You love creating and sharing and that is why you have started a blog or website. Now, wouldn’t it be more fun knowing that there are people who actually read what you share? But before that, they have to be able to find you.
That is why SEO (Search Engine Optimization) matters because it is essentially how search engines like Google allow others to discover your blog. The higher you rank on search results for particular keywords, the more likely people will land on your pages.
So here I put together a list of 10 effective SEO tips that every blog must know in order to grow your audience.
1. Research Topic and Keywords
Before you even start writing any posts, you might think about what topic to blog about. This is a good time to do a little bit of research to validate the topic and keywords are the ones that people are interested in reading.
Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner are 2 separate tools that are very helpful when researching for topics and keywords.
Google Trends is especially helpful for 2 reasons when you enter a search term:
- It shows related topics and queries
- Gives recently trending searches
Google Keyword Planner is similar but provide more extensive results:
- Keyword search volume
- Relevant keyword ideas
Both of these tools are free.
2. Create Blog Format Types That Captivate Audience
- How-To guides
- List style posts (“Best of” or Tips list posts)
- Visual posts
- Personal stories
It’s easy to understand why How-To guides are so welcomed. They are tutorials that are designed to teach something. It serves a purpose in the way that people who want to learn will need them. Tutorials with step-by-step guides provide an easy to follow instructions that ensures that a certain goal is met upon completion.
List Style Posts (“Best of” / “Top X Tips”)
Similarly, list style posts are the 2nd most popular type blogs. They are usually formatted with headings and subheadings that make reading and finding information easier.
People often say “A picture is worth a thousand words”.
Adding images that are relevant is a powerful way to send your message across. It is also very effective when you provide step-by-step instructions with screenshots. Images are simply easier to digest. Visuals add colors and moods when done correctly stimulate positive emotions and feelings.
3. Write Catchy (Max CTR) Headlines
- Emotional words
Numbers and digits stand out in a group of alphabet letters. So try to use them in headlines or titles as a way to grab your readers’ attention. Titles with number will improve the Click-Through rate, which will help with the Google ranking.
Besides keywords in your headlines, emotional words tend to attract people to click through and read. Some examples of emotional words are:
4. Make Your Posts Easy To Read
- Spacing and padding
- Headings and sub-headings
- Bulleted list
Spacing And Padding
Nobody likes crammed website or blog. Make sure you gives your web pages sufficient spacing and padding for better readability.
Everything too tight together tend to strain the eyes, so gives your paragraphs room to create light and airy pages that in turn makes a more pleasant experience.
Headings and Sub-headings
Organizational structure of a blog is just as important as the overall aesthetics especially when the blog post is packed of information. It is easier for your readers to find information when it is well organized.
Using headings and sub-headings is a great way to break up a ton of information to small chunks that can be more easily consumed. Use numerical headings if you are writing a list post.
Like headings, bulleted list are useful to identify key points for the readers. It helps create a list that stand out from all the texts without implying chronological orders.
Make sure that indentation is used correctly along with bullet points in order to keep any blog post organized and easy to read.
5. Optimize Images For Searches
- Add Alt Tags
- Save images with keywords in the filename
Add ALT Tags
With images, SEO is just as important. Make sure all images have an ALT tags because that is how google understands what the image is about and how they will rank it in the search. Provide descriptions in the ALT tags with keywords for which you want the image to show in search results.
Save Images With Keywords In The Filenames
This is often overlooked and I admit I still have images files saved in numerical filenames. But, they are not only not helpful, they are bad for SEO. The best way is to start a filename convention from the beginning and remember to use relevant keywords and phrases in the filenames that will help the images ranked and bring people to your articles.
6. Internal Linking
- Categories and tags
- Permanent links
When it comes to navigation, focus on the user experience. Keep it clear, simple and consistent. Make sure users can find where the menus are in easy to see places. Links silo pages to one another. Breadcrumbs when done correctly gives a clear sense of location where current pages are when users are browsing on your blog or website.
