6 Tools & Tips to Help You Improve Your Blog Posts

I was having a a few conversations on twitter last week. It was clear that more than one person needed a little bit more explanation about how to put some of the tips I mentioned into action, so here are 6 quick tips to help you improve your posts.

Pull Quotes

Blue Widgets solved all my problems…

If you’ve read a magazine in the past 20 years, chances are good you’ve seen pull quotes in action. Somewhere in page they will select a quote-worthy bit of text, make it larger than normal and maybe a different color, then wrap the rest of the text around it (like that box above). How can you use pull quotes to your advantage? Maybe you could emphasize a an important bit of text or a fragment that will help you close the deal and make the conversion. Another option is to use it to emphasize your primary keyword without looking spammy. Since it’s set aside visually, it’s easier to use without having awkward language or sentence structure to deal with. It’s super easy to implement too. I use the simple pull quote plugin.


Discount Hotel Room in Hershey Pennsylvania

Discount Hotel Room in Hershey Pennsylvania

If search engines are text based, how will using images help? Images can help in a few ways. If you use the text adjacent to an image to describe the image, use alt text to describe the image, and name the file properly, you will do better in image searches, which yields more traffic. If you format your images nicely, you can even include your primary keyword another time on the page without looking spammy. This can help with regular search engine traffic. Also, people like pictures of what they are buying or signing up for: it gives them confidence in their decision. Just keep you pictures accurate.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is, in my opinion, one of the most under-utilized parts of SEO. People spend a lot of time creating great content but don’t link to it properly or often enough. As I stated in my How I Create and Manage A WordPress Website article, I’m all about working smarter not harder, and I use plugins to help me GTD. First, I come up with high level list of keywords, then I use crosslinker to automatically interlink them together. The second tool I use is the insights plugin to do searches on my blog, Google, images, video, news, blogs, maps, Wikipedia and other places right from the post page without having to open a second tab. I can search for the term, highlight the word, and click, and it will create the link for me. It doesn’t get any easier. You should also put links to related posts into your text. It’s an easy way to expose people to more content. Using breadcrumbs are another easy, often-overlooked method of increasing internal links.

Essentials – Title tags, URL Format, Meta Description

Your page title is probably your strongest on-page factor, but it’s often not used to its full potential.

These three aspects are key to every post you publish, but they are often overlooked. Your page title is probably your strongest on-page factor, but it’s often not used to its full potential. Have you ever read a post where the author was trying to be entertaining and used a title like “My Wild Saturday and Sunday in Sin City Where I Didn’t Spend a Fortune”? As humans, we know it’s a post about how the author had a good time in Las Vegas without spending a fortune, but search engines aren’t that smart. More significantly, do you think there’s any search volume on that phrase? How about  “Discount Weekend Vacations to Las Vegas” or “Save Money on Weekend Trips to Las Vegas”. Now, of course, there are plugins that let you change the page title and post title, but that’s not permission for you to lose KWD focus. Your post title is still used for all your internal anchor text, so don’t squander it.

URL format: keep it as short as possible. Shoot for the 3-5 word range and eliminate all stop words. Avoid using date formats in your URL if at all possible.

Meta descriptions: yes, I know they don’t count as part of the ranking algorithm,  but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Your meta description is usually what appears under your title in the SERP’s, so don’t waste the opportunity. Also don’t duplicate your meta description. Duplicating the language will work against you.

Keyword Research

Once you’ve got a rough idea what you want to write a post about but before you put a single word down on paper (so to speak), do a little keyword research. There are a lot of tools out there–some are free and some are paid. In my experience, the data you get from the paid tools is a little better but, if you’re on a budget, the free ones like Google Adwords Keyword Tool are perfectly fine. Let’s take my example from above about weekend vacations in Las Vegas:

Now we can see my initial suggestions really didn’t have enough volume; however, they acted as jumping off points to lead me to “Las Vegas Weekend Deals” and “Las Vegas Weekend Packages.” From an editorial standpoint, writing  “Las Vegas Weekend Deals” is completely different from “Save Money on Weekend Trips to Las Vegas” and “”My Wild Saturday and Sunday in Sin City Where I Didn’t Spend a Fortune.” You can still talk about the fun you had in Vegas without spending a lot of money, but the story and the way you tell it should be dramatically different. You can include a travel affiliate links from Priceline, maybe drop in a ticket broker link for the show you saw, and maybe a link to passport service or travel insurance. If you have some idea where you are trying to end up, you’ll have an easier time getting there.

Scribe SEO

… using Scribe SEO has put a couple hundred extra dollars in my pocket every month …

Scribe SEO is the one tool on this list that’s not free. You have to pay a monthly fee to use it. So why am I recommending it here and using an affiliate link to do it? Because it works. Scribe SEO does a lot of the things we should be doing with every post but that we are too distracted to remember to do. Before you publish any post, hit the analyze button, and it gives the post a quick once-over for basic SEO factors. Think of it as your mom who points out that your shirt is sticking out of the back of your pants as you’re on your way out the door to catch the school bus every morning. Simply put, using Scribe SEO has put a couple hundred extra dollars in my pocket every month, and that’s why I recommend it (read the full Scribe SEO Review for more info).

That’s it. Those are my 6 quick tips to help you write better posts, bring you more traffic, and hopefully make you more profitable.

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