SEO – search engine optimization – can be a real minefield for new bloggers. I’ve put in countless hours of research and still don’t know close to everything, but here I’d like to share six helpful but basic SEO tips for gaining a beginner’s understanding of SEO and how to apply it to your posts as a new blogger and side hustler…
Do your keyword research
First and foremost is keyword research. I have found the easiest free tool to use is Keyword Finder (https://kwfinder.com/). The free version only allows five searches per 24 hours, so be sure to take screenshots of your searches or export to .csv file (bottom right corner of the search results box).
Doing the right keyword research can really help to get your posts in front of the people searching for the information contained in your post. You’ve put a lot of effort into creating the post, including quality information and actionable tips, so don’t forget to include some keywords so that your content can be found by search engines.
And obviously, it goes without saying, the post needs to flow naturally and have no “keyword stuffing”!
Try to use keywords that are specific rather than generic. Also use a mix of long tail (three to four or more words) and short tail keywords (one or two words). An example of a long tail keyword for this post: “tips to understand basic SEO”, while an example of a short tail keyword: “SEO tips”.
Have the correct page title on your blog
On each page of your blog, visitors will see the blog name and a page title at the top left of the blog window. This is a meta tag and it’s what Google searches for when a user enters a certain keyword or keywords to search.
Taking the time to add this detail to your blog setup can be another positive to help you rank in searches. Briefly explain the content a reader can find on the page and try to begin with the most relevant keyword first.
Only publish high quality content
This could be a slightly difficult one because what we think is quality content, someone else may not. As a new blogger, you’ll probably be having light bulb moments all the time for fresh post ideas, but you need to sift through them to determine what you can provide the best information on, and also write about what people are actually searching for.
On the other hand, some bloggers have a wonderful idea to create a new blog, write a few posts and then can’t think of anything more to write about, so write short, unenthusiastic or basic content just to be able to publish something – don’t make this mistake as it could turn a lot of potential loyal readers off.
Try to aim for any of these to describe each of your posts (or all if you can!): Interesting, valuable, shareworthy, inspirational, actionable.
Try to aim for any of these to describe each of your posts (or all if you can!): Interesting, valuable, shareworthy, inspirational, actionable. Click To Tweet
And the good old sage advice: write about what you know.And the good old sage advice: write about what you know. Click To Tweet
Adjust your post and keywords to match visitor actions
Sometimes you’ll optimize your post for how you would like visitors to find, view and take action on your post. But if posts are not receiving as much traffic or engagement as you’d hoped, adjust your content slightly. After your post has been published for a little while, you’ll be able to use Google Analytics to monitor a huge array of data.
Use this information and ask yourself these three questions, then amend your post accordingly:
1. Based on which keyword searches my post ranked for, are there other related, better-performing keywords that could be used instead – whether in my title or in the post body?
2. Number 1 above shows the intent of visitors – does the search snippet (the one you add to the excerpt or snippet section when adding a post to WordPress) tempt readers to click through or could it be improved?
3. Did the visitor take the action I wanted them to take during or after reading the blog post?
Aim to have larger websites link back to your content
Google will view you as an authority or a blog worth its weight if you are linked to by another trusted blogger or larger website – the key is that they are classed as trusted according to Google.
Don’t ever pay someone to add your link to their websites or a number of websites. Similarly, if you’re offered a link trade, don’t do this either. As a newer blogger, it can be tempting to try pretty much anything to increase your traffic, but Google does not look favourably on these tactics.
Don’t forget to tag your images
Tagging your images in the backend of your WordPress blog can also help you to rank in searches. Even though searches are related to text, you still want the search engine to be able to find your content, so add a description to each image, associated to your keyword research.
I hope these tips have helped to shed some light on this important subject. Good luck with your new blog! Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you have any questions 🙂
What have you done as a new blogger to improve your Google rankings?