I don’t pay a heck of a lot of attention to SEO while blogging. I’m just not that concerned with it. I realize this is blasphemy to most of you, but Rae, Rhea and Dawn are the SEO minds over at Outspoken. My interest with the blog is in creating discussions that people care about and talking about things I think the community will find important. We blog for the conversation.
That said, we don’t let hot SEO opportunities fly by either. When we notice that a post we published is gaining some traction or bringing in high volumes of unexpected keyword traffic, we do go back and optimize them to increase the SEO juice. Doing so helps us attract readers (and prospective clients) and it also helps users find information they may find valuable.
Here are some quick tweaks you can do to your posts AFTER you publish them to get an extra kick back.
Refine your keyword focus
I won’t say I’ve never written a post with a keyword in mind but it’s definitely the exception, not the rule. That means there are a fair number of times where a post will see far more search traffic than I would have otherwise expected. When this happens and we find that we missed an opportunity to better leverage a keyword, we’ll go back in and fix it. We’ll never change the meaning, intention or theme of a post, but if there’s a clearer way of saying something or to take advantage of how people are searching, we’ll use it. Honestly, I can probably count on one hand the number of times this has happened in my five years of blogging about Internet marketing blogging, but it’s happened.
We also go through our analytics to find keywords that are associated with a good on page time. If you haven’t used your analytics to tie keywords to a lead gen time or conversions, I’d recommend you set that up. It’s pretty valuable information.
Tighten your on-page SEO
Often refining your keywords in the step above will alert to other opportunities to better use the term on the page. Naturally, you don’t want to start spamming your posts to oblivion if you’re getting good traffic from them, but do look for areas where you can tighten things up.
For example, you may want to refocus keywords in:
- The Title tag
- Various page headers
- Internal anchor text
- Alt text for images
- Media file names
Another thing to look at is the actual post title if it differs from what’s in your Title tag. As bloggers we often get a little too creative for our own good when it comes to writing killer blog titles. Instead of using a descriptive title to explain how to do a 301 redirect, you went with something witty and clever, thereby screwing yourself when people do a search looking for that information. I think Andy Beal was among the first to urge bloggers to remember that blog titles have two audiences. If you found you were a little too creative that first day, you may want to change the title (not the URL) after the fact to help you capitalize on search traffic you’re missing out on.
Lastly, look at your digital assets. You want all pictures, videos or audio files to be using optimized files names, alt tags, captions, etc. Pat Sexton has as great image optimization tool that you may want to check out.
Look for off-page SEO opportunities
I’ll be going into this in much more detail for an upcoming guest post (look for it!), but also keep in mind off-page opportunities for helping to increase SEO efforts. For example, you may want to reach out to your linkerati to help you promote the blog post, cross-link it where appropriate, or even update the post with new content to help keep it fresh and drive new links to it. By updating the post, you also allow yourself to re-promote it and get more eyes on it.
Take advantage of real-time freshness
During our Robert Scoble kerfluffle, Rae asked me if she could go into the post and tweak a few SEO things. Naturally, I told her to have at it. One thing I noticed that Rae changed was that she made sure Robert’s name appeared in the Title tag and in various headers in the page. It was clear she wanted to aggressively target his name. However, she wasn’t trying to get the post to rank for [Robert Scoble], she was doing it so that the post would appear in Robert’s Google real-time results.
Since, Robert’s name is a pretty heavy search term, Google’s bringing in all sorts of news and blog results when users do a search. With Rae’s tweak, she made sure that anyone searching for Robert would see our post and find the hot discussion going on about him. While it may not have a huge lasting SEO impact, it did help to drive traffic to the post and light of all sorts of Google toolbar data. As a blogger, this is something you want to really be aware and find ways to leverage.
Optimize page load time
With Google officially counting site speed as a ranking factor, even bloggers need to be aware of page load time. Don’t panic, but test your site to see how its performing and make sure if a post is stumbled to high heaven, it’s not going to go down.
Part of optimizing load times means optimizing your digital assets, as well. For example, are you forcing WordPress to resize your images or are you uploading a smaller image file so they’re loading faster?
Rhea wrote all about the SEO’s Guide To Page Speed, that I recommended you check out if you haven’t already. She outlines a number of great tools that site owners and bloggers can use to test page load time.
Here are some tools to test page load time:
Those are some of the most common ways we supercharge existing posts for maximum SEO benefit. What do you do to your posts?