One of the biggest game changers for my blog has been focusing on SEO and by a landslide at that. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Maybe you haven’t heard of this specific term, but you’ve definitely benefited from it. SEO is all about making your webpage and blog posts easier for Google and other search engines to find. No matter where you’re at in your blogging journey, this post is for you because I’m sharing my best SEO tips for bloggers.
Why do bloggers need to focus on SEO?
I didn’t start working on SEO until last year, and let me tell you: the results have been massive. In all of 2019, only 700 of my website visitors came from search engines, meaning they typed in a search term and my blog popped up. Fast forward to this year — and it’s only July — more than 2,500 of my website visitors came from search engines like Google and Bing.
All of 2019 vs…
First six months of 2020
Think about it: when you’re looking for the best restaurants in Destin, Florida, what do you do? You open Google or Pinterest and type in “best restaurants in Destin, FL.” And yes, Pinterest is a search engine, not a social media platform.
Maybe you’re a blogger and have tried those “grow your traffic quick” methods like posting more regularly on social media, hosting giveaways with other influencers or researching hashtags. There’s nothing wrong with these, but if you’re frustrated that your traffic hasn’t increased sustainably from these methods, you’re in the right spot.
Working on your SEO isn’t a “get rich quick” or rather “get traffic quick” method. But it sets you up for exponential growth and more than anything, it gives your readers a better experience. I didn’t see results over night, but boy, have I seen my blog grow big time in the months that followed my SEO overhaul!
Okay, so what’s the magic secret? The truth is I can’t tell you everything you need to know about SEO for bloggers in one post because it’s a complex topic. But I want to share 6 SEO tips for bloggers that you can implement today.
Take Yoast’s SEO for Beginners course
This free course is where I learned 95% of what I know about SEO. They can better explain how SEO works and break down this mysterious algorithm. Ugh yes, I know, the terrible, evil, no-good algorithm. But seriously, if you do anything for your blog, take this free online course, and no, this isn’t sponsored by Yoast in any way.
This free course walks you through the basics and even gives mini quizzes to make sure you’re processing what you’re learning. At the end of the course, you receive a certificate, which I added to my LinkedIn profile.
Choose specific keywords for each post
As bloggers, we have lots of thoughts and ideas, but sometimes we can get carried away with too many focuses for one post. When you’re writing a blog post, make it specific. Let’s say you just spent a summer in Prague studying abroad and want to create several blog posts.
Instead of one massive post with how you packed, what you ate, where you visited, where to stay, day trips from Prague, etc., break it down into hearty yet easy-to-digest posts. Maybe create a post called “11 Best Restaurants in Prague,” another called “3 Best Day Trips from Prague.” That makes it less broad and also helps people who are typing “best day trips from Prague” into Google. Choose one focus keyphrase such as “best restaurants in Prague” and use it several times throughout your post.
Organize your site and posts well
This isn’t just for eye candy purposes; organizing your blog makes it easier for search engines to find and index your blog. One quick fix you can do today is go back through old posts and make sure you have subheadings in each post. No, not bolded text. Actual H1 or H2 headings. Not only does it make it easier for search engines but it also makes it a better experience for your readers.
Another thing you can do today is to make sure you’ve categorized your posts in a clear, logical fashion. This might mean categorizing the post as Recipes, Lifestyle, Travel, DIY or Fashion. And then there are tags. When you tag your posts, these are more specific than categories. So while the category might be travel, the tag might be Paris or France. The category might be Recipe and the tag is appetizers or desserts.
Link, link, link!
Another easy way to increase your blog’s SEO is by adding links within each blog post. Not only is this super helpful to your readers, but search engines also love it. And as far as SEO tips for bloggers, it’s fairly simple. Add links to your blog posts, both within your website and off your website.
For example, if you’re a food blogger and post a recipe for chocolate torte, you could link to another post of yours sharing your favorite kitchen tools. Maybe you’re sharing a macaron recipe and want to share your favorite YouTube video on how to get great consistency of your batter. (Believe me, it’s tough!)
No need to go overboard with linking every single sentence. Honestly, that’s pretty annoying for your reader, but adding several to each post will help your SEO score.
Utilize the Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress
When I first took Yoast’s SEO for Beginners course, my WordPress plan didn’t support plugins. And maybe you’re not ready to upgrade your site or aren’t able to at this time. That’s okay! There are ways to still optimize your site for search engines like the tips above.
But if you’re able to get a WordPress Business plan, use that Yoast SEO plugin every single time you draft. They have red, orange and green lights to show how you’re ranking for your keyphrase and give you specific suggestions on how to improve your score. This is, by far, my favorite plugin, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s made a big difference in my blog’s searchability.
Don’t neglect previously published content
As you’re moving forward, utilize these principles, but don’t forget about all the content you’ve already published. I made a goal to fix and update at least 5 blog posts each month for SEO purposes. This means that, using the Yoast plugin, I go back to old posts to write a Meta description, add a focus keyphrase, add inbound and outbound links and check Yoast’s recommendations for improvement.
An easy way to see which blog posts need work is to go to your WordPress Admin dashboard > Posts > All Posts > Published. If you have the Yoast SEO plugin, click on the “All SEO Scores” box and pick which SEO scores you’d like see. As I’m going back through old posts, I like to click “SEO: No focus keyphrase” so that I can go back and fix those.
No, Google hasn’t disclosed the specific algorithm it uses for SEO, and algorithms are constantly changing. But Yoast takes out so much guesswork with their plugin by giving you specific suggestions. Again, this isn’t a sponsored post; I’m just obsessed with this plugin!
SEO can seem confusing and nebulous, but take a deep breath! There are specific steps you can take today to ensure your blog for search engine success. Even if your WordPress plan doesn’t have plugin capabilities, I still recommend taking Yoast’s free course to learn more SEO tips for bloggers. Happy blogging!
Still looking for more tips on how to make money from your blog, promote your posts successfully, the best tools/plugins and more? Take a look at my ebook, Become a Pro Blogger in 2 Weeks.