SEO for Bloggers – The Essential Beginners Guide
Are you a new blogger with absolutely no clue “how to do SEO”?
Don’t worry, because this post contains everything you need to know to get started with SEO.
In this SEO for Bloggers – Beginners Guide, I will show you the exact steps you need to take to get your blog optimised for search engines like Google so your blog can start generating organic traffic.
Let’s get started.
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What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is used to describe the process of optimising your website or blog so it can be found in search engines like Google, Bing or Yandex. Optimising your website for SEO can be done through using relevant keywords, building backlinks and improving user experience.
Why should bloggers use SEO?
Did you know the hardest part about blogging is getting traffic to your site?
After publishing your post your work is not done, to get people to read your post you have to promote your blog over and over again.
There’s actually an 20/80 rule.
20% of your time should be spent on blog post writing and 80% on promoting.
That’s a lot of work.
This is where SEO can help you out.
Using SEO on your website can send traffic to your site without you having to promote it.
By optimising your blog posts for SEO, Google can start ranking your site in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
These are the SERPs:
It’s great when your blog starts ranking in Google because Google traffic is super targeted traffic. When someone searches for something in Google they most likely want to answer a question, solve a problem or buy a product. They want something very specific and are more ready to buy than any other traffic.
If your blog post offers the solution that they are looking for you can increase email sign ups and affiliate or product sales.
Another great thing about Google traffic is that it’s mostly passive. Once your blog ranks in Google, you won’t have to do anything else to get a consistent flow of traffic.
Different Kinds of SEO
There are 2 kinds of SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is all the SEO techniques you use on your website, like using keywords and improving user experience. We’ll be looking at these techniques in this post.
Off-page SEO is everything outside your website that improves your ranking in the SERPs like building backlinks and your social media presence. To find out how to build backlinks quickly without much effort at all (no guest posting!) I recommend you check out this book by Debbie Gartner: Easy Backlinks For SEO. This book is jam packed with golden nuggets on how to build high quality backlinks without blogger outreach.
Debbie also has an On-Page SEO book that covers a ton of stuff that I don’t cover in this post.
Or you can get both books here in a discounted bundle.
Both on-page and off-page SEO are equally important and to get your blog posts on the first page of Google you have to incorporate both.
Now let’s have a look at how to optimise your blog with on-page SEO.
4 Steps to adding keywords to your post
1. FIND A KEY-PHRASE FOR YOUR BLOG POST
The first thing you need to do when optimising you blog post is finding a keyword you want to rank for. Depending on your niche, a lot of keywords have a lot of competition, this is why it’s better to use a key-phrase or long-tail keyword.
A long-tail keyword is a short sentence that someone would type into Google to find what they are looking for. So a question or sentence of about 3 to 6 words would work best.
I use Ubersuggest, a free keyword tool that shows you how many searches your keywords get on a monthly basis.
Let’s use an example.
Let’s say you’re a health blogger and you want to write a post about losing weight. As you may expect, this is a very popular topic and the key-phrase How to lose weight is highly competitive.
Type this phrase into Ubersuggest and have a look at the results:
The search volume is very high with 165.000 people searching for this per month. The SEO difficulty is quite high too at 45, with lots of websites competing for this search term.
It also lets you know that the average web page that ranks in the top 10 for this search term has 201 backlinks and a domain score of 85.
If your blog is still fairly new, your backlinks are probably zero and your domain score too, so trying to rank for this search term is pointless.
So what can you do?
You need to get more specific.
You need to niche it down.
What if you used the key-phrase: How to lose weight with Keto.
This is a lot more specific.
Lets look at the results:
The searches are a lot lower, but the SEO difficulty has halved as well. And the backlinks are so much lower that if you work on getting backlinks you could start ranking for this after a while.
Use Ubersuggest to research several variations of key-phrases and choose one that has at least a hundred searches per month and a low SEO difficulty.
To help you find variations to your key-phrase, type your phrase into Google and scroll to the bottom of the page to see what people actually search for, you might be surprised.
Decide which long-tail keyword you’re going to use so I can show you how to implement it in your blog post in the next step.
2. ADD YOUR LONG-TAIL KEYWORD TO YOUR POST
Now you’ve got your long-tail-keyword, we have to to add this to your blog post in the following places.
# Blog Post Title (H1)
One of the most important places to add your keywords is of course your post title. Your title tells your readers and Google what your post is about, so make sure to use your exact key-phrase for it.
# In the first 100 words of your content
Add your key-phrase to the introduction of your post, again making it super clear what your post is about.
# Sub Headings (H2, H3, H4 etc)
Try to use your key-phrase again in one of your sub headings. If it is hard to make this sound natural you might be able to use a variation of your key phrase.
# Use variations of your keyword throughout your post
Use synonyms and variations of your key-phrase throughout your post. For instance, if you write about time management, you could include the words productivity, time saving etc.
When you create an image for your blog post, use your long-tail keyword to name it. So instead of calling your image 5343.jpg call it how-to-lose-weight-with-keto.jpg. And your next image can be called how-to-lose-weight-with-keto-2.jpg.
# Alt tags
In the WordPress media library you have the option to add an alt tag to every image you upload. Alt tags are used for visually impaired people, it describes the image to them. Make sure to describe your image in your alt tag and for Pinterest pins you can add your pin title, which should include your keywords.
Don’t think that you have to repeat your keyword everywhere in your post. Keep it relevant and natural, write for your readers first and search engines second. If you install Yoast, it will tell you if you are using a keyword too often.
3. INSTALL YOAST
To help you with your on-page SEO, install Yoast, a free WordPress plugin.
