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Blog Marketing SEO

Factors Affecting the Search Engine Optimization of a Blog

1. Dwelling Period

Although dwell time is an indirect ranking criteria for Google, it is an important aspect of the user experience – and we all know that when it comes to SEO, the user experience is king. The length of time a reader spends on a page on your blog site is referred to as dwell time.

 Dwell time is measured from the time a visitor clicks on your site in the SERP to the time they leave the website. This metric shows search engines like Google how important your material is to readers in an indirect way. It stands to reason that the more time users spend on the page, the more relevant it becomes to them.

However, there’s a reason this statistic is only used as a proxy for SEO: it’s entirely subjective. Your content approach is unknown to search engine algorithms. Short-form information that takes only a minute or two to read could be the core of your blog.

To provide the best reader experience, you might put relevant information at the beginning of your blog entries, which means less time spent on the page. Yes, dwell time has an impact on SEO, but don’t edit your content to change this metric if it doesn’t fit your content strategy.

2. Page loading time

We already noted that visual components on your site might effect page speed, but that’s not the only factor to consider. Overuse of plugins and unnecessary code can also contribute to a sluggish blog site.

 Removing garbage code can improve page speed by allowing your pages to load faster. Check out HTML-Cleaner if you’re not sure how to detect and delete garbage code. It’s a simple tool that doesn’t require any coding expertise. It simply displays the superfluous code and allows you to delete it with a single click.

I also propose making a list of the plugins on your blog site. Determine which are required to keep your blog running on a daily basis and which were installed as a temporary remedy. Plugins that alter your site’s front-end can slow it down, and you may be able to eliminate more of them than you think to improve your site’s overall speed.

3. Responsiveness to Mobile Devices

In the United States, mobile devices account for more than half of Google’s search traffic. On a smaller scale, your blog site may follow the same pattern. There’s no getting around it: optimizing your blog for mobile will have an impact on your SEO stats. But, exactly, what does it mean to “mobile-optimize” a website?

The general rule of thumb in the sector is to keep things simple. Most pre-made site templates are now mobile-friendly, so all you’ll have to do is change the size of a CTA button here and there. Then, using your Google Analytics dashboard and a mobile site speed test, keep an eye on how your site is performing on mobile.

4. Date of the Index

The goal of search engines is to deliver the most up-to-date and accurate information possible. The date a search engine indexes the content is one factor used by search engines when assessing what is relevant and accurate. A search engine detects stuff and adds it to its index, which is referred to as indexing. When a user searches for terms related to the indexed page, the page can be fetched and presented in the SERP.

Is the date the content was indexed the same as the date it was released, you might wonder?

Yes and no, he replied. If you submit a blog post for the first time, it’s likely that a search engine crawler, such as Google, will index it the same day. However, content can be backdated for a variety of legal reasons, such as archiving data or revising a few sentences.

Implementing a historical optimization approach is one way to favorably influence this SEO element. This method works best for blogs that have been around for a while and have a decent volume of content.

You may greatly improve your blog SEO without writing a lot of new material by upgrading earlier pieces with new insights and statistics. Crawlers will reindex the page, taking into account the new material, and give it another chance to rank in the SERP. It’s a true win-win situation.

5. Recent Information

Recent data should be incorporated in blog entries as another indirect SEO ranking element. Recent data provides visitors with timely and accurate information, resulting in a great reading experience. You’re informing the search engine that a link to a reliable site with original, up-to-date data is useful and relevant to your viewers when you add a link to it (which is a plus for that other site).

You’re also indicating to the search engine that this type of data is relevant to the information you’ve published in some way. Your readers will grow to love the material over time, as seen by other indicators such as increased time on page or a lower bounce rate.

Learn about content development, strategy, and promotion by enrolling in our online Content Marketing Certification course.

How to Make Your Blog Content Search Engine Friendly

1. Determine who your blog’s target audience is.

Identify and communicate to the key audience that will be reading your content, no matter what industry your blog targets. Understanding who your audience is and what you want them to do after reading your article will aid in the development of your blog strategy.

