Since I began blogging nearly three years ago, I have learned so much more than I ever thought possible – teaching myself WordPress, generating blog topic ideas, taking pictures, editing them, internal linking, social media – and of course, SEO for bloggers.
But until quite recently, little did I realise that a blog's success (in being found) is highly dependent on site engine optimisation. After all, aside from promoting your site across social media, how else do you expect people to find your blog?
I can see now why bloggers are told to adopt a niche blog; it's so that it will rank high on niche keywords and associated keywords in order for search engines to find you and see you as an ‘authority' site. Makes sense.
But there are of course other SEO things that you should be doing on a regular basis to enable search engines to find you – and encourage people to click on your site and hang around for a while.
And it all starts right here in this SEO guide for bloggers: 14 Things You Should Be Doing!
So let's dive straight in.
1. ALWAYS provide alt text for images. ALWAYS! In fact, head to your library of images and make sure that every single one has got a description of the image. Why? Search engines can't ‘see' the picture so you need to explain it to them. Use keywords in your image description.
2. Make sure that the keywords you want to rank for are used in the headline title, throughout your copy (around 3 or 4 times – more than this and it will look too spammy) and in the metadata.
3. For your keyword, the closer to the start of the title tag (the headline) the keyword is, the more helpful that will be for ranking.
4. Try to make your keywords (and blog posts) as niche as possible i.e. instead of just ‘travel' write about ‘adventure travel for families with teens'. You'll boost your chance of ranking higher as you're competing against fewer sites. And yes – a keyword can be more than one word.
5. As search engines usually only display the first 65-75 characters of a headline, aim to keep your headline short, sharp & to the point.
6. If you're wondering where to start your keyword research try Neil Patel's free UberSuggest tool. Other suggestions range from Google Trends and Google Adwords' Keyword Planner Tool, to Moz's Keyword Explorer and Wordtracker's free tool.
7. Remember what I said about keywords not having to be just one word? Sometimes, it's better to use more descriptive phrases (long tail keywords) to get the readers you want. For example, rather than ‘girl's trainers' try ‘best girl's trainers for indoor sports'. You get the gist!
8. Have you heard about writing great content? It's true. Check your SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) – this is especially important anyway if you're looking to develop collaborations. Also, as a rule of thumb, don't write blocks of copy. Break up your sentences with space; aesthetically, it's easier for the brain to digest and easier on the eye.
9. Aim to write longer blog posts – it should be an absolute minimum of 300 words, but preferably 500 or more. It's not uncommon for me to write blog posts of more than 1,000 words. And no – they're not all waffle. I'm just giving the search engines more reasons to find me!
10. Oh and your writing should sound (and flow) naturally. Read it back to yourself: does it sound like the sort of thing you would say? If not, change it up. But always be yourself.
11. Look up your domain score to see how well your blog is performing. Ahrefs is a good one – you can see how many unique root domains are pointing to your site – and look at your competitors too. See what would improve if you made a few tweaks.
12. As well as aiming to write longer blog posts, you should also increase the length of your meta description (the snippet preview). If you have Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, you'll be able to see what you meta description will look like (and get an indication of how long it should be). You can download a free version, but I opted for the paid pro version and I haven't looked back since.
13. Make it your mission to link your blog post with another one of your posts (internal linking). Again if you have the Yoast SEO plugin, it will offer some suggestions on similar blog posts you've written, so you don't have to search. Some bloggers (including myself) will add internal links at the bottom of their blog post under ‘Other posts you might like' or ‘Check out these other posts' etc…
14. If you are linking to other websites (external linking) in your blog post, make sure the content is relevant. i.e. it relates to the topic that you've been writing about – and as much as possible it should also be authoritative and credible.
I hope these suggestions have provided you with some inspiration when you come to putting your blog posts together.
And remember – when you first have an idea for a blog post, have a look at the keywords you should be using for when you start writing your copy. It will make such a difference in getting found – and you'll also find that it will keep you focused on the topic you're writing about in the first place!
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