Ranking highly on search engines is the key to a successful blog. Whilst many of your loyal readers are likely to keep up to date with your work via social media, it’s through search engines that you’ll get most of your new readers. SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of boosting one’s rankings – here are just a few SEO tricks to help improve your blog’s searchability.

Do your keyword research

We all know that using certain keywords are an essential part of improving one’s rankings, but it’s not just a matter of stuffing every post full of keywords. Not only will this affect the quality of your posts by making them look spammy, it could negatively affect your rankings – whilst this trick worked in the early days of Google, search engine algorithms have since adapted to weed out this behavior. Keywords should be used strategically and sparingly, keeping the text as natural as possible. But which keywords should you use?

It’s good to include a mixture of basic and more complex keywords including single words and long tail keywords (those that contain multiple words). You will need to do your research in order to find the most popular search terms used by your readers and your target audience. Use tools like Google Analytics to see which search terms your readers are using and use the likes of Keyword Planner to find out which keywords are popular and unpopular (such tools give each keyword a difficulty level so that you can tell which ones are overused and less likely to make a difference).

Place long tail keywords in blog post titles

Forget clickbait – it’s time to make some of your post titles more SEO-friendly. Think about the keywords that your ideal reader is most likely to be searching in order to reach your blog such as ‘How can I invest $500?’. You may be able to use a keyword as part of your blog post title such as integrating ‘best restaurants in Bordeaux’ into ‘Bon Appetit: The 10 Best Restaurants In Bordeaux’. Make sure you’re researching these long tail keywords to see how many other posts come up.

Encourage other bloggers to link to your content

Backlinking is a means of getting other people to link to your blog on their website. The highest ranking blogs often have lots of backlinks leading to them. Whilst you can write guest posts on other people’s blogs and link to your content this way, this isn’t the easiest or the most effective way of backlinking. You’re much better off paying professionals to help generate backlinks for you – they may have access to lots of blogs and will be able to incorporate hyperlinks naturally. There are lots of affordable services on the internet that are ideal for bloggers. Read user reviews to find services that are credible and trustworthy.

Use internal links

You can also create hyperlinks within your blog leading from one post to another – this can help to boost your rankings and can help to get your older content seen by newer readers. Think about similar posts you’ve written and start linking to these. Obviously, you don’t want to be too spammy so only use a couple internal links per post.

Use external links and embed media

Search engines don’t like blogs that rely entirely on internal links – a few external links leading to other people’s blogs and other sites could help to boost other people’s rankings as well as your own. Media such as Youtube videos, embedded tweets, and images can also boost your rankings as you’re essentially sharing other people’s content.

Encourage comments

Posts that get comments and reactions are also more likely to rank higher. If few people are commenting on your posts, think about ways of inspiring conversation. Some content may be interesting enough to do this naturally, but you could also consider asking the reader questions at the end of each post to help stimulate conversation. Make sure that comments are activated on your blog – it’s possible to have people comment via Facebook using a special plug-in.

Share your content on social media

Sharing your content on social media is another easy SEO trick. Make sure that you’ve got a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account for your blog that readers can follow – you can share each post here with your readers. Having other people share your content on social media can be even more effective – you can install plugins on your blog that allow people to easily share one of your posts on their Facebook/Twitter account as their reading it.

Post new content on a regular basis

You’re not going to rank highly if there’s nothing new happening on your blog. Search engines love websites that are constantly being updated with new information. If you’re blogging every week, this shouldn’t be a problem, but be wary of taking a break for a few months as this could have a negative effect.

Edit and share old content

Your older content can also play a big part in your rankings. If you’ve got lots of old content going unread, it could also be showing search engines that your blog is inactive, even if your new posts are getting visitors. Start sharing some of this content on social media or have a display bar option on your blog for related posts so that readers naturally check out older content. You can also make older content new again by editing it – there could be new facts and information that you can put in as an update.

*This is a contributed post.