What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? – See what Moz has to say about SEO
SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.
SEO isn’t just about building search engine-friendly websites. It’s about making your site better for people too.
Can I do SEO by myself for my blog?
Although SEO is a complex thing which involves tons of knowledge and industry experience, most people with the background of blogging can easily understand the basics of search engine optimization.
By creating content that is more easily found via search engines, you end up saving time and money.
The Basics of SEO for Bloggers – These are the 5 essentials SEO’s every blogger must practice.
Setup your blog with Google
First thing first, set up your blog on google so that Google will start scrolling your blog and index your blog on google search database, One of the easiest things you can do is head over to Google Search Console and add your blog.
This is a service that Google provides that basically allows you to see your blog from their point of view – how it appears in the search results, what position, how many people click your links, etc.
And then create an account in Google Analytics and connect your blog with google analytics, this way you can monitor your blogs visits and many more statistics.
Install the essential SEO plugins into your blog, If your blog is built on WordPress then I would suggest you install SEO Yoast an amazing plugin for all in one SEO.
Make sure your blog is mobile first and optimized
Optimizing your theme is important because it helps give Google indicators that you are a trustworthy site. It also helps Google find your content.
Google prioritizes sites which are responsive to any devices, otherwise, you will be losing many potential visitors. Select a template/theme with clean code and support on all types of devices. Make sure your blog pages should load in less than 3 seconds, this highly effects on page ranking on google.
Why is on-page SEO important?
On-page SEO is important because it tells Google all about your website and how you provide value to visitors and customers. It helps your site be optimized for both human eyes and search engine bots.
Merely creating and publishing your website isn’t enough — you must optimize it for Google and other search engines in order to rank and attract new traffic.
On-page SEO is called “on-page” because the tweaks and changes you make to optimize your website can be seen by visitors on your page (whereas off-page and technical SEO elements aren’t always visible).
Do a basic keyword research
Before you start writing content for search engines, you need to decide: What are you going to write about? You need to choose your Niche.
Do a basic keyword research on the keywords you need your blog to rank high. There are plenty of free materials online for you to learn the basic of keyword research.
Identify primary and secondary keywords, before you start writing the content, The number of keywords you can use in a blog post isn’t strictly limited, but it’s important to focus on quality and relevance over quantity. Generally, for a standard blog post of around 1000-1500 words, you might target:
- 1 – 2 primary keyword
- 2 – 3 secondary keywords
- A few LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords
Here’s how to approach it:
This is your main focus and should appear in the title, meta description, and throughout the content. Aim for a keyword density of about 0.5% to 2.5%.
These are related to your primary keyword and help to cover various aspects of the topic. Include them naturally where relevant.
These are synonyms or related terms that help search engines understand the context of your content. Incorporate these naturally.
Overstuffing your blog with keywords can lead to a poor user experience and may result in search engine penalties for keyword stuffing. Always prioritize delivering valuable, high-quality content over trying to include as many keywords as possible.
There is a great article on keyword research by Search Engine Journal which will help you to do your keyword research for your blog.
Look at top-ranking posts to understand their content and keyword strategies. Note what they do well and areas you can improve upon.
Optimize your content
You have to remember, the whole purpose of doing SEO is to rank your blog and its pages high on search engines, especially on Google. You want to show your content/pages for the searchers.
The phrase “original content” means so much more than just blog posts nowadays. You must optimize the contents to the best;
Title and Meta Descriptions:
The first bit of the title should include the meaning / the keywords of your blog post, this will help Google to relate your blog post with the searched keywords. The easy way is to do some google searches on your topic and then analyse which title could beat those search results.
Incorporate the primary keyword close to the beginning. The title should be between 60-70 characters and include the primary keyword ideally close to the beginning.
Keep it under 160 characters and include both primary and secondary keywords. This is the chance to pitch the content to potential readers on the search results page.
It’s important your URL isn’t too long or contains strange characters, also meaningful else spiders might render it as spam. So, it’s best if you keep it short and include the keywords. URLs should be easy to read and remember. Include the primary keyword.
Also separate words in the URL using hyphens, not underscores.
Headings & Subheadings:
The first place Google starts analysing your blog. So the first bit of the title should include the meaning / the keywords of your blog post, this will help Google to relate your blog post with the searched keywords and allow Google to understand the hierarchy of your page.
The easy way is to do some Google searches on your topic and then analyse which title could beat those search results.
When creating a blog post, the title is crucial. It should contain only one H1 tag for each page or post, as search engines and readers consider it to be the most important element.
H2, H3, H4 Tags:
Use for subheadings and divide content into manageable chunks. Incorporate keywords where natural. It’s recommended to place the keyword in each of them. It’s not necessary to include the keyword in each one because it’ll seem unnatural.
