If you own a blog, you have to deal with the opinions, questions, and feedback from your blog’s visitors. Mostly you receive comments related to your post, but sometimes you might receive off-topic comments. How do you respond properly? And, more importantly, do off-topic comments on your blog post hurt your SEO? In this Ask Yoast we’ll explain if off-topic comments hurt your SEO and how you can respond to them.

Gerencer Thomas emailed us asking:

“Do off-topic comments on my blog post hurt my SEO?”

Check out the video or read the answer below!

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Do off-topic comments hurt SEO?

Check out the video or read the answer below!

Well yes, they can. If someone has a very long comment on your post that does not relate to the topic of your blog post, then you should probably delete that comment. Not only for SEO reasons, but also for your own sanity.

It’s very easy to just reach out to someone if he or she is saying something completely unrelated. Just email that person and say, “Hey, you said this and this. I can respond to that, but it’s not really related to the blog post, so I have deleted your comment, but here’s my reaction.” That’s a friendly reaction to the person leaving the comment on your blog, but it’s also keeping your blog post intact and on topic.

So, yes it can hurt your SEO; delete them if you can. Good luck!

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from followers. Need some advice about SEO? Let us help you out! Send your question to ask@yoast.com.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

You want to rank on the words that are used a lot in the search engines, right? Justin Bieber is a term that is used very, very often. So, should we all start writing about Justin Bieber then? The answer of course is: (please) no. In this post, I explain why blogging about Justin Bieber – or other highly competitive terms – probably isn’t the best SEO strategy for you.

Attracting traffic is only step one

Let’s just imagine for a second you would be able to rank for a highly competitive search term as ‘Justin Bieber’. You’d appear in the top of the search results with your post about Justin. Unless you actually are a Belieber and have a site about Justin, attracting traffic on the search term ‘Justin Bieber’ is pretty much useless, though. People searching for ‘Justin Bieber’ want to read content about Justin Bieber. If your website is about flyfishing, barn animals or SEO plugins for that matter, the beliebers won’t stay on your website. They do not want to read your content or buy your products. These people are not your audience. Ranking on search terms simply because they’re popular doesn’t work, unless these terms are popular among your audience and in your niche.

Competitiveness of terms

Let’s be honest. Not every site will be able to instantly rank for Justin Bieber. Highly competitive terms are hard to rank for. That’s why our advice is to start out with focusing on those long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are more specific and less competitive. If you have a site selling pencils and pens, trying to go after ‘pencils’ as a search term may be a competitive market. You could start out by trying to rank for ‘pencils for drawing’ or ‘pencils for writing’, depending on what you’re selling specifically. If you’re able to rank for those longer and more specific search terms first, you could then aim to rank for the more competitive ones (in your niche).

Another benefit from focusing on long tail keywords is that these terms usually convert better. People using specific terms in their search behavior already have a pretty good idea about what they want. If they find the thing they’re looking for on your website, the chance they buy your stuff is rather high.

Content SEO: learn how to do keyword research, how to structure your site and how to write SEO friendly content »

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Conclusion: don’t blog about Justin unless you are a Belieber

Blogging about highly competitive terms only to rank in the search engines is a completely useless SEO tactic. It will be really, really, really hard to compete with all the others focusing on these terms. Ranking on these highly competitive terms is therefore very hard. More importantly, ranking on these terms will probably not attract the audience you want to attract to your website.

You should do your very own keyword research. Find out which terms are beneficial for your site to rank on. Find out which words your audience is using while searching for your products and similar products. That’ll attract the traffic that will actually stay on your site!

Read more: ‘Why every content SEO strategy should start with keyword research’ »

Do you want your readers to engage with your blog? Want them to comment and share your post on social media? Want them to come back to your blog and read your next post? So, how do you achieve that? In this post, I’ll first explain the importance of blog engagement for SEO. After that, I’ll give 7 tips on how to increase the engagement of the audience to your blog.

So, what is blog engagement exactly?

We define blog engagement by all the ways people can interact with your post. This could be leaving a comment, sharing your post on their Facebook timeline or mentioning your blog post in a newsletter, Facebook post or blog post. Besides those, it’s a form of engagement to return to your website to read your next post or subscribe to your newsletter. Engaged readers are those readers that are active on your blog. You want your visitors to be active. These active users are the people that buy your stuff, read your newsletter and become regular visitors of your website. These people are your most loyal customers.

