10 delightfully simple factors that will boost your blog’s SEO

A blog post about blog writing SEO, and providing blog SEO tips and tricks – practising what I preach and preaching what I practice!

Why are blogs good for SEO?

Blogs are a tried and tested method for content marketers to drive traffic to their sites and create buzz around their products. By writing a blog about a product or service, you can provide countless value to potential customers looking for a solution to a certain problem, or looking for content that will inform their purchase decision. By including the following factors, you can bring your blog front-and-centre to the people who are actively looking for what you can provide.

  1. Keywords
  2. Headings
  3. User Experience (UX) and usability
  4. Links and CTAs
  5. Multimedia
  6. Keep it Evergreen
  7. Create ‘snippets’
  8. Ensure Responsive Design
  9. Get Meta
  10. Understand Search Intent

1. Keywords

Keywords are the bread and butter of blog writing SEO. Research which keywords people are using to find content like yours, then put them everywhere – your title, subheadings, URL, copy… everywhere. Make them prominent to the friendly local spider bots; include your main keywords in the first 100 words of your copy. That said – try not to keyword-stuff. Everyone else can see what you’re doing and it doesn’t look as good as you think it does.

Try not to keyword-stuff. Everyone else can see what you’re doing and it doesn’t look as good as you think it does.

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is the act of trying to insert your targeted keywords into your copy as often as possible, in order to try and artificially raise your relevance score with Search Engines. Unfortunately, this usually has the opposite of the intended effect, because Google totally sees what you’re doing, doesn’t think you’re slick, and will reduce your quality score. Just put your keywords in with the natural flow of your copy and you’ll be fine.

2. Headings

Not only do headings help to break up your copy and make your blog less overwhelming for a reader, but they also signal to search engines that your blog entry isn’t just a rankings farm. To increase your relevancy score, include keywords in your headings, and use h2 and h3 subheadings to further segment your copy. By including subheadings, your blog becomes a candidate for one of the ‘position zero’ spots in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), which means you’ll bypass both paid and unpaid results and get to be front-and-centre on the first page.

Another way to target ‘position zero’ is to make your subheadings questions. Use SERP analysis on your chosen keywords and topics to see what subheadings your competitors are using, and use tools such as ‘AnswerThePublic‘ to find out what questions searchers have about your chosen topic or niche. Then, all you have to do is answer them – and you know from your competitor research which questions are answered less! Easy peasy.

What is ‘position zero’ on a SERP (search engine results page)?

When we use a search engine, most of us are familiar with the SEM, or paid, results that appear as the first few results, and SEO, or unpaid, results underneath. But sometimes your query will be greeted with features such as ‘featured snippets’, ‘people also ask’, and ‘knowledge cards’. These features occupy ‘position zero’, and appear “when Google determines that the user’s search intention can be best matched by immediately offering brief answers within the search results themselves“. By undertaking SERP analysis, and taking steps to optimise your blog for these features, you give your blog more of a chance to appear in one of these coveted positions – once your blog is optimised enough to appear on the first page of Google, of course.

Screenshot of a Google Search of 'what is position zero'.

3. User Experience (UX) and usability

UX optimisation is one of the most important factors you should take into consideration when writing a blog. If your blog is messy, illegible, devoid of spacing and paragraphs, or straight up just takes ages to load, your bounce rate will skyrocket. As search engines take bounce rate as a major consideration in the relevancy of your content, it doesn’t matter if your blog provides the most insightful and genius copy if nobody wants to traverse the word scramble jungle you’ve planted.

Once you’ve written your content, proofread it. Correct spelling and grammar errors, rewrite sentences to make them more readable, and make sure your facts are sourced and links are in-date and working. Once you’ve done a pass for these, do it again. Insert headings and subheadings to separate your point, as previously mentioned, and make sure to insert paragraphs to break up the wall of type you may have built. Your post should be skimmable to allow readers to easily find exactly what they came to your blog for. (More hot tips on typography can be found in my 33 Laws of Typography post).

“Your post should be skimmable to allow readers to easily find exactly what they came to your blog for. “

Finally, add a table of contents, with internal links to each heading (and even each subheading if your post is extra long). This will not only reduce your bounce rate as readers can jump to the section they need but also may cause Google to do a cool little thing called ‘sitelinks‘.

UX optimisation is one of the most important factors you should take into consideration when writing a blog. If your blog is messy, illegible, devoid of spacing and paragraphs, or straight up just takes ages to load, your bounce rate will skyrocket.

How do I add internal links to my table of contents?

