I have seen so many bloggers talk about SEO. What does it mean? How does it work? How can I improve mine? Like a lot of people, I had no idea what it was and why it was so important. I’ve been writing blog posts for nearly two years now and never once did I consider my SEO. After talking to some amazing bloggers, I finally gained some knowledge and applied it to my posts.
I have only known about SEO for a couple of months. With some hard work I have already noticed a rise in my page views, more engagements on my posts and more google searches for my pages. Now I will tell you, I am far from a blogging expert, and the advice I’m about to give you is very basic. There are so many other bloggers that can give you a detailed step by step process to really optimise your blog. I’d recommend EllDuclos who is lovely and offers a really useful course.
I am going to be giving you some basic advice just to get you started. Hopefully you’ll learn something from this post, and enable you to make a start on improving your SEO.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Opimisation. This sounds pretty scary. It’s actually quite simple. It’s how your pages are ranked on Google. A good SEO score means that Google will show your posts higher on a search.
Why Is SEO Important?
It’s important because a good SEO score will mean that you will be more easily found when searching through Google. You don’t want to be on the last page when someone searches for something as you will never have anyone click on your links. Ideally you’ll want to be the first link on the first page. I have managed to get one of my posts as the very first link when you search for “only guy at work” and also “how to survive being the only guy in the workplace”. This has meant that I get SO many google search views from this particular post. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
How Do I Improve My SEO?
The very first thing you need to do is activate the Yoast plugin. This has been such a huge help for me. Everything that you need is right in front of you. It breaks your post down into different parts and ranks them as either red, orange or green. Ideally you’ll want everything to be green.
Choosing a Keyword
This is one the most important parts of the process. Think about the last time that you searched on Google. What did you type in to find the most useful information. This is what you need to consider when choosing a keyword. I use Ubersuggest to help with this. It allows you to enter a keyword or phrase and lets you know how much that has been searched for, and also offers alternatives. You want to choose a keyword that has a high amount of searches.
Make sure you include your keyword in the first paragraph of your content. Also, include it in the Alt Text part of any images that you use on your post. If someone does a Google Image search, your image will be more likely to be seen. You should also include your keyword in your meta description, your SEO title and your slug, which I will come onto next.
This is the description of your post which will be seen when you search for something on Google. It gives a little information about what the reader can expect to find if they click on your link. You should include your keyword here as the very first word. The YOAST plugin will help you to find the correct length of the description, as it will turn red if it is too long.
The slug is a shortened version of your link, which will appear under your title when searched for on Google. It needs to be short, a few words will do. An example I can give you is my slug for this particular post, which just reads as ‘understanding-seo’. It contains my keyword, but does not include any stop words such as ‘the’ or ‘and’.
It is important to arrange your title as this will be the first thing that people will see when they find your link. Google likes it when the keyword of your post is at the beginning of the title. My current title for this post reads as…
‘SEO – Understanding SEO for beginners – YuleTimes’
The YOAST plugin will allow you to rearrange your words to make it just how you want it. Make sure that your title isn’t too short, or too long. The plugin again will help you with this.
Internal and Outbound Links
Google also likes it when you have links within your content that direct the reader to another page.
Internal links – this links to the reader to one of your previous posts. It’s a good idea to include a few of these. Try to link it back to a post that is relevant to what you are writing about. For example, I could put a link here to link back to my Bullet Journal post which explains how I plan to organise my blog better.
Outbound links – These links direct the reader to a page outside of your blog. This could be another blogger’s page, which I did at the start of this post by leaving a link to EllDuclos‘ blog.
There you have it. It’s not really that difficult to understand when it’s broken down for you. Hopefully I have helped you to gain some knowledge of SEO. I’m only just starting to see an improvement myself so be patient with your progress. Follow these simple steps and your page views should increase, especially your Google search views.
If there’s anything that I have missed, or if any of my information is a load of rubbish, please do get in contact.