SE what? What the heck is SEO? If you’re questioning that too then you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve dipped your toe into the blogging world then welcome! It isn’t as scary a place as you may think. I’ve learnt so much over the past year that I thought it would be nice to share some of what I learnt in easy to digest posts, hopefully with a printable or planning tool you can use to ensure you make the most of your blog. This post will share with you SEO basics to help you make your posts work harder, hey, you’ve spent all that time writing them you may as well make them earn their place!
SEO Basics – aaaaargh!
SEO – search engine optimisation sounds scarier than it is. I will admit I had no idea, nada, none when it came to how to optimise a blog post. Pinterest became my friend and I would find myself reading pin after pin, post after post, which were mainly written by other bloggers sharing their experience, so hey ho, ok I’m not being very original with this, I’m jumping on the bandwagon but if this post helps you then great.
First and foremost, if you are using WordPress for your blog, you need to install the Yoast SEO plug in. This is your friend, It will automatically highlight problem areas for your post and keyword to help you make the most of optimising the post. Now, let’s be straight here, SEO alone will not drive traffic to your blog, but it will help people stumble on it as it will help your site appear earlier in search engine results, thus driving traffic to your site.
So let’s get started, firstly choose your keyword. Your keyword or choice of words will be the main topic of your post – for example for this post my keyword is ‘SEO basics’. Simple, concise. The keyword needs to feature in your blog post title, the URL and in the copy of your post itself. Avoid repeating the keyword over and over however, Yoast scores you keyword density and you want to avoid repeating it over and over in the event you appear as a spammer. Also, try to use new keywords for each post, not just saturate your site with the same ones.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts
Next up, consider your content. Nobody wants to read a blog post that reads like War and Peace – so keep the length in mind. On the other hand, you score better with more than 300-400 words. Most of my posts hover around the 1000 word mark.
Also consider the tone, voice and reading level of your piece. The Writer (one of my favourite websites for writing tips – I’d love to work for them!) has a very good tool on their website for checking the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Test. You want a score that is easy to read. Obviously if you are a programmer or blog about a lot of techie stuff with jargon this might be different – however if that is the case I highly doubt you will be reading this in the first place.
Break it up baby
Nobody wants to read a long stream of text, break it up using headings, paragraphs and images. Your readers will digest your content more easily.
As you are writing, if you have a relevant link, put it in there. Your site will be looked on favourably if you use outbound links, both to your own content and external content. Remember to set this to open in a new browser window so this doesn’t affect your bounce rate and you basically show people the door from your site. Don’t be tempted to spam your site with links to just your own in every other sentence. Use sparingly and when necessary.
Pretty as a picture
Images – always use an image, whether it is a featured one or in the body, ensure it is relevant, not too large or small, of good quality, that you have the right to use it (important!), and most importantly, always rename it with an alternative image attribute. Don’t be lazy and leave it as IMG7643, use your focus keyword in it as search engines will rate images too. For good quality, breathtakingly beautiful photos I use Stocksnap.
Check it, then check it again
Once you’ve written the piece, following my advice above, check it once, then check it again. It’s so easy to be in a rush to hit publish that you forget to do the small things which can make all the difference. To make this easier I’ve created this free printable guide which you can stick up above your desk and follow it through to make the most of that SEO.
See? You’ve got SEO basics covered now – congratulate yourself with a cup of tea and a beautifully optimised post to celebrate.
Thirsty for more?
Later in my Beautiful Blogging Bootcamp series I will be looking at other ways of boosting traffic to your site and how to engage readers. So you don’t miss out, sign up to my blog for updates!