The last time you searched something on Google, can you remember how many “results" came up?
While writing this post I decide to do a search to see how many it would pull in. I searched for “pizza place” (note to self, don’t write while hungry), and it pulled up 233,000,000 results!
Think about that! That is almost a quarter of a BILLION different sites Google could have chosen to show me. So how does it decide which are the most relevant?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a strategy to get your website at the top of the list and to be easily seen when someone types in a specific topic in a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Bing.
Sound too technical? It's okay, I'm going to break the fundamentals of SEO for bloggers.
Google has these little things called “spiders” that “crawl” your website looking for clues for what you are talking about on that page.
If this is your first time thinking about SEO you may be like, “what is this woman talking about?!” but I promise, stick with me and it will make sense!
Google has to have these clues that will help them identify what you pages contain the most relevant information, so there are strategic practices for where to include keywords for your post.
Now we are going to dig into how to choose the best keywords and where to put those keywords in order to maximize your SEO.
These are eight ways to practice good SEO:
Choose Strong Keywords
First and foremost, you need to know your keywords. These are words that people would most probably search for when they want to find a blog post like yours.
There are free sites where you can search for different keywords to see how much the are searched and what the competition is like for those keywords. For a free option try Google Keyword Planner.
Another thing to remember is your long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are a string of words that a user will most likely type in when they are looking for something on a search engine.
Usually, these phrases would be 3 or 4 words that should be specific enough to describe your post. If we go back to the pizza example, instead of trying to compete for the term “pizza place” which is most likely very saturated, your long tail keyword could be, “New York style pizza.”
These keywords will be used strategically all over your blogs, your posts and your website in general which I will explain more in detail below.
Optimize your photos
Optimizing your photos is something that many overlook, but is incredibly important for SEO. You need to name your image files correctly and it has to be something related to the image and/or your blog post. Ideally, it should be the keyword or phrase you are targeting for that post.
Instead of uploading your image as img3601.jpg save it as new-york-style-pizza.jpg.
Your images will also count when someone searches for a specific topic. This also applies to your alt text or alt tags.
Use Meta Descriptions
Make sure you fill out the meta descriptions for your website and for each of your blog post. This shows a summary below your website or blog when they pop up in the search results. This area usually allows you to use 160 characters to get the attention of the searcher. Use a snippet on your blog or a description about the page that is most interesting or relevant.
Get Backlinks from other websites
Guest posting on another blog is a great way to get a link back to your site. Having other sites link back to your own sends “link juice” to Google and makes your blog appear more legitimate since others are referring to you.
Writing great posts is another way to get links back to your site. When you write an epic post or “pillar post” other sites and bloggers are more likely to refer back to your content because it is of such great value.
Interlink your posts
Interlinking works more or less the same as backlinks but within your own website. If you link one post within another blog post then you will keep viewers on your page longer and reduce your bounce rate.
You can do this by seamlessly integrating links within your content. Listing related posts at the end of your blog post or posting "Related: Enter related blog post name here" after a paragraph that is relevant to another one of your articles or posts.
Properly Use Your Permalink
Permalinks are the words at the end of a blog or a website URL. Naming these accordingly will make your link or your website look professional when you post on social media for example. It will, of course, help your search results too.
Many sites will automatically populate your URL with the date and other information, I recommend deleting that and updating the formatting before you publish your post.
For example, originally the permalink for this post pulled in as, momsmakecents.com/blog/2017/04/30/the-fundamentals-of-seo-for-bloggers but I changed it to, momsmakecents.com/blog/fundamentals-seo-bloggers to help improve readability and SEO.
Check Your Site Speed
Your site needs to load quickly. Having a slow website is one of the easiest ways to lose the attention of your visitors. We all know how irritating it can get waiting for a page or an image to load. There are plug-ins you can use to make your website load faster such as W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket, Hyper Cache and many others.
Your choice in web host can also effect your site speed. I recommend SiteGround's Grow Big plan because it includes their Super Cacher which helps your site run lightning fast.
If you want to start a blog with SiteGround you can check out my full guide here.
Google also will penalize your site if it loads too slowly. Remember for SEO Google is king and you want to make them happy!
Install Yoast SEO
If you are using Wordpress for your website, Yoast is a great software plug-in to use for SEO. It gives you suggestions on how to optimize your website to help it rank higher in searches.
Here are some things Yoast SEO does,
- Shows you a preview of how your site will look like on search engines.
- Checks if you have named your posts, your images, and other links properly.
- Analyzes the keywords you are using and it shows you what is working and what isn’t.
It is a great starting point for beginners. There is a free version and a premium paid version, but you should be okay with the free version if you are just starting out.
Having the best SEO, simply put, is being organized and thorough when naming and filling out every component on your website. It does take some time and patience but if you follow the fundamentals of SEO for blogger it can make a huge difference in your traffic. The results of a post ranking on the first page of Google can be a game changer for your blog or business.