Basic SEO Tips for Bloggers
Let's learn about SEO - what it is, why it's important and some easy ways every blogger can use it to improve their content and search rankings. Go on, get the kettle on.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It's the magic of Google. Behind the scenes of the search engine, robots travel the pages of your blog looking for key bits of information so they can categorise your content using specific keywords. The information they collect is what Google uses to rank how relevant your page may be in a search. Blogs with good SEO are much more likely to rank higher in the Google search and therefore get more clicks. Make sense? Good.
This is great for the user. For example, when I type into Google "high-end blush recommendations" I receive a wealth of relevant of relevant content - blog posts, YouTube videos, swatches in images etc. - that all have exactly what I'm looking for. However, it's an ever-changing minefield for content creators like us. With Google favouring websites that have been around longer and made a few great connections and websites who can afford to pay someone to fix their SEO for them.
The good news is, you don't have to have to make the big bucks in order to get to work on your SEO. In fact, I bet you'll start working on it on your very next post using this handy guide and a few free tools I'm going to share with you. But first, I've got a bit of explaining to do...
Let's start at the beginning. This post may have interested you because you were procrastinating on Twitter or you because you were scrolling through Bloglovin' and found the photography visually appealing. But, ultimately, you clicked on it because of title and want to learn something about SEO. What clever and funny is to social media clicks, simply worded and to the point is to SEO. Stick simple keywords with little filler and reserve your wit for Twitter. Your title needs to be everything you need to know about the post in 60 or so characters.
Getting your search description right is just as essential. The search description is what displays in Google when people search for similar keywords. It's the is make or break sentence that will leave people clicking or scrolling on by. Think about it, everyone's likely to have the same title - X Brand Mascara Review. What have you got that they haven't? Think about why your post is different and use it. Keep it short and sweet at just longer than a tweet - as close as you can get to 160 characters - and keyword filled.
For beauty bloggers, keywords include the name of the product, name the brand, the colour, the collection, the finish... You can throw in a few general keywords, such as beauty, makeup or cosmetics too, just to make sure.
Finally, a little click bait or cliff hanger never hurt anyone. If you have characters to spare a good question or reveal should entice your potential to find out more. Such as "Hot or not? How does X compare to X?" or "Find out my unpopular opinion of this cult beauty blogger favourite...".
You can easily edit your Search Description in Blogger using the right sidebar when you're in the post editor.
When writing content, a minimum of 300 words is recommended. This should include:
A cracking opening paragraph filled with keywords. If you're short on time, this can also be used as your Search Description if you keep it less than 160 characters.
Your original thoughts and opinions. No one want's to read SEO optimised jargon over and over again.
Plenty of keywords in relevant places. Top tip: don't get cocky and overdo it as this can have the opposite affect on your post and make it rank lower.
Useful links to reputable sites.
High-quality images that are relevant to your content.
Image alt tags and titles are so underrated. Not only are they great for improving your SEO but they also provide some context to your image for those with visual difficulties.
If you can, always include an image that is relevant to your topic so you can use your keywords to their full potential. However, allowances can always be made. I didn't want to upload this post with a stock photo of a nice man in glasses toiling away at his PC, I get it... Just do the best you can.
It doesn't hurt to rename the image before uploading it from "IMG_0459.jpg" to a small string of relevant keywords before upload. This will help the images rank higher on specific searches. In Blogger it's easy to edit your Image alt tags and title in the post editor by right clicking on the photo selecting properties.
Like images, you should include relevant links and edit the alt tags in properties. Always link to a reputable and trustworthy website - no spam! This includes other bloggers, the Boots.com website or, best of all, your own posts. Moz has a great post about they whys of this here if you're interested.
Moz has a great SEO Keywords Finder that you can try for free.
SEO Reviews have a whole host of great SEO tools, along with a Content Checker that will help you along with the basics covered above.
See! It wasn't that bad was it? If vigorously refreshing your Google Analytics page isn't your thing, then you shouldn't worry about SEO. But if you want to smash those monthly goals and have some brag-worthy SEO stats on your media pack, you may want to bookmark this page for future reference. You can read the rest of my #BloggingHacks series here.