seo services

How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

Effective blog homepage SEO can get your blog ranked on the first page of Google Search.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think big picture about your blog. Think of your blog in an ideal world, as it would stand with all your blogging hopes and dreams realized. Think of your blog as a future online destination for curious learners and hopeful searchers. Now that you’re in the right mindset, think about what you want your blog to be known for, in its most ideal state.

As inbound marketing experts, we know that good SEO begins with a good blog. Blogging frequently and consistently is one of the most powerful things you can do to rank your website on Google’s highly-coveted page 1 for your most relevant keywords. 

However, it’s easy to forget about optimizing your blog homepage and just think of it as a functional, catch-all page. Your blog homepage dynamically updates with fresh content on a regular basis, which many feel is an excuse to just leave it alone. As a matter of fact, that’s something the Human Marketing inbound marketing blog is guilty of, which is why we’re writing this article. This is first-hand advice that we’ve created for our internal team to act upon. There’s no better way to achieve inbound marketing mastery and expertise as an agency than for us to create and follow our own SEO best practices.

Top 6 Blog Homepage SEO Tips

Don’t let your blog get lost in Google SERP (search engine results page). This article will teach you 6 actionable blog homepage SEO tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Pick a focus keyword for your main blog categories and your blog homepage.

The first step to having a successfully ranked blog homepage is to do your keyword research. Once you find the top keywords that are best for your company blog to target, you can narrow them down into choices for your blog homepage and blog categories.

HubSpot’s blog is a great example that we love to glean from. HubSpot ranks for the first search 2 results for the search term “marketing blog” and its blog homepage is ranked in the first position. HubSpot also has a separate sales blog, which is ranked 3 and 4 for “sales blog”. 

Keyword Research

Using Human Marketing as the example, here are some of the keyword options we have to choose from for our blog SEO efforts:

eCommerce Marketing Blog — 10 monthly searches, 60 difficulty

eCommerce Marketing Tips — 30 monthly searches, 65 difficulty

B2B Marketing Blog — 50 monthly searches, 48 difficulty

Inbound Marketing Blog — 70 monthly searches, 86 difficulty

Content Marketing Blog — 170 monthly searches, 76 difficulty

Email Marketing Blog — 170 monthly searches, 84 difficulty

Content Marketing Tips — 210 monthly searches, 91 difficulty

Digital Marketing Blog — 260 monthly searches, 77 difficulty

Marketing Blog — 560 monthly searches, 96 difficulty

Email Marketing Tips — 590 monthly searches, 95 difficulty

SEO Tips — 1,900 monthly searches, 84 difficulty

SEO Blog — 9,900 monthly searches, 95 difficulty

The keyword difficulties have been color-coded to distinguish between the keywords that are easier to rank for (green) and those that are more difficult to rank for (red).

Blog Homepage

The Human Marketing blog homepage is already ranking for “inbound marketing blog”, so it makes sense for us to continue building up our rank for this key term and make that the focus keyword for our blog homepage. However, the keyword “digital marketing blog” is easier to rank for with more than 3 times the search volume. It would require a more intensive re-optimization effort to adjust from “inbound marketing blog” to “digital marketing blog” because our blog domain gives away that we’re already deeply invested in being recognized as an inbound marketing force. That’s okay though. Remember when we were talking about envisioning that perfect-world scenario for your blog? Our perfect-world scenario is to be known as the #1 inbound marketing information destination, so focusing our blog homepage efforts on an “inbound marketing blog” is a good fit for our business.

Blog Categories

Now, let’s talk about blog categories. Based on the keyword research and the personas that we’re targeting, it would benefit us to become hyper-targeted and split our blog into a few main categories to capture more qualified search traffic. In simple terms, creating specific blog categories will help us be found easier by people searching for those specific topics, and those people are more likely to find what we have to say relevant and valuable.

As an agency, we serve 2 core vertical marketing focuses: eCommerce and B2B IT. While it won’t be difficult for us to rank for “B2B marketing blog”, our longer-term strategic growth plans involve us shifting more of our focus away from B2B IT marketing and into eCommerce inbound marketing. For that reason, we could structure our blog categories around the following topics: eCommerce Marketing Blog, Content Marketing Blog, Email Marketing Blog, and SEO Blog.

While ranking for “SEO blog” will be incredibly difficult to rank for, creating content around that topic will work to further enforce our domain’s credibility in Google’s eyes as an inbound marketing powerhouse. After all, Google’s latent semantic indexing (LSI) allows it to be able to discern if we actually know what

we’re talking about. If Google relates “inbound marketing” with “SEO” because the big players are writing about both topics, and if Google sees us producing content on both topics, then it’ll see us as a more credible source alongside the others.

HubSpot’s blog homepage ranks specifically for “HubSpot Blog” and has Google Sitelinks in the search results for its key blog categories. Its main blog categories are “Marketing Blog” and “Sales Blog”.

2. Use a relevant H1 tag and URL.

Now that we’ve chosen the top blog categories, we’ll need to think of H1 tags for the main blog homepage and each blog category page. We could either be straightforward or use the H1s “Inbound Marketing Blog”, “Content Marketing Blog”, “eCommerce Blog”, etc. Or, we could go with a more creative H1 and just make sure we use some variation of “Inbound Marketing”, “Content Marketing”, “eCommerce”, etc. in the H1. Again, see blog.hubspot.com, blog.hubspot.com/marketing, and blog.hubspot.com/sales as examples.

3. Use a block of static text on each blog homepage.

It could only help to have a block of text that introduces the reader to the blog and its purpose, especially if there’s not much else on your blog homepage that’s static. Only use static content in your blog homepage that would be helpful to the user and avoid having this block appear globally on all blog pages. Google always favors good content over fluff and keyword stuffing. 

4. Limit the use of extraneous links.

These pages will be updated dynamically with a feed of the latest blog posts and their intro copy, which means there will already be a lot of links on the page. It won’t be necessary to have a global blog sidebar that links to all topics. See how HubSpot handles interlinking to blog topics: https://blog.hubspot.com/topics. They don’t flood every page with topic links.

5. Write blog articles related to your blog’s focus keyword.

We’re already doing a great job of writing about topics semantically related to the blog SEO keyword focus. But just picking the keywords for the blog homepage and writing about related topics may not be enough to rank for our target keywords. We should also actively find opportunities to blog about “Inbound Marketing” with topics such as, “The 50 Best Inbound Marketing Blogs to Read” or “40 Essential Content Marketing Tips”. If we decide to write articles like this, make sure that our numbered list exceeds whatever article is already ranked on the 1st page for the same topic. This is called the skyscraper technique. For example, if “30 Best Inbound Marketing Blogs” is ranked on page 1, then we need to write “50 Best Inbound Marketing Blogs”.

6. Get backlinks to your blog.

Remember that “50 Best Inbound Marketing Blogs” article that we were talking about? Once we write that, we’ll need to get backlinks to it. The easiest way to do that is to reach out to those 50 blogs that we featured and ask them to share our article that featured them on social media and link back to it in some way. There is less value in a backlink if both domains are linking to each other, but it’s still better than no backlinks.

Another tactic to get backlinks is to find the list of articles that already exist (i.e. the aforementioned “30 Best Inbound Marketing Blogs” that we’re competing against) and asking them to include our blog in their list.

 Did you learn something new from this article? I’d love to hear about it! Either leave a comment below with your feedback, ideas, and tips, or contact us at Brandia Digital Agency to talk.  

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