There are hundreds of factors that affect ranking in Google search results. For small businesses, actively working on all of those factors at once seems impossible. The good news is that you don’t need to! In this post, I’m going to show you five super easy ways to improve the SEO on your blog posts so they rank higher. And by “easy”, I mean easy!
How to Improve SEO on Your Blog Posts Easily
In a previous post, I showed you a super simple step to make SEO blog posts easy. That step was keyword research. With one quick Google search, you can determine some keywords you want your blog post to rank for, and you can create an outline for your blog post.
This post is about another kind of research. It’s really a continuation of the research process for writing a search-optimized blog post.
Start by searching for your topic on Google. If you followed the previous post, you’ve already done this.
For this research, you’re going to focus on the top 10 organic search results—not paid ads or sponsored results. The top 10 results are the ones Google deems the best on your topic. We look at these because they are your competition. You want your post to be better than Google’s current top 10!
You’re going to compete with Google’s top results by looking at 5 key elements in each one:
- Content (information)
- Graphics & extra features
1. Notice the titles of the top 10 search results
I’m using “how to optimize your home for a staycation” as my query.
A quick scan shows me that:
- 4 titles use a list format—”10 Ways”, “22 Ways”, “16 Staycation Ideas”, etc.
- 3 titles use the phrase “staycation ideas”
- 3 titles use the phrase “how to”
These are things to keep in mind when creating an outline and writing the title for my own post.
2. Scan the subheadings in the top 5 search results
The subheadings on these pages will give you ideas about how to structure your post, revise your outline, or additional information to include.
This post used a list title promising “10 Ways to Optimize Your Home for a Luxury Staycation”. The subheadings are simply the “ways”.
However, the next post adds an interesting section before jumping into “how-tos”.
They’ve added a subheading about “Why a Staycation is Better Than a Vacation”. This is a good idea. It can add more content to the post and capture more keywords for additional queries.
Continue scanning the articles from the search results for more ideas simply by scanning the subheadings. You don’t even have to read any other content on the page.
3. Find out the length of the top search results
Google insists that word count is not a ranking factor. Yet many studies have found that longer posts receive more organic traffic, social shares, and backlinks—all of which are good for your business. So it makes sense to consider the length of your blog post.
Use a word counter tool like wordcounter.net to find out the length of each of the top 5-10 Google search results for your topic. Sometimes the word counts will all be within the same range. Other times, the word counts will be all over the map, but when that’s the case, the top result is often significantly longer than the rest.
Even though longer posts seem to perform better, it won’t benefit you to write more words strictly to achieve a certain word count. The quality of your content matters more than the length.
Use the word count of the top 10 results as a guide. If all those pages have over 1,000 words, but your own post is only 300 words, there’s a good chance you’re missing some vital information.
Again, your focus must not be writing longer content. Your goal is to write better content.
4. Take notes on the content of the top search results
Now it’s time to take a closer look at the articles Google chose as the top search results. Look past the title and subheadings to the body text—the substance of the article.
- What information is included?
- Does it incorporate statistics or quotes from outside sources?
- From what perspective is the article written?
You might be inspired during this research. Maybe one of these articles includes in-depth information about an aspect of your topic you hadn’t thought about before. Take notes during this part of your research so you don’t forget anything when it’s time to write your blog post.
5. Incorporate graphics and extra features
The last element to look at is graphics and extra features. Look at your reference articles again.
- Do they include photos throughout the post?
- Have they created graphics to show concepts more clearly?
- Is there an infographic?
- Did they embed a video?
Some topics require a lot of visuals. Graphics can help illustrate ideas or inspire the reader. Even if they’re not necessary for explaining things, they attract the eyes of your reader and keep them scrolling down your page.
If the posts you’re competing with don’t have a lot of graphics or extra features, consider adding some to yours to gain a competitive edge. If the competing posts do have a lot of graphics and extra features, invest time and energy into creating some for your own post.
Write Higher-Ranking Blog Posts
Remember, if you want your blog post to rank at the top of Google search results, your post must offer at least as much value as the current top search results.
I told you it was easy, didn’t I? You can write higher-ranking blog posts with this easy 5-step research.
This becomes easier with practice. As you do it, you’ll learn to scan articles quickly, make mental notes, and begin to formulate your own post in your head. This research process makes outlining your blog post a breeze, and takes a good chunk of the work out of writing your first draft. It also helps you to write higher-ranking blog posts!
Do you have questions? Let me know. I’m here to help!