To add internal links to your table of contents, you should first check the features of the site that hosts your blog. On WordPress, for example, adding internal links is as simple as follows:

  1. Select the heading you wish to link to.
  2. In the ‘block’ section, within the settings menu that pops up on the right-hand side of the interface, click the ‘advanced’ dropdown arrow.
  3. In the box labelled ‘HTML ANCHOR’, type a word that relates to the subsection, such as ‘about’ or ‘faq’.
  4. Go back to your table of contents and highlight the corresponding listing for the said subsection.
  5. Press Ctrl+K, or select the ‘link’ option in the pop-up toolbar that appears above your selection.
  6. In the URL box, type the word you previously entered in the ‘HTML anchor’ box, preceded by a hash (#). For example, #about or #faq
  7. Press enter to create the link and, presto! An internal link in your WordPress blog.

Those familiar with HTML can also add internal links in HTML by making use of the <a href=”#about”> and <h1 id=”about”> combination. For more details on this method, check out this handy guide from W3Schools.

What is a ‘bounce rate’?

Simply put, a ‘bounce rate’ is how often a user clicks the link to your page, spends very little time there, and either goes back to a search page or visits a different site. This is measured by analytics and will affect your Quality Score in search engine result rankings.

Another aspect that search engines use to score your content is links. When inserting links, always remember to try and keep them inline within your copy – as in, make the links part of a sentence, instead of adding them at the end of a sentence/paragraph/blog post like an afterthought.

There are three types of links you should make use of when optimising blog SEO – these are as follows…

Internal Links

As mentioned before, internal links are links to other sections of the same site – or even the same post. By using internal links, you can reduce your site’s bounce rate by directing readers to other relevant posts on your site, instead of allowing them to find the information they need from someone that isn’t you. Providing internal links gives readers a CTA – or call to action – to go and look at the other content you’ve made.

“By using internal links, you can reduce your site’s bounce rate.”

External Links

It may seem counter-productive to link to content created by your competitors – after all, didn’t I just say to keep readers on your site? Well yes, but actually no. Linking to external sites is another way to boost your blog’s SEO.

If you link to well-established, high quality and high-authority sites, you signal to Google that the information you’re providing is relevant and correct – after all, you’re using that Big Professional Site as a source! It signals to search engines that your site can be trusted and isn’t just a spam site – although putting too many links in your copy will of course have the opposite effect. It’s all about balance.

Of course, when using external links, ensure to do an audit every so often to make sure the links aren’t broken, the sites are still up, and the information found via the link is still up-to-date and relevant.


Backlinks are the most elusive of creatures for content marketers. These can only be obtained by someone else liking your content enough to quote and/or link to what you’ve got to say. There are a few ways to encourage backlinks, but these are not guaranteed ways to tame a backlink horse:

  • Post high-quality content with quotable snippets. Make sure to emphasise your snippets using formatting such as bold font, or by making use of the ‘quote’ functions in a lot of CMS (content management systems (like WordPress)) – or, alternatively, the <blockquote> tag in HTML.

“Post high-quality content with quotable snippets.”

  • Link to competing blogs/blogs with immediate relevance to yours, on the same CMS. Often, the CMS will then notify the blog owner that you’ve linked to them, which may then make them feel obligated to link to you back.
  • Network with other blog owners – in forums, on blog sites, wherever you can find them. Engage with their posts, be a social butterfly, and make some blogger friends! Don’t be gross and befriend them only for the sake of backlinks, though or, even worse, cold-email blog owners begging for backlinks. People don’t like emails at the best of times. Be better. Be cool.

Make sure to include CTAs – these calls to action tell your reader what to do once they’ve finished reading your blog, instead of just leaving them hanging after you’re finished with them. They’re interested enough to read through your entire blog – provide enrichment for the animals and send them off somewhere else they’ll enjoy, or get them to sign up for a mailing list! Give them your socials! Don’t miss the opportunity to cherish a potential fan.

Don’t be gross and befriend bloggers only for the sake of backlinks, though or, even worse, cold-email blog owners begging for backlinks. People don’t like emails at the best of times. Be better. Be cool.

5. Multimedia

If you’re blogging for SEO success, you just have to include multimedia formats. Video and images make your blog more engaging, increase opportunities for SEOs via tagging and keywords, and give your readers multiple options for how they consume your content. Make sure you provide them with a balanced diet. That said, make sure your files and videos aren’t so large that they make your blog load like we’re still in 1999 with an AOL dial-up connection, and make sure your images are ‘sfw’ (safe for work – non-explicit content), so they still show up in searches with ‘safe-search’ enabled.

Video Content SEO

Likely the main form of multimedia you should be including on your blog is video. Video content keeps viewers engaged and holds them still on your page while they watch it – increasing dwell time. In addition, Google favours videos hosted on YouTube, since they own it and all – so make sure your video is hosted there.

