Effective SEO is often about much more than you initially expected. If you’ve already kick-started the search engine optimization of your blog you’re now ready to take the next step and look deeper into what can boost your rankings.
Here’s the list of these surprising tweaks that can affect your rankings significantly.
- Content organization. You have to make sure that your content is easy to find – both for blog visitors and search engines. The reason is that the first will help you keep people engaged by guiding them through your content to what is relevant to them. Thus, visitors will spend more time on your pages signaling relevance and quality of your blog. The second is important for obvious reasons – search engines need to be able to find and crawl your content in order to include your posts and pages in search results. You achieve good content organization by looking into:
- Menu structure: Your menus have to be placed well to make it easy for people to navigate through your content. A good practice is to have one menu in the header, one in the footer, and one in the side panels of pages where going deeper in the page structure is necessary. Furthermore, you have to make sure to structure your menus following the logical path of your content. Similar topics or subtopics should be grouped accordingly to avoid messiness. Avoid menus with too complicated structure and multiple levels as too many levels can make pages difficult to find.
- Pagination: Implement user- and search-engine-friendly pagination on for example blog or archive pages. Best practice is to display the paths to your content by implementing “Google-style” pagination.
It allows users to easily navigate through content and helps them find the right entry if they’re looking for something in particular. Pages with endlessly loading entries or a single button leading to all your old content hurts user friendliness by making it more difficult to browse your blog. Good pagination helps also search engines when indexing your pages. Hiding posts behind multiple clicks and non-existing structure is not considered a good SEO practice.
- Internal linking. Use every opportunity you have to link blog posts with related content. This way you make it easier for visitors to find what’s relevant for them and give them direction if they’re uncertain about what to do next on your blog. The best way to do this is via links in the text where you use your keywords in the anchor text, and via getting the most out of the standard blog option to show links to related posts below your content.
- Post categories. Even though you might feel enticed to use many categories in order to categorize your content precisely, the SEO advice here is to limit the number of blog-wide categories and to only use one category per post. The reason is that scattering too much category-wise doesn’t help search engines understand and classify your blog’s content. If you, on the other hand, only use a few categories revolving around one major topic, you’ll be sending a strong signal that your blog is the place where information on that topic can be found. Regarding the use of multiple categories on a single blog post, it’s not recommended as it leads to duplication of content – your post will appear on multiple archive pages. When it comes to SEO, duplicated content should be avoided.
- Topics. Try to focus on one topic when creating a blog. It might seem appealing to give yourself the freedom of posting about literally everything, but this isn’t a good strategy as both blog visitors and search engines will perceive you as unserious and will have difficulties seeing the relevance or the authority of your content. In order to rank well and make blog visitors come back again and again for more, you have to show dedication to one topic, which you master.
- Titles and keywords. Many new bloggers think that in order to rank for a certain keyword, it’s necessary to include it on all their pages and in all posts. This, however, can’t be more wrong. While it’s true that pages are a part of your blog, they are in the same time separate entries when it comes to search results. The reason is that in search engines’ attempt to deliver relevant search results, they won’t point a visitor to your blog as a whole but to the specific page of your blog, considered most relevant to the search query. Therefore it’s important that you avoid using the same – or too similar – titles and keywords on all your pages. Using more focused and varied keywords and titles gives you better chances to appear in search results in connection to different search phrases. Keep in mind that it’s a standard practice for retailers for example to create multiple pages promoting the same product or service. They do that to get the chance to target wider with a variety of keywords. You should be doing the same.
- H1, H2, H3… How you structure your content is up to you and should depend on the specifics of your posts. However, keep away from overusing H1 tags. As you might’ve heard, H1 tags are quite important as they help search engines understand what your post is about. If you though use more than one H1 tag per page, you risk to get misunderstood or to tank the page’s ranking if search engines decide that your content is difficult to comprehend or isn’t relevant to search queries. Using H2, H3, and so on used to be good for ranking and you were advised to include your keywords in them. This has changed now and using H2 and H3 in your post structure isn’t that important any more. You should, however, still use them when it makes sense from user experience’s perspective. Especially when writing longer blog posts, it’s a good idea to “cut” your text in logical pieces to help readers find what’s relevant to them.
- Social sharing. Enable social sharing as much as possible: via share and like buttons, via optimizing your content for sharing (tweetable chunks of text, pinable images, shareable videos), and via sharing your posts on your pages on social media. This is important as, even though search engines aren’t yet good enough at registering social activity, social sharing generates additional traffic and backlinks to your blog, both of which result in a stronger SEO profile.
- Backlinks. Keep an eye on the backlinks you generate and avoid blackhat SEO. If you gather too many links from a single site or the majority of sites linking to your blog are low quality, you might be punished by search engines or simply perceived as a low-quality spam blog – where neither option is good for you.
- Language. When it comes to languages, be carful to not mix them. That means that all text, plugins, widgets, menus, descriptions, links, screenshots, etc. on your blog must be in the same language. This is important not only for user experience but also because search engines evaluate the relevance of your content out of the language you use as well. If you mix languages, you risk that your content will appear in irrelevant search queries and will be skipped in relevant ones.
- Readability. Some bloggers go far when it comes to stuffing text with keywords or optimizing it in one way or another. As a result the readability of the text suffers significantly. Even though you might think that this only affects user experience, this is far from true. In the process of becoming intelligent, search engines have started to evaluate your content also in terms of readability. This means that texts where the meaning is lost or the natural language is replaced by keyword-rich sentences will get punished by search engines. Keep therefore away from such practices and optimize your content primarily with your blog readers in mind.