SEO can be a difficult thing to get your head around, no matter what level of experience you have with running a digital business or online blog.
It can seem like a daunting thing, especially when you begin implementing strategies that could make-or-break your rankings in search engines.
I know in the past; I’ve struggled to get to grips with all of the different factors that make-up a good SEO effort. However, there are certain tips & tricks that I use to enhance my presence online and improve my blogs’ chances of naturally being shown in search results for relevant queries.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is essentially giving your blog a higher chance of being picked up by search engines like Google and Bing.
Let’s say you’re writing an article about how to find your shoe size. A well-optimised page that’s been created with SEO in mind can give your article a boost and help it to reach the first page.
It may take time to see the results once you’ve implemented SEO techniques, but it’ll definitely be worth it when you see an increase in referral traffic and page views.
Here are some of the techniques that every blogger should be using on their website, and how to implement them:
1. Identifying keywords
Before you spend hours curating your content, it’s a good idea to identify a handful of keywords that you want to rank for that are relevant to the blog post you’re writing. You can do this by using a tool like Moz Keyword Explorer, and pressing ‘keyword suggestions’.
For example, if I was to write an article about finding a freelance niche, I’d want to include long-tail keywords such as:
- Freelance niche
- Profitable freelance niches
- Finding a freelance niche
- Freelance writing niche
By identifying these keywords before you begin writing, you’ll increase your chances of it sounding as natural as possible. Remember that despite SEO being important, user experience always comes first. If a human user can’t read it, it’s no good – no matter how many keywords you manage to repeatedly hit!
2. Name images correctly
Yes – content is king when it comes to SEO but people often forget about the power of images online. Search engines are able to pick-up on the names of your images, so using your keywords within this field can help increase your chances of being found through the images you’re using.Want to supercharge your blog's SEO power? Find (and use) your keywords! Click To Tweet
This can be done by renaming the blog posts before they’re uploaded to your website. Get rid of the “IMG_2530” name and replace it with “SEO tips for bloggers” (or whatever keywords you’re looking to target, but worded naturally).
The ALT text of your image is also an important field to fill in. This part of text is what a computer reads to find out what your image is about. It also adds extra social benefits when images are pinned from your website as the ALT text is what Pinterest uses for creating an image caption. You may also want to add in the URL or name of your blog here for this reason.
3. Use heading tags
Wanting to emphasise certain points in your blog post? Instead of opting for bold and italic features, use heading tags. These can be implemented through simple coding, or using the formats on your CMS.
<h1> tags should be used only once on the page. It tells a search engine exactly what the page is about, and should include your main keywords. <h2> tags are like the numbered points I’ve used in this article, and give a search engine a rough structure on what the page is about. Then, if necessary, use <h3> tags beneath these.
Following headings should then be used in number-order. You can read more about how to use heading hierarchy effectively here.
4. Internal links
Having worked in-house for an SEO agency, I know that links have huge influence on the SEO value of your website.
An easy way to boost the number of links you have to your blog, you can use internal links within your articles back to posts you’ve written on a similar subject.
Let’s take this blog post, for example. I’m writing about SEO tips for bloggers, so I might want to add in a link to my SEO section for readers to learn more about that topic.
Not only does featuring internal links within your article help a reader to navigate around your blog (thus, increasing page views and decreasing bounce rate!), but it shows a search engine that you’re sharing content relevant to the one you want it to rank for; making you more credible.
5. Meta data
The best thing I’ve ever done for my blog is to install Yoast SEO as a WordPress plugin. So much so, that I’d consider it a necessity for any website owner looking to improve their visibility online.
The plugin allows you to edit the meta titles and descriptions for each page on your website, as well as the permalink (they call it ‘slug’) that your page uses.
This should briefly explain exactly what your article is about, whilst including your main keywords. You can use this field to tell a search engine exactly what you’re talking about, and shows as the title of your page when searched-for in Google.
Here’s where you get your chance to persuade a searcher to click your site over a competitors’. What makes your article different to the rest? What will they learn by reading your post? Use this to entice the searcher into clicking your article over somebody elses’.
The permalink is the URL of your post (i.e. the long string of words that someone can type in to get to your page). Instead of creating the permalink to this post as /blog/post-1557, I’ve named it /blog/seo-tips-for-blogs as it naturally uses the keywords I’m looking to target; again, giving me a chance of ranking for it.
What are your best SEO tips for bloggers? What techniques do you use on your own website?