I asked a few Bloggers what they would like to read next on my blog and a whooping majority asked for SEO tips for Bloggers. If you know that you cannot employ the services of an SEO expert just yet, this blog post is your best bet.
SEO which is acronymn for Search Engine Optimization is an important concept every single Blogger should learn because the traffic that rolls in from being discovered on search engines is immense. Organic traffic is the traffic that you get from search engines and it is known to convert better. It is quality traffic in the sense that readers stay longer, give lower bounce rates and click on more pages per browsing session.
There has been an argument as to whether SEO is something Bloggers should consider or not. This argument is as a result of people worried about diluted messages, twisted intents and schemings that do not give the blog reader the utmost experience.
While I partly agree to some of the anti-SEO stances, I would like to mention that the purpose of search engine optimization is to satisfy both search engines and users. In fact, all of the ideal SEO strategies are geared towards superb user experience and so, if you are not user oriented, some of your SEO tricks and techniques may fall through.
I am not going to pretend like black hat SEOers don’t rise fast while white hat SEOers still struggle to find results like they want. I am not going to pretend like some very bad techniques have not worked exceedingly well for some folks.
But if you are first of all user focused than not, your following will be genuine and grateful for your message. So, I say, in adopting the SEO tips for Bloggers, be informed that they are both for search engines to pick up your content and for your readers to thoroughly enjoy and fall in love with your blog.
In this blog post on SEO Tips for Bloggers, I will try as much as possible to be comprehensive and give detailed explanations. There are actually going to be sequels on some of the concepts that will be mentioned here but I will try as much as possible to give a thorough overview of what you will need to draw up an SEO strategy for your blog and increase your organic traffic.
If there are perhaps any terms mentioned that you would like to gain clarity on, please indicate in the comments section and I will be sure to treat each.
Essential SEO Tips For Bloggers
1. Do a keyword research for your blog posts
This is probably the first of all of the SEO tips for Bloggers. What is the purpose of keyword research? It is to enable Bloggers and online content curators know what people are searching for online. A good keyword research strategy involves that you know exactly what to write on as regards a particular subject and how to coin in your blog titles to fit into what the average search engine user wants.
So, how do you do a keyword research
i. Come up with a list of topics related to your blog niche
What are people likely to search for in your niche? What do you want your blog to be known for? These are going to be general topics. Begin to fill each of these categories with different specific topics that you would want to rank for.
If for example, you are a Tech Blogger, begin to brainstorm on what you want your Tech Blog to be known for. Let’s say you specifically want people searching for laptop reviews to land on your site, your keyword strategy should revolve around that.
Now, begin to research on specific things people are exactly searching for about laptops. E.g ‘Acer laptop model xyz review’. I don’t know the models lol. These are topics you will begin to write on one by one.
In your topic brainstorming, I strongly suggest that you be consumer focused. If you are vast in your niche, you especially know what people are looking for and what common probelms laptop users face. These are things that you should be targetting.
If you are a Blogger that isn’t narrowed down to any blogging niche, what you have to do is brainstorm on what people who read your blog are likely to search for on Google.
This is only if you are particular about writing to be seen on search engines, otherwise write from your heart and apply other SEO strategies.
ii. Check for the volume of people who search for the keyword
If you plan to write on a blog post, check for how many people search for this keyword. I use Google Keyword Planner and semrush for this. It gives me an estimate of how many people are looking for a particular topic.
Keyword volume can go from low to high. I suggest that you pick low to medium volume keywords that people are not writing on very much. This will help you test and see how SEO works until you are comfortable with going for bigger, competitive keywords.
I like to pick those with volume from 10 – 100 or less than 1,000. That’s safe because you can be sure that a good percentage of these people will land on your site.
iii. Search for related keywords
I use keywords.io to search for different ways people are looking for that title or other similar titles people are looking for. You can also type in your proposed blog title on Google and go to the bottom of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for other things people are searching for.
