SEO Basics of Blogging in 2015

SEO Basics of Blogging: Keyword Research, Outline Structure & Image Alt Tags

seo basics of blogging calvin and hobbes

Writing a blog article is like writing a research paper in High School. There are a few basics that still hold true, even when transitioning from topical assignments in school to professional online media. Structure is important, a logical flow of headings is a necessity and make sure you’re actually covering the topic you’ve chosen.

Start by doing some keyword research and creating a basic outline of the topic you plan on writing about. For the purpose of this post, the blog article I’m interested in creating is about a local concert venue in Downtown Dallas: Gexa Energy Pavilion. It helps if you’re writing about a topic people actually care about, so make sure there’s demand for the content you’re going to produce.

Keyword Research in 2015: Not your Father’s Keyword Research

basic seo for blogs: not your fathers keyword researchMake a list of things you would search when looking for information about your blog topic and anything else you think someone looking for information contained in the blog article might search. You will want to include singular and plural versions of each term you come up with, as most keyword research tools will only show you volume for the exact term you input into the tool – and most people now realize that isn’t the real search volume for the concept.

seo for blogs: keyword researchOnce you have a list of potential keywords to target, the next step is running the keywords through a keyword research tool like the Google Keyword Planner.

seo for blogs: google keyword plannerkeyword research for blog articlesusing keyword planner for blog optimizationblog seo keyword researchOnce you have a good set of keyword suggestions from Google’s Keyword Planner, you’re going to want to sort your downloaded excel sheet or csv by competition and then by average monthly searches.

basic blog seo: selecting blog keywordsOnce you have the data sorted, go through the list and highlight terms that are relevant to the article you’re writing. Look for keywords with decent search volume and lower competition to primarily target – these will be easier to win.

blog seo: how to select keywords

For more detailed information about keyword research after Google Hummingbird, check out Google Hummingbird 201: Keyword Research.

blog seo basics: keyword research

Google Trends for Keyword Research

Google Trends is another good place to research keywords you may want to use in your blog post – especially if the topic of your post doesn’t seem to have any search volume according to the Google Keyword Planner.

blog seo: keyword research with google trends

blog keyword research google trends

blog keyword research regional demand with trends

Keyword Research with Google Autocomplete

blog seo keyword research google autocompleteGoogle autocomplete is also a good tool to see what people are searching for in relation to a topic. Suggestions from Google all have search volume and that’s why Google is suggesting them! If you’re writing an informational blog post about a venue or location, this is a good way to determine what additional information may be useful to people who find your blog article or other details to include when covering a topic.

Writing & Optimizing a Blog Post

Now that you have the keywords you want to use and an understanding of how people are using Google search in relation to your chosen blog topic, you can start writing and optimizing your blog post. I usually start by outlining my article with a Title, Heading Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to identify the topics and points I want to make sure get covered and then I fill in the appropriate content sections as I go.

The primary SEO components of a blog post in this instance are as follows, these are not listed in order of importance – however, everything listed is important for SEO:

  • Title Tag: Essentially the main topic of the post. Tell the reader what you’re going to tell them.
    • Begin the title tag with the primary keyword you’ve identified for the post.
    • The purpose of the title tag is to inform the potential reader what they’re going to find if they click on your result in search.
      • The further from the beginning of the title tag you get with your primary keyword, the less effective it is.
    • Title tags should be no more than 60 characters in total length – IF you want the entire title tag to show in search and you don’t want Google rewriting your title tag. Feel free to include other keyword phrases you’ve identified as relevant to the primary keyword you’ve chosen if they fit.
      • Eg: Gexa Energy Pavilion: Dallas Concert Venue in Fair Park
    • There should only be one Title tag for any given post.
  • H1: The intent of the H1 is to take your title tag and expound a bit. Tell the reader what they’re about to read in your blog post.
    • Begin the H1 with the same primary keyword you began the Title Tag with.
      • (You don’t have to use the exact same phrasing of the keyword)
        • Eg: H1: Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas: Fair Park’s Premier Concert Venue
      • In the content section under your H1, include the primary keyword in the 1st sentence of the copy (semantic equivalents are fine to use if they work better for readability).
    • There should be only one H1 per post. DO NOT put multiple H1’s on the blog post (It confuses Google).
  • H2: The H2 is used to indicate sub-levels of discussion in your content, as they relate to your H1.
    • You can use as many H2’s in a post as you feel like you need. If you’re going to spend time diving deeper into a particular H2 content topic, you can even use H3’s to indicate this is a sub-topic of the H2 above – But your H1, H2’s and H3’s all need to be relevant to the Title Tag.
      • Title: Gexa Energy Pavilion: Dallas Concert Venue in Fair Park
        • H1: Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas: Fair Park’s Premier Concert Venue by Live Nation
          • H2: Concerts in DFW at Gexa Energy Pavilion
            • H3: Concerts This Week at Gexa Energy Pavilion
          • H2: Gexa Energy Pavilion Seating Chart
          • H2: Parking at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Fair Park
          • H2: Refreshments at Gexa Energy Pavilion
            • H3: Concessions at Gexa Pavilion
            • H3: The Heineken Lounge at Gexa Pavilion
          • H2: Code of Conduct at Gexa Energy Pavilion
          • H2: Buy Tickets for Gexa Energy Pavilion
            • H3: Buy Tickets at Other Live Nation Venues in DFW
  • Meta Description: The meta description is the description in Search Results shown under the Title Tag. The purpose of the meta description is to tell the searcher what they’re going to find if they click on your link in search. It’s a fundamental restatement of the title tag with more information about what else is in the blog post. Meta Descriptions should be no more than about 140 characters in length – IF you want Google to show the description in its entirety. Essentially, think of the Meta Description as a Tweet about the blog post. If it doesn’t fit in a Tweet – it won’t fit in your meta description. basic blog seo: meta descriptions
  • Image Alt Tags: Image Alt Tags are essentially anchored links that describe the content/relation of the image to the topic of the page.
    • Keep your Alt Tags shorter than 100 characters, if at all possible.
    • The alt tag itself should include a relevant keyword you’ve selected for the topic along with what’s in the image:

basic blog seo: image alt tag optimization

Meow let’s get Blogging!

seo basics of blogging cat

Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve survived another massive blog post. We’ve covered keyword research, alternative ways to determine interest in a potential blog topic, outlining your article and the basics of image alt tags. Having survived this blast from your educational past, you should be ready to blog with the best of us.

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Scott Davis

Scott Davis is the Senior SEO Specialist at Valet Interactive. His professional experience in marketing spans over 16 years and includes public relations, direct sales, direct promotional marketing, event planning, e-commerce marketing, writing, editing, search engine optimization and search engine marketing. He is an avid music fan and plays acoustic and electric guitar. Cat Fan.