Improving your SEO (search engine optimization) ranking is a sure fire way to get more eyes on your blog posts. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! scour the web for content and organize it from best/most popular to least popular. Have you ever wondered why certain pages show up when you search something in Google? SEO, baby!
Optimizing your posts for search engines is the best way to get organic traffic to your blog, but it can be tricky to figure out. A lot of posts and courses that cover SEO can be downright confusing and full to the brim with too much information. That’s why I created this step-by-step guide that lays everything out in a straight-forward way. Oh, and I also whipped up a handy dandy FREE checklist so you can ACE your SEO every. single. time.
Let’s get to it!
1) WELL-WRITTEN CONTENT
This may seem obvious, but search engines aren’t going to be impressed with posts that have lots of spelling mistakes and paragraphs that don’t really make sense. Once you’ve written your blog post, make sure to read it over, or even have a friend do it for you. You may get off the hook with a few MINOR spelling mistakes, but bad grammar and low readability are a recipe for SEO disaster.
2) USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR POST
Search engines love, love, love keywords. Keywords are the peanut butter to their jelly, the yin to their yang, the Frank to their Claire Underwood. You catch my drift.
What do your readers want to know about? What are they struggling with? What words describe this?
Keywords are words that describe and are significant to your topic. For example, with my post, How to Land Your First Sponsored Post, I made sure to include keywords such as brands, bloggers, sponsor, monetize, products, etc. These are words that people could possibly search for that relate to that topic and post in particular.
3) OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES
Always make sure to add images to your blog posts. Aesthetically it makes your post stand out, and search engines favour posts with multimedia. There are a couple ways to optimize your images.
First off, name your images descriptively. If you upload an image from your camera, it might save as something like IMG_1614. Do not keep it that way. I like to name my images with the post title and then a descriptive word or phrase. For example, Bloggers-Guide-SEO-Image-Optimization.
Another way to optimize your images is adding keywords to your image alt text when you add the image to your post. This will make your images searchable, and since search engines can’t interpret the photo, it lets them know what the photo represents. For example, if you’re doing a post on bite size desserts, add “bite size desserts” to your image alt text!
Here’s an example of the alt text I added to my Pinterest post.
4) WRITE LONG POSTS THAT SOLVE A PROBLEM FOR YOUR READERS
Write posts that are helpful to your readers! Solve a problem, give examples, show your progress, make people want to come back for more! It’s recommended to write posts that are at least 750 words, but I like to go for 1,000 to 1,500 for ultimate optimization. It may seem long, but when you’re writing really in-depth, helpful content, it actually flies by and you wonder how the heck you just wrote so much juicy content in the last half hour!
If you want to know exactly how to create epic content your readers will gobble up, check out this post where I share all my best tips!
5) CREATE A KEYWORD-HEAVY TITLE
Just like your content, make sure you have keywords in the title of your post. Long-tail keywords are even better. Long-tail keywords target a specific market and are typically between 2 to 5 words long. For instance, while Pinterest is a keyword, Pinterest for New Bloggers is a long-tail keyword. With that example, new bloggers are the niche you’re targeting; the audience you really want to reach!
6) INCLUDE LINKS
Search engines really like links – outbound links, inbound links and links to your site from other sites! New to link lingo? Outbound links are links you put in your post that direct people to other helpful posts. For example, if you want to read about dealing with self doubt as an entrepreneur, Morgan Timm tells you all about it here. <– That is an outbound link!
Inbound links, on the other hand are links that direct people to other posts on your site like I’ve been doing in some of the previous sections of this post. This is another example.
Another way to get links to your site is for other blogs to link to one of your posts. The bigger the blog, the better. A great way to do this is to guest post on bigger blogs. Typically, if you guest post you will have an author bio that will link back to your site. One of my best days for traffic was when this freelance writing post went live on Horkey Handbook. My bio at the end of the post links directly to my blog, and using analytics I was able to see that most of my page views that day came from HH!
7) POST CONSISTENTLY AND FREQUENTLY
The more consistently and frequently you post, the more chances you’ll have to pop up in search engines. Search engines like websites that give their readers lots to read and choose from. If you’re not posting consistently and don’t have a big archive for people to read through, readers aren’t able to gain trust and fall in love with you as a blogger.
If readers love you, search engines will love you, too. Easy as pie!
8) ORGANIZE YOUR POSTS WITH HEADINGS
Headings and sections make your posts organized and easier to read. Without them it can turn into a jumble and people are less likely to read through the post. Imagine if this post didn’t have numbered headings? It would be super overwhelming and most people would click away.
Section your post with headings and include keywords in the headings so people can find what they’re looking for!
9) OPTIMIZE YOUR URLS
I cringe when I think back to my first few months of blogging. I clearly knew nothing about SEO, which showed in many ways. One of the EASIEST ways to improve your SEO is making your URL easy to understand. Make sure it tells your readers what the post is about and includes keywords.
When I started out, many of my posts would have URLs like:
Since I didn’t know anything about SEO, I didn’t really know this was a problem, but check out the difference:
Clearly the latter is much better. It tells people exactly what they’re going to get from the post, and of course, makes it make searchable!
10) WRITE ABOUT WHAT’S TRENDING
Write what people want to read about. Don’t guess, do research, and solve a problem for your readers. The best way to find what your readers are looking for? Social media. Social media is queen for bloggers, and search engines can read the links from most social media platforms, meaning if you’re writing about a topic that’s trending on social media, you have a better chance of being found by search engines.
Be active on social media, share your links, and write what people want to read about!
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