Buyer personas are a useful tool for identifying readers based on their purchasing habits, demographics, and psychographics. You could be writing grammatically perfect and accurate material that few people would click on because it doesn’t communicate to them on a personal level if you don’t have this knowledge.

2. Perform a keyword search.

It’s time to figure out what material your readers want to consume now that you’ve chosen your target group and created a buyer persona. If you don’t start with a strategy, keyword research might be a daunting undertaking. As a result, I suggest beginning with the topics your blog will cover and then expanding or contracting your scope from there. Check out our keyword research how-to guide for a more in-depth explanation.

3. Include images.

For specific keywords, search engines such as Google place a premium on graphics. The most popular visual elements that show on the search engine results page are images and videos. You’ll want to design imaginative graphics, use original photographs and videos, and include relevant alt text to every visual element in your blog post if you want to get a coveted spot in an image pack or a video snippet.

Alt text is a crucial aspect in determining whether or not your image or video will appear in the SERP and how prominently it will display. Screen readers will benefit from alt text, which ensures that visually impaired visitors have a great experience while reading your blog.

4. Come up with a catchy title.

The title of your blog post is the first thing a reader sees when they come across it, and it has a big impact on whether they click or scroll down. To stimulate the reader’s interest, a snappy title uses statistics, poses a query, or begins with a question.

Power, emotional, rare, and frequent words are among the qualities of a catchy headline, according to Coscheduler’s Headline Analyzer. These types of words in a blog title, in the appropriate proportions, can grab your readers’ attention and keep them on the page.

5. Include a compelling call to action.

What good is a blog post if it doesn’t have a call to action? The goal of a CTA is to direct your visitor to the next step in their blog experience. A good CTA is connected to the theme of your existing blog article and flows naturally with the rest of the material. You’ll need an intriguing CTA on every blog post you write, whether you’re selling a product, promoting a newsletter subscription, or wanting the reader to consume more of your material.

CTAs come in a variety of formats, so get creative and try them out. Some of the most frequent CTAs include buttons, URLs, and widgets, all of which have various purposes. If you want the reader to make a purchase, for example, you should include a bold, conspicuous CTA in the form of a button. You can, on the other hand, simply persuade a reader to read another blog post by including a link to it at the conclusion of the current one.

6. Pay attention to the reader’s experience.

Any good writer or SEO will tell you that the most important aspect of a blog post is the reader experience. Several aspects influence the reader’s experience, including readability, formatting, and page speed. That means you’ll want to develop material that’s easy to understand, covers all aspects of your issue, and is up to date with the newest statistics and trends. Using headers and subheadings to organize the text is also crucial since it allows the reader to rapidly scan the content and discover the information they require.

Finally, page speed is influenced by on-page elements such as photographs and videos. Limit the number of movies you embed on a single page and keep image file sizes small (250 KB is a decent starting point). You’ll be well on your way to producing a search engine-friendly content by focusing on what the reader wants to know and organizing the post to meet that aim.

Now, let’s look at some blog SEO methods that you may use to improve the searchability of your material.

Note that this list does not include every SEO guideline known to man. Rather, the on-page characteristics listed below will help you get started with an SEO plan for your blog.

1. Include 1–2 long-tail keywords in your content.

It’s not about stuffing as many keywords as possible into your blog content when it comes to keyword optimization. This actually harms your SEO nowadays because search engines regard keyword stuffing to be spam (i.e., including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search).

It also doesn’t provide a nice reading experience, which is a ranking element that search engines increasingly value to guarantee you’re answering your visitors’ questions. As a result, you should use keywords in your text in a natural and unforced manner.

Focus on one or two long-tail keywords per blog post is a solid rule of thumb. While you can include multiple keywords in a single post, keep the focus small enough that you can spend effort optimizing for only one or two of them.

You might be asking why long-tail keywords are so important.

These longer, frequently question-based keywords keep your content focused on your audience’s specific needs. The long-tail keyword “how to write a blog post,” for example, has a considerably higher SEO impact than the short keyword “blog post.”

Long-tail keyword searchers are more likely to read the entire content and then contact you for more information. To put it another way, they’ll assist you in attracting the appropriate kind of traffic – visitors who will convert.

