SEO – what I wish I’d known when I started blogging

I think the story behind how I started this blog is one that a lot of people share.

I decided I wanted to do it and just jumped in without any real clue of what I was doing.  I had no idea how much work was involved and how many skills I would need to learn.  One of the big challenges for me has been getting to grips with SEO.

For anyone new to the blogging world, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.  And it’s all about the different things you can do on your site to help it show up higher on the list of recommended sites on search engines like Google.

This little guide has some of the information on SEO that I wish I’d known when I first got started with my blog:

SEO what I wish I'd known when I started blogging

 

Get to grips with keywords

Keywords are often thought of as the foundation of good SEO.

Basically, these are the words that people will type into google when they want to find something out.  If you want your post to be one of the first that comes up after people search, then you need to include the keywords they’re using in your post.

So, if you’re writing a post for a chocolate cake recipe then you need to think about what people will type into google to find a recipe like that.

Most people will search for something like ‘best chocolate cake recipe’ or ‘simple chocolate cake recipe’, so these would be the keywords that you want to make sure you include in your post.

A few places to try and use your keywords are:

  • Your blog post title
  • The post url
  • Your image names
  • The post meta data
  • Throughout the post itself

Don’t go crazy with this throughout the post though.  If you force the keywords into every other sentence it’ll make the post feel forced and unnatural, and google may well actually rank the post lower as a result.

 

 

Start building links

Another great way to improve your site’s SEO is to work on building links.

Ideally you want a good mix of internal and external links leading back to pages on your site.

Internal links are links from one page or post on your site to another. 

So going back to your chocolate cake recipe post, you might include a sentence about how baking with your children is one of your favourite rainy day activities.  Then you would use ‘rainy day activities’ as anchor text to link to another post on your site all about, you guessed it, rainy day activities to do with your children.

Did you catch that I’ve done this within this post?

Where I first mentioned chocolate cake recipes I linked to an old post of mine with a recipe for an amazing chocolate cake.

Adding links to old posts is something we should do every time we write something new.  It’s also worth taking time now and then to go back to old posts you’ve written and seeing if you can add in links to some of your newer posts.

 

External links are links from other websites back to yours. 

Getting these links can take a bit more effort but it’s well worth it.

A good place to start is by commenting on lots of other people’s blog posts.  If you’re going to do this make sure you actually leave decent, thoughtful comments that show you’ve actually read the post.  Commenting something like ‘great post’ doesn’t really help anyone.

 

Another thing to try is guest posting on other sites and responding to crowd sourcing requests.  This is where a blogger will ask for people’s thoughts, opinions, or tips on a particular topic and include them all in a blog post.  I did this on a post about why I won’t do my son’s homework and the result was win win.  I was able to show various opinions on the topic instead of just my own, and all the bloggers included got a back link to their sites.

 

 

Optimise

With the basics covered there’s still more you can do to improve your site’s SEO.

You can optimise your blog post’s title, url and meta date by making sure they include your keywords.

Then move on to optimising your images.  Make sure that the image title includes your keywords.  Next think about the image description and make sure it states what the picture is of.  This is especially helpful for the visually impaired who can’t see the image so they know what it’s of.

After doing all this you want to make sure your site is optimised for the web and for mobile use.

So many people these days use their phones to browse the internet so your site needs to be mobile friendly.  If you’re using WordPress then check that the theme you’re using is set up to work perfectly on phones.

 

Hopefully this post has given you a good basic understanding of what you can do to improve your site’s SEO.

There are loads of far more detailed posts out there if you want to dig into it further, and if you want some expert help then companies like Click Consult offer some great guides and services to give your site a real boost.

Now I need to take my own advice and go back to the posts I wrote when I first started and give them a bit of SEO love and attention.

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

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