Five Beginner SEO Tips for BloggersAnita Kirkbride
Look. I’m the first to admit that I’m not an SEO expert. I don’t know the difference between Google Panda and Jellybean 2.0 (ok, I’m not quite that bad, but almost!) I’m starting off with that disclaimer because I know the title of this article will draw some SEO experts who will want to critique what I’m saying. Trust me when I say, I’m not after your jobs. I simply wanted to share with my readers some of the basic, easy SEO tips for bloggers that I’ve picked up from the SEO experts I have worked with that got me the Page 1 search rankings that I have. I can’t always explain WHY you should do these things, I just know that you need to do them.
And then you need to write great content (OK Marc Ensign, you can back off now). Don’t be fooled by the mechanics of SEO. This is just mechanical information. You know the mechanics of your car require that it have a full tank of gas, but that doesn’t help you drive safely, does it? If you do all this, but your content is over-stuffed with keywords, useless links or crappy writing, don’t expect this to help a whole lot. Because this article is about SEO mechanics we don’t have room to cover the impact of social media on search rankings. If you want to know more about that read the linked article from a real SEO expert.
If you’re planning to use this advice, here’s what I need you to do: Check out what your Google ranking is before you start. You need to measure your success and you can’t do that unless you benchmark where you’re starting. Now, figuring out your official Google ranking is a whole other blog post, so what I want you to do right now is open a new browser, preferably an incognito one so you’ll get absolutely objective results, and search for your product or service. Don’t search for your company name. Search for hand-milled organic soaps, or social media services, or corporate gifts in Halifax. Search how you think your ideal client would be searching. Take note of whether or not you’re on Page 1 and the position. Now get to work!
The first thing you must do is determine what the focus keywords of your blog post will be. Whatever you decide, this keyword phrase must appear in the title, post url, meta description and content. If you’re going to write about “SEO tips for bloggers” you should use that exact phrase everywhere. Don’t substitute “blogging tips for better SEO” or even “SEO tips for beginning bloggers”. Yoast’s plugin really helps you to focus on your keywords. One more tip here… you need to think about this from the perspective of what your ideal client would type in the Google search bar, not what you *WANT* them to. Your keywords need to be based on what they *DO* type in. Using the keywords “community manager” is not going to help you if your clients are actually searching for “social media agency”.
Put Keywords in your Headlines
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rewritten a catchy, fun headline to something that was a little duller because it included keywords. Having keywords in your headline is very important. This article, for example, could have been titled “The five simple SEO techniques your expert won’t tell you,” but that wouldn’t have been an effective use of keywords.
Customize the url of the Blog Post
In WordPress this will happen automagically as the title of your post becomes the default url for that post. Having keywords in your title then automatically puts keywords in your url. Having keywords in urls on your website is another indication to Google of what your site is about. This goes for all the pages on your website, too. Don’t fall into the trap of naming pages with useless information, try to build those keywords into each page url. For example, on my site, my page urls are twirp.ca/social-media-services, instead of just twirp.ca/services and twirp.ca/social-media-workshops instead of just twirp.ca/workshops.
First and Last Paragraphs
The text you use to start and end your blog are very important as that is what Google scans to see what the article is about. If you’re going to talk about being an SEO Expert, make sure you have that keyword phrase in the first and last paragraphs.
WordPress has some fabulous plugins that remind you do a lot of these things. I use on by Yoast that has a system for helping me remember to use keywords in certain places and it also has a place to write the meta description. The meta description is what Google searches, but also what will appear under your title in a Google search. It’s important that you craft the meta description to include keywords while also explaining what the reader is going to learn from the article. You want to entice them to click on your article instead of someone else’s.
Now it’s time to implement some of these SEO tips on your blog. You may need to discuss them with your website developer, or get someone to show you how to do these things the first time. Don’t forget to note your starting point and measure the changes so you can share them with me.