Just when you thought being a Christian blogger was going to be easy, someone comes along and tells you about all this SEO stuff! The truth is that being a successful Christian blogger takes more than just the ability to write. There are a lot of technical parts to blogging to ensure that your content is able to found and read by others. In this post, I’m going to answer the popular question of “what is SEO-friendly content?”.
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What is SEO Friendly Content
SEO-friendly content means that your posts are structured in a way that makes it super easy for search engine crawlers to crawl and index the content. Unlike writing a printed book, blog content needs to be formatted for search engines so the posts can be indexed and then recommended in the results from search queries. Search engine crawlers crawl (read) your content in a certain order so by putting the content in a certain format, it makes it easier for them to determine what the content is about and rank it.
I like to reference how the layout of a resume can be the determining factor for someone being called for an interview. If two people with the exact same qualifications submitted a resume, but they were written differently, one might get chosen over the other. Even though both had the same exact information on their resume, the way in which the information was displayed in the resume makes all the difference. Highlighting important skills or experience vs simply mentioning them in the regular text. Putting key skills in the first or second paragraph of the form and making them bold. These all make the qualification stand out more and makes it easier for the HR staff to decide if the applicant is qualified without having to really dig.
This same concept applies to formatting your blog posts for search engines. You must make it as easy as possible for the crawlers to figure out and index your content.
How to Optimize Content for SEO
Knowing how to optimize your content for SEO means knowing where to use your SEO keywords. Of course, you must first have chosen the best keyword to rank the post for. After choosing the best keyword phrase, there are several key areas that you’ll want to use it.
- Title – When possible, you want to have the full SEO keyword in your title. There are times when the keyword might not make for the most eye-catching title. In those cases, at least make sure the base phrase of the keyword is in it.
- Slug – The slug is the latter part of the permalink for a post (everything after your actual domain name). Having your keyword here is important. By default, this block is automatically populated with the title of the post. If you have a long title, you should edit this to be just the keyword phrase. If you are updating older posts for SEO, this is one you should leave alone. If you change this, it will change the entire link for the post and your older Pinterest pins will now lead to a 404 error code.
- First Paragraph – A good rule of thumb is to use your main keyword in the first or second paragraph of text on your blog post (and make it bold).
- Headings – Your headings are meant to separate the main concepts in your content (and to break up the monotony of the text). You should always use them in order starting with H2. Your title block is already formatted for H1 so you really shouldn’t ever use the H1 setting in the post. You should try to use your main keyword in your H2 heading and in one of your H3 headings.
- Content – You should use your main keyword several times (naturally) throughout the content. Don’t overuse it to where it sounds forced! I try to use my main keyword at least once in the paragraphs of each H2 and H3 sections.
- Meta Description – Your meta description in the Yoast settings is the snippet that previews when the post is recommended in search results. You only have about 2 lines of text so make sure you use your main keyword in it.
- File Name for Images – When you save images to your computer for use in a blog post, save them with the file name of the Post Title or the SEO keyword for the post. If you have multiple images, you can simply add a 1, 2, 3, etc after the file name. By default, the file name for the image will populate into the Title block for the image. Instead of having a random sequence of characters, this will give it the post title name or keyword as the title.
- Alt Text for Images – This block is technically designed for blind reader software. This enables the software to “read” the image to a blind person. For SEO, you can simply put your SEO keyword phrase into this block. Doing this helps to have your images show up in image search results for a given search query.
- Pinterest SEO – In order to help your pinnable image do well when it is pinned to a Pinterest board, you want to ensure that you have a good keyword-rich pin description and hashtags. You can do this manually or much more easily using the Tasty Pins plugin. You can read more about optimizing your blog for Pinterest.
- Additional Related Keywords – In addition to the main keyword that you are wanting to rank for, you also want to use several additional related keywords throughout the post an in a few of your headings. This simply helps to back up the concept of the post to the crawlers. I try listing around 10 additional keywords that I found during my SEO keyword research and will use them in the post.
- Anchor Text – This is the text that you hyperlink for both internal and external links. It is important for SEO that you are linking to your other posts in each post. (See how I just did that!) This should be accomplished by linking to them naturally in a sentence using words that have relational value to the keyword of the destination post.
I know it seems like a lot of stuff to remember, but once you get the hang of it, drafting your content for format from the start gets much easier. All this work does pay off because you will make it super easy for search engine crawlers to scan your content and index it accordingly. If you need a reminder, you can enter your email below and download my Before Publish SEO Checklist.
Be sure to also read:
- 3 Proven Pinterest SEO Tips for Christian Bloggers
- The Truth About the Yoast Plugin
- The Truth About Blog Traffic