One of the main sources of traffic to your blog is probably through organic search. This is when people enter a specific topic or keyword into a search engine like Google. From there, they are presented with a number of websites that match their search (yours being amongst them). While we all expect Google to answer all our questions, as a blogger it’s important to go beyond that. Finding out what terms like SERP or domain authority actually mean is essential to becoming a better blogger. Having a basic understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential to getting more traffic to your blog. To help you get started, we’re going to give you a basic introduction to SEO for your blog.
What is SEO?
SEO is a set of methodologies focused on improving how a search engine understands your content and shows it in the search engine results page (SERP). Many people often think of SEO as a highly complicated process. With all the algorithms and settings, you’d be forgiven for thinking only professionals can tackle it. But all you really have to know is what factors the search engine considers important when ranking your blog.
Why is SEO for your blog important?
You spend a good amount of time working on your blog posts. You research, plan, write and edit your content to ensure that you can give your readers the best content. With all of the effort that goes into every blog post you publish, wouldn’t it be great to know that you are reaching the widest possible audience? One way to do this is to publish great content and hope that your readers will share it with their friends, comment and recommend your blog. Another way is to make sure your content is optimised for SEO. This way, you ensure that your blog can easily be found and will reach the best and most engaged audience.
How can I optimise my blog?
There are several criteria that search engines use to rank a website. On the more technical side you have factors like the speed of your website, whether it is mobile responsive, the use of h/tags, etc. These can all be grouped into what we call the ‘user experience’ i.e. how easy and enjoyable is it for users to navigate through your website? The better the user experience, the higher your website will rank. However, the most important part of ensuring your blog ranks highly is the quality of the content you publish.
For beginners to SEO, ensuring that your content is SEO friendly is the simplest way to boost your rankings. Here are 5 simple tips and techniques you can use to optimise your onpage content, increase your traffic and improve the reach of your blog:
Links from other websites to your own content is usually one of the best ways to boost your rankings. Having other websites mention your own and link back to your blog, can be very valuable (if it has the DoFollow attribute) as it increases your link popularity. In a best case scenario, the website is reputable and has a higher ranking than your own. This gives your blog extra credentials (known as ‘linkjuice’).
There are several ways to get backlinks: If you provide unique, valuable or fresh content, the chance is greater that your post will be shared by others. Another option is to write guest articles on other blogs and link to content on your own blog.
This can also work the other way around. If you link to other websites and blogs in your content, this also helps to boost your rankings. But be careful which websites you give a backlink to and ensure that they are high quality and reputable!
From time to time, you should also check if your backlinks are still active. If they are no longer working, this is known as a ‘broken links’, offering no added value for the search engine rankings. WordPress users can use the Broken Link Checker tool to keep track of links to and from their blog.
2. Internal links
Links to and from other websites are great for SEO, but so is linking to other pages on your own blog. Internal links make it easier for your readers to discover related content on your blog. This increases the usability of your website in Google’s eyes, by enabling it to determine the structure of your blog and the relationship between content, creating a hierarchy which helps it to identify the most important pages.
Have you ever written about a similar topic? Perfect! Highlight it to your readers by linking to the older blog post in the new one. But it is important that the links are relevant and appropriate, because irrelevant and invaluable links will have the opposite effect on your ranking.
Bonus Tip: 1-2 internals links in each blog post to relevant content is the sweet spot for SEO.
3. Use keywords
Another important way is to optimise your content is to select a keyword (or a phrase known as ‘longtail keyword’) for each article. This should reflect the main focus of your blog post and should be a keyword or phrase that your readers are likely to put into a Google search. This will help to guide your writing and help to boost your blog’s visibility in a search when your target audience is looking for information on that topic. The better the keywords match the text, the higher the probability of being found faster on Google.
However, the keywords should be used smartly. Avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ by using the keyword naturally throughout the text. Remember: You write your blog for people and not for a search engine.
Bonus Tip: The best place to put your keyword to optimise your post is in the title and the url.
4. Label your images
You wrote a great article and the photos are even better. This is visually appealing to the reader, but unfortunately, Google is blind to visual content and must rely on what you tell it about your images. If your images all read “IMG-100” etc., then this doesn’t give the search engine much to work with. The best way to ensure your images are factored into a Google search is by naming each one with a relevant title, ideally one of your keywords e.g. “SEO_tips_for_bloggers_infographic.jpg”. This way the search engine can recognise that the image is relevant to the content even if it cannot see what is shown.
5. Blog regularly
The last, but by no means the least tip to improve SEO for your blog, is to blog on a regular basis. Search engines index your content periodically, so every fresh item published is very welcome! This will increase the relevance of your blog and you will be ranked higher. Again, quality matters more than quantity, so ensure that everything you publish adds to the credibility of your blog and observes the techniques mentioned above.
So those are our basic SEO tips for bloggers and beginners! Try to implement some of the advice into your next blog post and see what happens! If you want to learn more tricks and recommendations to improve your blog and increase your reach, check out the other posts in our Influencer Guide.
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