2. Intersperse keywords throughout the blog content.

It’s time to use one or two keywords in your blog article now that you’ve identified them. But, in order to rank high in search results, where is the best spot to include these terms?

You should strive to incorporate your keywords in four places: the title tag, headers and body, URL, and meta description.

Tag for the title

The title (i.e., headline) of your blog post will be the first step in establishing the relevance of your content for both search engines and readers. As a result, it’s critical to include a keyword here. In a search result, Google refers to this as the “title tag.”

Make sure your keyword is within the first 60 characters of your title, as this is where Google cuts off titles on the SERP. Google technically monitors pixel width rather than character count, and it recently increased the pixel width for organic search results from around 500 pixels to 600 pixels, which corresponds to around 60 characters.

Do you have a long title tag? When writing a long headline, it’s best to include your keyword at the beginning because it can get cut off in SERPs at the conclusion, lowering your post’s perceived relevancy.

Because we had a big title (almost 65 characters) in the example below, we put the keyword near the beginning.

Body & Headers

Mention your keyword in the body of your post and in the headers at a regular cadence. That means incorporating keywords into your copy in a natural, reader-friendly manner. Don’t overdo it, or you’ll be penalized for keyword stuffing.

You’ll probably think about how to include your keywords into your content before you start creating a new blog post. That’s an excellent suggestion, but it shouldn’t be your exclusive or even primary focus.

When creating content, your primary focus should be on what matters to your audience, not on how many times you can use a keyword or keyword phrase. Concentrate on being friendly and answering any questions your consumer may have had before to arriving at your location. If you do that, you’ll be naturally optimizing for important keywords.


Search engines use your URL to determine the topic of your post, and it’s one of the first things they’ll explore on a page. Because each article has its own unique URL, you have a big opportunity to optimize your URLs, so make sure you put your one to two keywords in it.

We constructed the URL in the example below using the long-tail term we were attempting to rank for: “email marketing examples.”

Description of Metadata

The purpose of your meta description is to tell search engines and readers about the substance of your blog article. That is, you must employ your long-tail term so that Google and your audience understand the subject of your piece.

At the same time, keep in mind that the copy is extremely important for click-through rates because it fulfills a specific reader’s objective — the more engaging, the better.

So, what’s the best way to make your blog mobile-friendly? Through the use of responsive design. Websites that are mobile responsive allow blog pages to have a single URL rather than two — one for desktop and one for mobile. This improves the SEO of your content because any inbound connections to your site will not be split across the two URLs.

As a result, you’ll be able to concentrate the SEO benefits you get from these links, making it easier for Google to understand the worth of your content and rank it appropriately.

Tip: What search engines value changes all the time. Subscribing to Google’s official blog will ensure you stay on top of these updates.

4. Make the meta description as good as it can be.

To recap, a meta description is extra text that displays in SERPs and informs readers about the link. The meta description provides searchers with the information they need to assess whether your content is what they’re looking for and, ultimately, whether or not to click.

The maximum length of this meta description has increased — it is now roughly 300 characters — implying that it intends to provide users with more information about what each result will provide.

As a result, your meta description should incorporate the long-tail term for which you are attempting to rank, in addition to being reader-friendly (compelling and relevant).

In the meta description, the term is bolded to aid readers in making the connection between the intent of their search term and this result. The term “E-Newsletter” will also be bolded, showing that Google recognizes a semantic link between “email newsletter” and “E-Newsletter.”

Note that, unlike in the past, your meta description is no longer guaranteed to appear in SERPs. As you can see in the screenshot above, Google pulls in additional parts of your blog post that include the sought keywords, presumably to offer searchers the best possible context for how the result matches their query.

Let me give you another illustration. On Google SERPs, two separate search queries return two different snippets of text. The first comes from the query “no index no follow,” and it includes the original meta description:

5. Don’t forget to provide image alt text.

Images that help explain and support your topic should be included in blog posts as well as text. Search engines, on the other hand, don’t just hunt for photographs. Rather, they search for photographs with alternative text.

You could be perplexed as to why this is the case. Because search engines can’t “see” images like people can, the alt text of an image tells the search engine what the image is about. As a result, those photographs will appear higher in the search engine’s image results page.

