If you’re just starting out blogging, SEO can seem like you’re stuck in a complete mind field. Do not panic! I’ve put together some SEO tips so it doesn’t have to be a massive headache. Simply get some of the basics right and then start to increase your knowledge, you’ll see your organic traffic grow in no time!
Disclaimer, the SEO tips I’m going to share with you today are some of the basic fundamentals you need to be doing to improve your SEO. This list is not exhaustive and I will be creating more posts that go in to more depth over the coming weeks.
But for today, let’s start with 3 of the basics…
What is SEO?
SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimisation.
Now, what does that actually mean, I hear you say? It means optimising your content, whether that’s pages or blog posts to help you rank higher in search engines such as Google and Bing.
I’ve worked in Digital Marketing for over 8 years now, and I see some of these fundamental SEO tips not being done time and time again.
So I thought I’d put together some quick and simple SEO tips for Bloggers just like you.
SEO Tip One – Plan your Keywords
A keyword is a word or phrase (sometimes known as short-tail and long-tail keywords) that is used to describe the contents of a web page.
Think about keywords as the words and phrases that people will type in to Google in order to find your content. The topic you want to write about, what will people search for? You couldguess, but I wouldn’t recommend that.
You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner or my recent discovery, and a fabulous simple tool for beginner bloggers, Ubersuggest.
Simply type in the topic which you plan to write about and these tools will give you real life keywords that people are actually searching for. That’s the important part.
Side note: Obviously, there are millions of websites and blogs all doing the same thing, so don’t think that this will be easy or a quick fix for more traffic. In both of these tools, you’ll be able to see how competitive each keyword is.
Logically, if you try to rank for a highly competitive search term, you may be quite disappointed unless your website is already high performing. I would suggest looking for low competitive keywords, these may be short phrases as appose to singular words.
However, think about it this way… the more specific search that someone does, if you’re answering their question they’re more likely to come to your site. (I hope that makes sense!)
Now, you’re wondering, what the hell do I do with these keywords? The next couple of SEO tips will explain all…
SEO Tip Two – Use your Keyword throughout your post
Now you’re armed with an exact word or phrase that people use to search for content just like the blog post you’re about to write, it’s simple. They’re searching for something in particular, you now have the job of making sure you fulfil their need and give them what they’re looking for.
SEO Top Tip: Are you self-hosting your blog on WordPress.org? Anyway, I use a plugin called Yoast SEO. It makes on-page SEO so simple!
It works with a traffic light system. The free version gives you a set of criteria for basic SEO best practice. If your blog doesn’t meet these requirements overall, it’ll show red. If it meets some but not all, orange. But if you tick all of the things off the list, it’ll show you a nice green light!
But the best part, it tells you exactly what you need to in order to get the green light. Honestly, it’s a massive time saver.
– Make sure your keyword is in your post title
It needs to be crystal clear from the second someone sees your post title what it’s about. And through your keyword research that you’ve done, you know exactly what you want to write about or question you want to answer. Therefore, it goes without saying, make sure your keyword is in your post title.
– Add it to your headings
The best performing blog posts are super easy to read and scan, not written in big blocked paragraphs. It’s so important to use headings to break up your text! It makes it easier to read, plus it gives you another area to use your keywords.
You should be able to see when writing your blog posts the options to use Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3 and so on, throughout your text. Think of these as like a hierarchy of importance.
Your Heading 1, or H1 Tag for you HTML lovers, will be your blog posts title. I’d hope anyway. As you write your blogs posts, be mindful of the next section of importance.
– Your keyword must be in your slug
A slug (no, not the slimy creature) is the text that comes after your primary domain name or blog URL. For example, www.yourblogname.com/your-slug-goes-here
It’s good SEO practice to ensure that your keyword is part of your slug. Remember we want to draw the attention from those people specifically searching for that topic you’re going to write a blog post about.
It’s good for me to point out here there your slug does not need to directly match your blog post title. We’ve already covered including your keyword in your post title above. However, and you’ll notice this if you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin… There’s very little point in a slug containing a stop word.
‘What are stop words?’ Think of words like ‘the’, ‘more’, ‘why’, ‘a’. You want to keep your URL as short and clean as possible, this will make it easier for potential visitors to grasp what’s on the page and be more likely to click the link.
Still with me? Here comes your next SEO tip…
– Meta descriptions are a great place
Some say that meta descriptions are dead. I’m sorry, I disagree. A good article giving out SEO tips for bloggers should definitely include updating your meta description. The meta description is the small piece of text that displays under the title on the search results page. Like this one from Ell Duclos Blog…
Think about it, you search for something you’re specifically looking for on Google. One comes up with a specifically written meta description and one displays the Google generated meta description. Here are a couple of examples. I’ve used two bloggers homepages for this example as many times, people tend to forget their meta description for their homepage;
And one like this
The latter gives you a little bit more of an insight as to what you can expect to find on that page, so I’d personally be more inclined to click that one. The same thing applies to blog posts.
– Make sure you’re using Alt Tags
An Alt Tag (sometimes known as Alt Text or Alt Attributes) is text that describes the contents of an image. Now, Google is smart, but it’s not yet smart enough to determine what is in a picture. So we have to tell it. To do this, we use Alt Tags. This is a perfect opportunity to use your keyword.
Now, do bear in mind, it still needs to be relevant. You can’t write a blog post about basketball, use an image of a daisy and use your keyword in the alt tag, hopefully relating to basket ball on that image. I mean you can, but if that does get indexed and show up on Google’s Image Results Pages, I highly doubt many people looking for Basketball blogs are going to click that image. Make sense?
But also, it’s easy to now notice that these SEO tips can apply to literally every website. Think about heavily image based website. Photographers portfolios for example. It can apply to anyone.
SEO Tip Three – Interlink your posts
If you’re writing a post about one particular thing, the chances are that you’ve probably got another couple of posts that are similar, or would be relevant to the reader on your current post. What Google Crawlers like to see is a good, easy flow through your content making it easier for your readers. An easy way to do this is to simply add in a couple, 2-3 if you can, internal links to some of your other pages.
Again, make sure it’s relevant. It could be a course that you’ve created, a link to some freebies you’ve created or maybe another relevant blog post. If you’re just starting out, this may be a tough box to tick but make sure as you create more and more content that you go back to old posts and add relevant links in.
And there you have it, just 3 of the basic SEO tips for bloggers. There’s plenty more to come though, so watch this space. SEO doesn’t have to be daunting or hard work. That’s why I thought I’d break down my SEO tips throughout a couple of blog posts. By starting to implement the SEO tips I’ve mentioned in this post, you’re already ahead of the bloggers who aren’t!
Is there anything here that you think I’ve missed? Or have you learnt anything from this post? I’d love to hear your feedback! Leave me a comment below.
Until next time,