A Very Basic Guide to SEO for Bloggers
As the title suggests, this isn’t going to be an in-depth article explaining the ins and outs of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), because to be perfectly honest, I don’t know everything. However, all my knowledge here and my complete understanding of SEO, helped me to gain a page rank after only 6 months of having my own domain, and for Google to be one of the main sites directing traffic to me, which is the top sign of knowing you have good SEO. Page rank isn’t really used anymore, although some Brands/PRs still want to know you have one as it’s good to have one, simply because, it means your Domain is old enough to have been in the Page Rank era. Now, DA (domain authority) is used and updated a lot more regularly which (unless it’s dodgy update the other month) will be more accurate, but you only have a DA when you own your own domain, such as shemightbeloved.com not shemightbeloved.blogspot.com.
With original content being the main tip to get your SEO up, it also has to be regular content. You could put out a post every 6 months that has all the right keywords, alt tags etc etc, but it’s only every 6 months. Google needs to know that this website has enough regular content to recommend it and get you on that first page on Google.I’m not saying that you have to post every single day, unless you do get the readers, social shares and have enough content, but a couple times a week should be enough to get up there. Daily, or several times a day would be amazing for your SEO though, mine shot up when I started posting every day.Keywords are of course important, but they’re not the be all and end all, and people are really undecided whether or not they’re seriously important. Now bloggers are always wanting to start new blogs for a new topic, but I say, the more varied content the better! It brings in a wider audience and it means people aren’t bored of seeing you swatch eyeshadows every day. I really don’t want to go into keywords too much, as it’s hard to explain why they change in importance, but basically Google is looking at your website as a whole and not just if you use ‘funky hair extensions’ 20 times. Although key wording beauty blogger, fashion blogger etc does help.For content to be considered important enough to rank, Google also wants words. If all the content on your website is 100 words or less per post, it isn’t going to rank well at all. Google wants to see posts over 500 words (well a lot more, but this is a good place to start) with internal links, outbound links and structured well. This comes across as a valuable page and not just something people have thrown onto the internet without a regard. The more pages you actually link to, the more ‘further reading’ it comes across as and therefore Google likes it more as it thinks it will be more beneficial to others.
Instead of ‘I had a terrible interview!’ use ‘What to Expect From a Benefit Interview’, it’s more likely to be searched.
Most people find out what to name their posts by searching what people actually Google, start to type your post idea into Google and see what you can find out!
On WordPress add this to the ‘Alternative Text’ section and when you set a featured imagine, add it to the title and alt text.
It’s a whole new audience that you’re writing for when you guest post elsewhere, an audience that will potentially come over to your website and become a regular reader. It’s social media shares from the website you’re blogging for, and potentially other people who have read the post, and most importantly, it’s a link back from another website. This is why it’s important to have links from higher ranking websites.
There are many ways to gain good links, mainly from working with established brands and then being featured on their website, working with online magazines, being interviewed or even just being featured in different types of press can be hugely beneficial and is happening more and more to bloggers for various reasons. Links back from higher ranking websites, will basically boost your website, there’s no other way to explain it any simpler!
No follow/Do follow links
If you accept any form of compensation (products/money) from a PR/Outreach company or Brand, in return for a post, make sure you add the nofollow attribute (which can be done on blogger when adding a link) this basically means Google won’t follow the link, and you won’t pass any of your DA/rank onto them, which then won’t be breaking Google’s Policy. A do-follow link should only be used when you have paid for the product yourself or have not been compensated in any way for linking to that website. This could be you’re genuinely recommending a fellow blogger or brand.
For more information on this, please see my Everything Bloggers Need to Know about Sponsored Posts.
Social Media is now hugely important to SEO as the more links back you have from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc, the higher your rank will be. It’ll also help as more and more people will see your posts, potentially like and RT and therefore, you’ll gain links and a wider audience. Be sure to link to your website from every social media account and post your latest content. A good way to do this is via IFFT. The best way to have an active social media account that will benefit your website is to connect with other people and simply, be active, but don’t just make it about yourself. Like and share other people’s content too, this means your feed will be more interesting as not only are you sharing your own content, but things that are relevant too.
Obviously, link your accounts together and try to use the same name across them all so you’re easy to find and SEO friendly. For example, when you type Georgina Grogan into Google, all my accounts as well as She Might Be Loved should come up because they’re all linked and used together. Having different usernames across your channels just messes with everything and everyone. Try and get the same name and be consistent.
Above the fold
This isn’t the easiest to explain, but basically you want as much information, such as social media links, emails and content ‘above the fold’. This means, that whatever you see on your computer screen when you first open a page, is above the fold of the screen or page. This is why you’ll see blogs having a similar design now as it’s SEO friendly. Having social media links, navigational links, email addresses and content above the fold is good to Google. Extra padding around the header or an entire ‘fold’ of the graphics for your blog isn’t entirely the best thing to do. Take any news website for example, they don’t spend half the page with a fancy logo, it’s embedded in the top bar.
Obviously, for us bloggers, a lot of our readers now come from having a fancy and pretty blog to look at, but try and optimise your website as much as possible. I seriously recommend Pipdig for affordable and SEO friendly designs where content is above the fold, and lots of links to content. You’ll see many of his designs have sliders now, which of course, links to content!
Quick extra tips:
– Having a mobile friendly site is SO important, Google has even said so. Again I recommend Pipdig above but seriously look into it and consider spending a little money on a mobile friendly theme.
– DO NOT DELETE OLD POSTS. Don’t do it. Edit them and update them but do not delete.
– DO NOT CHANGE THE FORMAT OF YOUR LINKS. I did this and now several pages don’t rank on Google anymore because I clicked a button to take the dates out of titles. Which IS better for SEO, but not when your pages are already established.
– Blogging breaks are needed for us sometimes, but if you can get guest bloggers in to keep up your post schedule as much as possible, it’s better for your DA and SEO.
I learnt these the hard way and actually considered writing a post on ‘How Not To Boost Your DA’ – I’m an expert after my epic drop!