Why is blog engagement important for SEO?

Blog engagement is an important factor for SEO. If your audience leaves comments on your blog (and you respond to these comments), Google will notice that your blog is very much alive and active. And of course, mentions on social media will also help with your blog’s ranking. If people share your post on social media, or talk about it online, this will definitely lead to more traffic.

But how do you increase the engagement of your audience? How do you make sure that people comment on your blog post and share it on social media? I’ll give you 7 tips to increase the engagement on your blog!

Tips to increase blog engagement

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1. Make sure your blog posts are awesome

Your content should be awesome. Your content should be so informative, funny or relevant, that people want to share it with the world. If you want to read more about the creation of awesome and SEO friendly content, go ahead and read this blog post.

2. Be consistent

In order to get people to engage with your blog, you should blog on a regular basis. Let people know what to expect. You don’t have to blog every day to create engagement, but make sure the intervals are predictable. If people know that you always publish posts on Thursdays, people might just swing by your website on these Thursdays.

3. Be original

Make sure your content is worth sharing. The most effective way to make sure that people want to share your content is to write original stuff. If your story is one of a kind, people will be more prone to sharing. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge.

4. Be (a bit) controversial

People will respond if they disagree. So, if you want to provoke people to share their point of view on a certain issue, or you want to start an interesting discussion: make sure to be controversial. Make your statements a little bit bolder and a little less nuanced. Don’t go overboard, though, or you’ll have to deal with a lot of negative comments.

5. Ask for engagement

If you want people to respond to your post, ask them to do so! If visitors are actually invited to comment, chances are much higher they decide to do so. Ask people to share their thoughts on the matter at the end of a blog post, or encourage people to like or share your post on Facebook.

6. Respond to the engagement

If you do invite people to comment on your blog, be polite and respond to their comments. If your audience notices you pay attention to their reactions, they’ll be more inclined to come back and visit your website yet another time.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

7. Engage on other blogs

Make sure to be visible on other blogs as well. Comment on posts that have similar subjects as your own posts. If people see you engage on other blogs, they’ll be curious to see what you’ve written about the matter.

Conclusion on blog engagement

In order to collect an engaging audience for your blog you should be a little bold. Make sure to post awesome and original content and add just a little bit of controversy. And, do not forget to invite people to respond! And on that matter… how do you create engagement with your readers? Do you have a hot tip? I’d love to hear your view on this!

Keep reading: ‘Blog SEO: make people stay and read your post’ »

Making short video blogs (vlogs) can be a great way to attract new audiences and to entertain or surprise your current audience. It could make the blog on your website livelier. But is it always a good idea? And what does vlogging mean for the SEO of your website? How do you decide whether to write a blog or to record a vlog?

In this post, I’ll first explain the things you need to do in order to make sure your vlogs are properly indexed by the search engines. After that, I’ll state five things to consider when deciding between a blog or a vlog. 

Make sure you always write things down too!

Vlogs are great, but Google can’t watch vlogs. This means Google is unable to index vlogs. It’s as simple as that. So, in order to make your content rank in the search engines, you should make sure to write a summary of your vlog too. At Yoast, we’ll actually embed the video in a blog post, write a little content and make sure to offer a transcript of the video as well. That way, Google will be able to index our new content and show it in the search engines.

For many people, it’s more difficult to understand a spoken text in a foreign language, than a written text. And, for people with a hearing disability, vlogs are hard to understand. For that reason, you should make sure your vlog has subtitles. While I am writing this, I know that we aren’t doing this properly yet ourselves.

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training

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Blog or vlog?

Whether you should make a vlog or write a blog depends on a number of things. Before making up your mind, consider the four following elements and then decide whether you should blog or vlog:

Topic

Some topics are easier to write about, while other topics are more suitable for a video. Most likely, difficult topics are easier to explain in a blog. A vlog should be rather short (only a few minutes tops) and therefore isn’t fit for topics that need a lot of explanation. However, if you do want to make a video about a difficult topic, consider making a series of vlogs. Each vlog could, for example, address a specific subtopic.

