When you discuss SEO, most people still think KEYWORDS. But Google's updates over the last couple of years, and the Hummingbird update in particular, have changed the game considerably. Forget most of what you know about keywords. In fact, using Meta keywords today is actually a SPAM signal to most search engines. Yes, really.
So what does help? Two things (click links to learn more):
The format of your post is critically important. (Yes, I missed covering this on the Periscope this morning!). Here's what matters when it comes to format.
• 400 Words or More. There was a moment when we were all told to keep blog posts between 350 words and 500. But today, 350 isn't enough. Go past 400 words.
• Short Paragraphs. Keep your paragraphs painfully short. As a writer, it can be frustrating to break up your thoughts so frequently, but it's ideal for the reader. Or, more accurately, the skimmer that's browsing through your post rather than reading it. Admit it. We all do it.
• USE HEADINGS. Search engine bots adore headings, and I don't just mean bold or larger text. I mean text that's been coded to be a heading (nearly all content management systems offer a simple tool for this). This signals to the bots what, exactly, the paragraph is about. So use them at least three times per 400 word post or so.
Forgive the all caps, but this is the most important tool in your SEO toolkit today. Google, and other search engines, are penalizing search results for sites that aren't mobile optimized. If you're still using a simple HTML5 plugin on your Wordpress site, it's probably time to update your theme to a more mobile friendly option.
This site isn't built on Wordpress. I use Strikingly because it is absolutely perfect for mobile. It loads far faster than my old mobile-friendly Wordpress theme.
Two small last points for you.
First, if you have popular, high-performing posts, you should consider updating them once every six months or so so they are still relevant. You don't want your best posts to also be your highest bounce out posts because they are out of date.
Secondly, while it can be great for short-term traffic to cover hot topics, they won't have much long-term SEO value. Always remember to have a nice balance of trending topics and evergreen posts that will boost your SEO.