Basic SEO for bloggers
Why is SEO important for blogs? Why do I, a blogger, need to abide by Google’s ranking rules? Are those rules not only made for big websites and companies? If these questions sound familiar — you are in the right place, because we will try to provide you with some answers.
Blogging is a relatively young profession. It has been around for more than three decades now and ever since the beginning of the Internet, the look and feel of blogs have changed significantly. Back in the day when there were only a few blogging platforms, writers have not been paying attention to things such as design and getting followers. Heck, all the way to the 2000s blogs mainly served their initial purpose: they were an online diary or a web log, which are the words the term was coined from in the first place.
However, in the age of social networks and digital media, blogs are a powerful tool for promotion and bloggers are becoming an ever popular profession. Even if you are running a blog just for fun — the only reason why you do it is to get someone find and read your content.
Since people usually use Google to browse websites on the Internet, it would be logical to learn their ranking rules if you want to get found. And Google’s algorithms have changed significantly over the years, and they keep on changing. So, what bloggers need to do is to learn the rules of their favorite search engine and adapt to them.
That is why we have gathered here a few concepts every blogging newbie should know about.
Why SEO matters for bloggers
Even though rookie bloggers may not realize this, there are a few benefits your blog will have after you have optimized it.
First of all, even if you are doing it as a hobby, the very act of writing and publishing your thoughts on the Internet means that you want them to be read. You want a frequenting readership and maybe get even feedback from them. When users come to your blog or website, this is called traffic. And SEO can bring you just that: your target audience/traffic comes to read your thoughts and voila — you get exactly what you wanted!
If you are thinking about promoting your blog articles and expanding your writing business in the future, SEO would be an ideal way of promotion. Especially today when many people rely on social networks as their only source of traffic, whereas those social networks raise a lot of issues, so you may ask yourself: what would happen if my audience coming from Facebook would someday be gone? Well, a logical answer would be to find another source of traffic, and Google (or Bing, or Yahoo, or Yandex) may be just the right place to find help. People ask Google many questions and one (or even a thousand) of those queries may lead all the way to your blog.
If you aim at generating profit in the future, an optimized blog would be the right way to go. Just imagine handing out business cards with your name and blog on them. If you optimize your blog for certain keywords, such as your (brand) name or small business or even some search terms (keywords), people will be able to find your blog directly from the SERP.
So, if this is enough to convince you to start thinking about Search Engine Optimization, here are a few things you need to fixate in order to get better ranking of your blog.
What to focus on:
Every website and every blog needs to have a clear structure. If you already have a niche, i.e. specialization or a field you know a lot about — great! You can use it as a starting point to group your content into more precise areas.
For example, if you graduated from tourism and you want to write a tourist blog, you can and should think about a specific area to write about, such as Discovering Asia. There are a lot of topics to write about which you can later divide into destinations, culinary, recommendations, lodging tips, how to save, video, pictures, and many more.
Additionally, Google likes structured data and your blog should have a solid structure to help its crawlers easily find and index your content.
This is one of the basic things every writer should have in mind when keeping a blog. Keywords are a hot topic ever since the beginning of the Internet and ranking rules, especially today when the algorithm has changed so much. First of all, you need to do a thorough keyword research and then, logically, use them in your blog posts.
SEO experts recommend using your targeted keyword in your article title, in the URL, within the text itself, in the meta tags (meta description), in image file paths (and their corresponding alt text), and as anchor text to link to that article or some other page on the blog. If all of these concepts sound too abstract to you, and if you have no coding knowledge, you should use some SEO plugin, such as All in One SEO or Yoast. By doing so, you will be able to help your blog rank even without any programming or development knowledge.
3. Social connections
Another important aspect of SEO is linking. Links coming from relevant websites or blogs which connect you with the outer world are what brings Google to your blog and assigning it great value to the visitors. If you have no idea where to start, we recommend social networks — create a business page for your blog or create/join a relevant group, get followers and share the links to your articles.
Next, sign up your blog to directories and make sure to collaborate with other blog owners and try guest posting to promote your desired keywords and articles you are especially proud of. Many SEOs also recommend earning links, but this is a special topic we will address in the future.
And the last, but not the least, is planning. Make a timetable, plan your keywords (Keyword Planner can help you with that), plan your content, plan what you want to achieve, and set goals. And most importantly: stick to your plans. For example, during the first month, you want to write four blog articles and hit four different keywords, whereas in the second month you want two articles a week and expand your keyword base.
SEO can help you get targeted traffic only if you continue to blog at regular intervals. To do so, you need to write at all times. Nulla dies sine linea, as the Ancient Romans put it. Never leave a day pass by without writing something. Even if have no inspiration, you can check what articles you had written in the past were read the most (and proved most useful to your audience), so you can elaborate more on them and even post editorials.
And in the end, do not forget that everything changes. You change and so will your blog. Even if you make SEO mistakes, when you have detected them — just simply correct them and revise your blog. Nobody hits it the first time. As years pass by, the odds are that you will probably realize how things you have created at the beginning of your career suck really bad. But do not feel bad because of it — this is just an indicator of how much your knowledge and experience will have grown. The objective is only to keep working on your blog and good things will come in return.
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Originally published at www.popwebdesign.net on April 5, 2018.