Table of Contents
Updated: September 2018
If you’ve taken the time to read last week’s post and implemented the first Five Beginner SEO Tips for Bloggers, you might already be seeing the benefits. When I started implementing these changes on this blog, Twirp Communications jumped from the bottom of Page 1 (or worse) to the top of Page 1 within a few days. If you’ve already seen gains, I would love to hear your story and give you a shout out in a blog post, so make sure to share with me, either in the comments or by email.
Here are six more beginner SEO tips for bloggers:
Tags and Categories
One blog that I guest write on has strict rules about the number of categories and tags we must use on each article we submit. Categories should be broad groupings of articles and tags can be much more focused. They can also be hierarchical, with sub-categories for more focus. For example, this article will be in the general social media advice category and I will tag it with blogging, keywords, meta data and SEO. If your categories and tags are set to show, your readers can click on one that interests them to read all the articles that are similarly tagged.
To get the most out of your categories and tags, some experts suggest you should never use the same words in both, i.e. if your category is SEO, don’t use the SEO tag, but try to find another tag that means the same thing, perhaps Search Engine Optimization. Some experts also suggest that there is a minimum number of tags you should use for “perfect SEO”, but I think that is highly dependent on your content and striving for nine tags on every blog post is a stretch for many.
Google looks for clues that your website is consistently about a certain topic or industry in order to prove your expert status. One of the things it looks for are internal links from one page to another page within the site. When you’re writing your blog posts, it is important to link to other pages or blog posts within your site when appropriate. If you use a keyword phrase that was the focus of another article you should hyperlink that keyword phrase to that article. So, if I were to mention social media management in this article, I would link back to my page that is optimized for social media management. (Go ahead and click, I did it.)
Some SEO experts also encourage underlining and bolding all links, both for the reader to easily pick them out, and for Google to notice them. This is something I frequently forget to do.
Every blog post you write should have at least one picture and it should be placed at the very top of your post (right or left doesn’t really matter as long as it’s at the top). Proper optimization of a picture can have a huge impact on your site as there is hidden meta data there that Google will search, but you fans won’t necessarily see.
First, you should rename your photos before they are uploaded to your website. You shouldn’t upload photos named “img2301” because it’s wasted data. The photo I’ve uploaded for this article was renamed on my computer as “Twirp SEO Number 1 Consultant”. It’s a little harder to do with some types of articles, but let’s look at an easier example. How about if you were showing a picture of a corporate gift you put together for a client of your Corporate Gifting Service? In that case I would rename the picture “Corporate Gift Nova Scotia” if it was a Nova Scotia themed gift basket. A furniture store should rename all photos with the name of the pieces. A restaurant should rename all photos with the dish name and the restaurant name. Are you starting to see how this works?
Once you’ve renamed the pictures on your computer you can upload them. WordPress will also easily show you another important piece of information to fill out, “alt text”. The idea behind alt text is to describe to people what is in the picture if they have pictures disabled, or if they are a blind person using a system that tells them verbally. You can also use this as a place to fit in some keywords.
You’ll notice this article is broken up by a series of subheadings. Not only does this make your content easier to digest quickly by people who scan, it also tells Google which bits of information are most important. Include keywords in those headings whenever appropriate.
Learn a Little HTML
A little bit of HTML can go a long way in formatting your blog posts and optimizing for Google. WordPress lets you add many of the common ones in the same manner as MS Word, so it’s very easy to add bold, italic, underline tags. However, to add header tags for example, you need to know about HTML codes. I use very little HTML, but to get my subheadings in that nice green font, I add <h4> before and </h4> after to tell WordPress how to format them. In WordPress you can also use the “style” guide to choose between paragraph and several heading styles. This also indicates to Google that it’s a heading and should be more closely examined. At the very least, a properly built website will have a few <h> tag levels for you to choose from to help with formatting.
Get on Google+
Update: I don’t know if it’s still worth worrying about G+, but if your website will autopublish to your G+ page or profile, you should probably set that up. There’s no hard evidence this will help…but also none that it is a waste of time. Note, however, if you don’t have a pre-existing G+ page to use, you can no longer set them up. You will have to use a Google My Biz page or a personal G+ profile and your site may not autopost to those.
Yes, it’s time to consider getting involved in Google+, but only if you’re prepared to really dig in and get active. I’ll admit, I’m not super active on G+, but some reports show an active G+ Business Page can improve your Google ranking by as many as 14 places. That’s pretty significant.
There you have it. All of my beginner SEO tips for bloggers in two easy to read articles. I hope this helps. Make sure to let me know about your successes so I can feature you on a future blog post.