Yoast adds an SEO section at the bottom of your post in the Worpress editor.
Here you need to fill out your focus key-phrase, your SEO title, your slug and your meta description.
- Your focus key-phrase is your long-tail keyword.
- Your SEO title should be your long-tail keyword and your blog name.
- Your slug is the part of your blog post’s url that appears after your domain name, this should also be your long-tail keyword, like this (the pink text is your slug):
- Your meta description is a short description of your post that shows up in the SERPs. Make sure to add your long-tail keyword in this, keep your description under 155 characters and make your text enticing so people want to click through to your post.
Here’s my Yoast section as example:
4. ADD LSI KEYWORDS
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are keywords that are related to your main keyword. LSI keywords are not synonyms, they are different words that are related to the same topic. For instance, if your blog post is about pottery for beginners, you could include the topics: types of pottery, pottery materials, pottery making process, pottery history. And you could include words such as: clay, techniques, glaze, wheel, kiln etc.
Using LSI keywords shows Google that your content is thorough and covers your topic in depth.
To help you find related words for your topic you can type in your main keyword in Google and when you scroll down a bit you’ll see a list of FAQ like this:
Try and answer these questions in your post.
And when you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll see a list of related searches.
Use these topics to create a more in depth article.
You can also look on Pinterest for related keywords. Type your keyword in the search bar (make sure ‘all pins’ is selected on the right) and see which keywords show up in the tiles underneath the search bar. These are the top keywords that people are typing into Pinterest. Use these keywords in your Pinterest pin title and description.
Other blog aspects to improve your SEO
Quality Blog Content
This one is pretty obvious. To be able to attract traffic to your site, you need to write high quality content about topics that are in demand. Help your readers solve a problem and answer all the questions they might have. Make your post easy to read and in depth and provide content that people are actually looking for.
Another thing you can do that will make it easier to start ranking in Google is narrowing down your niche. Having a clearly defined niche with topics that are closely related will allow Google to see you as an expert in this topic.
For example; it will be easier to rank in Google with a mom blog about pregnancy and childbirth (closely related topics) rather than a lifestyle blog about fashion, make up, travel and food (all very different topics that send mixed messages to Google).
Improving your user experience can help you keep your site visitors on your blog longer and reduce your bounce rate. A lower bounce rate tells Google your visitors like your content so it must be good. Make sure your site looks professional and is easy to read and navigate.
For more tips on improving user experience, please read:
More than 50% of Google searches are done on mobile devices these days, so it’s super important to have a mobile optimised site. If your site is not mobile friendly, Google won’t rank your site over sites that are mobile optimised.
Investing in a quality premium WordPress theme is the easiest way to be certain that your site works properly on all devices and in all browsers.
The theme I use is Enfold, the best rated, top selling theme on Theme Forest. It’s only $59 and it has super dedicated support. If you’re still using a free theme and you’re looking for a good quality upgrade, I’d highly recommend using Enfold.
Your blog’s loading time can also affect your search engine ranking. A slow loading site can cause people to leave your blog before they have even seen it. If someone clicks the browser ‘back button’ within a few seconds of visiting your site, it tells Google they didn’t like your site or didn’t find what they were looking for, which can result in a drop in your ranking.
A slow site is obviously also bad for user experience, so if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, make sure to spend some time improving it. You can check your site speed here.
Your permalink or url should include your long-tail keyword. If you’ve used your long-tail keyword as your post title it should automatically show up in your url like this:
If it doesn’t, you can change your Permalink structure in the WordPress settings BUT ONLY if you don’t already have published posts out there. You should never change your permalinks once you have published posts, because all your existing links to your already published posts will be broken.
If you haven’t launched your blog yet and you want to change your permalink settings, go to the WordPress dashboard: Settings > Permalinks and select Post Name from the options.
When you write a blog post, it’s a good practice to add internal links to other blog posts. Add relevant links to related articles throughout your post and add a list of recent posts at the bottom of your post to encourage people to click through and stay on your blog longer.
Internal linking helps your reader navigate around your site and they also help Google bots to crawl your site more easily.
External links are links to other, preferably high authority, websites. When you link to relevant content on quality websites it helps Google to understand your site content, it increases trust and tells Google that your site is legit.
Backlinks are links on other websites pointing back to your site. Backlinks are good for your blog because when a quality website links to your site, Google will see your content as noteworthy. High-quality backlinks will boost your domain authority and help your search engine ranking.
A good way to get backlinks is by writing guest posts for other blogs or cross promoting with another blogger in your niche.
For quicker and easier ways to build backlinks make sure to check out Debbies book: Easy Backlinks For SEO.
Add an SSL certificate to your site
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the security technology to protect sensitive data like credit card and login details by encrypting it.
Having an SSL certificate for your site will help your SEO because Google prefers sites that have SSL enabled over websites that don’t. It also builds trust with your audience, because a site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate will get a warning that it’s not secure.
If your site has an SSL certificate installed it will have a lock in front of your url and your url will start with https instead of http. Like this:
Check if your site has an SSL certificate, and if it doesn’t you can call your host and buy one.
This rounds up my SEO for Bloggers Essential Beginners guide
I hope this has helped you understand the basics of SEO. If you want to improve your SEO and get more organic traffic to your blog, I highly recommend Debbie’s SEO books: Easy On Page SEO and Easy Backlinks for SEO.
She also has a free course with valuable SEO tips.
If you have any questions please leave a comment below and if you’d like more awesome blogging tips straight to your inbox, feel free to sign up to my email list here.