You should use subheads to lead your reader through the article but also use variations of your keywords in your H1, H2, and H3 tags. (Note: Don’t use the H1 tag in a post if your blog system pulls this from your title.)
Here go your main texts of your article or blog post, you can include the keywords within the text but in a natural way, you should not stuff the keywords on the article, focus on quality content than stuffing your keywords. Remember Google has over 300 variables to rank your blog post. Just stuffing a bunch of keywords will not help your blog to rank on top ten.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOS:
Quality and meaning full phots are so much important to retain your visitors in your blog, a photograph can express a thousand words and the same way it can retain thousand visitors.
Rename the file name to include your keywords and include them in your image title, alt text, and description (this is also metadata).
The best is to get your own images which will give meaning to your article, that’s what I believe, or you can get some quality photos from some royalty free sites. Check out this article by HubSpot
It is good to include Imagery and Videos in your blog post, if it relates to them, as those contents give a diversity to the blog post. Images can also help hold the reader’s interest and can lead them to click other content on your site, as well.
Including images in your content increases your chances of ranking in Google Images which accounts for 22.6% of all searches. This is a great way to get more traffic to your site.
It is important to use alt-text when adding images to web pages. Alt-text provides a description of the image and should include relevant keywords.
Here are a couple of ways to optimize the images:
Write descriptive file names: Google learns about a page’s subject matter through file names, captions, and more.
Compress images: Use free image compressors to compress images for faster load times. You can also use lazy loading, which tells web browsers to wait to load images until the user scrolls to them.
Optimize video titles and descriptions for search, including keywords.
Social media posts and external graphs can be embedded within a blog post without negatively impacting SEO, as long as they load quickly and provide a better user experience.
Internal and External Linking
Internal links are an important part of on-page SEO optimization.
- They help search engines understand your site’s structure and how pages are related to each other.
- They allow Google crawlers to discover and navigate to new pages.
- They signal to Google that the linked-to page is valuable.
- They help users navigate through your website (and keep them on your site longer)
Adding internal links from one page to another signal to Google that these pages are related. And helps Google understand whether the pages could match a user’s search intent which can help your rankings.
Including external links in your content is crucial as it improves the user experience and establishes trust with your audience. It is important to include links to credible and reputable websites.
A general guideline is to link to your sources, but you may also discover other opportunities for external linking.
Content becomes more readable when broken down into two or three-sentence paragraphs. It will ensure that your content is to read and understand.
Use it for lists or to highlight important information.
Adding a table will give Google a signal to highlight the table in search results.
Use for rich snippets like reviews, FAQs, etc., to improve visibility on SERP. Schema markup allows search engines to better understand information on your website.
Social Share Buttons:
Make your blog easily shareable to increase reach.
Publishing and Updating Content
Importance of Publishing Content on Relevant Day and Time:
Publishing on a weekday can often result in higher engagement as opposed to weekends when people are generally less active online.
Posting during hours when your target audience is most active (often mid-morning to early afternoon) can lead to higher initial engagement, which is beneficial for SEO.
But these can vary based on the niche and it is better to validate this with data such as Google Analytics.
Unpublish a Post:
Before unpublishing a post, consider the following:
- Loss of Traffic: The URL will become a 404 error, losing its ranking and traffic.
- Backlinks: Any backlinks to the post will be broken, affecting your site’s credibility.
- SEO: Search engines may devalue your site for having broken links or “thin” content.
- User Experience: Users will find a dead end, which is frustrating and may reduce trust.
Benefits of Updating Content:
Updating content signals to search engines that the information is current and relevant for users, making it a beneficial practice when applicable.
- Improved Rankings: Fresh, up-to-date content is favored by search engines.
- Higher Engagement: Updated information or solutions can result in better user engagement.
- Longevity: Extends the lifespan of your content, making it continually relevant.
- Competitive Edge: Stay ahead or catch up with competitors who are also updating their content.
By paying attention to the timing of your posts and the freshness of your content, you’re more likely to engage your audience effectively and perform better in search engine rankings.
Build your social media profiles
Social media channels have become one of the main factors in search engine ranking, so you must give some time and effort on managing your social channels. I personally do not prefer to be active on multiple social channels, as I pick what channel works best for me. And evolve with the trend.
Remember social media channels are free backlinks to your blogs. And a great way of sharing your latest blog post. Become members of those facebook groups on your Niche and share your blog post among them.
Most importantly do not worry about ranking on top of the google searches, you have to focus more on providing quality and use full contents to the internet world. It is all about how you present your idea on the world wide web.
I hope you found this post useful and if I’ve left anything out of this basic guide that you consider important or would like to know how to do, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment so I can add it![Updated on 24th October 2023]