It’s Thursday so it’s time for another Blogger Series post.
This series is all about blogging. Designed for both those new to blogging and those who’ve been doing it for a while but want a boost to their blogs.
Today’s topic is all about how to improve the SEO of your blog posts.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. What THAT means is increasing a website/webpage’s visibility which is done by increasing the search ranking.
This is where spiders come in.
Wait, what about Spiders??
Spiders or “crawlers” are used by search engines. These programs are sent out, “crawling” through websites and pages to gather information via following links.
This information is what is needed to build an index and thus create a ranking. Spiders let search engines know what the website or page is all about so that if someone is searching for something, the search engine can go “hey, I know of a page about that. Here it is!”
Why hyperlinks are your friend
Spiders follow links. This is important to remember. Because good working links on your website can really help those spiders out.
That’s why it’s recommended that you include hyperlinks in your posts that connect back to another of your posts.
Each time you do that, the spider has another link to follow, more data to mine. Even better are backlinks…
Why guest posting is important
Not only is guest posting good for getting your name out there, helping to connect with people, but it can also help with search engine spiders.
Since spiders follow links, BACKLINKS are great for you. A backlink is where another website links back to you.
This is seen by a search engine as a positive. Lots of these positives show the search engine that you are a good source.
So when I host guest posters and include links to their websites, that is a backlink. If someone reblogs that guest post on their own blog, that’s a backlink to my site.
Why directories are your friend
There are numerous directories that you can submit your blog. If you are accepted, your blog is listed in the directory for people to find.
This also helps those spiders as it’s more backlinks to your website. So if you haven’t already, consider visiting a dew blogging directories and adding yourself to them. They usually tell you when you’ve been indexed.
Direct vs Natural
Now with some search engines, you can actually submit your website/pages directly to the search engine. This usually puts you in a queue and is a way of manually requesting spiders be sent to your site.
However, I believe websites do better if spiders find you naturally. Not to mention the queues can be long so before any spiders are sent your way.
The importance of consistency
To be honest, it wouldn’t be a blog post by me if I didn’t bang on about consistency, would it?
What you want, is the spiders to keep returning to your website. This way the information stays updated and relevant.
How do you encourage these little crawlers to visit you? Consistency. Yes, keep your website updated, add new content constantly.
Think about it, I started my Blogger series a few months ago. I want the spiders to revisit me so that information can be used to make a profile for the search engine. That way if someone searches for blogging, I might get found.
If I wasn’t consistent with my posts, the spiders may never come back to me and thus they wouldn’t know that I now discuss blogging topics.
Keywords and how to use them
Keywords are great for optimising your posts but you need to tread carefully. Too many keywords can actually negatively affect your ranking as search engines consider it “keyword stuff.” They aren’t too big on you trying to sneak your way into higher rankings.
It is recommended that you stick to 1 or 2 long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is where you drill down to more detail. A simple keyword might be Blogging. A long-tail keyword would be Blogging advice for new mums.
Where to put your keywords is also key
Include them in your headline (title). Remember how I said in my How to write powerful blog headlines to attract readers, that you should keep it to around 70 characters? Google cuts the headline off at 65 on its search results page.
They can be used in your subheadings and body of text, however, it should be done naturally. Don’t try and think about adding them. After all, they are keywords, so your post should include them without it being forced.
Include them in your URL slug. The URL slug is the exact address of a specific post on your website. My URL slugs are all the same as my headlines. In fact, usually, they will automatically populate to that.
However, as mentioned in that earlier post linked above, I have found some of my URL slugs were just numbers or where old titles that didn’t have keywords in them.
The importance of Alt-Text
I discussed alt-text in my earlier blogging post How to create awesome pictures for your blog, including how to add alt-text.
In regards to SEO, search engines like images that include alt-text. So make sure all your blog pictures include it.
Your website should be configured to be readable on all devices – laptops, mobile phones, tablets etc. Search engines favour websites that are mobile-friendly and this can have an impact on your ranking.
As I mentioned in my post How to choose the right blogging platform for you, WordPress.com is already set up to be mobile-friendly.
If your hosting isn’t, then look at what you can do to become mobile-friendly.
Focus on your readers
Overall, don’t get too bogged down with SEO. Keep in mind what can help and if it’s not something you have thought of, then consider doing an SEO audit of your blog, but don’t sacrifice quality, content or reader experience.
As someone who updated and branded her blog, which meant going back through 100s of posts, I can appreciate how daunting it can be to do an SEO audit.
Try something simple. Find your top ten best performing blog posts and go back through them, check the SEO on each of those pages and amend as necessary.
Fellow bloggers, what are your SEO tips & have you done an SEO audit of your blog?