SEO for Bloggers
So you spend hours writing your fabulous blog post, photographing the perfect image; you publish it and you sit waiting for the people to flock to your blog to read it. You wait, and wait and the brilliant post is seemingly left undiscovered, at least by the masses. Sound familiar?
While you might think you blog for you, everyone likes to know their post is being read. Otherwise, you would write in a journal, not on the worldwide web. As a blogger looking for traffic, you need to become familiar with the term SEO and how it can help you tell people your post is there, ripe for the picking.
Let’s get started; What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. When someone types words into a search engine they won’t necessarily find your post, unless you have told the search engine what your article is about. This is SEO.
So, what can you do to improve the visibility of your blog posts?
- Install an SEO Plugin – If you are on WordPress you can install an SEO plugin, such a Yoast. This will make SEO very easy and straightforward. Below is a screen shot of the Yoast Plugin.
- The title of your blog posts – This is very important. Do you do research into what people are searching for, before deciding on a title? Simply start typing in your search engine and see what shows up (the top of the list will be the most popular searches). You can tap into this by using these search terms as your Keywords. This might not be as important for some posts. When I post about our family days, I might want to chose a title that I like or that reflects our day; not necessarily the one that will get me the most hits. For useful/informative posts that you want traffic to be driven to, it is important. So, for example I was going to call this post ‘SEO for Dummies’. After typing in ‘SEO for’ into Google and seeing ‘SEO for bloggers’ come above my first choice, I changed my mind.
- Content – Write good, engaging content goes without saying. However, make sure your keywords appear in your content, but they should feel natural. You don’t want to ‘stuff’ your post with keywords. Putting keywords in bold, tells Google they are important and to pay attention. Using heading tags also improves your SEO. You can check the keyword density in Yoast very easily.
- Length of a post – Some people are put off by long posts and others feel they don’t have to time to read anything over 300 words. As this post explains, when the Google bots trawl your post, they index every part of the post. The more words there are in the post, the more they index and the better it is for you. It was also found that the optimum length for maximizing social shares is 1,500 words. I will come on to this in a minute, but the more shares the better for you.
- Text before images – As I explained in my Blog Post Image post last week. It is better in terms of SEO for text to come before an image. The bots scan your content and it goes in your favour if they find your keyboards in the first 100 characters of your post. If the picture is first, they will read all the code in the picture (not just your tagged words) and by the time it gets to your keywords, this could be outside 100 characters. So a short paragraph containing your keywords, then your picture is the best way forward.
- Anchor text for links– Use anchor texted links, which are relevant to your keywords. So use words that are relevant if linking to other pages/sites, rather the using a link such as ‘this post’ or ‘here’.
- Link relevant past posts within your post. This is seen as adding value. It also keeps people on your blog longer.
- Build relevant back links – A back link on an established site, with good rankings, will be worth more than on a lesser known site, in the search engines eyes. Obviously, there are countless benefits of commenting on a variety of blogs, but I am just talking SEO here.
- Theme optimisation – A fast loading theme, where everything works well and there are no broken links, will be favoured by search engines. Search engines want to navigate around your blog with ease, so make it easy for them. They want to know your blog is looked after and current. Install a broken link plug in, to help remove them. Delete any pictures or plugins you don’t need/use. Keep everything up-to-date. Try to think of streamlining things as much as possible.
- Commenting on other blogs, especially authority blogs will be beneficial in many ways. It will get you exposure, hopefully an increase in traffic and your comment also counts as a back link. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
- SEO now focusing on social media – Google is now looking at social media for information and for an indication of an article’s authority. So people retweeting your post links, especially big players will be beneficial for you. You could try reweeting the posts of others and perhaps they might return the favour sometimes.
- Increase your returning reader rate. Google will see people returning to your site, as an indication of a trusted site and a good product. As such, they will be more inclined to show it to more people. The best way to increase your percentage of returning readers is to write great quality interesting content. You should reply to comments and interact with readers. Another tip would be to build a mailing list or produce a series/feature that people will come back to your blog for. I have my successful blog club series, which this post is a part of. Regular readers will know that I publish a new post about blogging every Tuesday and they come back to read it.
- Reduce your Bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who arrive at your blog and leave without visiting another page (apart from the one they landed on). It doesn’t mean that your blog is no good, if your bounce rate is high. If people search for something on Google, for example, they are looking for one thing and if they find it and read, they will leave the site. If your bounce rate is below 60% you are doing a good job of keeping people on your blog (less than 50% is REALLY good!). Simply put if your bounce rate is low, Google will consider that you have a valuable product (people are spending more time there) and so in turn they will direct more people to you. There are many ways to improve your bounce rate; great content, popular post plugin, related post plugin, link to other posts, use an exciting theme that people want to explore, plus lots more. Basically, you are trying to get people to look around your site, reading other things for as long as possible.
So that’s my quick guide to improving the SEO for your blog posts, you might also choose to purchase local SEO packages to make things a lot easier, especially if you’re short on time. There are lots more factors, some interlinked, but this should give you a starting point to make sure people can find your wonderful blog posts.
If you have any topics you would like me to cover in this series, please just leave me a comment and I will do my best.