SEO may seem like a scary term to new and seasoned bloggers, but it is an important tool to help get your blog noticed.
What exactly is SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. (Source: seobergen.no)
Essentially utilizing good SEO is making your site more ‘search friendly.’
Why is SEO Important?
In total, 92% of Internet users utilize search engines, with 59% utilizing search engines on a daily basis. A search engine listing will not only help increase your chances of people finding your blog, but also increase your chances of gaining new followers.
How does SEO work?
There are these little robots called ‘spiders’ that crawl the ‘web’ through the use of software. No not the big scary eight legged freaks that we all hate to see. These spiders are our friends they help to get our site noticed. There are key components that these spiders look for when crawling the web. These 8 key components will get your blog ranked higher in search engines, and in turn help to get your blog noticed.
1. Use Keywords
Keywords are important to get your site ranked higher in Google. Keywords are terms and phrases that people may use when searching for your website. Spend some time brainstorming on it, and then make a list of them. Your words and phrases should describe what your blog or website is about. Bonus – Be sure to include common misspellings.
2. Properly Name Your Page and Post Titles
Your home page should include your blog or website name. Include selected keywords as appropriate on other page titles. The page title will be saved by default when a visitor bookmarks your site. Don’t use the exact same title on every page. For example instead of your contact page having the title “Beauty by Caroline” configure the page title to say “Contact – Beauty by Caroline.”
As far as your post titles are concerned; be realistic. This is not the time to get creative, when you’re searching for information on the web you are very specific. So be very specific and detailed with your post titles.
3. Use Heading Tags
Use structural tags in your blog posts, such a h1 (heading 1), h2 (heading 2), and h3 (heading 3). When appropriate heading tags should also include keywords. A good example of this in action is this very blog post. Each heading is broke down into numerical categories in h2 tags. Not only is this a good way to break up information, it is also very helpful in SEO.
4. Use Description & Description Meta Tags
What is so special about your blog that would make someone want to visit it? Be sure to include at least 25-30 descriptive words that are not only interesting, but also inviting within your home page.
A description meta tag would be a short description for a particular page or post on your website. A description meta tag is especially important if you plan to have shareable posts. The description meta tag will show up in the body area of shared posts. Again be sure to have at least 25-30 words describing it. Also be sure to use keywords.
If you’re a WordPress user certain plugins can come in handy to help with this like WordPress SEO by Yoast. There are even themes and frameworks that have built in SEO options like the Genesis Framework.
5. Proper Linking
Make sure all the links on your blog works, and especially within your blog posts. Every page on your site should be reachable with the use of a hyperlink. This is very important because spiders follow links from one page to another. The more links you have on your site, the more visits you will get from spiders; in turn the higher your site will be ranked in search engines. So when relevant be sure to link back to older blog posts within your newer blog posts.
6. Page Layout
Is your blog responsive? If not you could be doing yourself a great disservice, causing your blog to be ranked lower by search engines. As many already know as of April 21, 2015 Google has changed how they rank mobile sites. Now mobile-friendly websites and blogs are ranked higher in Google. Use CSS to create media queries for your page layout to create a mobile responsive blog.
If you’re uncomfortable with coding, get a blog template that is mobile responsive, like our blog templates. *wink wink*
7. Images and Multimedia
Configure images and multimedia with meaningful alternate text. This is an easy way to sneak in more SEO points – one of the most effective local SEO tips. Whenever you post a photo within your blog post, be sure to include alt text that describes the post. Please do not go overboard, it comes off as being spammy. Also when adding photos to your site be sure to rename them, this will help for Google search images. For instance if your blog post is titled 6 Tips to Grow Your Blog, instead of having your featured image named IMG_1065.jpg rename it to 6-tips-to-grow-your-blog.jpg and then upload it to your blog.
While on the subject of search images. In case your image appears in a search engine be sure that the image relates to the post, even adding text to the image will help to get it noticed when someone is scouring through hundreds of images inside of Google Images. The key is to make it noticeable.
8. Valuable Content
This right here is a no brainier. Be sure that the content on your blog is meaningful and useful to your target audience. Make sure your site is well-organized and uncluttered.
Bonus – When drafting your blog post, take note of your word count. Having a lengthy blog post (800+ words) will help with SEO. This doesn’t mean add unnecessary words to your blog posts, but simply expound more. Your readers will thank you for this.