For bloggers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of those marketing strategies that sounds good in theory (who doesn’t want their blog to show up in search results) but when the rubber meets the road, it can be more confusing than the Instagram algorithm. Between plugins, and meta content, keywords, and backlinks, we could all use a little help when it comes to getting our blogs optimized.
But first, why do we even need Search Engine Optimization? Why optimization? The answer is three-fold.
Because we can’t rely on social media anymore to drive traffic to our blogs.
Because users are searching Google 3.5 billion times per day for answers to their questions.
Because if you’re not optimizing your website, one of your peers or “competitors” is and they will get ranked for keywords that are relevant to your blog.
Now that we know we need to be optimizing our websites, where does a blogger with little to no
experience start? Let’s walk through 5 easy steps to get started on optimization. Check out my post on optimizing your content for Pinterest.
5 Steps for Search Engine Optimization Beginners
Determine Your Target Audience
Without knowing who you’re writing for, you won’t know what keywords to target. Knowing your target audience will allow your writing to be clear and concise and your optimization targeted. Create a profile of your ideal visitor, including specific demographic information such as gender, location, age range, interests, and hobbies.
Keyword research is probably the most written about topic in Search Engine Optimization. But just to clarify, a keyword does not mean just a singular word. Think of them as “key phrases” instead. Because most people don’t just type one word into Google finding key phrases (two-five word phrases) will help you narrow down the keywords on your website.
Break down your research into themes and variations. Find an overarching keyword theme (such as Fashion Blogger) and determine more specific, relevant keyword variations to place under the themes (such as street style fashion blogger or capsule wardrobe fashion blogger). Use programs such as moz.com, SEMrush, and Google’s Keyword Planner to find these themes and variations.
Set up the Google Programs
Without Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you won’t really know how well your website is doing. If you haven’t yet set either of these programs up, it’s important for you to take the time and create accounts and add your website to them.
Google Analytics will show you what’s been happening on your website. You’ll be able to track data such as where your readers come from, how long they stay, the most popular pages on your blog, and how many views your blog received for a specific timeframe. Google Search Console provides helpful information such as what keywords your website already ranks for and if you have any technical errors on your blog that are hindering users from finding your content.
Optimize Your Meta Content
The next step is to go through every page on your blog and optimize four major areas:
Title Tags – these are the customizable titles of your blog posts (not the actual titles themselves)
Meta Descriptions – use this area as a mini advertisement for the content on your page. Keep
it short and sweet and try to include a keyword or phrase inside this content
Image Alt Tags – images are just as much of the content as words and adding alt tags to your
images will improve search results in Google Images
URLs – you can change and customize the URLs to include relevant keywords
If you’re blogging on WordPress, download the Yoast SEO plugin to provide an easy way to optimize these four areas. If you’re on another platform, do a little research to find out the best way customize your meta content.
Optimize your blog content
Once your meta content is optimized, go back through the top pages on your blog. Make sure your actual post content is well optimized. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do the internal links make sense with the content?
Do keywords appear organically throughout the content?
Will my readers want to engage with this content?
Once you answer these questions, your blog posts and top pages will be thoroughly optimized for search engines and your target users.
About the Author: Emily is a fashion blogger and SEO Strategist. Her passion in life is to help bloggers and small business owners navigate the murky waters of Search Engine Optimization. Find her at someprettyseo.com.