SEO (search engine optimization) is something that takes some effort, but is truly beneficial and worth your time. All it takes are small changes that are, for the most part, free. SEO is easy to implement and can have a huge impact on your organic traffic over time. SEO is something that bloggers should focus on. If done correctly your blog will start to take off. The key is that you need to take the time to optimize the elements of your website. The elements that will have the most positive impact on your traffic. The SEO tips in this post are the most essential ones that you need to focus on. Let’s get started!
Blogging isn’t just for lifestyle bloggers anymore. It’s for companies to. A blog is great for business owners – both big and small. We’ve discussed how to optimize blog posts before, but today we’re going to take blog SEO even further. If you still need to start a blog, head over here to find out how.
BEST SEO TIPS FOR BLOGGERS
1. Hosting. It’s crucial to choose a good host for your website. A good host will help with page speed and server response time. Which are important as far as SEO ranking is concerned.
2. Always host your own blog. When it comes to hosting a blog, you can use services like Squarespace, Blogger or WP.com. These sites make it incredibly easy to start your own blog. And since you aren’t hosting your own website your Google ranking and organic traffic will be limited. The key is to set up your own domain.
3. Niche. It’s a good idea to focus on 1 – 2 niches on your blog. Over that gets a little too crazy and as a result and it will limit your SEO potential. This is because Google likes to establish themes around your blog. Afterwards you can rank for a bunch of topics around that theme. If you want your blog to be about all areas of your life – that’s fine. However, your posts won’t necessarily rank as high as a blog with a focus of 1 – 2 topics.
4. Domains. Choose a keyword rich domain name for your blog. Typically the shorter the domain, the better. Not only are shorter domains easier to brand. But they are often more memorable. Which leads to higher direct traffic. Also, it’s a good idea to try and buy the .com domain. Because it has the greatest potential to rank higher. So it’s worth paying extra for the .com.
5. www vs non-www. There is no impact either way in terms of a www vs a non-www. It doesn’t really have an impact on your SEO. However you need to make sure that you are consistent and don’t change it. If you do, make sure that you do a 301 redirect of all your old links to the new links.
6. Which CMS is the best. While a lot of content management systems (CMS) have SEO ranking potential, blogs on WordPress tend to rank higher. They also have the best plugins. The main reason is due to their open source codes that are frequently updated. Which means they support higher ranking blogs and better security. A hacked site destroys your organic search rankings and it can take over six months to recover from.
7. Sub-Domain vs Sub-Directory. Which one has the best SEO potential? If you launch a new area of your website, you should launch it on a sub-domain. Especially if you want Google to view it as it’s own website (with it’s on XML sitemap). A sub-directory will work best if you want it to increase the search ranking of your main website. Both have unique SEO potential based on your SEO goals.
8. HTTP vs. HTTPs. Google rewards secure websites and HTTPS is a surefire way to rank. HTTP sites definitely rank higher. However you need to buy an SSL certificate from your host to make it happen. If you do change your website to HTTPS, don’t forget to do a 301 redirect of all the old HTTP domains to the new one. It can be somewhat of a pain, but it is very important.
BEST SEO BLOG THEMES
1. Theme. It’s best to use a theme that is set up for SEO. This means that the code needs to be sound and contain all of the elements (footer, categories, etc.). For a strong SEO foundation, you need these elements to load fast. A lot of themes aren’t coded well for SEO. Which is why it’s a good idea to look into premium themes.
2. User Experience. Nowadays Google is getting a lot better at reading blogs like humans do. The better the experience, the higher you will rank in SEO results. An easy to use and easy to navigate website will always rank better than one that isn’t designed well.
3. Mobile-Friendly. Google’s “Mobile First” index means that they will rank your blog based on the mobile experience, not the desktop one. This is a huge development especially because approximately 50% of all searches are done on mobile devices. Your website optimization for mobile devices is crucial.
However, you should only use high-quality responsive themes that have a great built-in user experience. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your mobile search traffic in Google Analytics. It doesn’t hurt to check out your mobile index in Google Search Console. You can evaluate your mobile user experience with Google’s Mobile Experience tool.
4. Permalink Structure. The best structure for your blog links is domain.com/post-title and can be changed in most themes. Don’t use the date or categories in your URL. As a result an easier structure will almost always rank better. If you already have a blog with a different permalink structure, it might be worth a change. Don’t forget to 301 redirect all of your old posts.
FREE SEO TOOLS & PLUGINS
1. Google Analytics. Thankfully it’s free to use. Therefore you should always have Google Analytics on your website. As a side note, Google will most likely use your Google Analytics data to rank your website. Subsequently a vast majority of the top ranked websites use Google Analytics.
