SEO Optimization: Blogger Edition
Welcome back to the second installment of DustyPosts SEO for Beginning Bloggers! In our last discussion, we briefly covered Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it could be beneficial to someone who has just entered the blogging scene. This post will snake its way deeper into the grass that is SEO Optimization, the tools I use to push my searches to the next level, and hopefully, shed some light on some SEO best practices I try to adhere by.
What is SEO Really?
To briefly recap our last discussion, Search Engine Optimization can be defined as the process of getting free, organic traffic from a natural search through a search engine. As you can see from the picture above though, SEO can look much more complicated to the untrained eye. There are many things that roll up into the ever-changing traffic optimization technique, but many don’t realize that a lot of those things go hand in hand with one another.
Take the entire “content” section from the above image. Search Engine Land broke down SEO into two main areas, On and Off page SEO, before breaking those down even further. The content section consists of six positive items and one negative item, which seems like a lot of information to digest. But, if you really look at what the positive items are – Quality, Research, Words, Fresh, Vertical, and Answers – almost all of those come with the actual writing and research of your piece. So, SEO is all the above things plus some other stuff mashed into an article for your blog, but at the same time, it’s truly only two things: Promotionaly unpaid, well researched content.
Of course, all those back-end, architectural and web based items still matter, but without that strong piece of content no one will be searching for your blog post anyways. I know it seems like a daunting task – and in all honesty, when you first start it may not feel natural – but it becomes second nature after a while. You will optimize your articles with perfectly placed keywords, titles, URLs, and more, all without even trying.
SEO Optimization Tools
There are hundreds and thousands of SEO Optimization tools out on the web, but I really only use two at this point in my blog’s life.
Yoast is probably the easiest SEO tool to use if you’re a WordPress user already. It’s a plug-in that adds itself right to the bottom of your block/classic editor and helps with a few key areas of SEO optimization: Titles, URLs and Slugs, Links, and Keywords.
On the title side of things, Yoast will let you know if your title is too long, too short, whether your designated keyword is within the title, or even if your designated keyword is in an appropriate place within the title.
URLs, Slugs, and Links are all somewhat related to one another and can easily be distinguished within Yoast’s plug-in. These areas make sure that your content is easily accessible to search engines via the URLs, and it helps your patrons more easily clarify what may be found within a specific page/URL.
However, the Keyword analysis is where Yoast really shines. They will tell you if your keyword density, or the number of times your keyword has been used, is acceptable for your variable length of text. Yoast will also let you know if the key phrase you’ve entered has been previously used and if your keyword is placed in all the optimized areas: Title, URL, Sub-headings, and Meta description just to name a few.
On top of all that, it also has a really neat readability function that helps determine weak points in your article as well as sentences/paragraphs that may come across as “difficult to read.”
Another incredible SEO Optimization tool is Google Analytics (GA), which is probably very underutilized by newbie bloggers. GA is a much larger, more complex beast in comparison to Yoast, but if you can learn it you will vastly improve your optimization scores. With GA, you can drill down into specific keywords and see what times, days, or even months that those keywords perform best. You can also more readily dive into your user data with Google Analytics and see how organic your blog actually is. It’s such an incredible tool. Not to mention, it can also be very helpful for those of you who are trying to set goals for your blog for the first time.
SEO Best Practices
Even knowing all of those tips and tools won’t make you an expert SEO optimizer though. So, it’s also paramount to have some important things to take note of while creating your content. A “Best Practices” list if you will, and my three things I always strive to optimize while blogging.
I touched on how Yoast SEO does some of this for you, but it is hands down the most important thing a blogger can do to help drive traffic to their site. With well-placed keywords your site will be more easily recognizable by search engines for whatever it is you’re trying to optimize. So, if your blog is not on WordPress and you do not have access to Yoast, try the following to ensure you optimize those keywords.
- 1 – Make sure the keyword/phrase you’re trying to optimize for is in your title AND introductory paragraph (preferably towards the beginning of both)
- 2 – If you’re writing a listicle or something with a lot of sub headers, be sure to include the keyword in a healthy amount (probably around half) of those subheadings
- 3 – Always, always, always, have your keyword in your meta description and your URL slug
Optimizing images within your posts or blog is also a must-do to drive the most traffic your way. This is a pretty simple best practice, but it can get tedious if you have a backlog of images that you have NOT been doing this for. All you need to do for this best practice is make sure that when you upload the image you add your key phrase into a) the image title, or b) the alternate text area of your image. In doing this, you’re adding another layer of key phrase crawl to your site, and search engines have one more thing to grab onto when someone searches for that golden key word.
Optimized linking is also very important, but it may not always be relevant. For example, if I’m posting about my book, the only thing I can really do is throw a link to the page itself (since there isn’t anywhere else that has information on my book… yet.), which is kind of redundant. With that being said, you should always double check that you are including links and making sure that those links will take viewers to trustworthy sites that help convey the point you are trying to get across.
So, by following all the SEO Optimization techniques I’ve listed above, I believe you can start setting your blog site up to efficiently drive traffic your way. Remember, SEO is promotionally unpaid, well written content, and with some plug-ins and best practices, you can step up your SEO optimization game to the next level before you know it.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out all the other original content I produce weekly at DustyPosts.com.