Some topics ask for lots of visual support. These kinds of topics are great for vlogging. At Yoast, we made screencasts for all of the settings of our Yoast SEO plugin. Such videos make the somewhat dry material of going through all the settings of a plugin much more digestible and insightful.

Audience

Whether to write a blog or record a vlog also depends on the audience you’re aiming at. It seems that younger people prefer to watch videos, while ‘older’ people choose to read posts.

If you’re aiming at a young audience (under 25 years old), I think vlogging is something you’ll just have to do (besides writing perhaps). If you’re aiming at a somewhat older audience, vlogging could be a good idea as well. It isn’t as indispensable as it is for a young audience though. Still, vlogs are a very nice variation for every audience.

Personal qualities

Some people are natural writers, while others have some sort of X-factor on screen. Whether you should blog or vlog depends on your personal qualities. If you’re an awesome writer, you should definitely continue writing (and vlog occasionally to mix things up). If you’re able to draw attention while explaining things on video, you should definitely start vlogging.

Perhaps your personality isn’t as bubbly as you would want it to be on screen. Or you hate watching yourself on video. There are lots of ways to create videos, apart from presenting. At Yoast, we create lots of screencasts, explaining the many settings of our plugin. A recipe blog, for example, could have videos in which one shows how to bake a cake or cook that difficult stew. A blog about fixing motorcycles could have video manuals in which someone shows how to fix a broken starter motor.

Resources

It may seem easy, but creating a high quality vlog is just as hard as writing an awesome blogpost. You should really take some time to think about the video you would like to make. You’ll need a decent camera and some skills to edit the video material you shoot.

Once you’ll have shot a nice vlog, take some time to write a decent transcript in order to make it rank in the search engines. To create awesome vlogs, don’t forget to add subtitles to your vlog. Even if this will lengthen your release process a bit. All things considered, I think vlogging will take a little bit more time and resources than writing a blog post will.

Conclusion: Just do it and use Video SEO

If you’re blogging on a regular basis, vlogging is definitely something you should try out. And if you start vlogging on a regular basis, you should make sure to look into the Video SEO extension of Yoast SEO. This will allow people to watch your videos directly on Facebook and Twitter. Our Video SEO extension also makes it easier to publish vlogs, so check it out.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

 

The structure of the texts on your site is important for SEO. If your content is clearly structured, your chance to rank well in Google will be higher. In this blog post, I’ll tell you why text structure is so important.

Why text structure is important for SEO

How do people scan a text?

Before deciding whether or not to read something, people tend to scan a text. They want to know what your text is about, before starting to read it all the way through.

There are some parts that people look at or read specifically when scanning a text. Headings and subheadings are really important, as is the first paragraph of a text. But also the first sentences of every new paragraph catch the eye of scanners.

How does Google “scan” a text?

Just like people scan texts in a certain way, so does Google. Let me give you three examples of how Google uses text structure for it’s ranking:

  1. Google defined, in some of its patents, ranking signals such as semantic closeness. Semantic closeness refers to the proximity of related words in a text, while taking into account the formatting of that text. To be able to understand semantic closeness of words, your text’s structure must be clear.
  2. In another Google patent,  “the reasonable surfer”  Google explicitly talks about headings. Headings containing certain keywords are important for the topic of a given page.
  3. With the Hummingbird update, Google became a lot better at recognizing synonyms.

There are more patents that hint at using a text’s structure to understand the text. Google, over time, has become much better at analyzing content. The better you write, the easier it becomes for Google to understand your content and therefore to rank it.

Setting up articles with clear structure has a positive effect on the ranking for another reason as well. Well-structured texts have lower bounce rates and higher chances to receive social media attention. This, in itself, leads to higher rankings.

Tips on improving the structure of your text

If you want to improve the structure of your text, you need to pay attention to: 1. the first paragraph of your text; 2. your headings and 3. the first sentences of every new paragraph. Some time ago, I wrote an article on how to set up the structure of a blog post. Make sure to read that article if you have trouble setting up the structure for a text.

First paragraph

You should clearly formulate what your post is about in the first paragraph. In printed texts, a writer usually starts off with some kind of teaser, but there is no time for that if you are writing for the web. You only have seconds to draw you reader’s attention. Make sure the first paragraph tells the main message of your post. That way, you make it easy for your reader to figure out what your post is about and: you tell Google what your post is about. Don’t forget to put your focus keyword in that first paragraph!

focus keyword in first paragraph

Another reason to have the focus keyword in your first paragraph is simple psychology. People recognize the word they sought for and think they’re in the right spot!

