Search Engine Optimization is a term you’ll be hearing often when starting any online related business, especially if you’ve decided to get into blogging. I’ve created this review of basics of Search Engine Optimization for bloggers to help you out when you’re just starting your journey in the world of world wide web and its search engines… Let’s see how to get familiar with it and make it work for you!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Optimized SEO on your website will help for search engines to make it relevant to various keywords and show your website higher in search results.
Basically, SEO can be your wildcard to tons of new audience if you use it right. And these basics of Search Engine Optimization for bloggers will lead you through everything you should know before starting out!
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The basics of Search Engine Optimization for bloggers
Search Engine Optimization is a powerful web marketing technique and it is existing because of search engines.
The first thing you have to understand about SEO is that search engines are not humans and they don’t have a logical thinking.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in three years of blogging is that unlike humans, search engines are text-driven. They won’t see your design or feel how amazing your website it. Search engines will look for written clues and patterns, for written answers to their questions. In simple words – to optimize your SEO means to add search engine friendly descriptions to everything important on your page.
Here’s an example of how it’d work in a real-life situation! One of the most important things to keep in mind is the fact that your photos have to be searchable, as well as your posts and any other kind of text.
For example, If you’ll post a photo of yourself, naming it ”IMG_00101”, a search engine won’t get that your name is Chris Dwane and that’s you in that photo just because of your face. You have to name this photo “Chris-Dwane” so the next time when you search for your name in Google search, this photo shows up!
One other important thing about this: for search engines you have to put the hyphen (symbol of ‘-‘) where space should go. That’s something you can notice for website links where there’s a hyphen after each word, for example, authorityhacker.com/seo-copywriting/
And the last but not least – when working on SEO improvements for your blog, make sure to install Yoast SEO plugin!Unlike humans, search engines are text-driven. They won't see your design or feel how amazing your website it. Search engines will look for written clues, for written answers to their questions. Click To Tweet
How to use SEO for your blog
You could’ve noticed posts that are made to be “SEO friendly” and they turn out to be super un-friendly for anyone who read them. Usually, they are full of the same terms, repeating phrases and even completely copied sentences. Articles like that are created with the idea that they’ll get noticed because of the many keywords.
But the thing is: search engines are super smart. They will notice sites like this and they will ignore them. The secret hides in the fact that you don’t have to try too hard, you just have to pay attention to the little things!
Quality will always stand over quantity. And more blog posts does not mean better SEO rates!
STEP #1 Change the name of your photos on a computer
Instead of using “IMG_0888”, use “The-title-of-your-post” or “What-is-in-this-photo”. Later on, make sure that the same name shows up in descriptions and in the title of the image when you upload it.
STEP #2 Write meaningful titles
It is fun to come up with random titles that have no clear meaning but it is so much more useful to write down what you’ve actually written about! It can still be catchy and unique but keep it relevant and informative.
The best practices request keeping a headline under 10 words long, use keywords and words that trigger emotions. You can use free Headline Analyzer to start writing better blog post titles!
STEP #3 Research keywords
You can use Google Analytics for this or research other relevant websites. What are the keywords and keyword combinations they’re using the most?
For example, if you are a web developer writing about your development mistakes others could learn from relevant keywords would be “web development”, “development mistakes”, “web mistakes”, “mistakes I can learn from” and other similar variations.
The more specific is your topic, the bigger chance you have unique keywords and your website can be found faster for those who’re looking for specifics!
For example, when you write “web development” on Google, you’ll find many websites: development offers, articles about it and so on. If you’re searching “web development mistakes I can learn from” not that many websites are showing up and yours could be the one!
STEP #4 Optimize your posts with researched keywords
This is one of the most important steps to do if you want to optimize your blog posts – you have to make them keyword rich.
But there’s a fine line between writing keyword rich post and overdoing it.
Write for readers first, then think about search engines. If it’s impossible to read your text because of how keyword packed it is – overthink your strategy and find a way to reduce used keywords or make them work better in the text. Yes, it’s a lot of work!Write for readers first and only then think about search engines! Click To Tweet
STEP #5 Customize your website and blog post links!
I can’t stress enough HOW important this is. (Very!)
Don’t let your link stay “/blog/2016-01-01-blog-post”. Customize it so it can be short and easy to understand.
For example, in Squarespace, you can do that when you’re writing a post and hit on “Options” in the upper right corner, WordPress offers to edit your link right below the title.
Write down your post name in it and shorten it as much as possible. Shorter links will not only help your SEO but will also let your links be easier to understand when they’re posted.
For example, Twitter shortens any link that is posted and it can turn out to be “/blog/2016-01-01-do….”, but you should make it look like “/blog/title-of-your-post-….”!
STEP #6 Add your own links to the text
Link your own posts in your sidebar. Link your own posts in your new post.
Create a circle where people can travel from one blog post to another and another, and another, traveling through all website!
Once again – don’t overdo it! One or two links in your blog post will be fairly enough.
STEP #7 Format your text and headlines
It’s important to format your blog posts properly: use headlines, separate long paragraphs into smaller chunks, use bold, italic and other formatting options to make your text easy to read.
While making your posts easier to read for your audience, you’re also making them easier to read for search engines!
Additional Search Engine Optimization tips for your blog
Besides all of the must-haves I’ve mentioned previously, here are some other things you can do to improve your SEO score.
- Write your content regularly! SEO is checking for existing and active websites at all times! It doesn’t mean that you’ll have to write a new post each day but at least once weekly could be great!
- Make sure your website is user-friendly. Whenever someone is searching for your Contact information – is it easy to find? When someone reads your latest Travel post, can this person spot where it’s possible to read the rest of them? When they’ve read a description of your product, can they see where to buy it? User-friendly design elements is a part of this!
- Be mindful of the speed of your website. Do things like compressing images and website speed testing.
- Take scalability into consideration. If you have an idea to grow your website in the future, make sure your website is adjusted to any of the possible changes. For example, if you post Facebook icon in each one of your pages and then delete your Facebook page but the icon stays – links will be broken and search engines won’t like that!
- Make sure to use responsive and SEO-friendly WordPress theme (if you’re on WordPress). This one is a biggie! Bad theme CAN break your website’s success so make sure to choose accordingly.
What’s an Off-page SEO?!
Besides SEO on your website, there’s also a thing called Off-page SEO. It’s everything that is related to your website searches outside your website. Those are the things that are connected to your website and theoretically, are related to it but does not happen within it.
- Tweets or Facebook posts with your link,
- References in other posts. For example, when someone is writing about Productivity and there is a link to your ”Be more productive!” post.
- Social bookmarking
Off-page SEO is super important because it can show how many people find your writing relevant and useful. That’s something that Search Engines will notice!
Your exposure won’t be great when starting out. But take a look at the bright side: when you’ll be consistent and provide useful content, not only your numbers will increase, but also you’ll be more useful in the eyes of Search Engines.
Ideas to boost off-page SEO:
- Use your link in signatures. For example, for e-mails, and in forums.
- Add your link to the comments. When commenting on other blog posts, online content or something on social media.
- Participate in link exchange schemes. This is something many bloggers do: they offer each other to add their links to the relevant article.
SEO often is misunderstood as something really complicated and something for digital marketers only but that’s not true. Step-by-step you can learn to use SEO for your own good and do it all by yourself. Magic really happens and when your website SEO will be all set and done, you’ll notice more and more Google searches leading to your content, more people coming in from places you didn’t even know about creating additional organic traffic to your blog.