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.

Owning your own domain is simple and doesn’t have to cost the world, I buy mine through Namecheap and I have an email through them too, this costs around £8 a year. If your domain authority is over 60+, it’s not your own domain, it’s most likely reading Blogger’s at 72. A lot of people don’t realise this. An actual blog will be anywhere from 0-50 depending on how popular it is.
a very basic guide to SEO for bloggers
Content 
 
In every single SEO post you will ever read it will always say how content is king, and original content is the key to good SEO. You’ll all know from school that copying people is wrong but in the Online World, copying a piece of content word for word and posting it on your website can really damage it. Google is clever, Google knows you’ve copied that content, so try and write about things that other people haven’t. It’s easier said than done, but original content can be as simple as writing about something in your own words, putting a new spin on it for example.
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.

Titles of Posts
Unfortunately, you have to forget ‘fun’ titles if you want to boost your SEO. Instead, if you’re writing about a mascara, call it by its full name and the brand, such as ‘Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara’. This way when people type it into Google your Blog is more likely to come up as it’s what people are actually searching. For example, one of my top Google’d posts is….
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!

Naming Pictures
A lot of our file names are called ‘sgfgfdgd’ for ease, but it really helps to give them a proper name of what the photo actually is. You should also do this when uploading the picture to your post, it’s really easy and simple to do which can result in your photos showing up on Google. Simply by ALT Tagging. On Blogger, click on the photo after you’ve uploaded it to blogger and click properties, then in 140 characters or less, write what the photo is about. This usually is just the title of the post to further help with SEO.
On WordPress add this to the ‘Alternative Text’ section and when you set a featured imagine, add it to the title and alt text.
Example – ‘ALT TAG: Lush’s Valentine’s Range 2014’. (The first photo is mine.)
Tags
Everyone thinks tagging every single item is good for SEO but it makes it more difficult to know what your blog is about. Google could ignore your site and regard it as ‘rubbish’ if you use too many tags, try to only use relevant ones to your niche and 25 tops. I know it can be difficult to narrow them down to 25, but when you think about it, do you write about 25 different things? Or need 25 different navigation options? These are what I had at the time of writing this post, but now I do have a few more via a navigation tab (downbar) so it’s actually neater and easier for readers and Google.
A Very Basic Guide to SEO for Bloggers.
Guest Blogging
It was said that Guest Blogging is completely dead and can really damage your website, and whilst that’s not completely false, especially if you’re writing anything for anyone constantly, it’s not completely true either. Guest Blogging, if you’re writing original content for a website with a high DA which will be shared across social media a lot, can be greatly beneficial. I often have guest bloggers on my website, especially when I’m going on holiday but I’m really strict on the content because it has to be evergreen (content that will always be readable, relatable and relevant.)
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.
Links
Bad Links
Like stated above, guest blogging on your niche appropriate websites will help your SEO and DA, but be careful not to have your link from many low ranking websites.  It’s not something to worry about too much, but if you do happen to have a lot of spam sites linking to you, (which you can check in Google Webmasters) it might be worth seeking advice on Disavowing them. This basically means that if you’re linked from sites that are clearly spam, porn sites, etc, you can ask Google to delete the link for you. I’ve just sent several links to be disavowed and I’m currently waiting to see if it’s been beneficial or lowered my DA, as it can go either way or make no change at all.
 Update – I disavowed a lot of links, whilst barely posting, and barely sharing my posts on social media and my DA dropped dramatically. Obviously a factor of everything together but I wanted to point this out. It has since shot up to 36 and levelled out around 34 for the last few months. 
Good Links
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.

Internal Linking
When appropriate, link your old posts in new ones and go back and do this vice versa. Not only does this encourage people to potentially spend longer on your blog and give you extra views, but it also helps your pages to rank higher because you’re offering ‘further reading’. Which makes Google consider that page above others that don’t link back internally, as it will consider your website to be factual and full of information. Don’t just throw them in anywhere, but if there’s related posts, a past post is mentioned, or something you know they should read to understand the post you’re writing, link to it. It’s good practice to get in to.
Sitemap
Create a sitemap as it’s easier for Google to index your pages and therefore they can show up on Google, or higher on Google. The link will explain more but it’s pretty simple to do and really beneficial.
Social MediaSocial 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 foldThis 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!

A Very Basic Guide to SEO for Bloggers.
 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!

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