Blog Post SEO – How to Make an Individual Blog Post Rank Highly

By Drew Meyers on April 16, 2010

Writing a blog post with the goal of ranking for a specific keyword and don’t know how to maximize the chances (note I didn’t say GUARANTEE) that the post will rank for your desired keywords? Again, since I’m not a real estate agent, I’m a little different in the way I approach blogging — at least on my personal blog — due to not making a living from the people I attract to my blog. I’m not trying to sell anything, don’t make money on advertising, or hope to convince people to hire me as a consultant. Therefore, I really don’t think about SEO that much when I when I write on my personal blog aside from the title of the post and the links/anchor text I place in my post. But that said, I thought a lot about SEO during my time at Zillow and have successfully gotten individual articles to rank extremely well for desired keywords on Geek Estate Blog and Zillow Blog. For instance, do a Google search for “real estate website providers” and you’ll see my blog post #1 on that list. So, here’s the way I approach posts that I’m specifically trying to make rank well for desired keywords:

1. Pick the keywords you want to go after. Let’s use “condos for sale in Queen Anne” as an example. For those who don’t know, Queen Anne is the neighborhood where I used to live in Seattle.

2. Make sure to include your desired keyword in the title of you blog post. This is the single most important thing you can do. If you don’t do ANYTHING else mentioned in this post, make sure you at least put your desired keywords in the title. You can certainly still rank without doing this, but you’re going to have to go through unnecessary hurdles and spend extra effort to get there. For the example of “condos for sale in Queen Anne”, I would consider post titles such as “Great Deals on Condos for Sale in Queen Anne” or “Latest Queen Anne Condos for Sale”

3. Write a GREAT post with relevant information, a good voice, and unique content that would interest the exact type of person you hope to attract to your blog. Content is still king in my opinion. In the “Condos for sale in Queen Anne” example, one piece of content that should be available in that post should be — you guessed it, actual condos for sale in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. If you use a company such as Diverse Solutions, this is easy with their new dsIDXPress WP Plugin. But make sure to include additional unique content to your post, as condo listings are not unique to your blog.

4. Include your desired keywords at least twice in your article. This is just common sense — if an entire page is devoted to a specific topic such as “condos for sale in Queen Anne”, a Search Engine such as Google would expect to see that topic mentioned in the blog post several times just as you would if you were listening to your friend tell you about condos in person.

5. Do some link building with domains and pages your control, making sure to use your keywords in the  anchor text of all of those links. Add a link to your blog’s sidebar with your desired keywords as the anchor text. Go back and edit other specific blog posts you’ve written which pertain to the topic your current blog post addresses (in this case, “condos for sale in Queen Anne”). Add links to your post from a few of your profile pages on sites such as Zillow and Linkedin. If you own multiple domain names, then add links to your post from all of your domains.

6. Promote your blog post. Email a few of your friends who write related blogs and see if you can get them to pick up the story, and of course link to your specific article if they choose to write about it. I wrote a whole post on this topic, so I won’t bore you with the details again.

7. Continually repeat steps 5 and 6. Don’t think that just because you spent a week or two trying to get a post to rank without success means you should give up. Every time you write a post on your blog in the future somewhat related to “condos for sale in Queen Anne”, make sure to link to your Queen Anne condos post. It can take weeks or months, depending on how competitive the keyword is, to get a post to rank highly.

And there you have it – my tips to getting a post to rank well for a desired keyword. Have you had success ranking individual blog posts highly for long tail keywords? If so, what have you done?