It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a blogger, SEO will forever stump you. There will always be endless ways to optimize and improve your SEO, but per usual, you gotta start somewhere!
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. What are search engines? Sites like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Google is probably the one you’re most familiar with (if not, it’s time to come out from under your rock) and is the engine you will be most concerned with.
You’re probably wondering why you need to care about Google. Listen closely. You need to start caring about Google because Google should and will be one of the top if not THE top referring site to your blog. Referrals from Google = more traffic to your blog. So essentially you need to make Google your best friend.
5 Steps to Improve Your SEO
Google has an algorithm that determines where you appear on a search list i.e. on the 1st page or 20th page. There are certain things you can do to make sure you appear on that first page and there are things you can do to ensure no one ever sees your posts on Google. We’re not going to get too technical on Google’s algorithm, but instead are going to focus on ways you can use it to your advantage.
1. Download WordPress SEO for Yoast plugin.
This plugin will make your life infinitely easier. When someone searches for anything on the internet, Google goes through it’s database and pulls sites based on certain factors. Some of these factors include keywords in the post, a detailed description of the post and a descriptive title. Yoast allows you to fill in a lot of this information and gives you an SEO ranking so that you can improve your changes of appearing on Page 1 instead of Page 6 (see what I did there???)
You’ll notice that throughout this post I have sprinkled keywords like “SEO” “Optimize” and “Blog Post”. This is because when Google’s robots scan content to match people’s search terms, they are looking for keywords like these. DO NOT “keyword stuff” aka use as many keywords as possible. If you use too many keywords in a post (or all posts) you will get dinged by Google but if you can naturally include them throughout your posts (aim for around 5-6 keywords) and ideally in the beginning half of your posts than you will eventually see SEO results. Including keywords in conjunction with the plugin above is a golden partnership for SEO.
3. Be conscious of your post length.
Google likes posts that are over 300 words. That doesn’t mean longer is better, but do make sure to keep them at least 300+. Anything less than that makes Google think that your knowledge on the subject is not substantial enough to rank for a first page link.
4. Use alt-tags for your photos.
Don’t just leave IMG0578 as the title of your image. A lot of people are searching by image so make sure you change the alternative text (accessed through your media uploads) to match what the picture is about.
Google prefers content that is as up-to-date as possible. They want to know that the content they are providing in searches is the most relevant. So make sure you check in on your old blog posts and make any changes to them that might be necessary or add in a few links at the bottom directing your readers to other sites or posts within your own site that you think they might find interesting.
New bloggers– install the Yoast for SEO plugin (if you didn’t already after our Plugin post). Try adding keywords to a blog post if you’ve started blogging. Get comfortable with the idea of SEO and writing posts naturally while also optimizing them for search engine results. Share any thoughts in the TBP Community.
Experienced bloggers– Review all of the points above and implement them if you haven’t already! Go back into a couple of posts and optimize them for Google. That may mean filling out the yoast plugin or adding some keywords or alt-tags in the post. Link to a post that you feel has been well-optimized for SEO in the TBP Community.