The reason why this is important is so that you can include these other phrases in your article. If your blog post does not even rank for your main keyword, they can rank for these related keywords.
iv. Make Your Blog titles Specific, Descriptive and catchy
If you want your blog posts to rank, you can’t afford to write titles that are very general because of the millions of sites that are already ranking for it. If you are a Fashion Blogger for example and you want to write a post on Ankara, a title as short and broad as ‘Ankara tops’ will be too competitive.
It will be very wise to be as descriptive as you can and write on a title as specific as ‘Ankara tops for a plus sized Nigerian woman’.
The volume of people who search for this will be low as compared to ‘Ankara tops’. It will also be a highly targeted traffic that will spend more time on your site because they are coming for exactly what they are looking for.
Also, craft powerful headlines or post titles. Powerful post titles are such that are seen in search engines and force readers to become inquisitive enough to click. This in turn increases your Click Through Rate (CTR)
2. Let your url be search engine friendly
Another SEO tip for Bloggers is to have URLs that are both user and search engine friendly. I wrote a short post on Best SEO Practices for URL Structure on social, I am going to elaborate on each one in this blog post.
i. Remove irrelevant and extra words
When you write your blog post title, there is an automatically generated url for you. This URL may contain words that are irrelevant, thereby making your URL long and not containing important words that you would want it to.
Instead of having stop words and unnecessary conjunctions, it is best to cut them off and make your URLs precise. An example is a topic like ’12 ridiculously brilliant ways to shorten your URL’. In order to avoid words that water down your Url structure, you can shorten your URL to become ‘www.xyz….shorten-your-URL.
ii. Include relevant keywords
Make sure your URL contains words that are your keyword phrases. This will help search engines understand what your blog post is all about better. This helps your search engines greatly as it is one of the factors that search engines place priority on.
Be careful however of stuffing your URL with many keywords. Keyword stuffing was one way to help your rankings in the past but it is greatly frowned upon now. Keyword stuffing of any kind attracts penalties from search engines.
iii. Make your URL easy to read
This is why it is important that you check through your URLs before publishing. Use hyphens or underscores in between words in your URL. Hyphens are better.
It is also important to let your URLs match with your titles. It will be easier for a user to know what a blog post is all about just by looking at your URL. Also make sure that you avoid spaces between the words in your URL. These spaces cause a %20 in your URL and this makes it appear ugly.
iv. Make your keywords appear farther left
In writing your URLs, make your keywords appear early enough. Search engines find it easier to pick keywords that come first.
3. Use meta description to your advantage
Meta description is a summary of what your blog post is all about. This is a snippet of what you want the search engines to display as a short summary of what you have written.
Search engines may decide to use this snippet or not depending on the keyword phrase the searcher uses. In many cases however, search engines use it.
In the past, meta description used to be a ranking factor but not anymore. Why then is meta description important if it is not an SEO factor for blogs? It is like a seller’s bid for clients and the most convincing bid gets the lead.
It is worthy of note that being on the first page of Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) is not all there is to getting the most of organic traffic. Having people click through your link is the most important. Struggling to be on first page of Google is just half the victory. Getting clicks as a result of being there is the ultimate and that is what meta description does for you.
In fact, a high click through rate has been shown to influence rankings in Google. A bad, unconvincing or poorly written meta description will definitely not help to increase click through rate (CTR).
Here are tips for writing the perfect meta description
– Make the total number of characters not more than 160. This includes spaces too.
– Make sure that your meta description contains keywords that you are targeting.
– Let your meta description be enticing enough to push your target reader to click through the link.
– After a while of publishing, go through your Search Console (Google Webmasters) and Google Analytics to see the different variations of your keyword phrases through which your article comes up. Edit your meta description and add these variations meaningfully.
– Include Call-To-Actions (CTA) in your meta description. Examples are, ‘click to read now’, ‘download here’, ‘watch this video now’ etc. Of course, it all depends on the nature of the blog post.
How do you add meta description to your blog posts?