2. Google Search Console. If you want to track the impact of your SEO efforts you need to set up a free account with Google Search Console. It also shows you backlinks to our website and if Google has any problems crawling your site. Once you set it up, connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics.
3. Check Your Blog’s Index In Google. It’s super easy to see which blog pages are indexed by Google. Simply go to Google and type in site:yourdomainname in the search box. Next it will show you all of the pages that Google has for you in their search engine.
4. Page Speed. The speed of your site is a highly weighted in terms of ranking. Google wants to show fast loading blogs because they create a better experience for the user. As well as their searchers. The goal is to get site load time of less than a second. The faster the better. You can check your blog’s speed with Google’s free speed insight tool.
5. Browser Caching Plugin. The best way to increase the speed of your website is to use a browser caching plugin. Essentially it pre-loads certain elements of your blog pages. As a result they won’t have to reload every time. The best free plugin is W3 Total Cache.
6. Submit to Global Search Engines. There are a lot more search engines than Google around the world. Al you need to do is manually submit your website to them so they know you exist and start crawling your website. Here is a list of global search engines where you can submit your blog.
BLOG KEYWORD & COMPETITOR SEO RESEARCH
1. Keyword Research. You can use Google Keyword planner (once you have an Adwords account). What happens is that Google crawls keywords and links. This is why it is so important to write keyword rich content. To do this accurately, use Google Keyword planner to research how many people are searching for keywords related to the topic(s) you are blogging about.
2. Short Tail vs Long Tail Keywords. It’s a lot easier to rank for longer tail (3+ keywords) phrases than shorter tails. However, a lot of bloggers pick keywords that are too short, too competitive and too general. It is often easiest to rank for keywords with between 500 – 3,000 keyword searches per month. Once your blog gets enough traction, you will have a better shot at ranking for the shorter more competitive keywords.
BLOG METADATA AND CONTENT SEO
1. Main Navigation Menu. Your blog should have keyword rich menu tabs and they should be representative of the primary focus keywords of your entire blog. As a result, Google can easily crawl your menu. Therefore you should link to the main topics that you cover on your blog. Always include an About AND a Contact page in your menu. As well as 3-6 other keyword topically rich menu items. But please, don’t overstuff your menu.
2. Secondary Navigation Menu. If your blog’s theme has a secondary menu then you should start using it the second you have enough content. This way Google can crawl both menus. Which is great because blogs with two navigation menus get higher keyword rankings. For your secondary navigation menu, you should highlight your most valuable content.
3. Footer. The footer on your blog is your secret SEO weapon and most bloggers don’t use it to their advantage. The footer is an opportunity to place content and internal links that will be shown on every page of your website. However always make sure to include a 100-250 word description of your website in one of the widget areas.
4. RSS Feed. Since Google owns Feedburner and can crawl RSS feeds, so it is strongly recommended that you set up a Feedburner feed for your blog. Feedburner is crawlable and allows readers to subscribe to your blog with their own RSS reader.
5. Links On Your Homepage. A lot of blogs have way too many links on their homepage. Which can appear spammy to Google. Therefore you should have less than 75 links on your homepage. Keep in mind this includes ALL link. So your menu, links to posts, links to categories, links to tags, links to advertisers, links to pages, and links to your social accounts all count. You can use the Free HREF Google Chrome Link checker extension to determine how many links your blog actually has.
6. High Quality Content.Think about the reader you want on your website. Why would they want to read your posts? Most Google searches are actually questions. So the goal is to answer the reader’s question the best you can. For example if you write a post titled “How to make cold brew coffee”, you need to give the reader AS MUCH value as possible. The more value and answers you give the more traffic you will get. Google rewards relevancy and people who answer questions better than someone else. This is how you need to pick your target keywords.
7. Post & Page Titles. Your post titles actually do impact your click through rates (CTR) and your CTRs impact your search rankings. So try to make your post titles more catchy. For example, post titles should be between 30-65 characters. They also need to include your target keyword. The post titles shouldn’t be too long either.
8. Post Length. Each month you should write a blog post of at least 2,000 words. Afterwards all the other posts can range from 500-1,200. Consequently, longer posts typically rank better if the content is high quality and really relevant to a user’s search.
9. Post Frequency. Honestly you should write posts as often as you can. The minimum should be at least one post per week. However there is a lot of debate on this topic. But the main thing is to only write as many posts are you can consistently keep writing. When you post consistently, you are adding fresh content. As a result, there will be a positive impact on your blog’s SEO rankings.
Do you utilize any of these SEO tips in your blog? Are you new to SEO? Are you new to blogging?If you have any questions, share them in the comments below so we can discuss.