Headings

Headings should be attractive and should clearly state the content of the paragraph below it. Headings allow your readers to quickly scan through your text and to decide whether or not they would like to read your article (or which parts). We would advise you to put a header above every long paragraph (or above a group of paragraphs which are thematically similar).

In our Yoast SEO plugin we check whether you use your focus keyword in your headings. It’s helpful to search engines if a heading defines what a piece of text is going to be about. Whether they’re a ranking factor or not (and SEOs do quarrel about that), headings are of great importance to the structure of your text. Google will therefore probably use them to determine what the text is about.

Core sentences

Make sure the first sentence of a paragraph is the most important, the core sentence, of that paragraph. After all, people tend to read the first sentence of every new paragraph as they’re scanning through content. The other sentences in a paragraph elaborate upon that first core sentence. Chances are Google will pay extra attention to these sentences, in order to determine the topic of a text. They are great places to use your keyword, if possible. If you’re writing a well-structured article and staying on-topic, your keyword will come up naturally in many core sentences. 

Conclusion

Text structure is important to attract readers to your blog, as well as for SEO reasons. Writing well-structured and well-written texts isn’t easy, though. At Yoast, we are strong believers in the importance of quality content. Currently, we’re thinking about ways to help our clients write quality content. That’s why we’ve hired our very own linguist, Irene. Irene is investigating on how to improve the content analysis of Yoast SEO. She is developing checks which will help our customers to make their blog posts more readable. We’re also setting up an SEO copywriting course together, in which we learn people to write quality content.

Read more: ‘Writing a blog: creating a clear blog post structure’ »

A very popular type of website is the ‘food blog’. Cooking and baking are hot, and the number of food blogs seems to rise. In this post, we’ll go over the things that will give your food blog just that little extra. Both for your users and in terms of SEO.

how to optimize your food blog

Focus on long tail

This might be the most important piece of advice I can give you: focus on long tail. The number of food blogs grows every day. I recently talked to an old friend of mine that just started a blog about nutrition and healthy food. 5 years ago I reviewed a blog that had a weekly bread recipe and 200,000 visitors every month. The main problem with the number of food blogs, is that you really need focus to rank. You need to find your special niche and write great content about that niche to surface on page one in Google. This is really hard. The better and more unique the niche, the easier it will be to rank. I think focusing on long tail will give you a head start.

Do you know the Yoast Google Suggest Expander? You can use that tool to find all the things Google suggests when a user types a query in Google. With that tool, you might find the niche or long tail keyword you’d like to optimize for. I searched for paleo and it gave me keywords like ‘paleo almond butter cookies’. It’s quite an extreme example, but if you check that keyphrase for suggestions, you’ll find over 30 more topics/recipes to write about. These can all be considered long tail keywords.

Read more: ‘Why focus on long tail keywords?’ »

FOOD!

Think about this: thousands of people per day visit food websites. Thousands of people have no clue about what to eat tonight. About what to make as a healthy children’s snack. About what kind of cake would suit their occasion.

Food is the very bottom, most essential layer of Maslow’s pyramid. Food is emotion. That emotion needs to be reflected by your choice of theme. If you’re baking cupcakes, please use a more playful design than when you’re posting BBQ recipes.
Food is personal. Make sure your website has a clear picture of yourself and a description of what your personal passion for food is. What kind of food makes you happy? Make sure this is very clear from the start to bind a certain audience to your website. Add a nice tag line to your header stating just that: what kind of food is your website about.

Food blog: photography example

That very passion for that specific food can be emphasized by great photography. What I really like about food bloggers, is that they tend to photograph every step in the baking/cooking process. Usually, these are quick photos taken with a smartphone. Which is fine. Just make sure your final shot of the amazing cupcake, delicious taco or whatever is your money shot. Without reading your post, that image should make the visitor hungry. That will make him or her want to read your post. Even if your post is about nutrition and not even a recipe :)

Recipes

I’m not saying that a food blog is about recipes per se, but most of the food blogs I have read at least contain recipes. We have talked about schema.org before. It’s a way to markup your content so search engines recognize very quickly what your page is about. Google, Bing and Yandex have created a Recipe schema especially for websites like yours.

