How to Improve Your SEO Ranking for Your Blog- (PLus a FREE SEO Checklist)

How to Improve Your SEO Ranking for Your Blog

1. Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are important if you want to improve your SEO ranking. First, let’s define what a long-tail keyword is. It’s a search term that’s typically between two to five words that targets a niche market rather than a mass audience. Instead of focusing on one specific word, a long-tail keyword forces on a phrase or group of words. Choosing a long-tail keyword when writing an article is important. It will help give you direction when writing your post and help you rank higher in a Google search.

Below are three examples of long-tail keywords vs. single keywords:

Single Keywords
Rock Climbing
Long-Tail Keywords
Organic and Gluten Free Recipes
Exercising Tips for New Moms
Rock Climbing in Northern California
Although using a single keyword means a higher traffic count there is also a scary amount of competition out there using the same keyword. Using a long-tail keyword will attract views from people within your target audience plus you wont be competing with as many other sites.

Below are the most important places to include long-tail keywords:

Title of Your Post

Body of Your Post

The Meta Description

I will go over meta descriptions and URL optimization in detail below.

2. Image Optimization
Another way to improve your SEO ranking is by optimizing your images within a post. When you upload an image, you have the option to include a keyword within the “alt text”. Search engines don’t have the ability to interpret the photo so this allows them to understand what the photo represents.

How to Edit the “Alt Text”

Upload a new image
Go to the attachment details
Look for “alt text”
Enter in your keyword”
Click save and you’re done!

How to Improve Your SEO Ranking for Your Blog: If you're looking to increase your blog traffic & grow your community, click here to read the entire article.

TIP: If you change the alt tag after the image is already in your post it may not save. Change the alt tag before inserting the image into your article.

3. Meta Descriptions
As we talked about earlier, the meta description is important when trying to improve your SEO ranking. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, a meta description is the snippet of text that appears underneath the link of a search result. The meta description is important because it will help encourage someone to click on the link that will lead to your site. Below the meta description is outlined in red:

How to Improve Your SEO Ranking for Your Blog: If you're looking to increase your blog traffic & grow your community, click here to read the entire article.

So how do you write a strong meta description?

Make Sure it’s Clean and Convincing
The meta description is one of the best way to explain what the article is about. That way when someone is reading your meta description they will know if the article is what they’re looking for. So make sure it’s well-written to help you stand out.

Include Your Long-Tail Keyword
The meta description also helps search engines know what your article is about. Make sure to include your long-tail keyword so your article shows up under relevant searches.

Include a Call to Action
It’s also important to include a call to action in your meta description. In the photo above, the call to action is included in the last sentence. ‣ “Click here if you’re looking for healthy recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less.” If you ask someone to do something, it’s more likely to happen.

If you’re using WordPress, Yoast has an awesome app that allows you to edit the meta description. I personally use the free version and it works great.

4. URL Optimization
Optimizing the URL for each blog post will also help improve your SEO ranking. It’s important that each URL is easy to understand, explains what the article is about, and includes a long-tail keyword. Below is an example which highlights an optimized URL vs. two that you should try and avoid.

Optimized URL

Difficult to Understand

Impossible to Understand

5. SEO Optimized Theme

A responsive theme means your blog will look the same on your computer, phone, and tablet. It’s also important for your site’s SEO. If your theme isn’t responsive, it can end up hurting your SEO ranking in multiple ways:

Higher Bounce Rate
If you don’t have a responsive theme and haven’t optimized your website for a mobile version, it may lead to a higher bounce rate. Without a responsive theme, your website will not transition smoothly to other devices. That means if someone ends up on the mobile version of your site, they’re more likely to leave because it hasn’t been formatted for their device.

Poor User Experience
Not having an SEO optimized mobile version can also lead to a poor experience for your audience. A responsive theme automatically changes the layout of your site depending on the screen size and orientation. If you don’t have a responsive theme and haven’t optimized the mobile version of your website, there’s a good chance it’s not doing this. That means your website might be distorted or have major formatting mistakes when viewed from a phone or tablet.

Duplicate Content
If you don’t have a responsive theme but want to make your website mobile friendly, you will have to duplicate content. Unfortunately, search engines favor simplicity and organization. Having multiple versions of your site will end up hurting your SEO. So remember, a responsive theme = an improved SEO ranking.

If you’re looking for a free, responsive theme check out the link below:

50+ Beautiful & Free Responsive WordPress Themes

6. Internal and External Links
Links are one of the most important things to consider when making your blog SEO friendly. To do this, every post should include both inbound and outbound links. That means you will link to articles within your site and to other blogs or websites.

Internal links will help users navigate through your site. It also allows search engines to navigate which will help improve your SEO ranking. External links enhance your readers experience and builds trust. It also allows search engines to understand your specific niche.

