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10 SEO Tips & Must-Haves for Bloggers

Search engines can be unforgiving, and SEO is difficult, regardless of what you might hear from internet charlatans. Sometimes you just want validation that you are doing everything the way you should.

When it comes to best practices, there are some SEO must-haves for each and every piece of content you create and publish. Let's review 10 essential SEO elements and 10 top SEO tips that will help you validate your content and adjust your SEO strategy if you are not seeing the expected results.

What is SEO for bloggers?

Search engine optimization SEO is an essential element of online marketing, and new bloggers often struggle to understand the strategies involved in optimizing their content. As mentioned, but worth reiterating, search engines can be unforgiving regarding content and rankings.

You may think gold never sees the light of day simply because the search engines don't rank your blog post or deem it as high-quality content.

However, there are several actionable tips bloggers can utilize to ensure their website ranks high in search engine results. These are called SEO must-haves, the most essential elements of any blog post to increase the probability your post shows high in Google search results.

Web Tools Advisor - Infographic for SEO tips and must-have elements for better organic rankings.
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SEO Must-Have Elements

Ensure you have these on-page elements correct to build your organic traffic and appease the search engine crawlers.

Element 1

Title Tag (Title Link)

The title link is what is shown on the browser tab and search results pages. You need to ensure your primary keyword appears here. Your title tag must be less than 65 characters to avoid truncation.

SEO Impact: High

Why is it high? – Title tags, which Google rebranded as title links, are one of the best ways to let the user and search engines know the topic or subject of your content. Generic title links like ‘Home' or ‘About' don't cut it with search engines. It's also critical to ensure all title links are unique. Duplication of title tags will hurt your on-page SEO.

What does it look like?

User view:

SEO Element 1 - Title tag or Title link user view

Code view:

SEO Element 1 - Title tag or Title link code view

Element 2

URL Permalink

You want your URL permalink to be short and contain the primary keyword. Best to keep it under 75 characters when possible.

SEO Impact: High

Why is it high? The permalink is one of the most important elements to show the topic and focus of a page or post. Ensuring you use a URL that includes the keyword when possible, is succinct, and is clean (meaning without parameters or non-sensical characters) is vital for ranking success.

What does it look like?

User view:

SEO Element 2 - URL permalink structure user view

Code view:

SEO Element 2 - URL permalink structure code view

Element 3

Primary or Focus Keyword

In most instances, an article, post, or page should have a single focus or primary keyword. This keyword should be researched and qualified and help center the content in total.

SEO Impact: High

Why is it high? Keyword research is essential when starting any content writing. For website pages or blog posts, you want the content to focus long tail keywords or on one main keyword. This will help create relevant content that search engines understand and can index with more purpose as it will meet the search intent of the query.

What does it look like?

There is no visual to show the target keyword. It should be placed throughout your content. The focus or target keyword is what your keyword research should help you discover.

Element 4

Meta Description

The meta description needs to contain the primary keyword and be written with a hook for the reader to encourage click-through. Keep it to 160 characters or less.

SEO Impact: Medium

Why is it medium? The meta description is the hook to encourage the click from the SERPs. The description should relate to the content and topic, include the target keyword, and provide a reason why the searcher should click.

What does it look like?

User view:

SEO Element 4 - Meta description user view

Code view:

SEO Element 4 - Meta description code view

Element 5

Header Tag

In most situations, you want a single H1 tag on your pages and posts, and it should be the main title of the article or page and contain the primary keyword.

SEO Impact: Medium

Why is it medium? The header tag, or H1, is the tag that leads your content. In most situations, there should only be a single H1 tag, although, in recent years, Google has relayed that sometimes it is appropriate to place more than one. This is an extreme edge case at this point and time.

What does it look like?

User view:

SEO Element 5 - Header tag user view

Code view:

SEO Element 5 - Header tag code view

Element 6

Subheader Tags

Strategic use of subhead tags (H2, H3, and H4) should guide the layout of the content. Each should be written to support the content in that section and in support of the structure as a whole.

SEO Impact: Medium

Why is it medium? Content structure and flow are important to allow the reader both the opportunity to benefit from the structure of the content and skip it if it is not related to their needs. This is why you often see featured snippets that, once clicked on, will bring you to a highlighted section of the web page that directly answers your query.

You want the information you want, but not necessarily all the extras included in the era of long-form content dominating search results.

What does it look like?

