best topics to write about. Just a reminder: Keywords are short phrases that a person enters into a search engine. By inserting these keywords into your content, you’ll increase your chances of appearing in the results for that specific query. Ideally, you’d choose the most popular terms to get more eyes on your posts. However, these broad, popular terms are extremely competitive and usually show a range of results.
For example, think if someone typed in “cake” on a search engine: Their intent is not so clear—and the results will reflect this ambiguity. In this case, you’d compete with strong pages like Wikipedia, very well-established recipe blogs and the 2014 movie “Cake.”
When it comes to keyword selection, more is always better, as these tend to be more precise and much less competitive (e.g., “gluten-free orange pound cake recipe.”) These “long-tail” keywords allow you to target a specific intent that directly answers your audience’s query.
Find those specific intent keywords that have a solid amount of search volume. Over that volume, ranking becomes more competitive.
To find the right keywords, list all the broad topics (also known as ‘seed topics’) you’d like to write about. Then break them down into more specialized subjects. For a food blogger, the seed topics could be: cakes, soups, salads, etc. The more specialized topics could be, for example, winter mushroom soup, carrot and ginger soup, etc.
Use these helpful (and free) SEO tools to find great keywords for article topics and discover their search volume.
Some of our favorite tools for finding blog topics include:
Semrush – often used for keyword research and online ranking data, including metrics such as search volume and cost per click.
Ahrefs – a tool that gives you plenty of suggestions when you pop in your keyword research area. After publishing the post, use Ahrefs to track how your blog performs in search rankings week over week.
Answer the Public – a tool that gives you a huge list of questions and related phrases around your topic of choice.
Keywords Everywhere – a Chrome extension that shows the search volume for various keywords. Great to use in combination with the previous one.
Look at the intent
A common mistake bloggers make when optimizing their content is writing content that does not address the intent in the eyes of Google. You may have found a keyword that you think perfectly aligns with your article, however if the article does not address what Google believes the searcher looks for, then your article will likely not rank. For example, if you address the keyword “newsletter templates” with a blog post, but the search results page focuses on product pages, then your post will probably not appear on the first page. To avoid this, look at the live SERP of the keyword and confirm the intent before writing.
Conduct competitive research
The best way to suss out your competition? Easy: Just Google it. Your second research task is to figure out how to improve your content beyond what already ranks. The folks at Moz call this idea “10x content,” which means creating content that is 10 times better than what ranks on the first results page.
First, search for your chosen keywords and look at your top five to 10 competitors to understand the kind of content people want when searching for that term. Also, notice the average length of the blog posts and aim to stay in that range. You can draw inspiration from these posts to make sure you write the most thorough and in-depth article possible.
Then, think about the added value only you can provide in your piece. Maybe you tried out several recipes for a flourless chocolate cake and discovered a magic ingredient. Perhaps your images are just so much more appealing than the ones you saw in the top results? Or you made a video that includes all the steps for the recipe? All of these elements can take your content to the next level and help show your authority and expertise to Google.
02. Choose SEO friendly blog formats
As mentioned above, to outrank the competition, you must write content that brings value. Search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo will often prioritize comprehensive, research-based content with original data.
In-depth “how to” guides
Expert round-up posts
Beginner “what is” posts
Write evergreen content
Choose keywords that people search for all year long, for years to come, also known as “evergreen” topics. Not only will these bring steady traffic to your site, you also won’t need to update it as frequently.
Evergreen topic: best advertising examples
Not evergreen: 2019 Super Bowl ad examples
03. Optimize your posts
Once you find your keywords and research your competition, dive into your article SEO. By driving traffic to your site, SEO will help you grow your fan base and even start monetizing your blog. Also, check out this guide on ideal blog post length.
Include your article’s main keyword in the following places (thankfully, too, the Wix Blog tool makes it super easy to implement all of these elements):
Your post title (H1)
The first paragraph of your post
The first part of your SEO title
Your SEO description
The URL of the blog post page
A couple of times in the post itself, or variations thereof
Remember: You write for people, not search engines. The rules of good writing still count. Don’t keyword stuff: You’ll naturally include these terms when writing about a specific topic. And don’t worry—search engines have improved at understanding synonyms and variations of your keyword, so you can use them to avoid sounding repetitive.
04. Structure your content
This one may seem pretty obvious, but imagine a world in which articles don’t have any paragraphs, subheadings or titles and text appears in a stream-of-consciousness type form. A blog post without any structure is not a pretty sight—and search engines agree.
When you use different formats for your text, you give them a specific tag in the code. This is how search engines distinguish between different types of text and their hierarchy within a page; therefore, to provide your readers (and the search engine) with the best experience possible, use some simple formatting.
