- Jun 18, 2020
- by Brad Litwin
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to your website’s success. However, it’s also a complex, multi-faceted process. With so many best practices involved in formatting an SEO-friendly blog page, it can be difficult to keep up.
Even so, many of the most foundational techniques for improving your content’s search engine rankings take place on individual pages and posts. Using proper formatting by incorporating headings and improving readability can go a long way when it comes to boosting your site’s visibility.
In this post, we’ll first introduce you to on-page SEO and discuss why it’s important. Then we’ll share four tips you can use to make your blog pages more appealing to search engine bots. Let’s dive in!
Why On-Page Optimization Matters for SEO
As we already mentioned, SEO as a whole involves many different elements. However, for this post, we’re going to focus on those related to on-page formatting and structure. However, while the concepts we discuss here are important, they don’t fully encompass a comprehensive SEO strategy.
On-page SEO refers to techniques used to make the content on individual pages more appealing to search engine crawlers. This requires you to ‘think like a bot’ so you can understand how these automated software agents ‘see’ and index your website.
Robots don’t read content quite the same way humans do. They make note of elements in your pages’ HTML that indicate the significance of certain words and phrases, as well as the structure of your site as a whole.
When search engine bots can accurately identify what your page is about, they can properly index it to appear in search results. The more relevant, authoritative, and high-quality your content seems based on the search engine’s algorithm, the higher it will place on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
As such, how you format your blog pages and posts directly impacts where they appear in search engine results. Considering the importance of organic traffic and that the top three returned results receive the vast majority of clicks from searchers, this practice is vital to your site’s success.
How to Format an SEO-Friendly Blog Page (4 Key Tips)
Given how much is riding on your ability to format an SEO-friendly blog page, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or intimidated. Never fear – the four tips below are relatively easy to implement and also provide significant payoffs.
1. Apply Your Keyword Research to Indicate Relevant Topics
Incorporating keywords into your content indicates to bots that your page is relevant to searchers with corresponding queries.
We’ve discussed strategies for conducting keyword research in the past. Here, we want to focus on some tips for using them in your content, such as:
- Achieving a keyword density of about 1.5 percent. This means your target search term appears enough times that search engine crawlers will know it’s important, but not so often it sounds unnatural.
- Using your keyword evenly throughout your text. Make sure you continue to use your target search term in the beginning, middle, and end of your page.
- Incorporating variations on your keyword. Using synonyms and related phrases in your pages can help your content rank for multiple searches.
If nothing else, remember that you want your text to sound natural. Forcing in a keyword where it doesn’t make sense will do more harm than good.
2. Include Headings to Break Up Text and Identify Important Concepts
Headings are an excellent way to divide your content into digestible chunks. This can help make it easier to read, and is key to formatting an SEO-friendly blog page.
As we stated earlier, search engine bots look at certain elements in your site’s HTML to determine what your pages are about. One such element is your heading tags. They indicate key concepts presented in your content.
It’s important to note that bolding text or changing your font size doesn’t have the same effect. Your headings need to be wrapped in the correct HTML tags, like so:
Most website builders and Content Management Systems (CMSs) will have an option for you to add proper headings. For instance, in WordPress, you can choose the Heading block:
Incorporating keywords and their variations in your headings will help signify relevance to those topics, too.
3. Incorporate Optimized Images for More Ranking Opportunities
It’s easy to forget that you can optimize your images for search. This can provide an additional route for readers to find their way to your site.
There are several factors that influence how your images rank in search engines, including:
- The filename. Default filenames don’t indicate to bots what your image is about. Be descriptive, and use lowercase letters with dashes instead of spaces (e.g., proper-filename.jpg).
- ‘Alt’ text. Since bots can’t ‘see’ your images, they use alt text to determine what they contain.
- Proper dimensions. Images should be the proper height and width for their containers.
- Small file size. Using compression to reduce the size of your image files helps them load faster, which provides a better User Experience (UX).
Note that these tips are primarily applicable to original images you create and add to your site. Optimizing stock photos for search engines is not as worthwhile (although you should still optimize them for performance).
4. Improve Your Content’s Readability to Boost UX
When formatting an SEO-friendly blog page, readability is a key factor to consider. Most people skim web pages rather than reading each individual word, so it’s important to structure your text in a way that facilitates this practice.
Some helpful tips include:
- Order your sections logically.
- Use short sentences, paragraphs, and sections.
- Incorporate bulleted lists.
- Avoid using difficult words.
Readability is an ‘indirect ranking factor’. While it won’t influence your site’s visibility on its own, it does impact your UX and your bounce rate, which Google accounts for when indexing pages.
On-page SEO involves a lot of moving parts. However, when well executed, it can go a long way towards helping you improve your content’s rankings in search engines such as Google.
In this article, we’ve shared four tips for refining your on-page SEO strategy:
- Include headings to break up text and identify important concepts.
- Incorporate optimized images for more ranking opportunities.
- Improve your content’s readability to boost UX.
- Use speed optimization techniques to lower your bounce rate.
Image credit: Unsplash.