A Beginners Guide To SEO for Bloggers
A Beginners Guide To SEO for Bloggers
photo credit: chase_elliott via photopin cc

Back in 2007 when I started blogging I didn’t pay search engine optimisation (SEO) any attention. I just started writing and hoped that my online networks would help me gain readers.

Seven years on I have stopped ignoring it. Google is the biggest referrer to my website and from this traffic comes customers. There is no doubt that SEO for bloggers is crucial.

If you don’t think about SEO when blogging you are limiting your reach. You can strike it lucky with a post but the more effort you put in to appearing in search engine results the more traffic you will get.

In this guide to SEO for bloggers we will look at:

  • Why you shouldn’t write for SEO
  • How to find out what key terms people are using to find your site
  • Basic keyword and keyphrase research
  • Where to include key words
  • Using the Yoast SEO plugin
  • Writing longer posts
  • Optimising images for SEO
  • Use internal linking

Why you shouldn’t write for SEO

It’s obvious when you land on a blog post that has been written for SEO. The title may have promised a lot but the resulting article is a mess of words with keyphrases crowbarred in. The sentences don’t flow and the post seems to have no purpose except trying to game a search engine. We tend not to stay long on these posts.

You have to think about the SEO when you are blogging. You should research your key words and key phrases in advance but when you write you should just write. Concentrate on the flow of your post. Make sure it is making the points you need it to. When you finish go back and edit. See how you can add your key phrase to your opening paragraph and other areas of the post.

Action: Write your posts first then add keywords

How to find out what key terms people are using to find your site

Knowing how people are finding your site already will help you choose topics to write about that will attract more readers. For example I know a lot of people find my site when looking for information on Facebook competitions. The more I write on the topic the more people I attract to my site.

For me it would be a mistake to just write about Facebook competitions. I offer lots of services so need to cover a lot of bases. I do make sure that I write about competitions reasonably frequently.

You can no longer see what search terms people use to find you via Google Analytics. This data is still available in Google Webmaster tools. If you already have Google Analytics on your site (and I recommend you do) it is straight forward to set up Webmaster tools.

Here’s how:

A Beginners Guide To SEO for Bloggers

  • Click the ‘Alternate methods’ tab
  • Check the ‘Google analytics’ box and then ‘Verify’

A Beginners Guide To SEO for Bloggers

It can take a while for Webmaster tools to analyse your site.

To access the search terms people are using to find your site click ‘Search traffic’ and ‘Search queries’ on the left hand side.

http://youtu.be/M62VIN7gKhk

Action: Check which search terms already work for you and create posts on similar topics

Basic keyword and key phrase research

There is no point optimising your blog post for a keyword or phrase that no one searches for. Google Keyword Planner can help you discover search terms and phrases that people are actually using in their searches.

Here’s a video that shows you how it works:

Action: Use keyword planner to brainstorm key phrases related to your topic.

Adding key words to your posts

Once you have identified your key words or phrases you need to incorporate them in to your post. You need to aim to include them in:

  1. Your headline
  2. Your opening paragraph
  3. Sprinkled throughout your content
  4. In your blog post URL

Using the Yoast SEO plugin

Yoast is an SEO plugin for WordPress. It helps you ensure that your keyword is included enough within your post. Once you have installed it an SEO box will appear underneath your blog composition box.

Input your desired keyword and complete information on your blog title and opening paragraph. Yoast will count mentions of your keyword in each section and assign you a red, amber or green light dependent on it’s frequency. This is a useful way to ensure you have enough mentions in the right places of your keyword.

The example below shows that I need to work on working my key phrase ‘SEO for bloggers’ into my opening paragraph and the body of my text.

http://youtu.be/M62VIN7gKhk

Action: Add the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin to your blog

Writing longer posts

For search engine optimisation longer posts are better. According to Orbit Media 1,500 is the optimum length. This gives us more opportunity to prove our key phrase relevance to the search engines.

According to MOZ Longer blog posts are more likely to get linked to. The more inbound links you have to your site the better authority it has.