HTML pieces are called H-headings and they range from H1 to H6 in descending importance. This means that H1 is your most important title (your article title), H2 is one level below (heading), and so on. Think of it as reading a newspaper in which you have a main headline, subheadings and paragraph text.
Go for the featured snippet
Featured snippets are a glimpse of an article, usually answering a question, that appears above the first organic result. A study by Search Engine Land found that when there’s a featured snippet on the SERP, the click-through rate (CTR) for the first organic result falls below 20% and the featured snippet gets an 8.6% CTR. This means you can have a leg up on your competitors when gaining this position.
To improve your chances of gaining the featured snippet, organize your H2 titles with clear subheadings. This makes it easy for the search engine bots to pull them and summarize them into a featured snippet and rank you in this most desired position.
05. Incorporate rich media
Since Google’s algorithm determines rankings due to user behavior, bloggers should try to keep their readers engaged for as long as possible. For example, adding a video or podcast episode to your post may help readers stay on your page for longer, thus lowering your bounce rates.
Additionally, a Search Engine Journal study found that videos that rank in the SERP have a higher CTR than other types of content. This is why we recommend having a solid video marketing strategy for your blog or even starting a podcast. Get started with our free video maker tool and podcast player.
06. Add alt text to images
The famous saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true for most people, but unfortunately, it’s a different story for search engines. Google, Bing and others can’t see images as we do, so you need to add some context (in the form of text) to help them decipher your photos and graphics. Adding alt text to your images helps search engines better understand, and thus efficiently index, them.
Adding these little textual descriptions will also enable people to discover your images on Google Image Search, giving you more traffic to your website and, ultimately, gaining better blog SEO.
To add alt text to images on your Wix Blog, double-click the image to edit and fill in the section that says “Describe this image” under “Alt text.” A great tip ford writing good alt text is to imagine you’re describing the image to a friend who cannot see it.
Alt text is also an important part of web accessibility. It allows those accessing your content via a screen reader to better understand your accompanying images.
07. Link internally
Ever wondered how a Googlebot gets from one page to another? Probably not. But we’ll let you in on that secret: Links. Indeed, links are like a spider’s web behind the scenes of your website’s pages. When you link from one blog post to another page within the same domain (sitename.com), search engine bots (also known as “spiders”) can more easily discover all of your site’s pages and scan the content from head to toe. This process is called “crawling.” Once crawled, the web pages are saved in a massive library, aka “indexed.”
Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages than those that don’t. The more blog posts in your library, the higher the chances of your pages appearing on search results for a relevant query.
Adding more internal links also allows your visitors to browse your site freely, facilitating clicks to more pages. This signals to search engines that your website’s content satisfies its audience, and you’ll get a good blog SEO boost for it.
Pro tip: Instead of using “click here” or “read this,” use descriptive anchor text when linking to an internal blog post. This gives more context and makes it easier for the search engine to understand what’s on the upcoming page.
08. Be mobile friendly
Device-use is ubiquitous, so even Google has started not only indexing the mobile version of your website, but also using that version to rank sites. That means mobile-optimized blogs get an extra SEO Boost. Thankfully, if you use Wix, your blog websites templates come with mobile-friendly design and navigation by default.
09. Post frequently
Starting a blog involves some work. You can’t expect to write one blog post and wait for the visitors to start rolling in. Blogging is a bit like going to the gym: It’s hard to do it regularly, but the benefits are huge. We’re not saying you need to write a 3,000-word post every day, but you can start by publishing weekly or bi-weekly.
From our experience, blogging more frequently can greatly impact blog SEO. When you provide those hungry Googlebots with your fresh and updated content, they will keep on coming back for more. Plus, you give the search engine more opportunities to rank your pages.
The key to posting more frequently is simple: Be organized. A posting schedule can help you make your blog plan a reality. In an Excel sheet, create a table that includes each blog post’s publishing date, writing deadline, some references and your target keywords. Having a good overview will make you feel more in control and encourage you to stick to your schedule.
To take some of the work off of you, consider inviting other experts in the field to write guest posts or hire freelancers to outsource some of the heavy lifting.
10. Engage on social media
Although not commonly known for its SEO power, social media can help get your name (and your links) out there. By sharing your valuable, original and well-written blog posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and more, you increase the chances that someone will amplify your content.
Search engines perceive that extra amount of traffic from social as a signal that others respect your blog, which can do wonders for your blog's SEO.
The easiest way to do this is to add a “share” and Twitter Tweet button in your blog posts, so your readers can easily post about them. Also, don't forget to share your published blog posts on your own social channels: Use the Social Media Graphics tool’s incredible ready-made templates to customize and create extra buzz about your posts.
By Ruth Eschenheimer
SEO Content Specialist
By Lena Sernoff
Blogger and Senior Digital Marketing Expert