If you are getting started with your blog or website, you may wonder: “what is SEO and SEM exactly?” and “Do bloggers need to know it?”. SEO stands for search engine optimization, while SEM is search engine marketing. Today I’m going to focus on SEO, and making sure we know how to cater our blog content so people can easily find our posts and search engine crawlers can better index our websites. Why is this important?
SEO helps drive new people to your site – People that are looking for something, trying to learn something or interact with some of your blog content in some way.
Did you know about 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
But more importantly,
Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%.
If you are convinced, here are your top 10 SEO tips for bloggers.
But! Before we begin, you need to install the YOAST SEO plugin (If you are on WordPress). This is the #1 SEO plugin and helps you enhance your SEO post by post with all the technical optimizations – plus a special emphasis on helping you write better content. This is a win-win!
If you want to know SEO best practices to do on a regular basis (not so much controlled by the Yoast SEO plugin), here are your 10 quick and easy tips:
1. Write Buzzfeed-Worthy Content
“There is no SEO anymore.” Rather, it’s all about your content. That’s what Phil Buckley, marketing director and host of one of the most successful SEO meet-ups in Raleigh, N.C. said. The number one way to increase your SEO is to write your posts as if they were sponsored, write them well and engage with your audience. It’s all about creating relevancy and interaction with your readers. Think Buzzfeed and viral Youtube videos. Pay attention to the crazy, to the absurd and to cultural trends. Infuse these into your posts. And if you want to do some more thing extra sparkly and a little more savvy for SEO, here’s some more tips along the way:
2. Saturate Your Post with Keywords
If you want your post to be more SEO-friendly, use more search keywords in your writing. Studies show that people use very long and specific search terms on Google. Pick a couple key words that are specific to your post and your audience. For example, when infinity scarves were getting really popular, using the words “infinity scarves” multiple times would help. But what’s even better? A sequin infinity scarf from Anthropologie. See how we can get more specific? Mentioning brands, sizes, and other concrete information creates stronger keywords. Use Google Keyword Planner to help narrow down your keywords for your posts.
3. Do a Google Search BEFORE You Post
Going off of tip #2, do your homework before you choose your keywords. Find out if people are talking about how to get a job or reasons to move to North Carolina. Take on the perspective from a Googler. How would you find your content? I also like to search Pinterest before writing a post to see what other posts on Pinterest have similar content. If you get a lot of traffic from Pinterest, this could be a good strategy.
From your search, look at your first results. Is the top result “30 Tips to Land Your Dream Job”? Why don’t you try to make your content include 50+ tips? Give more advice, or add in more qualified expertise. You can also make your post more relevant than the top results in the search page.
4. Share Your Content on Social Media
Not only does social media help spread the word about your blog posts, social media sites themselves have a high level of SEO. For example, when I google “Gina Alyse,” my Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts are listed as the second, third and fourth results. Being present on these accounts not only build your relationships with your readers, but also boost SEO.Want your blog to be search engine-optimized? These best SEO practices are for you! Click To Tweet
5. Include “No Follow” Links on Sponsored Posts
If you are a blogger looking to do sponsored posts or earn money through promoting others’ content, it’s important to understand “nofollow” links and how to implement them. I suggest a post from The SITS Girls that explains all about “nofollow” links. In a few words, bloggers use “nofollow” links for sponsored content, product reviews, links used several times on a page, and untrusted content. “Nofollow” links do not contribute to the outside website’s PageRank on Google. But how does “nofollow” links help your SEO? They promote your blog as a trusted, legal place that produces organic and original content.
6. Include Photo(s) in Your Posts
It is widely known now that interesting content is image-driven and focuses on visuals as much as it focuses on writing in most cases. When deciding to click on a link, about 30% of the decision is made based on the photo. Another 30% is based on your title. With sites like Pinterest today, photos are becoming more important for shareable content, and therefore increasing SEO.
Related Post: 6 Secrets for Awesome & Easy Blog Graphics
7. Include “Alt” & “Title” Tags on Images
Giving your images descriptions when you upload them to Blogger, WordPress, or other blogging platforms is important to make your images searchable and easy to find (they would show up in Google photos based on their title, etc.). Also, adding these gives different users a better experience of your site. If a user doesn’t allow images to show up when viewing online, there will be a description of your image in its place, so it gives the reader an idea of what the image content is.
Bonus! Another important way to make your images searchable is to properly name your image files before you upload them. For example, for the image in this post, I named the file: “seo-bloggers.png.” Dashes are always best instead of spaces or underscores when naming images, as it follows web standards.
8. Use Headings (h2, h3, etc. tags) With SEO Keywords
When understanding SEO, it’s also important to know how the markup of your site works. With tags like h1, h2, h3, etc. (which correspond to different levels of headings in your posts), the HTML of your website orders the most important content. Regular text (or paragraph text) comes after the main headings of your site. So instead of increasing the size of your paragraph text, use headings and h1, h2, and h3 tags to give your messages hierarchy. When doing this, think about your keyword placement, making sure your keywords get placed in these headings.Making your blog responsive is so important to #SEO! Find out why! Click To Tweet
9. Make Your Site Responsive
Responsive websites are sites that adapt to multiple screen sizes and mobile devices. Responsive websites tend to have higher SEO, as Google ranks responsive sites higher.
10. Sign up for Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools
If you are serious about blogging and driving traffic to your site, I cannot suggest enough to sign up for Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools. Even watch a couple tutorials about them or do your research to see how to analyze and use the information they give. Here is a good post about understanding your search queries and Google’s Webmaster Tools. Even though it seems like a lot of fancy words like analytics and data, it can be fun to see how people are viewing your content and what search words they are using to find your site!
Bonus! Hyperlink Words that Mean Something
When we use links in our posts, we often get suck into the trap of using words like “click here” or “check this out here.” Instead of doing this, it is a good web practice to hyperlink words that relate to its content. As you can see throughout this post, I hyperlinked words that specifically explain the content from the link. Instead of linking “here is a post,” I used words like “Google Webmaster Tools” or “explaining ‘nofollow’ links.”
So how are you going to increase the SEO of your blog today? What SEO tips have you found recently?