While you spend a fair amount of time creating awesome blog content for your small business, are you putting the same amount of effort to make sure the content is actually read? With over 100 million blogs and growing, the blogosphere can be a highly competitive space! One effective way to make sure your content sticks out above the rest is to make sure your content has a high SEO (search engine optimization) rank.

If that sounds like a foreign language, no worries. Here are 3 easy tips courtesy of our friends at Convince and Convert that will turn your blog into an SEO machine!

1. Install a SEO plug-in to your blog.
Here at DigitalSherpa, we use a great free SEO plugin called Yoast. Yoast is incredibly easy to navigate – it ranks your content’s SEO by 3 colors. Red is bad, yellow is fair and green is good. If your content’s color is red or yellow, Yoast then offers simple suggestions to improve your SEO. Honestly, this program is so incredibly easy to use AND free, there’s no reason your blog shouldn’t be using it!

2. Keyword research.
Knowing what specific keywords drive the most traffic within your industry is another great way to boost your SEO. Use the Google Keyword Popularity Tool to do keyword research to find the most popular keywords for your blog topic, service or product.

Localized, longtail keywords are another way to increase your SEO rank. For instance, “veterinary clinic in Georgia” would rank higher and be more beneficial to increasing your website traffic than simply “veterinary clinic”.  If you are marketing yourself as a local business (as opposed to a national chain) this step is essential for you.

3. Choose one keyword for your permalink, page title and page description.
Once you’ve figured out the best keyword for your topic, you need to make sure to place it a few specific places. The keyword needs to be in your blog’s permalink (aka your post’s URL) as well as the title of your blog. Try to incorporate the keyword into the first sentence of your blog, and then use that sentence as the “Meta Description” as the page description at the bottom. If the sentence doesn’t flow naturally as the Meta Description, edit it but make sure to include the keyword.

The keyword also should be placed in the “Focus Keyword” section at the bottom of the page, and keep the default “SEO title” text – it should be the title and name of your blog, which you already put your keyword into. As for the actual blog content, make sure to work the keyword into the piece a few times. If you aren’t sure how many times you should specifically use the keyword- that’s what Yoast is for! When you SEO check your piece with Yoast, it will let you know if you have used your keyword the appropriate amount of times. How easy is that?

Chris Vaughn is the Content Marketing Director for DigitalSherpa, the world's largest content marketing provider for small businesses. With the recent acquisition of SocialTract, DigitalSherpa is thrilled to welcome the HVAC community in to our client family. Learn more about content marketing and check out our free e-books and whitepapers at http://digitalsherpa.com. Connect with Chris and the DigitalSherpa team on Facebook and Twitter or e-mail Chris directly at cvaughn@digitalsherpa.com.