In case you missed previous “blogging” related posts, you can check them out here:
- The 5 W’S You Need to Ask Yourself Before You Start
- Which Blog Host is Right for Me?
- The Importance of the First Impression
- Planning Your Content & Editorial Calendar
- Growing Your Blog Through Social Media
- Why You Need a Media Kit (and What Should Go On It!)
- Dealing with Negativity
- My Favorite Blogging Programs & Resources
- Six Ways to Take Your (Blog) Photography to the Next Level
- BLOGGING TOOLS & ESSENTIALS: WordPress Plugins That Make Blogging Life Easier
- Blogging Tools & Essentials: BLOGSTOMP
SEO. Search Engine Optimization.
This is a mighty intense topic that a lot of people have opinions on. Some over analyze it way too much. Some don’t pay enough attention to it. It’s a beast of a topic. There are, quite literally, THOUSANDS of blogs and books on SEO. I’m going to give you the 35,000 foot view of SEO and just a few simple tips on how you can be optimizing your blog content!
What IS SEO, exactly?
So, when someone searches a topic like, “How to wear a scarf,” they’re going to get MILLIONS of results. Depending on how well your site is organized and how optimized your content is, if you have a post about ways to wear a scarf, then your site will show up higher on those search results and that person is more likely to click through to your blog.
How Important Is SEO?
Well, for the people that say SEO is dead… I have to disagree. For me, about 71%, yes SEVENTY ONE PERCENT, of my traffic to my site comes through organic search. It’s, by far, the biggest driver of traffic to my site. And that’s saying a lot! That’s not counting the traffic I get from subscribers, social media, direct, etc.
So, for me, organic search and SEO is actually something I focus on quite a bit because it’s such a great way to get new eyes on my site. Say, and this is just an example, that hypothetically, I get 100 unique views from 100 different people a day to my blog from search engines… if I can even convert ONE of those 100 new readers to click around and subscribe and become a regular reader… well, that’s a win! That’s 365 new readers a year.
Basically, I do place a lot of emphasis on SEO as much as I can. I don’t let it HINDER or influence my content in any way, but I do try to pay attention to it and consider it whenever possible.
Okay, so what do I do next? What are some basic SEO practices I should be putting into place?
1. Provide useful, informative, and fresh content
This is obviously the heart and soul of your blog… your content. If you’re not providing useful, informative, and most importantly… FRESH content, then no one is going to be looking at it and search engines are going to ignore it.
Don’t go plagiarizing content from across the web. That will get you a big ol’ slap from Google so quickly! Don’t go repeating content. Don’t copy and paste content. You want your content to be FRESH. If you HAVE to rehash some old content on your site or even on another site, make sure you change it up enough so that it’s not EXACT.
2. Optimize your titles, URLS, and descriptions
Does the title of your post accurately portray what is IN that post? Does your URL have a bunch of hubbub or numbers clouding it? Or does it actually have WORDS in the URL of your post that describe what’s in your post? I even optimize my images that I upload… when I upload an image, I make sure to name it something OTHER than IMG_429.jpg. I name it “carolina-sweatshirt-maternity-style.jpg” or something like that. I name it what it is. And then, in the actual description of the image, I include a little blurb or sentence so those images show up in IMAGE search results.
The important thing is to make sure you’re adding relevant tags and information to your posts and to the back end to help people FIND your post. If you’re not including the information or details, how are people going to find it?
Now, there’s a balance to this… you don’t want to have TOO many keywords (somewhere between 5-10 is a sweet spot). If you’re adding 25-50-75 different keywords or phrases to your post JUST so search engines pick up on them… well, they’re going to ding you for trying too hard.
So, keep it simple and keep it focused. Pick 5-10 and stick with that.
3. Make sure your posts have ENOUGH actual content
Your posts need to have enough content for Google and other search engines to find them. Your posts should have, at minimum, 250-300 words to REALLY be seen by Google. Any less than that and you’re going to get pushed down. 250-300 words sounds like a lot… but it’s basically two paragraphs.
4. Improve your site’s loading time
If your site takes too long to load, search engines (and readers) are going to click out and ignore your content. Your site should be loading within a few seconds.
Just a few ways to cut down on site loading time…
- Don’t have too many images on the main page.
- Implement “read more” on your posts on your main page. That way your homepage isn’t so much content it’s overwhelming. For example, when you come to my main blog, stillbeingmolly.com, you get the highlights of the six most recent posts. If you want to read the full post then you click “read more.” This is done primarily to improve site loading!
- Make sure you’re compressing your images. Don’t upload the FULL sized image to your blog… that’s a HUGE file. Use a service like BlogStomp to shrink and blog-optimize your images.
There are a ton of other ways, but you may want to speak with a web developer and someone more technical about those!
5. Linking… but not TOO much linking
You should be linking within all of your posts! Link back to old posts of your own, link out to other websites or other relevant posts and content… Team up with other bloggers and link and promote each other’s posts. The more sites you have linking to YOUR site, the better your ranking will be! It’s a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” kinda thing.
BUT, here’s the key… it needs to be natural and organic. The more it looks like you paid or forced someone to link to your blog or site in an unnatural way, search engines will ding you. It’s all about balance! 🙂
So what do you think? Anything in particular you learned? What SEO tips have you followed or put into place on your own blog or website?