If you are using WordPress, it’s very easy if you have your All in One SEO pack or Yoast installed on your site. All you have to do is look for where you have meta description. If you are using a Blogspot Blog, you can find it at the right hand side of your post editor as ‘search description’. Simply write and save.
4. Optimize your images for search engines
This is one of the overlooked SEO tips for Bloggers. Search engines can not on their own know what an Image is all about. What you can do as a Blogger is to tell them. If you have a picture of a dog on your blog for example, and a search engine user types ‘dog’ into the search box, chances are that your image will show up if it is properly optimized for search engines. Some users even specifically ask to see images of dogs. If your blog talks about dogs a lot, here is a chance to milk some organic traffic.
If your blog is especially graphically oriented, it is ideal to optimize your images. You’d be shocked how much of organic traffic can come from optimising your blog images for search engines.
How do you optimize your images for search engines?
1. Properly rename your file.
Instead of the vague or default name that comes with your image e.g IMG-20180224-WA0006.jpg, label your image to contain a description of what’s on the picture and separate with an hyphen.
If you have a picture of a woman grinding pepper for example, renamed to ‘woman-grinding-pepper.jpg’. Simple yeah? That’s how simple optimizing a blog generally is, you just have to know what to do.
2. Compress your images
The faster your images load, the better for your site’s SEO. Avoid using images that run into MBs and reduce your image sizes to Kbs. You can compress your images without losing quality.
3. Add alt text or alt tags
This is so that a user can know what an image is about if they are using visual tools to read. This helps blind people. Sometimes your images take a very long time to load under a slow network, users get to see the Alt tags first before the images. These are many more reasons are why search engines place priority on Alt tags for optimization.
5. Assign h2 to your subheadings
Another essential SEO tip for Bloggers – use of headings for your blog posts. Of course, using headings in your blog posts helps to break them into sizeable chunks that can be read and this is what search engines want. They want users to be able to find your blog posts very easy to read. Some people do not bother to read every word on your blog, they would rather skim through. Having a blog post with proper headings will help them skim through and still give them a good idea of what your blog post is all about.
– Assign h2 to your blog headings. This is more important after the h1 which should be assigned to your titles.
– Make sure at least one of your headings contain keywords that you are writing for.
– You can add a few more relative keywords to these headings.
6. Make use of internal and external links
Internal links are links to blog posts on the same blog while external links are links to blog posts on another blog. Internally linking to your blog posts helps to pass juice to some poorly doing articles on your site. This is why it is important to have one or more similar content on your site.
When a search engine crawler or bot is crawling a blog article, it crawls all of its links alongside and that’s why you should take advantage of linking appropriately. Do not punish an article without adding appropriate internal and external links. This is a signal to search engines that your blog post is very resourceful.
When adding links to an article on your blog, be careful to use descriptive anchor texts. Anchor texts are texts bearing the link you want a reader to click on. Avoid using anchor texts like ‘here’and ‘more’ and go for more descriptive texts that are rich with keywords. It not only helps the user to know what the blog post is about, it helps search engines to pick them up.
In adding external blog links to your blog post, choose sites with more domain authority than not.
7. Make your blog mobile friendly
The proportion of people who search the internet using their mobile phones is large compared to those who go on their desktop computers or laptops. People access information now on the go. This is why search engines have become especially particular about this when ranking blogs.
One way to make your blog mobile friendly is to get a responsive blog design. With a responsive blog design, your blog’s interface automatically fits into any screen used to access the blog.
8. Add social media icons to your blog posts
Google picks up social signals to estimate how useful a blog post is. You don’t want to miss this free opportunity to get your blog links to travel faster than you can make them travel on your own.
In a conspicuous place on your blog post, add social media icons to your blog articles. They will increase your reach which will in turn help your rankings.
Please note however that social media is not a ranking factor, at least not a direct ranking factor. “According to Searchmetrics’ 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper:
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared to with the values from last year’s whitepaper. … The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages…. This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.” ” – Search Engine Journal
If you’re therefore to be a smart Blogger, you’d take social media seriously in your overall content marketing strategy because come to think of it, isn’t more blog sharing going to get you more blog visibility?
