Most bloggers don’t come from an SEO or Web Design Background. You have a knowledge of the topic you are blogging about, but learning to blog as you go. I am a web designer by day and blogger by night. I design large scale websites for companies, from e-commerce to informational websites and have learned a lot in how to optimize them for search. I want to be able to help clear and simple way to approach understanding SEO for blogging.
So, let’s start with the basics. Here are 5 tips on getting started looking at the optimization of your blog. Making a few little changes might help you really jump in the rankings!
1. Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools.
This is OH SO IMPORTANT and so easy to do. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ Sign up for a Google account if you don’t have one already, then sign into Google webmaster tools. Then add your site. This lets Google know your site is there and sends the bots to crawl it. You’ll also want to submit your sitemap here, but I’ll get into that later in the post. Another great feature of Google webmaster tools is that is shows you errors within your site that you can fix, as well as gives you suggestions on how to make your site better. You’ll also want to keep checking here to find the broken links and missing pages on your website.
2. Create a sitemap.
A sitemap is an XML document that tells the bots the pages on your sites, and the links within the site to get to each page by. If you are using WordPress there are plugins that will create a sitemap for you. Yoast SEO, mentioned in a previous post: 5 WordPress Plugins you can’t live without, will create a sitemap for you. If you are not using WordPress, no fear! There are free sitemap generators on the internet. Here is one I have used before: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/. Once you have your sitemap xml file you’ll need to host it on your website. It is helpful, but not necessary to have a link to it from your footer. It makes it easier for the bot to find and crawl. Once the sitemap is hosted on your site, you’ll want to notify Google webmaster tools where the sitemap is. You can do this by clicking on your site, then clicking on the sitemaps button. It will give you the option to add a sitemap there.
3. Optimize each post for a different search term.
It’s great to have broad terms that sweep across your website, but coming up #1 in a search for “crafts” is going to be near impossible! A better option when thinking about “rankings” is to go after a more specific term for each post, and try not to repeat it exactly again. If you have too many posts or pages all trying to rank for a term such as “apple pie recipe” they will be competing against each other. Rather then have “Apple Pie Recipe 1” and “Apple Pie Recipe 2” try “Easy Apple Pie Recipe” and “Old-Fashion Apple Pie Recipe”
To begin optimizing a page for a keyword (phrase) Try to have the phrase in the URL, in an <h1> or heading tag somewhere on the page, and a couple times in your body copy. You should also repeat that key term in your meta title and meta description. You do not want to repeat it too much within the page or it will appear to Google as keyword stuffing. Also when linking to that page, use the keyword (phrase) in the anchor test of the link.
4. Understand the anatomy of a link. (and why it’s important)
There are 2 important parts to a good hyperlink; the anchor text and the title. Google recognizes both parts. Make sure both the anchor text and the title are valuable information to your post or page. An example of a bad hyperlink is when you have “read more” linked. It tells Google nothing about the page it’s going to. A better option to use would be “Continue Reading Easy Apple Pie Recipe”. The title should also match the page. The most common mistake with the title, is leaving it off. Make sure when you add a link, you always add a link title as well.
5. Create easily shareable content.
You can create the best, well optimized content and if people can’t share it easily, they wont. Add sharing buttons to each of your posts, not just your main page. This can be done through a widget in many platforms, or you can use a site like Sharethis.com and they will provide code for sharing buttons for your pages. Also don’t forget to enable sharing on Google+, this not only gives you the benefits of sharing content, but the shares have value towards your search engine ranking.
If you want to know about blogging, contact me about WordPress Coaching for Bloggers.