SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Three letters that can strike fear into the heart of any blogger. Combine that with DA (Domain Authority) and we’re all running scared and doing as much research as we can to make our blogs as optimal as possible before the next MOZ update (there I go again with scary phrases). I’ve posted several how-to posts for bloggers in the past and I have a feeling this will be my longest to date. Grab a cuppa and get comfy as you may be here some time. When it comes to SEO I think the list of things you can do/plugins for WordPress/code etc. can be never ending but these are my favourite ways to optimise my posts for search engines but by no means is *everything* you can do, just the things that work for me.
SEO Content Review/Yoast
Yes, I’ve had to combine both of these methods for SEO as one is for anyone using Blogger/any other blogging platform and Yoast is available for anyone that’s on self-hosted WordPress. They both basically do the same thing but one is a website and one is a WP plugin. I’ll take each one individually and give you a breakdown of how they both work and how you can use them to your advantage.
For those of you on Blogger, SEO Content Review is a website where you can utilise various options to optimise your blog posts for SEO. I use the SEO Content Editor as you can copy and paste in the blog post or write directly into the editor and copy and paste it out later. The editor creates a score for your SEO and gives you the tips you need to improve it. Here you can also add your focus keyword (labels in Blogger), your post title and the meta description (Post description in Blogger).
When it comes to focus keywords I tend to stick to one word or a very short phrase which will be interspersed throughout the blog post, in the title of the blog post and used within the meta description.
The meta description is what people see on a search engine and can help a reader determine if they want to read your post or not. The key with the meta description is to make sure the focus keyword is included, it’s the right length and is informative but different for each page or post on your blog.
If you’re on WordPress then there is the plugin Yoast which is particularly helpful when writing a blog post. It works on a traffic light system and is similar to the SEO Content Editor, in that you can update the meta description, focus keyword and keyword density. The plugin guides you through everything you need to do and you can keep working on the items until all of the ones in the list turn green. I have some posts where not all the lights are green but the overall SEO of the post is and to me, that’s what’s important. I’m willing to compromise on a couple of aspects if it means the post is the way I want it but is optimised too.
Knowing the difference between a follow and a nofollow link is so important and this post by Holly – Closingwinter is a fab and explains them both in an easy to understand way as well as which ones you should be using and why. Basically, you should be using a nofollow link when you have been paid to place the link/item within a post as the link would not have appeared organically. On the other hand, a follow link can be used when you (the blogger) have made the decision to include the link within the post. For example, a wishlist post, a roundup of your favourite blog posts or when linking to your own posts.
Broken Link Fixing
This is something that I’ve written about before and while it’s not the be all and end all of SEO, it’s definitely a contributing factor and something that should be dealt with every so often. I have a whole post on how to fix broken links and it should give you all the details you need on how to find out how many you have as well as how to deal with them.
Image Titles and Alt Tags
Having the blog post title in the image title can make all the difference to your search rankings too. The alt tag should, at the very minimum, have the focus keyword used and if you can, a reworded version of the blog title. In my case, for this post, the alt tag would be how to SEO blog posts as it’s similar to the post title but not exactly the same.
Change the URL/Title of the Post
This probably sounds like an odd thing to say but changing the title/URL (but keeping the focus keyword) can make a difference. Create a title that people will want to click but make your URL something that search engines will prefer. Take my post entitled Jewellery: What I Wear on a Regular Basis as an example. I’ve created a title that I hope you would all want to click but the overall focus of the post was to review a specific bracelet so the URL of the post is – http://fromfiona.com/2017/02/vamp-jewellery-rose-gold-bracelet-review/ which is better for my SEO. Both the title and the URL contain the keyword jewellery but in very different ways. I’ve titled the post Vamp Jewellery Rose Gold Bracelet Review I don’t think it would have worked as well as the title it does have.
Write Over 300 Words
Writing posts that are over 300 words in length will mean they are more likely to be indexed by search engines which is what we all want. Also, I know I prefer to read a post that is slightly longer than one that is really short and feels like it’s been done in a hurry. WordPress has a handy word count at the bottom of the post which can be slightly infuriating when you’ve hit 295 words and are struggling for the last few to push the post over the 300-word count.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a feature in Blogger, but if you use the SEO Content Review tool that I mentioned above, the word count is a feature which adds to how much I think it is a tool bloggers should be using.
Make your site user-friendly
How does this help with SEO? Well technically nothing, but, if you have a user-friendly site then readers will stay on it for longer, your bounce rate will decrease. Also, linking to your own content within blog posts is good for your SEO and this will help to decrease your bounce rate too.
This isn’t the full list of SEO methods but they are the things that as a blogger, you can do for your posts (past and future) to ensure ranking with Google and potentially increase your DA in the process. They’re also my favourite ways to increase the SEO of my posts and I hope you find them helpful.