By Rebecca Smith, Marketing Coordinator at Heinz Marketing

In our dynamic industry, best practices across the board go through their ups and downs. It’s only natural as our buyers’ behaviors continue to change. Websites are evolving. The data behind them is growing. New tools are launching. It can be hard to keep up!

With all of these updates, SEO has to continue to evolve in its approach, methodology and purpose if we want our content to be found. Visibility is crucial to get high ranking results and actually be found online. In this sense, the SEO industry is volatile because we never know what new hot trend is going to shake up the scene and force us to reevaluate our priorities.

If we look back just three years, content marketing wasn’t the hottest topic or trend so SEO didn’t need to be aligned with your content marketing strategy if you wanted to be found. Now, it has to be. SEO is charged by keywords and informative content that search algorithms can pick up on, analyze and push to the right people.

When drafting your next blog post, think about how you can differentiate your blog from the thousands upon thousands of others out there. How will Google’s algorithm associate your copy with the right topic, the right keywords, the right search terms and the right industry to push in front of the right people?

Here are 9 SEO best practices to help increase your blog traffic today:

Set up your blog on one sub and root domain

Your website is http://company.com so make sure your blog (or any other page on your site for that matter) comes after the .com . If you were to have http://blog.company.com, your blog would be much harder to find as Google recognizes it as a different site and that messes up your overall rankings

Avoid long URLS

Make it easy on your readers so they can follow your site seamlessly. The longer the URL, the easier it is to get lost

Align your SEO strategy with your content strategy

Have you done your keyword research yet? Whatever keywords you’re using in your content, they should be reflected in the SEO.

Long-tail keywords are making a comeback

They are much more specific and therefore stronger in attracting the right audience.

Use keywords in your titles URLs, but keep them short

Long-tail keywords are ideal, but that doesn’t mean your title and URL should be bombarded with them. Focus on the keyword that packs the most punch for the title and put it in there. It’ll help Google understand the main focus of your blog while also catching the readers’ attention.

Always write a meta-description

Give your audience a preview of what your blog is talking about. Be specific in your meta-description too. If you aren’t, Google will pull the first couple of lines and with writers being ever more creative in their intros, it might not work for those who stumble upon your content via search…

Inbound links are a GREAT thing

The best way to get readers to stay on your blog and site is continue to offer them new learning and education. Add inbound links in appropriate places and your readers will stay put.

Make sure to set up alt-image text

This seems easy and obvious because it takes two seconds, but so many people forget about this. Images are important for SEO too!

Include links to your social channels

Social media can be important for search visibility. As readers share your content or interact with your content via social, slowly but surely, you can get a higher ranking. It’s also crucial to help push your content to others and generate more inbound traffic.

What other SEO best practices do you have on your top 10 list for your original content? Let us know!