The elements of a Recipe

The Recipe schema contains all kind of specific information about your recipe, varying from cooking time to ingredients. See the full list here. I’d like to point you to a few of these elements that stand out:

  • NutritionInformation: really in-depth information on how healthy your recipe is. I understand that you sometimes just don’t know when it’s a recipe of your own. Some information might help your health-driven audience though.
  • Image: as mentioned earlier, a great image really helps your post. Not just in that it triggers your visitor, but it also works in Google Images and for instance Pinterest. More on social later.

One more thing about nutrition. If you’re serious about adding this to your recipes or other ramblings about food, Google Knowledge Graph helps. It provides some extra information:

Food blogs: Google Knowledge Graph

That entire right side will give you more information about fat and vitamins. Just a tip!

Seasonal posts

“Holidays are coming.” If you have specific food blog posts about Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving, please start planning early. If your website needs to start ranking for all your Easter recipes in the week before Easter, you’re too late. Now I know this might be hard, when you’re in your first year of blogging. But especially if you’ve been blogging for a couple of years, it will pay off to promote these recipes from time to time during the year. Easter and Christmas could possibly both include bunnies, right…

You’d be surprised how many people start planning Christmas early. I, for one, would appreciate all of these dishes in September as well. See if you can find seasonal dishes without linking it directly to holidays as well. Categories like ‘for a winter’s evening’ or ‘a rainy day’ might be more suitable for your audience. Last year Jamie Oliver released a book about comfort food. I like that on a stormy day in May as well. I can imagine the number of searches for that go up in September/October though. Google Trends agrees. In Google Trends, you can clearly see that during the summer months, that keyword will give you less traffic. People like BBQs and ice cream during these times.

Bottom line: let Google know you have these post in time. And feel free to repost a Christmas post/recipe around Christmas, by the way. Just make sure you check the content of the post, update if necessary and keep the same link. If you don’t have the link in your URL, simply change the publish date and you’re good to go. It might give that ‘old’ post new visitors.

Your food blog and social media

One out of ten posts on my Facebook timeline is about food or beverages. About cooking or restaurants. On Instagram, people use tags like #yummy, #foodporn, #instafood, #foodpic and multiple variations of #(om)nomnom a lot (don’t you just hate that omnomnom trend? I do). Searching Pinterest for ‘salad‘ will keep you scrolling recipes for hours. If you know me, you’ll understand I obviously searched for ‘burger‘ and just changed the link. Same story.

If you have a food blog, you need to leverage social media. Find out what social media platform your preferred audience is using and start engaging. Pinterest and Instagram seem to work really, really well. But why not leverage sites like allrecipes.com as well? We’ve written about branding before, and sites like that might help you get your name out.

Let’s not forget Youtube. Almost 600,000 subscribers for BarbecueWeb and a whopping 2,500,000+ subscribers for MyCupcakeaddiction! This can only motivate you to start recording videos. Set up your channel, promote it via your website and other social media and see if it works for you. Please note that numbers like that require hard work and a lot of effort. Give it your best shot.

I hope this article will give you some pointers for your own food blog. Feel free to share your own food blog success stories via social media or the comment section below. I’m looking forward to these!

Keep reading: ‘Social Media strategy’ »

Reading from a screen can be hard. If you want your readers to read your entire blog post, you should make sure your blog post is easy to read. Posts that are nice and easy to read will result in more returning visitors and a higher conversion rate. In this blog post, I’ll give five tips on how to improve the readability of your blog post!

Writing a readable blog post

Focus on your audience!

The most important advice I would give you, is to make sure your text isn’t too difficult for the audience you’re writing for. If you write about LEGO and focus on kids, your text should be easy to read. But, if your audience consists of scientists with a Ph.D., your text could be much more difficult and still be suitable. The five tips I present below should thus be seen as general rules. For some audiences, a text should be made even more simple, while for other audiences the rules will be a bit too strict.

Tip 1: Clear paragraphs

Make sure to write clear paragraphs. For a blog post, we would advise you to always start your paragraph with the most important sentence. Then explain or elaborate on that sentence. This way a reader will be able to grasp the most relevant content from your article, just by reading the first sentences of your paragraphs. Make sure paragraphs aren’t too long (7 or 8 sentences is quite long already).

