What exactly IS SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is basically making your page more attractive to search engines so that you will show up at the top of the search results. Google and other search engines have “crawlers” they send out to collect information on websites. The websites that are the most optimized using strong SEO tactics tell those crawlers and the search engine “this is the best information for that search query” and will therefore show up in those first few spots in the results. Landing on the front page of a Google search means more exposure and pageviews for your blog!
If you are looking for other ways to bring in pageviews in addition to search results, be sure to check out Pinning for Pageviews. It’s the step-by-step process I used to bring in over 2 million pageviews in 6 months using Pinterest!
Alright, let’s jumo into making you a SEO Superstar!
Own your domain. And Make it secure.
Google is all about showing the most trustworthy and reputable sites in their search results and owning your domain on a self-hosted platform is a big way to get this exact message across. Once you are set up with a self-hosted website, you’ll want to make sure it is secure.
If needed, feel free to check out my “start a blog” post with a complete guide to getting started self-hosted with BlueHost! Even if you already are set up to be self-hosted, I would suggest downloading the free eBook just to see what other little nuggets of information you can pick up!
Since 2014, Google has been very open about the fact that having a HTTPS site does play into your ranking. What exactly does it mean to have a HTTPS website?
HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. When you take the necessary steps to make your website secure, you get the “S” and are now a Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, website.
I have read in multiple locations that in 2017 there will be a change to browsing security standards and without the “S” your website may be deemed “Not Secure” and therefore will not rank well in any searches.
Download YOAST SEO
I would just tell you to “download a SEO Plug-in”, but the truth is, I don’t know that there is one out there that even hold a candle to Yoast. It’s the best of the best.
There are also a few ways Yoast can help you in other ways such as Rich Pin Instillation and revising the photo used when you share your post on social media.
Use Keyword Phrases, Not Singular Words
A big factor in your site search results will center around your keywords. You want to use keywords that give the search engines an accurate idea of what your post is about, but you don’t want them to be generic. Also, it is always better to use keyword phrases than just words.
Now when it comes to selecting your keywords, we need to think like the searcher.
Let’s say you are a fitness blogger and have just completed a post about the best home workout equipment for a small space and you are trying to pick out your keyword phrase.
If someone had decided they wanted to build an at-home gym, but didn’t know what kind of equipment to buy, what would they search? Start jotting down the first few words that come to mind and head over to Google to use some of the free keyword tools it provides.
Let’s just start with “at home fitness”. If we type these 3 words into Google, you will see the Google Suggestions pop up. This is a wonderful free tool that helps you see what Google is thinking you will search for based on popular searches that begin with our first 3 words.
We see that Plan, Programs, Apps and Equipment are the top 4 suggestions. If we continue typing equipment, the next suggestion we receive is reviews. Using the phrase “at home fitness equipment reviews” seems like a pretty good start to our keyword phrase. But is there a better option? If we hit the search button on scroll all the way down to the first page of search results, you will see the second free tool Google gives you to help pick the best keywords : Related Searches. This is Google giving you an insider look at what people are searching for related to your blog post!
A few words that pop out that could definitely be beneficial are gym and compact. Based on this information, we could add these two words to our keyword phrase. The final keyword phrase I would use is “compact at home gym fitness equipment”.
You will plug these keywords into your Yoast plug-in. But it doesn’t stop there! You want to use these keywords in your blog title and throughout the post. There are also a few SEO tips below that will include using your keywords.
Optimize your permalinks
When you create a new blog post, a unique URL is created for that post. There are 2 components to your URL, “The Root” (TheBasicsofBlogging.com) and “The Extension” (7-steps-to-becoming-an-seo-superstar). WordPress will automatically create this URL for you when you create a new blog post based on your site settings.
WordPress may simply add a bunch of random numbers to the end of your URL for your blog post (Such as swaddlesnbottles.com/1-274). This type of URL is NOT beneficial for SEO. You can easily change your permalink set up by going to your “Settings” on your main WordPress tool bar and selecting “permalinks”. By selecting “Post Name” for your setting, you will have your post title (which should always include your Keywords) in the URL to your blog post. This gives you some major SEO juice!
Be cautious though. If you have been blogging for some time and are just now implementing this step, DO NOT go back through your posts and change your existing permalinks. Any pins or shares coming from that post with the old permalink will no longer lead to the page. Simply leave them as is and make sure any post moving forward are done properly.
SEO your Photos within your Post
When Google and other sites crawl your blog, they cannot “see” the images to determine what they are about. Therefore, you want to use SEO techniques to tell them what these photos are and how they relate to your post keywords. There are 3 areas you can do this with each photo: the photo name, title and Alt. text.
Photo name- When you save a photo to your computer, do not simply name it “untitled6” or “kidcraft12”. Use your SEO keywords! All images within this blog post are named something relevant to search engine optimization, Blog SEO or blogging tips.
Photo Title- Follow the same rule of thumb here as you do when naming your photo. Use those keywords! I try to always use similar keywords in each photo are, but a slight variation in each.
Alt. Text- The Alt. text of your images is SOOOO important for both SEO and Pinterest! Google is pulling a ton of information from your photos Alt. Text and Pinterest is pulling pin captions for organic pins from your Alt text. See example below. Pinterest is pulling the alt. text and automatically creating the Pin caption. This means no matter who decides to pin from your blog, you can guanrantee the caption will be filled with SEO rich keywords!
Backlinks are exactly what they sound like- Links that go back to your blog. There are two places Backlinks can be placed to help build your search engine ranking: on other blogs and websites and throughout your blog.
When search engines see your site on a credible website they will see your site as more trustworthy. While there are many ways your links could be placed elsewhere, start with always writing quality content that others would want to reference on their blogs. Another great way to do this is to comment on top bloggers posts! Google will see your URL in the comment and give it a little SEO juice!
Adding your own blogs back links throughout your post is also very beneficial when it comes to SEO (if you’ve read this post on making your blog sticky, you know it can also decrease your bounce rate).
See what I just did there? ?
Add relevant links to your own blog post wherever they fit and are beneficial to your readers.
Use Google Search Console
What if there was a way to take a look into the data Google had on your website? Enter Google Search Console. This free tool helps you monitor your sites search ranking and optimize its performance.
Using the Google Search Console, you are able to see information that Google Analytics doesn’t tell you.
For a complete guide on how to install and utilize Google Console, I highly suggest the MOZ Tutorial.
Well there you have it bloggers! My tips to SEO superstardum! Feel free to comment and share any additional tips you may have!
Be sure to check out the selection of eBooks for an insider look at the strategies I use to make a full-time income off of my parenting and pregnancy blog!