An Overview of SEO for Blogging
Updated: Jan 26, 2019
I went Live on Instagram today to discuss Blogging. I couldn’t believe how many people reached out with SEO questions. And although I try to keep up with as much info as I can, it’s almost impossible to explain SEO in a 5-minute period. So I grabbed my list of questions and I’m going to be answering them right here in this post.
Please keep in mind I am not a SEO expert. I work in social media full time and run my blog on the side for fun. Although I do what I can to keep up with trends to ensure my blogs are found and feel like I have a solid grasp on these topics. Especially when it comes to optimizing my blog.
What Is SEO?
There is simply no reason for me to invent my own definition of SEO. Moz is one of the key tools I use for my blog, and even what my work uses to create content for our business. Moz defines SEO as:
“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.”
SEO for a blog isn’t just doing a few simple steps and BOOM your posts get found. But it does help if you start now, and keep just doing a few simple things to help your site.
Keywords & SEO
Keywords are crucial to get your blog found on search engines. Basically what are you talking about? Think of some long-tailed keywords (long phrases someone might type into Google) and short keywords. You want to place these phrases strategically in your blog post without “keyword stuffing” your blog posts.
Here are some examples for keywords:
Food in Venice, Italy
Best Dinner Restaurants in Venice, Italy
Where can I put keywords in a blog?
Anywhere! But truly, try to have some keywords in your:
Headings of your blog – H2s
Your introduction paragraph
Anchor text (links in your site that go to other pages within your site)
Title tags and meta descriptions
Image names and image alt text
Again, DO NOT keyword stuff your blog posts. Google will know, and it will be annoying for your readers.
How to find keywords?
Clearly, you’re going to know what you’re blog is going to be about. Easy. But just sort of take a pause and think to yourself: “what would someone be searching on Google that would get this blog post found?” And then to top that off, use some free online tools such as: https://answerthepublic.com or https://moz.com/explorer. Sometimes I’ll even pop into Google and type in what I’m writing about and see what has been previously searched. See image below to see my example:
Blog Image SEO
Your images in your blog posts need a few things to make them SEO friendly, including file name, image type, responsive sizes, smaller file size, and alt text.
Now… Caitlin’s dictionary definitions of those:
File Name: actual name of your image. Ie. Img_555.jpg vs. escapereno-venice-italy.jpg – try to make it a bit descriptive and include your keywords
Image Type: .jpg vs. .png. I always go with Jpeg.
Responsive Sizes: does your image change appropriately for different types of browsers? Think mobile friendly. You want your site to have images that are responsive. This is normally a built in feature, especially if you’re using Wordpress 4.4, Wix or Squarespace.
File Size: unless you want your image to be 2000 px x 1500 px, go ahead and resize before you upload to your site. I size mine down to 600 px width.
Alt text – Alt text appears if images on your site don’t load. For example, if a user has images turned off in their browser, your alt text will appear in its place. It also appears when you hover over an image with your mouse. I normally do “escape reno: Venice Italy” (site + what image is)
Hyphens vs. Underscores in Names and URLs
I just Googled this, and a few different sites said hyphens. So, go ahead and just use hyphens.
Link Building and External Links
When you’re in a blog post, sometimes you’ll be reading along and see a link that goes into another post. These links can either go to an external site or might be an internal link (a link to another page within the same site).
Growing referral links to your site from other traffic sources (other blogs, press, social media) is one of the most important things you can do for your blog. Some SEO experts believe it’s one of the top sources of ranking power. As in, if you’re having high domain authority sites link back to your own, you’re pages are going to climb the search engine ladder.
I’ve seen some groups on Facebook that encourage bloggers to trade links where they can. I think this is definitely one option. But another better option is to write guest blog on other sites, and link back to your own from those guest posts. You can also allow guest writers on your site, who will most likely link from their sites.
Also reach out to companies you mention in your blog and see if they’re willing to link to your post. For example, I can reach out to a hotel and see if they can link to my hotel blog post from their sites or blogs.
How to Keep Up with SEO Changes
Like many platforms, Google is constantly making updates to their algorithm. Many times, they are open to their changes and release information. It’s crucial that you track changes and keep up with them so you know how to keep your site optimized for searching.
Two sites you can definitely keep up with to see SEO news are Moz and SEMrush., both their blogs and newsletters are great resources. But! One of the best news sources for me is always Twitter. Check out @JohnMu, @rustybrick or @Marie_Haynes. All are great experts in the SEO arena and frequently talk about the changes when they come out.
A Few Extra Tips:
Google prefers your site to be self-hosted. You don’t want yourblog.wordpress.com you want yourblog.com.
You MUST have https over http. Just do it.
Always share your posts with your followers. There’s no written word from Google that social media shares directly help with your site SEO, but it’s definitely not going to hurt you.
Make sure your site is mobile friendly. I use Wix, and they have a user-friendly option to ensure your site is 100% mobile friendly. There are also plugins for Wordpress sites you can add to your site.
In 2018 I played with the idea of dedicating some time to write more blog posts like this to help people with marketing – SEO, social media help, etc. etc. If this is something you’d be interested in, please let me know!