User view:

SEO Element 6 - Subheader text user view

Code view:

SEO Element 6 - Subheader text code view

Element 7

Content Readability

Content Readability is essential for successful optimization. You want to structure the content for maximum skimmability and ensure long paragraphs are broken down. Including bullets, stats, and callouts are important.

SEO Impact: High

Why is it high? Content is king. Always has been on the web. For SEO, there is no substitute for having great content. Part of having great content is ensuring its readability, impact, authority, and trust. These are why Google established E.E.A.T. (Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trust) as instrumental for website content in their guidelines.

What does it look like?

There is no visual to show the target keyword. It should be placed throughout your content. The focus or target keyword is what your keyword research should help you discover.

Element 8

Image Alt Text

Any image placed in support of the content should have image alt text applied. Also, consider the naming conventions for the image and ensure the images align with the content.

SEO Impact: Low

Why is it low? Image alt text is important to addressing accessibility concerns and compliance issues and as a best practice. There is a small piece of Google's algorithm that incorporates image alt text as a ranking factor, but it is likely very low impact as it would be an area for exploitation by black hat SEOs if it were not relegated to having a lower level of significance.

What does it look like?

User view: No visibility unless embedded within an image.

Code view:

SEO Element 8 - image alt text code view

Element 9

Internal Links

No post should be orphaned, meaning there should be links from other posts and pages on the website to the post. Don't leave a post without an internal inbound link, as search engines will not see it as valuable and may not index it at all.

SEO Impact: Medium

Why is it medium? Every post needs to have links built back to it, even if just from another page on the same website. Orphaned posts (those without backlinks) are often not indexed. You can find them in Google Search Console under Pages > All known pages > Crawled – currently not indexed or Discovered – currently not indexed.

What does it look like?

User view:

SEO Element 9 - Internal links user view

Code view:

SEO Element 9 - Internal links code view

Element 10

Structured Data

Structured data is still considered new in the world of SEO, but it is an essential component to add to content to ensure it maximizes the potential to be recognized in search engines.

SEO Impact: Low

Why is it low? It's a great component to add to your content to improve your chances of getting advanced positioning within search engine results pages, maybe even the featured snippet, but if it isn't present, you can still rank high-quality content.

What does it look like?

User view: Depending on the type of schema markup, you might not notice anything different from the user view. The ratings and reviews might be the most obvious, but they can be produced without markup.

SEO Element 10 - Structured data user view

Code view:

SEO Element 10 - Structured data code view

Other Considerations to Improve SEO

SEO Tips - seo, 3d, websites

Site speed

Google switched to mobile-first indexing across all websites starting in 2020. Most sites are now mobile-first, but some continue to lag. How does this relate to SEO? Google started rolling out core web vitals performance measurements in July of 2021 and added core web vitals to the algorithm officially in 2022, so website pages on your site must perform optimally.

Link building strategy

If you don't have backlinks, it won't matter how good your content is. You have to invest time and energy in building backlinks to your content to ensure it ranks in Google and other search engines.

That means external links and internal links to each blog post. Be careful with your anchor text on external links. Ensure you use the brand name, website URL, or a hybrid, don't overuse target keywords. For internal links, try to align with the target keywords to match search queries that people might use to find your content.

Open graph meta

The Open Graph protocol is used to add meta tags to a web page, which helps social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn understand what content is on the page and how to display it when it is shared. These meta tags allow the social media platform to pull a title, description, and image from the page to include with the shared link. This makes it more likely that the shared link will be noticed and clicked on by followers, which can help drive traffic to the website.

Open Graph meta is valuable to include on a website because it can help improve the visibility and engagement of shared content on social media platforms. Without these tags, the social media platform may not know what to display with the link, which can result in a less engaging and less effective post.

Auto-discover RSS feed meta tag

An auto-discover RSS feed meta tag is a line of HTML code that is placed in the head section of a website's HTML markup. This tag helps RSS readers and other software to automatically detect the presence and location of an RSS feed on the site without having to look for a link or RSS icon on the page. By including an auto-discover RSS feed meta tag, website owners make it easier for site visitors to view and subscribe to their site's RSS feed.

Some search engines and other online tools use RSS feeds to index and categorize websites, so having an auto-discover RSS feed meta tag can help to ensure that your site is properly indexed and categorized.

SEO Tools to Monitor and Fix Your Website

SEO Tools - Apple Magic Mouse and Keyboard

You need SEO tools, whether free or paid, to help assess your site's health and fix website technical issues that may arise.