Additionally, image alt text improves the user experience (UX). When a picture cannot be found or shown, this message appears inside the image container. Alt text is a type of HTML attribute that can be added to an image tag.

When you use image alt text in your blog, the name of an image may change from “IMG23940” to something more accurate and descriptive, such as “puppies playing in a basket.”

If the image is on a blog piece about a comparable topic, the alt text should be descriptive in a helpful way, meaning it should offer the search engine with context to index the image.

Here’s a list of things to keep in mind while producing alt text for your blog’s photographs to give you additional context:

Explain the image.

Remove the phrase “picture of…,” and instead begin with the image description.

Make your description as specific as possible.

Keep it to 125 characters or less.

Make use of your keywords (but avoid keyword stuffing)

Customers of HubSpot: Whether or not you have optimized your photographs will be detected by the SEO Panel. Despite the fact that they aren’t as critical as certain other optimizations, they are nevertheless vital (not to mention, easy to add).

Customers of HubSpot: Whether or not you have optimized your photographs will be detected by the SEO Panel. Despite the fact that they aren’t as critical as certain other optimizations, they are nevertheless vital (not to mention, easy to add).

6. Keep topic tags to a minimum.

Topic tags can assist organize your blog content, but they can also be destructive if used excessively. If you have too many similar tags, search engines may punish you for duplicate material.

Consider this: when you create a topic tag (which is straightforward in HubSpot, as demonstrated here), you’re also creating a new site page where the material from those topic tags will appear. If you use too many similar tags for the same piece of material, search engines will think you’re repeating the content all over your site. Topic tags such as “blogging,” “blog,” and “blog posts,” for example, are too similar to be used on the same post.

Take some time to clean up your present blog posts if you’re concerned that they contain too many similar tags. Choose roughly 15–25 topic tags that aren’t too similar to one another and are significant to your blog. Then just use those keywords as tags in your posts. You won’t have to worry about duplicate content this way.

Each quarter, we use the Search Insights Report at HubSpot to tie specific MSV-driven keyword ideas to a content subject. For a methodical approach to SEO and content development, we use this strategy to target a handful of pieces in a specific number of subjects throughout the year.

7. Use easy-to-understand URL structures.

Examine the URL structure of your blog post before publishing it. Is it long, full of pauses, or unconnected to the content of the post? If that’s the case, you might wish to rewrite it before publishing it.

Your web pages’ URL structure (which differs from the exact URLs of your posts) should make it simple for your visitors to grasp your website’s structure and the content they’re about to see. Web page URLs that make it easy for search engines and website users to understand the content on the page are preferred.

This distinction is built into the URL architecture of the HubSpot blogs. If I went to the Marketing area from the main page, I’d be directed to http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing.

To read the Sales section, simply change the word “marketing” in the URL to “sales”:


This URL structure explains that “/marketing” and “/sales” are minor sections of the bigger blog, referred to as subdirectories.

What if we want to read a certain article, like “How to Do Keyword Research: A Beginner’s Guide”? Its URL structure — http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-do-keyword-research-ht — indicates that it is a post from the blog’s Marketing department.

In this approach, the URL structure serves as a classification system for readers, indicating where they are on the website and how to get to new pages. This is beneficial to search engines because it makes it easy for them to determine what information searchers will access on various areas of your blog or website.

Pro tip: Don’t modify the URL of your blog article after it’s been published; this is the quickest method to “reset” your SEO efforts for that piece. If your URL isn’t as descriptive as you’d like it to be, or if it no longer adheres to your brand or style criteria, it’s better to leave it alone. Instead, use the criteria we discussed earlier to update the title of the post.

8. Include a link to a relevant blog article.

Backlinks can affect how high your blog site ranks in the SERP, and that’s true – backlinks reflect how trustworthy your site is dependent on how many other relevant sites link back to it. Backlinks, on the other hand, aren’t the be-all and end-all of link building. Linking to and from your own blog entries can also help your blog site rank higher in search results.

Inbound links to your content help search engines determine whether your content is valid or relevant. Internal links to other pages on your website are the same. It’s great practice to link to another blog post, eBook, or web page if you’ve written about a topic discussed in your blog post in another blog post, eBook, or web page.

