Today I wanted to delve into the scary world of SEO. Search engine optimization is a wonderful way of bringing more hits to your blog. Isn't that what we want? We are putting ourselves out on the internet, wouldn't it be nice if others saw that post you spent 7 hours on?
SEO can be a scary term. So today I am giving you some super easy SEO tips that you can use TODAY and see more traffic now.
I'm breaking this down specifically for bloggers.
SEO can seem overwhelming, and it's time to take the guess work out of it and focus on what will work for your blog. I promise, this will be something you can easily implement into your site, today. I'm currently generating 250,000 hits a month on my blog and SEO is a huge part of that strategy.
Most people don't know that I used to work in Online Marketing and Advertising and am certified in Google Analytics and Adwords (Google's Advertising). It's my job to stay on top of the trends online when it comes to advertising so I know my way around SEO. You should know: I don't always practice proper SEO on my blog. Often, I like to blog without thinking of adding keywords or naming pictures but just letting the post be. So, I'm certainly not telling you that you have to blog this way. But it will help.
What is SEO?
SEO in the simplest form is search engine optimization. It's how your blog is found on search engines. Many would like to paint it as a very technical side of websites. But really, it's how you show up and rank on search engines. This doesn't mean spending hours researching. This means strategically creating posts that people will care about.
The best way to be found on search engines is to write detailed, helpful posts. These posts get shares, more time on page, and Google will immediately recognize it as helpful.
Speaking of Google, let's discuss their algorithm: Hummingbird. This is a very sophisticated way that they “read” or crawl a website. Basically, search engines crawl a website to see what the page is about. Hummingbird is very intuitive, meaning, you don't have to practice traditional SEO practices in order to rank and be displayed in search results.
In the “old” days, SEO meant a very formal way of doing SEO. It meant having a keyword for a post in the title, in the first few sentences, and then related keywords throughout. Now, because we don't want to sound like robots, this practice isn't as necessary. It's more important to answer the questions and concerns people have when researching a topic. After all, if you write like a robot the practice of SEO can kill your blog and actually hurt your chances of ranking.
This is good news! Focus on writing great, kick ass content around a subject. That's the number one thing you can do to improve your rankings on SEO.
How can you rank on Search Engines?
So while I wish just writing great content would mean you would rank on search engines, it's just not the case. There are a number of factors that contribute to how well you'll rank. Here are some of those:
- History – how long have you been blogging or updating your site.
- Current – is the post updated, is the website continually updated? These factors contribute to ranking.
- DA – your Domain Authority is a mix of factors and relates to how long your site has been around, inbound and outbound links (are big websites linking to you, are you linking to helpful resources?)
- Effectiveness – When someone comes to your site can they find the information they need?
- Bouce rate – if someone comes to your website, do they immediately click out? This is important to look at and can be found in your Google Analytics.
When you have all of these things going in your favor you will come up higher in search results. Let me give you an example. I have a post on my 3 day Prague itinerary. So does Trip Advisor. They are a huge website with a much higher DA then me. They will most likely outrank me for big keywords like this. But don't worry! There are ways around this.
I want to share with you three key SEO strategies for bloggers that I think will help you.
Three Key SEO Strategies
For me, this is generally a step I skip the most, but you can use it to your advantage. Think of finding buzzwords and incorporating them into your post. What you can do is sign up for Google Adwords (it's free unless you want to pay for advertising) and then use the Keyword Planner Tool (under tools). There, you will search for keywords that pertain to your blog post. For example, your post is about “Trip To France” you can type in just that or variations. Then it will pull up the most popular searched keywords associated with what you searched for and you can incorporate those terms into your post. You don't have to include them exactly. Let's say a popular keyword is “Save money France” as long as you include those three words in the post it works the same way.
I do use a keyword tool to help me find ideas and figure out if I can rank for keywords. It's called SEMRush and it's not cheap. But since I'm averaging 250,000 hits a month it's worth it to me to help me grow my pageviews.
Remember my example of 3 days in Prague post above? Trip Advisor outranks me. But if I take a look at SEMRush and put in the keywords “Prague travel” I will find other keywords I can rank for and therefore can write posts with those keywords in mind. These keywords are called long-tail keywords and this is a great way of seriously racking up your traffic.
We all want a post title that draws attention. But we also need the title to have those buzzwords in there. “Tips for Trip to France” = boring.
“Munching on Macaroons”= more fun but not necessarily searched for on Google
You can combine the title “Munching on Macaroons: My Tips on a Trip to Paris”, or come up with a creative way of including your buzzwords.
The title should be keyword rich and descriptive enough to help explain what the post is about. Again, we want to try and use long tail keywords in order to rank higher in search engines. We probably won't rank for “Paris travel.” But we could rank for “best macaroons in Paris.”
This is fairly simple. Save your pictures as they should be named. So your picture of the Eiffel Tower? Save it as Eiffel_Tower_Paris. Now once you upload that picture in your post, click on the image (to highlight it), click on properties (for Blogger users) for the title text, put the title of the photo. Example: Eiffel Tower in Paris. This is how it will come up on search engines. Now for the alt text type in: Eiffel Tower Paris. This is the text that will show up when you hover over an image. Don't name your images all the same thing. Play around with this!
And that's it! Three relatively easy ways to encourage more traffic!
I promise you it doesn't have to be scary and if you use these tips you will see more traffic.
Do you have any tips? What ways do you bring more traffic to your site?