Tip 2: Short sentences

Try to write short sentences. We consider sentences containing more than 20 words as lengthy. Try to limit these lengthy sentences. Make sure you only have a few sentences in a blog post that count more than 20 words. Also, make sure a paragraph doesn’t contain more than one long sentence.

Tip 3: Limit difficult words

Limit the use of words that are difficult to read. Remember that reading from a screen is harder for everyone. Words that contain four or more syllables are considered difficult to read. Make sure to limit the use of such difficult words.

Of course, in some cases, your blog post just is about something that is difficult to explain or requires a more advanced vocabulary. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about illustrations. Illustrations is a word containing four syllables and can therefore be seen as a difficult word. Still, I had to use that word (and quite often too). In such cases, make sure your sentences and paragraphs aren’t too long and your readers will still be fine!

Tip 4: Use signal words

A text can be made much more readable with the use of proper signal words (or transition words, same thing). Signal words are words like ‘most important’, ‘because’, ‘thus’, or ‘besides that’. They give direction to your readers. These words give a signal that something is coming up: if you’re summarizing, you’ll use first, second, third etc. If you want to contrast you’ll write same, less, rather, while or either. If you want to conclude, you’ll use hence, consequently or therefore.

Using signal words will be like putting cement between your sentences. The relation between two sentences becomes apparent by the use of signal words. Readers will understand your content much better if you make proper use of these kinds of words.

Tip 5: Mix it up!

For a text to be attractive to a reader, it should be very varied. This means that you should try to mix it up a little! Alternate longer paragraphs and sentences with short ones and attempt to use synonyms if you tend to use a word very often. Some people use the word ‘and’ or ‘too’ very often. Mixing it up with ‘also’ or ‘moreover’ could make a text more attractive and much more readable too.

Conclusion

If you want your readers to read your entire blog post, you should make sure that your text is easy to read. Don’t make a text more difficult than necessary. Avoid long sentences and write clear paragraphs. Tools like Grammarly and Hemingway can help you to write a readable text. At Yoast, we’re currently developing new checks to be added to our content analysis. We aim to include several readability checks as well. That way, you’ll be able to check whether your text is SEO friendly and readable at the same time.

Another way to make sure a text is readable is by choosing the right typography. You shouldn’t use a small font and make sure the spacing between lines is wide enough. I’ll write a post about typography in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

Read more: ‘The site structure of a growing blog’ »

As of today you will be able to buy our latest eBook: Blog SEO. Blog SEO is our most extensive eBook (containing 225 pages) in which we cover all SEO aspects needed for everyone owning or maintaining a blog. The blog SEO eBook is now priced at an introductory price of $19 (and will normally be priced at $25).

Blog SEO eBook by Yoast

Our eBook can be read from cover to cover, giving you everything you need to know and do to make your blog rank well in search engines. We will also cover User Experience, great writing, coming up with ideas and marketing and monetizing your blog. Our eBook is a must have for people who just started out blogging, but also a great reference work for those who already know their way around the major SEO topics.

Blog_SEO_Preview_TOC_x2

Blog SEO contains lots of practical tips and includes many examples. These tips and examples will make this eBook our most practical one yet. We will really help you to put the theory to practice and to start optimizing your blog right a way.

Blog SEO ebook preview

As we present this new eBook, we’ll say goodbye to our first eBook ‘Optimize your WordPress site’  (which came out about a year and a half ago). This eBook needs some updating, but also contains too much duplicate content to keep selling it alongside of blog SEO. For people who bought ‘Optimize your (WordPress)-site’ in the last three months, we will provide a 100% discount on Blog SEO. People who purchased Optimize your WordPress site more than 3 months ago, will receive an extra discount code.

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In two weeks we’ll release a brand new eBook: Blog SEO. This eBook will be the most extensive one we’ve published so far. Our Blog SEO eBook contains all information necessary to optimize your blog to the fullest. It’s a must read for anyone owning or maintaining a blog.

Blog SEO eBook by Yoast

SEO theory specifically for blogs

Blog SEO contains over 200 pages of practical information on the optimization of blogs. Most of the theory presented in our previous eBooks is also captured in this new eBook. Above that, we have added a lot of new information (for example on ‘what to blog about’, on ‘marketing your blog’ and on ‘monetizing your blog’). And, more importantly, in this particular eBook all theory is adapted specifically to blogs.

