Search engine optimization (SEO) is a concept that not many grasp, but in short, it’s a method of optimizing your website so that it gets better organic rankings in search results on Google, Yahoo and Bing. The search engines like Google look at many (possibly hundreds!) of factors to determine where your website will rank in a search engine results page (SERP). This makes SEO somewhat challenging. However, as a blogger, you’re already in luck! Google and other search engines highly value fresh, constantly updated content, and a blog is a prime example of that. Here are a few quick tips to further optimize your blog for search engines:
As the old phrase goes, content is king. This means that the content of your blog is more important than your backend SEO tactics. Google values relevant and authentic content, so as long as you’re writing quality blog posts about topics that you want to rank for, then you’re off to a good SEO start. If you want people searching for “Best Restaurants in Atlanta” to find your blog on Google, then you should be writing a lot of great blog posts about restaurants in Atlanta. Plain and simple, content is king.
Take advantage of images and videos. As the previous tip mentioned, the content of your blog is king. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate images and videos. By including these non-text components, your blog could potentially be listed in Google’s Image and Video search results, in additional to the web search results. Original photos and videos would be ideal, but even cited images or videos from other sources could increase your blog traffic. On any images and videos in your blog posts, make sure to include relevant keywords* in the image filenames and in the ALT text, and write interesting and useful captions to keep your readers on the page longer.
Integrate your Google+ profile. Google+, often said to be “the new Facebook” (though I have my doubts), is a great tool to help the SEO of your blog. If you don’t have a Google+ profile already, create one and publish keyword-rich snippets from your blog posts (with links to that post) on your profile. As Google’s own social network, Google values Google+ content more than other social content (go figure). In addition, include links to your blog on your Google+ profile.
Don’t be afraid to get technical. While not every blogger is a coder or programmer, you should have some basic technical knowledge to implement some SEO changes. Thankfully, blogging tools like Wordpress and Tumblr provide ways to make these technical optimizations a bit more user-friendly. So, don’t be afraid to get technical. Make sure your blog post URL includes the title of your blog post (with words separated by “-”), utilize header tags (H1, H2, H3) in the body of your posts, and include keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions.
Lastly, if you want to measure the impact of your SEO efforts, make sure you have Google Analytics on your blog. Ideally, you will know how much organic search traffic your blog gets before you make major SEO optimizations so that you can see the impact and change in organic search traffic after you make those changes. In addition to measuring the volume of traffic to your blog from search engines, also look at the engagement of that traffic - how many pages are they viewing, how long are they staying on your site, what devices are they coming from? These are all good ways to keep track of the effectiveness of your blog’s SEO, as well as search rankings.
*NOTE: Keywords, as search engines use them, don’t have to be just one word. Keywords can be phrases, too. In the above example about Atlanta restaurants, some keywords to use on your blog might be “restaurants in Atlanta,” “best restaurants in Atlanta” or “Atlanta restaurants.”
What quick and easy ways have you used to improve the SEO of your blog? Leave your thoughts in a comment below or tweet us at @HeyWorkingGirl!