9. Begin to build links to your blog
One of the extremely important SEO tips for Bloggers is link building. If I had known this years ago, it would have made my SEO journey easier.
What is link building for SEO?
It is simply the process of getting other blogs or websites to have anchor texts that link to your website. It is also known as a Backlink.
Why is link building very important for SEO
The algorithm for search engines e.g Google is constantly changing and it can take sometime before you get wind of a new update. However, Google trusts and in turn favours sites that have many people linking to them. This is why people are beginning to recklessly buy links and do all sorts to gain links.
Trust me, you can get into trouble trying to short cut your way. If you care about building quality and credible backlinks, do this naturally.
This is my most important tip to link building – build relationships. If you establish relationships with Bloggers in your niche, you naturally earn these links without pushing.
When you also stumble across sites whose articles will be much more resourceful if they added your link to a similar article, you can write to them. Gradually and naturally build links back to your blog.
You can also write guest posts for authority sites in your niche. It is important to write quality guest posts not only for backlinks but so that the audience who reads that post can be wowed enough to come through to your site. Some people suggest that your guest posts written on other blogs should be a 100% times better than what you write on your blog. Well, I believe that for every content you put out, give it your best shot.
Backlinks however, vary in quality. Look at backlinks as votes. A backlink from a blog with a very high domain authority is going to count more than 10’s from smaller and low authority websites.
I find Onibalusi Bamidele’s post on Shout Me Loud a very good resource on 101 ways to build backlinks to your site .
10. Write epic content!
This is probably the most important SEO tip for serious Bloggers and I have saved it for last. Content is still king and no matter how we look at it, your content might be the rise or downfall of your organic traffic. Search engines can pick up quality content and do you know how they reward that? They place it high above other content in search engines.
When your content is superb, it generates more social media shares. Remember that we already said that social media has a lot to do with your overall blog SEO right? Okay, that’s not all there is to the goodies of writing epic content.
Do you remember how building blog links helps to make search engines trust you more and bring more of your content to the first page? Writing quality content can help you achieve this easily. When you write what even experts can not ignore, people will link to it.
People are panting after credible information. Users want to read undiluted opinions, they want to know all there is to know about a subject matter and that’s why they have come to the search engines anyway.
Here are tips to write killer content for your blog
1. Write all there is about a particular subject.
Everything! Nothing left. Write everything a random, dumb reader needs to know about something.
2. Include facts and figures in your blog posts
With facts and figures, the reader trusts you more. The reader trusts that you know what you are talking about. It is also an indication that you have done your research and homework well.
3. Include images and infographics
Where possible and needed, add descriptive images to your blog posts. In fact, if you can come up with infographics, add these. Do not however forget to optimize all of these for search engines. You may scroll up to re-read how to optimize your images for search engines.
4. Include resourceful links
This not only helps your overall blog SEO, it makes your blog post extremely rich. Remember, the overall goal here is to make sure that blog readers have all of what they need in just one article. Add important external links, relevant internal links.
5. Make your blog posts interesting
Are you a creative writer, fiction writer, give every blog post the best shot. Not all of your blog posts may have to do with dissemination of information. If it is supposed to be a fun post, make it super fun. I would link to a super fun blog post actually.
In conclusion, these SEO tips for Bloggers may seem too much and overwhelming but they are not. I would advise that you not only read but begin to back these up with actions. It is especially important that you start to do them so that you begin to see your organic traffic increase month by month.
Warning : organic traffic is not easy to build. It takes time. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s automatic. It takes patience, knowledge and experience. Make sure you consider and explore other traffic building methods alongside SEO. More importantly, build a tribe.
P. S. – Your questions in the comments section will help me consolidate this blog post in case I have assumed you to know a concept you don’t know.
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P. S. S. S – if you need me to work with you to take your blog to the next level, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.