The benefits of posting on the YO blog are not limited to gaining a quality link and a boost to your reputation. If you do it right, and use these SEO optimization tips, you’ll maximize the backlink benefits and increase the likelihood of that post being featured in the search engines and grabbing some free traffic.
Yes, it involves a little more effort on your part, but the payoff is more than worth it. Not to mention you’ll end up with a more focused article and increase your chance of getting published!
If you’re looking for more in-depth coverage on SEO, check out our lessons on optimizing for on-page SEO factors. In the mean-time here are a few basic things you should keep in mind which can help you increase the SEO quality of your post.
Even if you’ve got a good idea for the topic you want to write about, it’s worth doing a little keyword research before you begin writing to make sure you’re targeting the right terms for SEO.
What you’re looking for
For a blog post, you’re looking for one primary keyword, and a few variations around that keyword.
The primary keyword will be related to the main focus of your article, and preferably have a good amount of traffic. 1,000 to 10,000 searches per month is a good target. For example, if you were to write a post on Google Adwords for Affiliate Marketing, the phrase ‘Adwords Affiliate Marketing’ has a monthly search volume around 5,000.
The variations around your primary term can be longer or more targeted keywords. For example, ‘Make money from Google adwords affiliate marketing’ has around 1,000 searches per month and ‘Google Adwords Affiliate Marketing’ around 660.
Keep in mind that 55% of all searches are for phrases with more than 3 words, so don’t be afraid of targeting the longer keywords.
How to do it
Keyword research for a blog post is similar to any other keyword research you’ll do for your site in general. If you want some more in-depth tips on how to do keyword research, check out our lesson on How to do keyword research.
The important thing is to not get too bogged down when doing the research. I like to set myself a strict time limit to get it done (usually one hour), and I’d recommend you do something similar.
A couple of suggestions:
- Think about what you would type while searching. Put yourself in the prospects shoes.
- A full 20% of all queries searched today have not been searched for in the past 6 months, so don’t be afraid to try terms that don’t feature in the keyword tools yet.
- If you want some quick ideas, go to Google (make sure Google Instant is off) and type in your main term followed by a single space. The suggestion drop down box can be a great source of keyword alternatives or secondary phrases.
The first thing you must keep in mind when actually writing your post is quality. You must give your audience something of value.
If you work to make your piece something worth reading, then it’ll get read and in turn you will get the benefits that go with that, like more traffic. Not to mention when you’re guest posting (like on the YO Blog) your writing must meet a certain level of quality before it will be accepted.
A couple of tips for high quality writing:
- Write your article, and then leave it alone for a day or two before you come back and edit it. The time away will give you a fresh perspective and you’ll see ways to improve it that you didn’t see the first time.
- Practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to go through two or more drafts.
Title & URL
Your title is the main headline for your post. It needs to be able to grab the reader’s attention as well as get recognized in search engines for your targeted keyword. Doing both is sometimes tricky, if you’re stuck it’s more important to go for engaging and descriptive than it is to include your keyword at all costs.
With a YO post you can’t directly control the URL as one will be auto-generated based on your title. This makes it more important to try if you can to include your keywords in the title, as unlike on your own site you won’t be able to change the URL independently.
Including an image can help you rank in the search engines as well as help with image searches. Search engines look at two things here: the alt attribute and the file name.
The alt attribute is the description of your picture that appears if you have pictures turned off in your browser. Although with a YO post you can’t control this directly, by giving your file a descriptive name, ideally including your main keyword, you’re giving yourself a good chance of having a relevant alt attribute. For example, ‘Google-adwords-screen.jpg’ rather than ‘pic67000001.jpg’
An appropriate and eye-catching picture will also help your post stand out on the page. The best picture size for a YO submission is 240x240px.
- Your YO blog post has a minimum post length of 300 words. 500-800 is a good target to shoot for.
- For a shorter post, you can look to include your keywords around 2-3 times. On a longer post, 3-4 times. Don’t get too hung up on this, the main thing is readability.
- Within the first 50 words you’ll want to include your main keyword once. If that’s not practical, then at least within the first 100 words.
- Use sub headings to break up your text into readable sections. They might contain your keyword but this is not essential.
Proper linking is perhaps the most important part of the equation. For a YO post you’re allowed a link out to your site. So make the most of that and be sure to use anchor text that includes the keyword you’re looking to rank for.
Good writers often include other links in their writing as well. It’s worth linking out to pages on the site which are relevant to your subject. Just like I have with the ‘anchor text’ link above. If done correctly this increases the value to the reader. If overdone it makes a post incredibly hard to read. So keep it to no more than 2 or 3 internal links.
To Sum Up
That’s the quick guide to getting your YO post SEO ready. As you can see, it’s not difficult and by making sure these basics are right you’ll get the most from your writing efforts.
- Know what keyword you’re targeting
- Use it in the title and the picture filename
- Use it once in the first 50 words, and sprinkle a few variations throughout the rest of your post
- Use links within the same site to help explain key points
- When linking to your site, use anchor text that includes the keyword you want your site ranking for
- And above all – give value to your reader
There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but if you keep these guidelines in mind when you’re writing you can’t go too far wrong.
We look forward to seeing more of your quality submissions in the near future.