SEO for Bloggers – The Quick and Dirty
These days there are a ton of ways to have your content discovered. Social Media has become a major way of spreading the word about the content you are creating, but the other form of discovery is still good old SEO. There is so much that goes into search engine optimization, but really there are just a few simple things you need to know in order to use it to help new followers find your content. Sure there are thousands of tips out there, but we try hard to use SEO in the most natural and organic way. Ultimately, creating something beautiful comes first, but why not use a few simple SEO tips to help people find your work and content a little easier.
1. Choose your keywords based on your content:
When you write a post, you are most likely writing it because you feel it is important to share with the rest of the world. You want the most eyes to see your post; you don’t want it to get lost. Though there are tons of ways to do this with social media, SEO is a great way for people to find you through organic search. Before you begin to type, ask yourself a few questions to help you think about keywords that will help you be a present fixture when someone is searching for content. Ask yourself some of these questions:
- What is my content about?
- Who will be searching for this content?
- What keywords would they type in to search for this content?
If you need some help thinking of keywords, you can use keyword planning tools! You can use Google Adwords to help you find keywords for your post if you are stuck. Google Adwords will tell you what keywords have the highest search, are the most targeted, and the amount of competition. You want to use the keywords that are the most targeted, have the least amount of competition, and have the highest searches. Once you have your keywords, you can incorporate them into your content in a natural and creative way. We really encourage you to write freely and creatively. You don’t want to spend your time focusing on keywords. Simply use Google Adwords if you are having writer’s block.
2. Name your images and use alt tags:
As bloggers, we use a lot of images and some of you use images more than words, so it is important to make sure your images are SEO friendly. You want to make sure that you name the image file appropriately with a name that is concise and relevant because search engines only recognize text. For instance, we have named the image in this post “SEO_For_Bloggers_01.jpg”. When you name your image appropriately, a search engine will crawl through and recognize the image as content. If your blog post has a mix of images and text, then this will increase your SEO. Next, once you upload an image into your blogging platform you want to add an alt tag. At this point most blogging platforms will have a prompt in the image uploader for you. For this post we placed “SEO for Bloggers” as our alt text in our tag generator. Having the tag generator is really great especially for those of us who are not fond of coding this in to each image. If you want more info on writing your own coded alt tags, see this article. Your alt tag should be 125 characters or less. The shorter the better.
3. Make your title tags and meta tags thorough:
Title tags and meta tags are very important and should not be overlooked. The title and meta tags should be unique for every page or post. You never want to duplicate. The title tag is exactly what you think it is: the title. The title tag is the most valuable tag since this is what search engines will recognize first, and it is what users will see when your post displays in their search results. It’s called a preview snippet. The title tag should definitely have your keyword or words. The meta tag (or meta description) is not as important for search rankings. Its importance lies in the fact that it will draw your audience in and will make them want to click and read. Your meta description will also be the first thing that users see before they click. It should be 1 to 2 sentences and shouldn’t have more than 8 keywords. You want your meta description to brilliantly and creatively describe your post without sounding too contrived with keywords. It’s your hook, line, and sinker.
4. Index your blog:
Basically, this just means making your blog known to search engines. When you create your blog, search engines will not notice it right away because it is the new kid on the block. Think of it this way. When you move to a new city, you don’t know many people and many people don’t know you, so you have to make yourself known. The same goes for your blog. You can speed up the indexing process by talking about your blog and linking to your blog via your social media channels or having others mention you on their websites with the link to your blog. You want to make sure that the blogs that post your blog link are older blogs, meaning they are highly noticed within search engines. The more you find ways to link back to your site, the more Google and other search engines will notice it. Another way to index your blog is by adjusting the rate at which Google crawls across your site. Since Google is the top used search engine, you want to focus a lot of your efforts there. You can go into Google’s webmaster tools and increase the crawl rate. Remember it takes time, but the more linkable content you put out there, the more you will be noticed.
5. Utilize SEO plugins for your blog:
SEO plugins and programs are available to you in order to make your content creation less stressful. WordPress has a lot of different plugins that you can use just for optimizing your blog not to mentions thousands of other things! Here at TFE we use a WordPress plugin called Yoast to help us generate the right tags and titles for posts as well as meta descriptions. The plugins are very easy to install if you have never done it before. They walk you step-by-step through the process.
Lastly, a few things to remember are that you do not want to over stuff with keywords. Keep things natural and creative. This is better for SEO. Also, don’t focus too hard on SEO even when generating content. It is a great tool to help connect readers with the hard work you have put into writing and creating, but do not let it dictate your content completely. If you are creating gorgeous, engaging, and beautiful things from an authentic place your content will naturally grow and reach people. SEO is just a little tool to help you be more easily found by sites like Bing, Google, and Yahoo.
There is so much to learn in the SEO world, so I hope this helps jumpstart you on your journey. Would love to hear any of the tips that you have as well. Feel free to share them below!