What is SEO?
It's using strategies to optimize each post and page you publish to get your blog to appear on the first page of a relevant google search. Most people use google and most people don't bother looking past the first page of results their searches turn up, so if you want to direct traffic for your blog, it's vital to do everything possible to make the information on your site easy for google to digest.
We all want an audience, and the way I figure it there's no point spending ages on a post only to have no one read it. Optimising your blog doesn't mean you have to start writing like a robot - it's simply about employing a few key tricks to make the most out of your hard work and help you reach your creative goals.
13 SEO Tips for Bloggers from Blogopolis 2012
1. The title of your blog should be 66 characters. Title doesn't just mean blog name - use all 66 characters to include extra key words that describe your site. You also get 155 characters for a description which again should include key words telling people what they can expect to find on your blog.
2. Own your own domain and host your blog yourself. It's $12 a year for the domain and another fee depending on your host (Dream Host, for example, cost around $9USD per month and has great customer service).
3. Use keywords in your domain. For example, www.thespringblog.com isn't a great domain name (even though I love it) because it doesn't explicitly describe what my site is about. www.eatliveshop.com is a great domain name.
4. Write headlines as though you're a wire service. Yes, repeat readers return because of your flair but new readers find you in the first place because of good SEO. They are looking for a particular bit of information, so whatever you're writing about, make sure the key word describing that topic is in the title.
5. Use google adwords to do your keyword search. It's helpful for fine-tuning your language by letting you know what words others are using when they search for the topic of your post. Ideally you want to choose keywords with a 'medium' level of competition. If you get the SEO right you'll be able to attract more searchers and still have a chance of beating out the higher ranked sites to appear on the front page of search results for that keyword.
6. Determine your primary key word and 1-2 secondary key words. In your title, headlines, and opening text put the keywords as far to thetop and the left as possible. It's easier for google to pick them up in this position. The farther down the post, the less they count, SEO-wise.
7. Get the Yoast SEO plugin for Wordpress. I'm going to do a fuller review post about this soon because it's super easy to use and a huge help. I've only been working with it for a week and already the posts I've optimised are bringing in more traffic than before.
8. Link to other blogs. Ask other blogs to add you to their blogroll or link back to you. Building links around the web from high-credibility sites increases your search engine profile and it's the cheapest most effective way to market your site.
9. Use social media for reach. Google is starting to place more emphasis on your 'social credibility factor'. Showing there's a community around your blog by linking up your facebook, twitter, pinterest, tumblr, etc... helps build your blog's ranking in the grand scheme of the world wide web.
10. Use a related post plugin to show people what else you have on offer. I've just started running nrelate and although there are a few kinks to be worked out I really like it - full review to follow!
11. Internal linking - that is linking back to other posts or pages on your own blog - is even more effective if you use keywords for your anchor text (the bit you click on).
12. Check in with Google Webmaster Tools periodically to find site errors, broken links, create site-maps, understand your back-link count, find your top search queries, and discover where you've duplicated content.
13. Get Google Analytics so you can analyse your blog's top keywords, your top content, figure out which posts people loved, and learn what your audience's attention span is. For example, if the average reader spends less than 45 seconds on your blog, very long posts clearly aren't holding their engagement. If all your most popular posts are recipes but you mainly write about gardening, you might reconsider your site's focus if increasing overall traffic is a goal. Analytics will also tell you which social media sites are referring your readers; this was an epiphany for me because I love twitter but my readers were coming to me via facebook - now I take more time to cultivate that profile because it's where my audience hangs out.
If you've made it to the end of this post - thank you for sticking with me! Any questions? Ask away in the comments section and I'll do my best to help!