Writing longer posts takes time. Be careful not to waffle to fill the space. Try increasing the length of your posts over time.

Action: Write posts that are over 1,500 in length.

Naming images

When you upload an image to your blog there are a few ways you can optimise it for search engines:

1. Name your image

Before you upload your image name it something that describes what your post is about. Include your key word or key phrase as part of the title.

For example the image at the top of this blog post is called seo-for-bloggers.png.

2. Alt tag

This is the text that will appear if your image fails to load. Again this text should include your key word or key phrase.

Google will index your alt tags which should help your SEO. The image will also appear in Google image search for the key phrase you have included.

http://youtu.be/M62VIN7gKhk

3. Image size

Avoid uploading images that are larger than you want them to display on your site. Large images will slow down the loading time of your page and this can effect your Google ranking.

Resize images before you upload them using a tool like PicMonkey (affiliate link).

Action: Re-size and re-name your image before you upload it. Use keyword rich alt text to accompany your image.

Use Internal linking

Linking to other content within your post that is relevant to your topic will help the web spiders crawl your content. The easier you make it for the crawlers to navigate your site the better indexed it will be.

You will see above that I have linked to a previous post on Google keyword planner. That link is showing the search engine spider a related post and guiding it through my site.

Action: Link to at least one previous and related post in each blog post you write.

Your Turn

Do you think about SEO when you are writing your blog?
Have you tried any of these techniques? Have they worked for you?

I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave your thoughts in the comment box.

 

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The Truth About Social Media & SEO, Social Media Strategy & More - The Social 7
photo credit: AndrewEick via photopin cc

This week I’ve found some handy social media strategy stuff, some ideas for Facebook content and an article about social media SEO.

How to Increase Fan Engagement on Your Facebook Page

I think this is the third week in a row that I have been talking about Facebook reach being down. It does look like that will either have to pay to get your content seen in the future or you will have to work hard to create great content.

This post from Amy Porterfield shows you the type of content you should be sharing to get your audience interacting with your content.

NPR’s Epic April Fools’ Day Prank

Every April fools day there are some gags that raise a smile and others that you never realise were a prank as you miss the great reveal. This example could well fall in to the second category.

I think we realise that those who comment on our posts on social media don’t always click the link. People are short of time and a good headline can be enough to tell them enough about the topic for them to state their opinion. It’s a shame really as publishers spend a lot of time crafting their posts.

This April fools NPRS played a prank on their Facebook audience. I’m not going to tell you what it is, you’ll have to click the link! I can tell you it’s worth a read and tells us a lot about the behaviour of online commentators.

3 Steps to Build a Social Media Marketing Sales Funnel

This month our content focus is on social media strategy so I found this post from Social Media Examiner fascinating. Sales people will be familiar with the traditional sales funnel but it doesn’t quite fit the social sales process.

This is a good read and one to bookmark. 

**Note: 5th April 2014 The Social Media Examiner site is currently down. The link is correct, try it again later.**

Brand Identity Online

How hard have you thought about your branding online? Consistent branding online ensures that your audience will begin to recognise your content. This post on Social Media Today talks you through how a real life brand makes specific decisions to ensure it remains consistent.

5 best practices for great Facebook ad creative

If you are delving into Facebook advertising for the first time or even if you have been doing it for a while it’s worth taking a look at this post from Media Street. It’s full of good basic tips on creating ads that work.

Setting Your First Social Media Marketing Goals

This is probably the shortest article that I’ve ever linked to but it’s brilliant. It just goes to show that you don’t have to write 1,000 words to share good information.

Once again it’s about strategy but this time it’s looking at how to set your social media marketing goals.

Twitter & Facebook links affect SEO on Google and Bing

From time to time I hear social media people talking about the SEO benefits of social media. Sadly there is virtually no such thing. Links posted on Facebook and Twitter rarely have an effect on your SEO.

Social signals could have more effect on search engines in the future but for now it’s going to be rare. Read more in the is article from Web SEO Analytics.