(You may have noticed that I’ve done this on occasion throughout this blog article when I think it’s relevant to our readers.) Internal linking not only keeps people on your site, but it also helps search engines find additional related and reputable pages.

If your blog is about fashion, for example, you might discuss fabrics. Adding a link from a blog article on cotton to a post about how to combine materials properly will help both of those posts become more visible to people searching for these keywords. When you link to the post about cotton from the post about blending fabrics, the search engines will have another entrance point. This means that web spiders will recognize the post about cotton fabric, as well as any updates you make to it, faster. As a result, it may experience a rise in the SERP.

Search Engine Optimization of a Blog

9. Analyze metrics on a regular basis.

The Search Analytics Report is a feature of Google’s free Search Console. This report will let you evaluate Google Search clicks, which will help you figure out which terms visitors are using to reach your blog content. You may also learn how to utilize Google Search Console by reading my colleague Matthew Barby’s blog post and visiting Google’s official support page.

This tool will help you uncover low-hanging fruit if you’re interested in optimizing your best-performing older blog posts for traffic and leads, like we’ve been doing since 2015.

Remember that optimizing blog posts for search is a challenge for many content marketers. The truth is that your blog entries will not begin to rank right away. Building search authority takes time.

Long-term, though, you’ll enjoy the benefits in the form of traffic and leads if you write blog posts frequently and constantly optimize them for search while maintaining an intent-based reader experience.

10. Separate the topics into clusters.

Bloggers and SEOs have labored to develop individual blog entries that rank for certain keywords in the way most blogs are now constructed (including our own blogs, until very recently).

This disorganizes the situation and makes it difficult for blog readers to get the information they require. When you publish many blog entries about the same topic, it also causes your URLs to compete for search engine rankings.

The topic cluster model is now the solution for ranking in search and providing the best answers to the new types of queries that searchers are sending.

Select the general subjects for which you wish to rank in order for this model to work. Then, to generate larger search engine authority, create material based on specific keywords relating to that issue that all link to one other.

With the topic cluster model, here is how our blog infrastructure currently looks. Specific themes are surrounded by relevant blog entries, which are linked to other URLs in the cluster by hyperlinks.

11. Create stuff that will last a long time.

Make sure your blog articles are evergreen when planning and composing them. In other words, the content is about themes that will be relevant and beneficial for a long time (with only minor changes or updates). Consider the following reasons for the importance of evergreen content:

  • It will assist you in ranking in the long run, not only in the immediate future.
  • It helps to ensure that your blog (and website) receives consistent traffic long after it has been published.
  • As a result of the constant traffic it creates, it will assist you in generating leads over time.

All blog content should be evergreen, whether it’s a long-form essay, how-to guide, FAQ, instructional, and so on. The images you use in these postings should also be timeless. For some examples and ideas for evergreen content for your site, see this blog post.

12. Make any necessary changes to existing content.

You may believe that in order to increase your SEO, you must publish new blog content. Although this is somewhat true, you should also devote a significant amount of time and effort to improving your present blog material. Specifically, repurposing and upgrading existing content, as well as eliminating old content.

This is because a brand-new piece of content takes a long time to settle on the search engine results page (SERP) and earn authority, whereas you can update an existing piece of content and reap the benefits almost immediately.

Not only will your updated content rank higher on the SERPs, increasing the number of visitors and leads, but updating an existing piece of content takes a lot less time and resources than creating a completely new post.

Furthermore, upgrading and repurposing some of your most effective pieces of content extends its lives, allowing you to achieve the best outcomes for a longer period of time (especially if the material is evergreen).

The final step is to delete any obsolete information that is no longer relevant to your target audience. Even if your goal is to make your content evergreen, some of it may inevitably become obsolete over time. This includes statistics, product information (assuming you have any posted in your blogs – as your products and business evolve), and industry-specific information that changes over time.

Make content for your blog that your readers (and search engines) will enjoy.

We don’t expect you to use all of these SEO best practices straight away in your content strategy. However, as your website expands, so should your search engine optimization aim. You’ll be on track to create relevant content that will climb the SERP ranks once you’ve identified the goals and intent of your ideal readers.

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