Ensuring that your blog is easily discoverable is crucial if you want your content to be read. While search engine optimization (SEO) may be a more exciting topic for bloggers, it is vital for promoting your work. However, today's SEO differs from the past, where the norm was to stuff keywords and use awkward titles.
In 2016, SEO was about creating relevant, valuable content and following simple optimization principles. This involves naming and tagging your images and effectively structuring your blog. With just a few minor adjustments, you can transform your blog from unoptimized to built with high search engine rankings in mind.
You can significantly boost your traffic by implementing these small, simple changes. A few hours of SEO work on a high-traffic blog can generate tens or hundreds of thousands of visitors from organic searches every year.
Whether you write about a specific niche or your everyday life, the tactics outlined below will help you optimize your content for organic search. This will generate more traffic, revenue, and exposure from every article you publish.
1. Choosing a Blogging Platform that is Search Engine Friendly
As a blogger, one of the most significant decisions you will make is selecting a content management system (CMS). A CMS is a platform to create your blog, add new content, and organize your content into a complete website.
However, not all CMSes are created equal. Some are more user-friendly, while others are better optimized for search engines. In most cases, WordPress provides the best combination of search engine-optimized design, user-friendliness, and widespread usage. It's so popular that it powers around 26% of all websites.
While other options, such as Blogger and Typepad, also allow for self-hosted blogs, WordPress typically delivers the best results in terms of ease of use and search engine optimization.
2. Improving Your Permalink Structure for Better Optimization
When creating content, it's crucial to structure your website with search engines in mind.
WordPress uses an “ugly” default permalink format, which assigns a unique Post ID to each page or blog post. For instance, if your blog were on example.com, the URL for each blog post would look like this:
This format is complex for users to remember and challenging for search engines to understand. Search engines like Google use the URL of a page to determine its subject. The closer a page's URL aligns with its target keywords, the better it will likely rank.
After you have installed WordPress or published content, you can modify your blog's permalink structure to use the title of each post as its URL instead of its publishing code. To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard, click “Settings,” and select “Permalinks.”
Using the post title in its URL instead of a numerical code helps Google's algorithm better understand each post's key theme and target keyword, improving search visibility and helping you rank in organic search. For example, a bar named “The Best Hotels in Rome” would have a URL structure of “/the-best-hotels-in-Rome” instead of its numerical post ID.
If you have recently started a WordPress blog, changing your website's permalink structure should be one of the first steps you take as a blogger. It's a quick task that can significantly benefit your blog's organic search traffic in the long term.
3. How Titles and Meta Tags Impact SEO for Your Website
When using WordPress, you can customize each post's title and meta description. These two fields dictate what information search engines like Google display for each relevant search query on their results pages.
Several WordPress plugins are available for managing titles and meta descriptions, with Yoast SEO and SEO Ultimate being the most popular in 2016. By modifying these fields, you can control how your content appears in organic search results, as shown in this example for a search on “healthy protein shake recipes.”
Page titles are important ranking factors that Google uses to sort and organize your content based on the included keywords. To clarify that your content focuses on a particular keyword, use it as early in the title as possible. Entrepreneur.com does this well in their title for a post on “business plan.”
Meta descriptions, on the other hand, are not used as ranking factors, but they still play a crucial role in enticing users to click through to your content. Keep your meta description brief, under 160 characters, and summarize the main topic of your post. The meta description for Entrepreneur.com's post on business plans gives a quick overview of the post's content – step-by-step guides for creating a business plan.
4. Emphasize relevant keyword usage and avoid keyword stuffing
In the past, keyword frequency was a primary factor for indicating a page's relevance in Google's algorithm for SEO. This led to the practice of keyword stuffing, where marketers overloaded their content with excessive amounts of keywords, making it difficult to read.
However, Google's algorithm has evolved to be more sophisticated in detecting and punishing keyword stuffing. Now, it considers multiple factors, such as latent semantic indexing and written content quality.
As a blogger, you no longer need to focus on overusing your target keywords. Instead, use them naturally and strategically place them in H1, H2, H3, and H4 headings to create specific sections.
The key to effective SEO is “relevance.” Using keywords naturally and thoughtfully can engage your readers while satisfying Google's search engine algorithm. But if you abuse keywords, you risk receiving an over-optimization penalty that can affect your entire website or individual blog posts.
5. Setting up an XML Sitemap on Your Website
Looking for a quick and easy way to boost your SEO? Consider installing an XML sitemap on your blog. This type of sitemap acts as a roadmap that guides Google's spider to the location of each page on your site. By installing a plugin such as Google XML Sitemaps, you can improve your post indexing rate and make it easier for Google to quickly locate and index your content.
6. Optimize your images
SEO benefits from images more than most people realize. In addition to making content more visually appealing, Google utilizes the filenames and alt tags associated with images to enhance its comprehension of a post's content.
The process of optimizing images for SEO is straightforward. It begins with giving each image in your blog a meaningful filename. For instance, if you are sharing a picture of a pizza, use “pizza.jpg” instead of a standard filename like “IMAGE-1849920.jpg,” which your camera might produce.
Alt text is the text that will appear when an image does not load correctly. Alt text provides Google with more information about the image's topic. When optimizing for a particular keyword, try to include it in your alt text while describing the picture.
In WordPress, you may modify all of these image SEO components from the Media Library on your dashboard. As it only takes a minute to optimize images, it's essential to do it for every post you publish. By giving each image a meaningful title, filename, and alt text, you may eventually attract new visitors to your blog via Google Image Search.
7. How to thrive in an industry with intense competition?
Regarding content and SEO rankings, there is a fascinating correlation between the length of blog posts and articles and their position on the results page. In general, longer pieces of content tend to outperform shorter ones, all else being equal.
Several factors may contribute to this phenomenon:
- Google's search algorithm favors pages that reach a certain length, increasing their likelihood of ranking.
- Longer content is often more shareable and linkable, which can improve its PageRank and give it a more substantial presence in search results.
- Lengthy articles tend to incorporate more keywords, increasing their chances of achieving better organic search visibility.
In organic search, longer content generally has an advantage over shorter content, regardless of the reason. If you're composing a post targeted at a competitive keyword, it's essential to assess competing pages before publishing to ensure that your post surpasses the average in terms of length.
8. Create Content First, Optimize Later
When writing with SEO in mind, it's common to unconsciously include keywords, resulting in content packed with valuable information that reads unnaturally.
Rather than writing with keywords as the primary focus, writing about a topic and optimizing it after completion is preferable. After finishing a post, search for common keyword themes and optimize using the existing content rather than writing solely for SEO purposes.
As a blogger, it's easy to become too focused on SEO. To avoid this, concentrate on creating the best possible content and then optimize it. This approach prioritizes readers and natural social activity, with search engines being considered afterward.
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