Long Tail Keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Critical To Blog Success
Search Engine Optimization is an extremely important part of blogging. It can be really confusing when you're new, and there's a ton of information out there, both good and bad.
We will focus on just a few things (the low hanging fruit, if you will) that will help get you started with SEO on your blog.
Long Tail Keywords
As you write your blog posts, it's important that you not stuff all the potential keywords you have into every article. You should really just focus on one or two keywords on each post. By limiting your keywords, you avoid issues with search engines that penalize a post if it looks like you're just keyword stuffing. Also just using one or two keywords helps you focus on the post's topic. The goal is to optimize the post for those one or two keywords, not every single one.
Focusing on long tail keywords is key as you are targeting more specific searches than the more generic one or two word searches. For example, you can probably get better search engine rankings when optimizing for "Best Drones with Cameras" than just "Drones" or "Best Drones".
The post title is ever so important because it not only tells the user what your post is about, but also the search engines. Your title should have the same keywords as you're optimizing the content for. You just have to make it fit 70 characters or less.
Again, mention the keyword(s) naturally in your post content. As you might guess, you should include these keywords in the body, but only if it comes naturally and in a way readers would expect to see it. If you just stuff the keyword in randomly, the search engines could mark you down pretty quick for that.
The Search Engines also look at the URL of your post to get an idea of what your post is about. Your URL should be close to the title and include the same keywords as the Title itself and the body content. You can eliminate stop words such as "and" and "the" to shorten the url. It is best practice to use "pretty URLs" as opposed to the default. A normal URL would look like this (Joomla CMS URL structure shown):
While a pretty URL would look like this:
Make sure to optimize the Meta Description for your post. This content will show in Google searches within the search results.
The meta description is extremely important because it tells the reader what the post is about. It's also one overlooked selling tool when it comes to attracting people to your site.
Your meta description should contain the long tail keywords that you have used in the title, URL and content body.
If you need to use the same content in different places on your website, make sure to use canonical tags to tell the search engine what actual post is the original. That way, the search engines won't think that you're just duplicating content all over the place.
Optimize Your Images with an ALT tag
Make sure that all your images have an alt description. This tells the search engines what the picture is, and also will give readers who use screen readers an idea of what the images are too.
Don't stuff the post tags
Tagging your post is a good thing, but not if you're using more than just a few. You want relevant, but different tags. If you choose tags that are two ways of saying the same thing, then most likely, the search engines will mark you down for that.
Use Internal Links
Whenever possible, use internal links to link relevant articles to each other. If you mention another blog post on the same site, such as my "URL Shortening with YOURLS" article, then of courst I'd want to link that to the article as I've done here.