Google Search Console – Integration of your website with Google to understand performance, core web vitals, structured data, page indexation, and much more. Google Search Console is free.

Ahrefs – Ahrefs is the best multi-purpose SEO tool available to review content, page SEO, and backlinks and run a technical site audit. Ahrefs is a paid solution.

Google Page Speed Insights – A tool that will allow you to see how quickly a web page loads and the scores for the desktop site or mobile site experience. It provides a detailed audit output and tells you what you need to fix. Page Speed Insights is free.

GTMetrix – A great performance measurement tool that is free and allows you to access performance reports, measure against competitors, and provides performance reports and resources for how to fix them. GTMetrix is free, with paid options.

Google Mobile Friendly Testing Tool – Another excellent Google tool that allows you to review any web page from a mobile-first perspective to see if there are any issues with the content or rendering. Google's mobile testing tool is free.

Google Schema Markup Testing Tool – Google's tool to test and validate structured data on your website. Remember, Google only allows a small selection of structured data, so your validation will show errors if you are outside those. You'll need to use the Schema.org validator. This tool is free.

Schema.org Validator– Schema.org's version of the structured data testing tool. This one is the original testing tool Google implemented. It now lives on schema.org. Since Google only allows for limited schema types, this tool allows you to validate when Google says there are errors. This tool is free.

SEO Minion (Chrome extension) – A fantastic extension for Chrome that allows you to evaluate many on-page SEO elements and some other technical and structural elements to ensure you've got everything correct. SEO Minion is free.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider – The best technical site crawler tool available. It will allow crawling up to 500 URLs in the free version. A must if you want to measure site health, find broken links, and monitor backlinks and traffic. Screaming Frog has a free version with limits and a paid option.

SEO Quake (Chrome extension) – Another solid extension for Chrome, this time from SEMrush. SEO Quake will provide you with multiple data points about your website, from its global rank to its referring domains, to its on-page SEO elements and keyword density. SEO Quake is free.

10 General SEO Tips & Best Practices

  1. Conduct Keyword Research. Keyword research is crucial for understanding what your target audience is searching for. Use SEO tools to find the best keywords for your content. Google Ads has a free keyword planner tool if you don't find other options.
  2. Optimize your Content. When writing your blog posts, ensure they are SEO-friendly by including relevant keywords in your titles, meta descriptions, URL, and content. Use headings, bullet points, and bold text to make the content more readable.
  3. Build High-Quality Backlinks. Backlinks are links that point to your website from other websites. To rank higher, you need to earn high-quality relevant links from authoritative websites. If content is King, external links are Queen.
  4. Improve Website Speed. A fast website is essential for a successful SEO campaign. Users tend to leave websites that take too long to load, which can lead to a higher bounce rate.
  5. Do On-Page Optimization. On-page SEO involves optimizing elements on your website, such as title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and images, to rank higher in search engine results.
  6. Use Social Media. Social media can help you get more traffic and backlinks to your website. Use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to promote your content.
  7. Leverage Local SEO. If you run a local business, optimize your website for local search results. Use your city or region name in your content and include your business address on your website.
  8. Monitor Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help you track your website's performance, traffic sources, and user behavior. Use it to adjust your SEO strategies accordingly.
  9. Create Valuable Content. Content is king, and Google ranks high-quality, informative content higher than low-quality content. Create valuable content that addresses your target audience's needs.
  10. Stay Up-to-Date with SEO. SEO strategies keep evolving, and it's essential to keep up with the latest trends and algorithms, such as Google's Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.

Remember to stay updated with SEO resources such other sites such as Ahrefs, Google Search Console, and SEO forums. Search Engine Journal, SEO Roundtable, and Search Engine Land are great resources for learning SEO fundamentals.

Additional Resources

SEO Tips and Must-Haves Wrap-up

Implementing these SEO tips for new bloggers can ensure your website ranks high in search engine results. Remember to stay committed to the process, create valuable content, and strive to improve your website's performance.

Success takes time and dedication, but almost everything is within your power to control. To get better search results page positioning, go with what makes sense to you, as no one knows your website visitors and web pages better than you.

10 SEO Tips & Must-Haves for Bloggers

Ben Adams

Ben Adams is an online entrepreneur with over 20 years of digital marketing experience in SEO, content marketing, analytics, email marketing, e-commerce, and other strategies. He enjoys consulting and helping businesses and entrepreneurs succeed by using technology and tools to power their online presence and growth. He also enjoys writing, photography, traveling, and spending time with his family.

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