Master the art of the blog: how to optimize blog posts for SEO

The Microsoft partner sphere is crammed full of content. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Here are our top tips on how to optimize blog posts for SEO.

Pranita Tamang
5 MIN|March 19, 2020

Microsoft is, to use a cherished phrase, living high on the hog. Thanks to successfully retooling their business strategy with Microsoft 365, they’re dominating the software world. But it’s not just their software that’s doing well. The Microsoft partner ecosystem is a fundamental aspect to the tech giant’s success. But there are 640,000 partners, vendors and service providers all vying for many of the same audience. It can be difficult for your prospective customers and clients to decide who can help them achieve their goals. If you’re a Microsoft partner, you probably already know that in order to attract your target audience, you need to stand out. To do this, you need to rank highly on Google, and that means mastering search engine optimisation (SEO) In this post we’ll focus on how to optimise blog posts for SEO.

The art of standing out

Every business market is saturated with businesses providing similar services – this is why differentiation is essential. You need to set your company apart from your competition so that you become more than just a corporate entity. Creating a memorable brand personality requires unique and engaging content, which will drive more traffic to your website.

Today we will concentrate on how to optimise blog posts for SEO: this is how you’ll get them in front of as many relevant people as possible. This will, in turn, earn your business those all-important leads. Your blog (along with your social media output and website) is where you broadcast your unique voice and is how potential customers get a sense of you as a company and as a brand.

Find your audience where they are

If you want your content to have any chance of reaching your potential readers, you need to optimise it for search engine results. Why is it essential to do this? Well, your potential readers are your potential leads, who are, of course, your potential clients.

The pages on your website are ranked by search engines, who send out bots that crawl the web to assess the quality. So, the idea behind how to optimise blog posts for SEO is making sure the bots can easily parse what they find and index your blog with a higher position on a results page. The better optimised your blog is, the easier it will be to find.

Keywords are key

A keyword is a word or phrase that you know or expect potential readers will be searching for. When you include them in your content, this will lead readers to you. As a Microsoft partner, you’re competing with many companies for MPN specific keywords. The way to handle this is to identify more tailored, unique keywords – finding words that return search results without putting your blog in competition with too many other partners. It can sometimes be best to focus on longtail keywords, which means using specific, key phrases.

It’s important to remember that you’re identifying words that your audience are using, not the words you use. For instance, while ‘digital transformation’ might be a relevant keyword for your business, it won’t get you noticed. Your specific audience needs something that aligns with your USP – so you must understand what problems they have, and how they’ll search for the solution. This requires research.

The right tool for the job

There are many tools that can help you put together the right keywords. For example, Yoast is a plugin for WordPress that is used to optimise blog posts. It allows you to select a keyword or phrase for your posts and shows you how many times they appear. It also shows how popular a keyword is with competitors and customers, among other metrics.

If you’re still not feeling confident about how to optimise blog posts for SEO, Yoast in WordPress gives you a checklist which indicates how well your post is optimised.

In short, remember:

  • Resist the urge to go after ‘trophy phrases’ – they won’t get you the visibility that properly tailored keywords will.
  • Good keywords are the ones that return search results, not the most exciting sounding ones
  • Put your keyword or phrase into the title of your blog post, the first paragraph, at least one header and at least three times throughout the copy
  • If your keyword sounds unnatural in the blog, you need a stronger keyword

It’s a popularity contest

One of Google’s many criteria for SEO has historically been outbound links. By linking other websites to your posts, Google recognises you as ‘popular’ and your search ranking goes up. For example, a good number for outbound links is between three and six links per post. Recently it has been suggested that outbound links are not a ranking signal any longer. However, linking to other sites brings value to your content and that in turn becomes a relevant factor for your blog SEO.

The value of both outbound and internal web links in your posts cannot be underestimated. Creating a ‘pipeline’ for your content – i.e. a website you are linked to, a place where people can subscribe to your blog – is fundamental to making a strong connection between every aspect of your digital presence.

Be more social

Your social media presence is more important today than ever. It helps you increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website and boost your organic search presence. We’d recommend that you:

  • Tweet at least once a day
  • Link your blog post to your Facebook page and LinkedIn profile
  • Provide internal links within your blog post to your Twitter
  • Promote links and news items that are relevant to your brand or what your company does

Being online isn’t really an option in our digital age, but if you do it effectively, it doesn’t have to be a time-suck. Using tools to schedule posts and cross-post on different platforms can be an enormous time-saver. You can also discover the best time to post across your social media here.

How to optimise blog posts for SEO: hard work

Of course, there’s plenty of work to do when it comes to digital marketing best practice. In addition to making your blog content SEO functional, you also make sure you’re promoting your content. Share it on your social media channels, keep fresh content coming at regular intervals and develop a unique voice that your customers trust. These are all increasingly important aspects that will allow you to rise above the business brand banality that so many tech companies face. After all, you need to stand out to potential customers as well as current clients.