SEO Basics Guide For Beginners
SEO Is Important – But Overwhelming For Beginners
No matter where you read about blogging, you will eventually come across SEO. It’s such a big part of blogging, and creating content for your website. When you first start blogging and learning about all the different elements that go alongside it, SEO can seem like one of the most difficult to grasp. Sound like you? Don’t worry, we’re going to fix that!
I’ve created this beginners guide to SEO to give you a bit of a helping hand, and give you some easy to understand info about the whole topic of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. If there’s anything you need help with, please just hit me up in the comments!
What Even Is SEO?
It stands for Search Engine Optimisation – the practice of purposefully tweaking your content so that it is more likely to appear in search engine results. When someone types a query or question into Google or Bing or Yahoo, your SEO determines how likely you are to appear high up that list of results.
Sounds relatively simple right? Well, it kinda is and it kinda isn’t! That is basically the principle behind it, but putting it into practice is something else. There are quite a few different elements that go into it, and I’m going to be walking you through some of the beginner level things. So if you’ve recently started your blog but want to dip your toes with it – you’re in the right place.
It might sound complicated, but there are things you can do to make it a lot easier!
Why Does It Matter?
When it comes to social media for example, keeping every piece of content at the forefront of the platform, and therefore clickable, is literally impossible. You can regularly share different pieces of content and engage with people about it for a certain time, but sooner or later, it will fall off the radar.
It’s just how social media works!
When it comes to search engines – the results will come up for days, weeks, months, and even years! So it’s super important to make sure that your content is set up in a way that makes it possible to appear in those results.
It is definitely something that you need to learn should you want your content to appear on those all important search results pages! By optimising your content for search engines, you will see an uplift in traffic directed from them! Check your stats regularly to see the impact it’s making.
How Do You Implement It Within Your Own Content?
The systems behind search engines, called bots, use different factors to tell what your content is about, whether it’s high quality, and whether it’s popular. They trawl through all the content on the web, and decide these things about each page they come across.
SEO is the method of making sure that you’re hitting all the right spots, and your content is coming up as relevant, highly useful, and popular.
Let’s look at how you can optimise your content to make sure that you are giving it it’s best chance of coming up on that lucrative first page of Google!
How Can You Make It Super Simple?
Firstly, I think it makes total sense to talk about an amazing plugin, which I have 100% talked about before! It’s called Yoast SEO. It has a lot of really useful tools, but it’s SEO tools for posts are really impressive, especially as the plugin is free! If you’re using WordPress I highly recommend you check this plugin out.
You can upgrade to the premium version, but personally I haven’t done so yet – so can’t comment on its features. I haven’t needed to as the free version has so many great features that do the jobs I need it to do!
How Do You Use Yoast SEO?
Once you have the plugin installed, it adds an area at the bottom of your blog posts. There are two main parts to it, and you’re given a score for each. It works on a traffic light system, so green is good and red is bad!
Each section gives you suggestions based on your content, and it’s super helpful!
Firstly, you’re given a reading score. It basically tells you how well you score in relation to the formatting of your post, and how it reads. Obviously you can have a look at it and tweak your post to follow the hints given. Some are more useful than others, and I wouldn’t kill yourself trying to get green for every single point!
Secondly, you’ve got a section for SEO. This is where things get interesting! To begin with when you finish your post, you won’t have a score, because you need to input a keyword. Once you’ve decided the keyword, you will be given a score based on what you’ve written and what you’ve included in your content.
It will offer up alterations to make to your content, to ensure that you’ve optimised it to the best of its ability for search engines.
What Are The Main Things To Remember When It Comes To SEO?
Maybe you don’t want to use a plugin, and purely want to go for it yourself, or just want an overview of what the plugin will tell you to do. So, we are going to look at the most important things you need to focus on in relation to SEO when creating a blog post, and how you hit those spots.
Keywords are extremely important when it comes to SEO. They are the word, or couple of words that you want the post to rank for. Aim for every piece of content you write having a different keyword. A short phrase is called a long-tail keyword, and these are easier to rank for as there is less competition.
The best way to find keywords for your post is to use a keyword tool. There are lots of different ones out there, but Google has their free one called Google Keyword Planner which is great for finding keywords to use within your content.
Simply click start using keyword planner and log in to your Gmail account. There are lots of different ways that you can search for keywords, either from a landing page, your industry title or by entering in words related to your blog. The keyword planner will then bring up lots of different related words and phrases.
How To Use This Data
Once you have a list of words in front of you, you want to choose a keyword that has a high volume of searches per month, but with a relatively low-level of competition. Finding those gems and doing everything you can to get your post to rank for it is the key to getting lots of search engine traffic! Lots of people are searching for that word/phrase, but there’s not a lot of web pages that answer those searches.
Every now and then you want to do some keyword planning. Get a spreadsheet and put down all the terms that you find that relate to your blog or business, and you can use it when you’re creating blog posts!
There are lots of other little details within a post that all adds up to the right sauce! To begin with these might seem a bit fiddly and annoying, but soon enough you will start doing them without really thinking about them – they will become second nature.
Below are the rest of my tips and tricks to maxing out your SEO for your post!
My Top Ten SEO Tips
- Create a catchy headline – and include your keyword near the beginning of it
- Use the keyword within at least one heading within your post [H2 on WordPress]
- Include the keyword within your content, but don’t overstuff it! Use it naturally, include variations, and don’t just use it repeatedly as this goes against you rather than for you.
- Include relevant images, and update the title to something that actually links to your content, rather than lots of letters and numbers
- Write in the ‘alt text’ box of your images – give a brief post overview and include your keyword
- Link to old, related posts to improve site structure
- Go through those old posts and link to your new one too
- Alter the meta description to increase click-through rates – include the keyword here too!
- Make sure the permalink for the post isn’t too long, relates directly to the content, and includes the keyword
- Link to an external well-respected and popular website if it makes sense to do it and it builds on your content
By following these steps for each piece of content you write, you will begin to see an uplift in the content coming to your from search engines! It might take some time, but the hard work now will definitely pay off in the long run.
By Taking Time With Your SEO You Can Boost Organic Search Traffic!
It’s true! But it might take some time, so don’t panic if you don’t see an immediate uptake of traffic from search engines. Just persevere and make sure you’re doing it with every post. Eventually it does become second nature, and you’ll be doing it without even realising.
SEO can seem like a really daunting element of blogging, but the beginner stuff is really simple once you know what you’re doing. There is a lot more advanced things, but certainly to begin with, the above is enough to start with.
If you haven’t been taking SEO into consideration with your posts so far, you could take some time and go back through your old posts. You can do this alongside other blog spring cleaning, which you can read more about in my post about cleaning up + organising your blog.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my SEO basics guide for bloggers! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!
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