Categories & Tags
Inter-linking pages within the categories or tags is an easy way to refer your readers to the next article before they felt they are done on your blog. They are a way to best organize content on your blog to help your users find information easily.
Also, categories and tags are useful for SEO indexing as much as keywords. So, while keeping it easy and simple, leverage them to help boost SEO performance with carefully selected choice of words and phrases.
By default, WordPress uses permanent links that are not SEO-friendly. The first thing you should do is go to Settings->Permalinks and modify the structure.
Instead of a plain structure like this – https://www.domain.com/?p=123, choose either a “post name” structure or a custom structure that allows you to add %category% in the URLs.
It’s best to keep the URLs short and sweet (another word, concise) and avoid using dates unless it’s a news type website.
7. Create Shareable Content With Call To Action
Creating content that can trigger social share will undoubtedly increase traffic to your blog. Make sure at the end of a great piece of content you have a clear call to action, whether it is to share this or leave a comment.
- Tweet This
- Pin This
To give your users an easy way to share on Twitter, you can install a plugin to create “click to tweet” boxes on your pages. When they like your content and find it share worthy, all they need to do is share it on their Twitter accounts.
Similarly, to enable users to share on their Pinterest accounts, you add a “pin this” button. It works best when you add text to images for Pinterest because that’s more likely to get clicks than images without texts, as you can see in many cover images on popular blogs.
8. Monitor Performance
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Page-Speed Insights
While there are many web tools out on the internet, most of them are paid only services, your paid subscriptions can add up if you sign up for recurring maintenance. Google, on the other, provides tools for free, so blogger should leverage the free services to cut down on cost of keeping a blog or website.
Google Analytics enable users to track performance and traffic of a blog including page views, sessions, referrals.
- You must own the website as Google will verify your domain by requiring that you add a unique verification code in your domain’s DNS record.
- An often overlooked steps when setting up Google Analytics is not including tracking code on every web page. It sounds daunting to do that on every page. An easier and better way to add tracking code is through plugins like “GA Google Analytics”. To set up, you just need to copy / paste the tracking code found on your Google Analytics property to the plugins settings.
- Lastly, to confirm that you configured Google Analytics correctly, check the realtime report. While visiting your website the realtime report should show active users (number greater than 0).
Google Search Console
Alright, now, remember the whole point of this article is to improve the SEO ranking of your blog? There is a separate tool specifically for monitoring the site’s appearances within search results which is the Google Search Console. Besides, it is also the tool you use to manually index your blog.
For you to tell if your new web page or blog post you just published is searchable on Google and appearing in search results, you use this tool to check the index status.
Note that under Acquisition Report, you can create link or association between Google Analytics and Search Console. Make sure in Search Console, you add a new property with “URL Prefix”. URL Prefix has to be verified in order for the association to work between the two applications.
Google Page Speed Insights
Page speed affects SEO as well as Google ranking. It is crucial to look at your website speed and optimize the best you can.
You can do that with Google Page-Speed Insights tool that is free. The tool analyzes your website in mobile and desktop mode and makes suggestions on how you can make your website faster.
9. Backlinks & Outbound Links
Having external sources that point to your blog is beneficial in increasing your SEO ranking. If you can contribute to other popular websites or blogs and in turn direct to your blog, it can certainly help improve your overall page rank and subsequently traffic.
Same applies to having links you point to from your blog, as it helps Google to understand your niche and improve perceived quality of your blog.
10. Getting Indexed On Google
Last but not least, is making sure your blog is crawled by and indexed on Google. Nobody can confirm how soon a brand new site or blog is indexed because it ranges, but in my experience I find it to be within a matter of couple days.
To check if your web pages are indexed, type in site:<your_domain> in Google search bar. It should list all the pages it has indexed for you.
If not, there is a way to manually request for a Google index using Google Search Console. Once you log in, copy and paste the URL you would like to index on to the crawl fetch search bar. It will say it’s submitted to the queue and should be indexed in a number of hours or sometimes less.
Hope you find this article and these most essential tips helpful. They are what I believe to be the minimum techniques all websites and blogs must apply to in order to drive more organic traffic.