Once you’ve formatted your blog post’s content, you’ll want to optimize it for readers as well as search engines. To help search engines understand what you’re trying to communicate, optimize your post accordingly. You already optimized the title and body of your post, but there’s a list of other optimizations you should consider as well. Let’s review each.
Let’s start with the URL.
The URL doesn’t have to match the title of the blog exactly. Instead, make it a best practice to shorten the URL without losing context to what the page is about. For example, notice how the URL of this blog post is shorter than the title. This way, I can update the content over time without updating the URL.
Here’s a pro tip: Don’t include numbers in your URL, like year or steps. This way, if you update the content in the future, you won’t have to update the URL. Updating the URL creates a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. Making updates to URLs hurts your SEO, and you don’t want that. Moving on to image alt-text. Search engines don’t just look for images. Rather, they look for images with alt-text. Because search engines can’t “see” images the same way humans can, an image’s alt-text tells them what an image is about – which ultimately helps those images rank in the image section of search engine results. Consider optimizing your images with different descriptive variations of your long-tail keyword.
Next up is your meta description.
Your meta description is meant to give search engines and readers information about your blog post’s content. The maximum suggested length of a meta description is 150–160 characters. Anything longer than that will most likely be cut off. Keep in mind that copy matters a great deal for clickthrough rates because it satisfies certain readers’ intent. The more engaging, the better. In addition to being reader-friendly (compelling and relevant), your meta description should include the long-tail keyword for which you’re trying to optimize for. But keep in mind that a search engine may not choose to use your meta description as the descriptive text in search results. Search engines are funny that way.
And lastly, insert links strategically throughout your post.
As you attract more and more visitors to your blog, that increased traffic means an increased opportunity to build a relationship, gain trust, and generate more leads and eventually customers. Let’s review some best practices when it comes to using links effectively in your blog posts. First, link to external content when it’s helpful or supports a stat or claim you’re making.
It takes a lot of work to attract someone to your site and gain their trust. The last thing you want to do is send them off your site unless it’s something that supports your content. I’m not saying you shouldn’t link to content that’s not your own, but just do so thoughtfully and make sure it provides value.
Here’s a pro tip: When linking to external websites, consider having that content open in a new window. This way, you’re being helpful without redirecting people off of your site.
Next, link to other helpful blog posts on your site. If you find yourself typing a sentence or paragraph that can be explained in more detail on another blog post, then link to it. This helps in two ways: It solves for the reader, allowing and encouraging them to continue
bingeing your content; and it solves for the search engine as it communicates to them that there’s a cluster of related content on your site. And if search engines deem your cluster of web content around a specific topic as a credible source, then that can help boost your visibility on the search engines.
Which brings me to my last point: Link to important content on your site that supports conversions. When it comes to deciding on where to insert CTAs on your blog posts, here are four places to consider. Let’s review each.
First, consider inserting a CTA after the first few paragraphs. To avoid looking too pushy too soon, try including a passive CTA through hyperlinked text as opposed to using an image. It’s important to include these passive CTAs near the top, as you can’t always count on your visitor reading your entire post to take the next step. Think about it. Do you read to the end of every blog post that you click on? Probably not.
HubSpot performs CTA tests all the time. From image and text CTAs to placement of the CTAs, we’re always looking for ways to improve clickthrough rate. Interestingly enough, we found that text CTAs near the top of blogs posts produce the highest clickthrough rates— something you might want to keep in mind and test on your blog posts. I recommend linking to pillar pages with CTAs at the top of the page as the content is not gated, meaning you’re not forcing someone to give you their email address just yet in exchange for something. Instead, you can lead with educational content, which solves for your reader first. Plus, your pillar pages should support one, if not multiple, conversions so that you can help the reader through their journey accordingly while gaining their trust along the way.
Next, include an image or text CTA near the most relevant content in the body of the post. The best time to support a conversion is just after educating someone. For example, Townsend Security, a full-service data security provider, included an image CTA to a relevant podcast download in this blog post. Notice how the CTA content is similar to the content it’s paired with.
Next, include an image CTA at the end of each post. If someone reads your post to the end, then you want to offer them a helpful next step. This is a CTA at the end of the same post that was shown earlier. The title of the post is “Data Visualization 101: How to Choose the Right Chart or Graph for Your Data,” and at the bottom, there’s a CTA for an ebook on how to present data people can’t ignore. When it comes to image CTAs at the end of blog posts, I recommend linking these to a relevant landing page with a form.
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Another option, which brings me to the last CTA placement, is a pop-up CTA that the reader sees as they scroll down the page. This is a great way to have your CTA stick around so that the reader can’t just scroll past it. If you really want to engage your users and have a helpful conversation, then consider offering live chat or a chatbot. A chatbot is a computer program that automates certain tasks, typically by chatting with a user through a conversational interface. Most bots follow a set of rules programmed by a human via a bot-building platform.
It’s as simple as ordering a list of if-then statements and writing canned responses, often without needing to know a line of code. The benefit? A bot will guide you, the visitor, through the various options available and help you get from point A to point B quickly. Behind the curtain, the bot is leading you through a series of dependent questions to collect the necessary information to understand your intent, and then deliver the right content to satisfy your needs. And that’s it! Now you know how to effectively optimize your blog post’s content. Keep these tips in mind when optimizing your posts, as it will ensure you’re getting the most out of your business blogging efforts.