And from Spiderworking.com this week:

WordPress Tutorial: Embed HTML in Posts & Pages with ‘HTML Snippet’ – Cool Tool

I use the ‘HTML Snippet’ WordPress plugin on this blog to embed banners at the bottom of my posts. It saves me a huge amount of time. Here’s how to set it up, I’ve also included the code you need in order to add a snippet to your site.

Is Your Target Market On Facebook? Find Out With Facebook Ads Manager [Tutorial]

This is the first in my series of videocasts on how to find your target market on social media.  I show you how you can gauge the size of your market on Facebook using Ads Manager.

A Quick Guide To Creating A Basic Facebook Strategy – Part One: Planning

Over the next three weeks I’m going to be showing you how to build a basic Facebook strategy. In part one I take you though some steps to plan your campaign. Next week we’ll be looking at content creation.

That’s all from Spiderworking this week. I hope you are having a great weekend.

If you enjoyed this blog post why not subscribe to my newsletter or my blog posts via email. Click here for more info.

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This week we asked the KLCK Bloggers Network to share the top tips they picked up at the meeting. Here they are

  • Susan Fitzgerald from Vibrant Ireland –  Include a maximum of 3 outbound links in your blog post and make it more content rich.
  • Mairéad Kelly from Encouraging Excellence – Use one keyword in multiple blog posts
  • John O’Connor from Red Oak Tax Refunds – Use Google Page Speed Test to check your website loads quickly
  • Valerie Humphries from Kehoe Auctioneers – Use one of your keywords (search terms you want to be found for) in the title of your blog post
  • Simon Lewis from Anseo.net – Use a SEO plugin on your WordPress & Play around with the permalinks (or pretty links) your blog generates.

You can view the full presentation from Beatrice Whelan on SEO and blogging here.  For details of future meetings keep an eye on the KLCK Bloggers Facebook Page.

What are your top SEO tips? Leave me a comment below and if I get a few I’ll include them in a blog post.

Today’s post is a guest post from Alan Coleman from OnlineAdvertising.ie.  Alan is the founder & CEO on OnlineAdvertising.ie, they are specialists in the areas of Google Adwords & SEO. OnlineAdvertising.ie have had numerous campaigns published by Google as Case Studies and are finalists in the upcoming DMA’s in the “Best Digital Marketing Agency” category.

Last year we asked you to submit your social media questions for us to answer,

SM Receivables asked “what is the difference between tags and meta tags?”

We’ll hand you over to Alan for the answer:

I’m not 100% what the tweeter meant by “tags”, so I will give a give explanations for a few of the possibilities. Websites have 2 audiences, their users and the search engines. I will detail the relevance of each type of “tag” to both parties.

Title Tags

The “title tag” of your webpage is very important for SEO. It helps the search engine understand what your webpage is about. It is also generally the headline of your webpages’ listing on the Google search results so it will influence whether users visit your site or not.

Your “title tag” is also visible to your websites users at the very top of their screen. So it may influence conversions.

Meta Tags

A meta tag (which can be meta description or meta keywords among other things) is not visible to website users and has less (if any) value in SEO. Meta descriptions are important however, because the search engine will generally display the “meta description” in it’s search results. So well written copy in the “meta description” can increase clicks & conversions on your websites.

Alt Tags

An “alt tag” is the labelling of an image on a website. If you hover your icon over the image on a website it’s alt tag will appear. Search engines can’t see pictures so unless you tag them they will not know what the picture is of, and won’t be able to display them to people searching for such images, or attribute the keywords to your web page. So “alt tags” are important for SEO.

Tags

“Tags” also appear on blogs. You can tag words in a blog so if the user clicks on the tagged word they can see a list of all your posts which include this tagged word. This is great for SEO as it tells search engines you have plenty of content on this word(s) and will therefore increase your website’s value for this word(s). It is also great for users as they can easily find all your posts on their subject of choice.

If you have a social media question you would like answered leave a comment below.