Another important thing to remember is to optimize the anchor text within a link. You can do this by replacing the link URL with a specific keyword or phrase. This allows users and search engines to understand what the link will lead to. Below are three examples of anchor text:

► If you’re looking for a gluten free baking powder, look no further:
Ann’s Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour- 24 oz

► If you’re looking for a gluten free baking powder, look no further:

► If you’re looking for a gluten free baking powder, look no further:
Click Here

The two bottom links don’t offer additional value to your audience. However, the first link is more detailed and includes keywords that will help to improve your SEO ranking. 

☞ Now that you’re an SEO rockstar, download the FREE SEO CHECKLIST to start optimizing your blog for search engines!

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  1. Hi
    I would like to suggest another tip over here. Along with all these points, it is important to analyze your site thoroughly. Free tools like Small SEO Tools and Monitor Backlinks are really helpful in detecting unhealthy backlinks and analyzing your website in detail.

    • Hi Charles,

      Thanks for the awesome tip! I’m always testing things on my website so both of those would be really helpful. That way I would know which links my audience likes or which links don’t work at all.

      Thanks again!

  2. This was a great article. Learned more than a few things. Good work M.

  3. Thank you for this awesome post, Marianna! 

    Not a big fan of SEO and let me tell you why: I’m too LAZY to learn about it. Plus, some blogs I came across  about SEO are too complicated. 

    I’ve learnt a lot today. Thanks again!

    • Hi Eden,
      I was the same way in the beginning. I completely ignored anything and everything that had to do with SEO! Except it’s totally worth it once you start… and it becomes easier and easier.

      Have an awesome week!

  4. Yes!! Such great tips!! Very informative + easy to understand, thanks for the post!!

  5. Thanks for this very helpful and informative post. You made some things much less complicated for me to understand!:)

  6. Love the post!

    I think that a lot of people are confused by and/or intimidated by the phrase SEO, but once you get the basics down, it’s a lot easier to understand how it all works and how having great SEO practices will help Google rank your content.

    Also, comprehending SEO best practices will help you avoid possible penalties in the future. Anyone who owns and operates a blog should understand this stuff.

    We actually wrote something similar over on SplashU about basic SEO:

    There are a couple of fun SEO hacks that we talk about that you can do to help you rank for your desired keywords. I thought I would share in case anyone is interested in reading more about the subject.

  7. Thanks Marianna for the tips. I need to focus on improving my meta descriptions and incorporating links in my posts. I didn’t know that internal and external links made posts SEO friendly. Good to know!

  8. This is by far the clearest explanation I have come across about beginning to use SEO. If you had to estimate, how much traffic comes from SEO and how much from social media links?

    • Hi Christina! Thank you! I’m so glad it was helpful. At this point, around 25% of my traffic comes from search engines. However, it’s not a fair fight because I pay for advertisements on different social media platforms. Although, I still think 25% is well worth it because I only spend an extra minute or two optimizing my posts.

  9. Thank you for breaking this down into steps that are both simple to understand and easy to implement!

  10. Thank you so much for this. I am new to blogging, only been in it since January, and I have trouble understanding all the language. You just made it very much easier for me to understand. Thank you again.

  11. Thanks, this was really helpful! I’ve been mostly ignoring SEO, but now I’ll get started on improving my traffic and ranking.

  12. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been looking for SEO related posts that aren’t just “use better keywords”. This goes more in-depth and that’s exactly what I was looking for =)

  13. Just stumbled on this post on Pinterest! So helpful, thank you! I’m a new blogger always looking for tips how to get my site more traffic and learn all the ins and outs of blogging. Posts like these are super helpful! :)

  14. Nice. I’m still new to AdWord long tail keyword research though, but it helps especially when writing articles in my local language.
    Next up, updating older blog posts with links to newer articles.

  15. Thank you for sharing specific details! This was helpful :)

  16. I think you may have broke the internet with this amazing SEO for dummies post. Love it!
    I’m restarting my site after a long time (*cough* years) and this is the best thing I’ve read on how-to anything SEO to date. Something I knew nothing about back in the teeny-bopper years. Thank you!

    • Haha thank you!!! I know! When I was first starting out I didn’t even think about SEO. Now I finally feel like I have a decent grasp around it. : )

  17. Hi Marianna,

    Thanks for these – really useful “next-level” tips for optimising content. The theme selection side of things totally passed me by until about 2 months ago until I realised mine was killing my traffic! Been slowly improving since I changed it.

    Hope it continues!

    Nisha //

  18. You’ve made SEO so much easier for me to understand, thank you! I’m more confident about long tail keywords and how to use them properly now.

  19. This has been one of the best and easiest to understand SEO posts I’ve ever read.

  20. Great job! Often times it can be hard to explain the importance of SEO and all the little details that go into it. This is a great list for bloggers to reference!

    Keep up the great work!
    Xoxo, Cath

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