Blogging without first doing keyword research is almost entirely pointless. Identifying the right keyword can be difficult but it is a crucial step in getting customers to find you on the internet. Without a specific phrase that you’re trying to rank for on Google, your blog will never get found organically. Thus, leaving you with the equivalent of a big beautiful billboard in the middle of the Sahara desert! What a waste.
How to Optimize for a Keyword
Optimizing a webpage, blog, or video for a specific keyword phrase tells Google what the content piece is about. If every element of your blog points in the exact same direction, Google notices. Google is sophisticated but needs hints along the way. If you're wondering how to target keywords with your blog posts, and how to give Google those hints, the process is easier than you might think.
1. Use Images and Image Alt Text
First of all, your content should have images and/or videos. If you have a blog or a webpage, make sure you're adding at least one image or video to all of them. There are plenty of sites with free pictures that you can use to find relevant images for your topic. Google favors blogs with pictures because, as we know, pictures are worth a thousand words and people really like to look at them.
But it's not just the aesthetics that make pictures so valuable. Thanks to alt text, images are also a great way to include keywords in your blog. Alt text is a short description of the image that tells Google a little bit about your webpage. Alt text can be easily added to blogs in most major content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, HubSpot, SquareSpace and Wix.
2. Include the Keyword in Your Title Tag
Putting the target keyword in the heading and title tag of your content also helps Google determine what your article is about. Just as a newspaper’s column headline describes what the column is about, so too will the headline of a blog or internet article give you more information about its content. Google will be able to tell whether or not the header is related to the rest of the content, so do yourself a favor and be honest with Google. It doesn’t appreciate being tricked.
3. Use the Keyword in the Body but Don't "Keyword Stuff"
Before Google became so smart, its thought process was, the more times a keyword phrase was used in an article, the more relevant the content was in search results. People caught on to this and began "keyword stuffing" their content to make it more easily discoverable by Google. For example, if the keyword phrase was “increasing revenue for my company”, Google, to a certain extent, would give the #1 spot in the search results to the page that used that phrase the most. With improvements to their algorithms, mentioning the keyword phrase more than about 5 times will raise red flags for Google and it will think the piece is spam.
4. Don't Forget About the Meta Description and URL
What you see in Google search results are the page titles of the content Google thinks is the most relevant to your particular search term. You'll notice there are approximately 160 characters of text under each linked page title. This short description is called the meta description and it helps give viewers a better understanding of your page. It is recommended that you include the keyword phrase in the meta description as well, for that extra little bit of SEO juice.
In addition to including the target keyword in your page title and meta description, adding the keyword to a URL is another great way to boost SEO. By adding a keyword to the URL, you are explicitly telling Google, "This is what my whole page is about."
5. Get Some Backlinks
Last but not least, one of the best way to improve your blog's ranking in search results is to focus on backlinking. A backlink is when another blog (or other external content) points back to your page by providing a link to your page. Pages and sites with lots of reputable backlinks are, in turn, seen as more reputable and viewed favorably by Google. While it's difficult to control which pages are pointing back to your page, the best way to get more backlinks is to regularly publish good content that readers will find valuable. Follow the other SEO best practices above as well: include your target keyword in the body of the content a few times, the page title, the meta description and the page URL. If you do have the ability to control which external pages are linking back to your content, one best practice is to ensure that backlink actually uses your target keyword.
By using these blog post keyword-targeting tips, you'll be able to target your dream keywords in your upcoming blog posts this year, and you're sure to notice an uptick in organic traffic, leads and sales. These tips and tricks can help your pages get found, but there are many other elements that go into getting ranked for a specific phrase on Google. Reach out to Sparkinator today to schedule a free digital marketing audit. We'll review your site with you to see what you're doing well and what improvements you can be making that will ultimately help boost your confidence and your SEO score.