8 sections

The book contains 8 sections which can be read in any order you prefer. Blog SEO starts off with a section on technical blog SEO tips, continues with sections on UX; copywriting; marketing; site structure and it sheds light on how to make money with a blog. It also includes a section called ‘what to blog about?’ which helps you set up keyword research and gives you tips on where to find inspiration to keep writing posts.

Lots of examples and tips

In every section, we present a different example blog. Amongst others, we present a tech blog, a mom blog and a personal blog.  The theory presented in our eBook (which is admittedly a bit dry now and then) is put to practice in these example blogs. Every section also contains lots of practical Yoast tips, that will help you to start optimizing your blog quickly.

Launch of Blog SEO: March 15

On March 15, we will launch Blog SEO. The first two weeks (until the end of March) it will cost only $19!( After that, this must read for bloggers will be sold for $25. )

Read more: ‘Monetizing your blog’ »

When blogging regularly, people will start responding to what you write. Maybe not right away, but as your blog is growing, you’ll have to deal with comments on your blog. Especially when you write about your worldview or opinions, some people will disagree with you. You’ll therefore have to deal with the responses and opinions of your readers. But how?

How to deal with comments on your blog

Are comments on your blog important for SEO?

Comments add content to your blog post. And Google indexes all content on your website, including every comment in every blog post. Do not get excited just yet, because Google will instantly recognize comments as being just comments. Their value for the search engine will be much lower than the original content of the blog post. Responding to comments on your blog will therefore not instantly improve your SEO, but it will result in higher percentages of returning visitors.

Four types of comments

The comments people leave on blogs can be divided into four types:

Positive feedback

First, the positive feedback. Some people just want to say that they like you, your company, or your blog post. That’s always nice to hear. Make sure to reply to some of these (even if it’s just a quick “thanks!”) or express general gratitude in an upcoming post, so the person giving the compliment feels appreciated.

Questions

The second type of comment are the questions your audience has after they’ve read your post. Perhaps something remained unclear or something you wrote triggered someone to ask you about your post or about your brand.

Responding to questions shouldn’t be that hard. If the answer to the question is short (and you actually know the answer!) you can just leave a direct reply. If a question is harder to answer, or needs some more explanation, you could decide to write a new post about it.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, we would advise you to still reply to that comment on your blog. You could simply admit that you do not know the answer, or you could state that you’ll dive into the matter and come back with an answer later (and don’t forget to!).

Negative feedback

The third type of comment is negative feedback. Sometimes, people disagree with what you wrote and sometimes people are unsatisfied with your product or service. Sometimes people are just plain mean about it. These kind of comments are the hardest to handle.

If comments on your blog are really hurtful and indecent (e.g. violent or racist) I would advise you to delete them altogether. Name calling doesn’t have a place on your blog. But, I wouldn’t delete comments from dissatisfied customers or readers. Not responding to these comments or deleting them could seriously backfire; if people are dissatisfied enough, they’ll complain about you through other channels, and you’ll look like you’re censoring their concerns. So, however hard it might be, you should try to respond to their comments and try to find the source of their dissatisfaction. If commenters are dissatisfied with your product or service, ask them to get in touch by phone or email to solve their problem.

Don’t be afraid of some discussion on your blog. A nice discussion in which there is room for several points of view can be a good thing. It gives you the opportunity to really show your audience your expertise and opinion about a certain topic. As long as a discussion is polite and respectful, it will attract readers and make them return to your blog.

Spam

And finally, some comments are just spam. People try to trick your readers into clicking on a link, often to something unrelated, or they just write nonsense. If your spam filter doesn’t filter these comments out already, you should delete and optionally block them as soon as you see them. WordPress by default comes with the plugin Akismet, which is made for this purpose.

Reserve some time for handling comments

Answering questions and providing correct responses in a discussion can take a lot of time. Make sure you’ve got the time to monitor and respond to the comments you receive on your blog. You don’t have to respond to a comment within the hour, but make sure to respond within a day or two. This shows your readers you’re involved and you care about their responses.

Read more: ‘Blog SEO: make people stay and read your post’ »