How to Embed Videos in WordPress Step-by-Step, a video by Blog with Ben

Image SEO

You may be surprised at the number of factors that search engines take into consideration when checking your images for relevant content. Not only do they check the obvious – your captions and alt text – they also inspect your file names, titles, and descriptions. So you should probably stop naming your image files Screenshot_050323 or IMG0452 or Artwork-final-v2-FINAL. Put relevant keywords in every text-based field of your images and boost that SEO to the max.

Very few of these file names would help improve my blog SEO.

6. Keep it Evergreen

In the words of the great Will Young;

‘You’ve got to take your content and make it last forever, instead of leaving your blog to decay and praying it’ll hold together. You need to give your readers more than one good reason, to convince them you’re the only blog they need – that you’re the most insightful they’ve ever seen. You’ve gotta take your site, and make it evergreen.’

For starters, get those dates out of your URL if you can. If you don’t, no matter how often you update your content, search engines will always display your site as a relic from 20** and the zoomers and gen alphas will just say ‘ok boomer’ and click someone else’s fresher, cooler link. On a similar note, don’t put dates in headings, subheadings, body text… just don’t use them at all if you can avoid it.

For your main course, regularly perform audits of your content and check data, information, and facts for correctness and recency. Data is rarely static – advances in technology and science, developments in society, and many more factors can make data out-of-date and irrelevant. Make sure your information is correct for the here and now, delete old content, and never look back – it distracts from the now.

Finally, don’t be afraid to rework, repurpose, or republish older content. If your analytics show that traffic to a certain entry has dipped consistently for a while, get your recycling brain on and refresh the content. If you choose to rework the old content, make sure your changes are significant – search engine crawlers will only update your site’s indexing if the changes are more than, for example, a few changes in spelling and grammar. Also, if choosing to republish, you should consider deleting the old page – opinions on this vary but you could run the risk of your site being ranked negatively for duplicate content.

“Don’t be afraid to rework, repurpose, or republish older content.”

7. Create ‘snippets’

As mentioned previously, creating content ‘snippets’ that are concise and easily quotable can boost SEO in a number of ways – such as by encouraging Google to use your content as a ‘featured snippet’, and by encouraging other content writers to quote your content and create backlinks.

A quick tip for your snippets: statistics are most often used for quotes and backlinks, so be sure to emphasise any statistics you reference in your content – and provide trustworthy sources where possible!

“Statistics are most often used for quotes and backlinks.”

8. Ensure ‘Responsive Design’

Responsive design is when a site is optimised for display on any device – regardless of screen size. Images should resize ad-hoc and as appropriate – but never become too small to make out without a magnifying glass. Any text on images should be kept minimal so the full image is still able to be comprehended at small sizes. Text copy should be coded at a size that is legible even on the smallest of screens – but not so big that it becomes more like a typographic art installation.

Image depicts a framed art piece, large typography art print in large font that reads 'SELL THE HOUSE SELL THE CAR SELL THE KIDS' but actually reads like 'SELLTHE HOUSE S ELL THEC AR SELL THEK I DS'
Don’t turn your site into a graphic design nightmare with text that doesn’t wrap properly!

In addition to making your site responsive, make it accessible. Add alt-text to images for screen-readers, make sure your page can be loaded on the weakest of mobile data connections – or provide a link to a ‘printable’ version that removes most media and sticks to a more text-based format.

9. Get Meta

If you can, make sure your meta title, tags, and description all contain your target keywords. – your meta description is what usually comes up on a SERP so make sure it’s catchy, engaging, and contains keywords and a CTA. If you’re using a CMS such as WordPress, you may not be able to change much about the meta tags without buying a Business Plan and using plugins – but there will often be CSS formatting that creates meta tags for you.

“Your meta description is what usually comes up on a SERP.”

10. Understand Search Intent

‘Search Intent’, or ‘user intent’ is exactly what it sounds like – the intent behind a search. When a user types into a search engine’s search bar, they have a goal in mind – whether that’s to find information, find a product or service, or answer a question they have. By understanding the intent behind the keywords people are using to find your content, you can present the best possible response in the most relevant format.

In order to better understand the ‘search intent’ behind your targeted searches, make sure to perform a SERP analysis – doing so will reveal how your competitors are doing, what they’re doing, and where any opportunities for optimisation lie. For a more detailed breakdown, make sure to check out these tips on search intent and blogger SEO by Yoast.

“By understanding the intent behind the keywords people are using to find your content, you can present the best possible response in the most relevant format. “

Can you spot the ways I’ve applied these tactics to my own blog?

Published by pixieguts

Georgia Goddard is a freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer, also known by the alias "PixieGuts". Based in Merseyside, UK, she is originally from rural Suffolk and is a self-described country girl - and much of her work reflects her rural background. Her work can be found at www.georgiagoddard.com

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