Today I will share with you 14 daily SEO techniques for blogging that I use to help my blog rank well on search engines.
SEO, or search engine optimisation used to sound really technical and intimidating to me when I first started blogging. SEO was something tech geeks did, right?
Well, as soon as I started to look into SEO for blogging a bit more, I discovered that even just employing the most basic SEO techniques every time I posted a new blog post made an enormous difference to my search engine traffic, and new readers.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a collection of techniques used to help a web page get ranked as high as possible on a search engine result. The higher a specific page is listed on a particular search engine, the more likely it is to get higher volumes of traffic.
For instance, if I write a blog post about ‘gluten free cake’ I can use SEO techniques to help Google and other search engines ‘read’ that blog post and include it in the search results whenever anyone searches for ‘gluten free cake’ or something similar. If I rank on the first page of Google for that term I am likely to see more traffic than I am on later pages, because most people just click through on the websites featured on the first page.
First page is main goal for SEO.
But the second, equally important goal, is to reach relevant readers. You want to get your content in front of the people who will resonate with your work.
WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT FOR BLOGGERS?
Many bloggers just concentrate on social media for sending traffic to their blog. Social media is fantastic for community building and growing an enthusiastic audience.
However, SEO is a fantastic way to get high volumes of traffic to your blog. It’s super important for expanding your potential reach to readers interested in your niche.
You see, search engines are all about helping people find the most useful information to their questions/queries/searches. Search engines want you to create informative, helpful content that they can direct it’s users to.
Every day, Google and other search engines, are sending out bots across the internet to crawl through your webpages to read the data and send that back to the engine. It’s your job as a website owner and content creator to help these search engines by giving them as much information as possible to help rank you in the most relevant search results they can.
Have I lost you yet?
If none of that makes any sense, don’t worry! Just start getting into the habit of using these basic SEO techniques every time you blog and soon enough it’ll become second nature. You’ll see results within months (if not sooner if you’re lucky), and the benefits can last you years.
I still get Google traffic to blog posts I wrote back in 2011 and 2012 thanks to these SEO techniques for blogging!
BASIC SEO TECHNIQUES FOR BLOGGING
1. Pick a keyword
The first thing I think about is what my keyword for the blog post will be. I have already come up with the topic, I might have done some research, taken photos or video. And now when writing the copy I want to have a keyword picked out. The keyword needs to be relevant and helpful for the audience. Remember, Google wants only relevant content so keep that in mind.
A keyword can be either short-tail (1 word) or long-tail (several words). Short-tail might be something like ‘cake’. Long-tail keyword might be something like ‘how to make gluten-free cake’.
2. Write post with keyword in mind
As I write the post I keep the keyword at the forefront of my thinking so that my content stays relevant to the keyword I want to rank for, and to my audience.
3. Write a minimum of 300 words
Google generally doesn’t like to rank blog posts that have less than 300 words (there are a few exceptions). But generally I aim for a minimum 500-700 words for my posts. Long form blog posts do particularly well with 1000+ words and if possible I like to hit that threshold as much as possible.
4. Repeat keyword
Make sure the keyword features several times throughout post where relevant. I usually make sure I use the keyword in the first paragraph, a sub-heading, the final paragraph/question, and maybe once or twice elsewhere where I can fit it in in a natural way.
Avoid keyword stuffing – this is where you overload the post with keywords and the writing looks unnatural. You can get penalised for this on search engines.
5. Rename images to include keyword
I rename all of my images to a relevant keyword that describes the image and the post. Usually at least one of the images will have the exact keyword I wish to rank for. And the others will be similar.
It’s worth remembering that Google also has an image search function so indicating what the image is about helps rank under that search process as well.
Rather than uploading images name DSC4528.jpg, you want to be uploading an image file named Gluten_Free_Cake.jpg
6. Use the ALT text for every image used
When I upload and insert an image into a blog post I make sure the ALT text field is filled in with keyword specific terms. Short for alternate text, this can help Google read what the image is all about. Plus, the ALT text is helpful when a page cannot load the images, or to help those with accessibility needs using a screen reader.
7. Include keyword in title
After I have written the post and I’m certain on what keyword I want to use I amend the title of the post to include the keyword. Often my post titles start as something broad and generic whilst in draft mode. I complete the keyword rich title at the end.
8. Include keyword in URL
I update the URL of the blog post to include the URL and remove any unnecessary words. Plus, I try to keep the url as short as possible.
9. Write meta description including keyword
I write a meta description that details what the post is about and includes the keyword. This is the description that will display on Google when it gets featured on their search results pages, and it also features on places like Facebook if your link is shared there.
10. Include at least one internal link to my own post(s)
I aim to link to at least one of my other posts in each blog post I write. Hopefully it is relevant or at least in the same category on my blog. This helps when bots are crawling my website to rank on Google. It sends them through the blog and let’s them know which posts are relevant and how they are relevant together.
It’s worth using anchor text where possible and not ‘click here when linking to your posts. Anchor text that is descriptive of what the link is leading to – that is, if you link to a soup recipe the anchor text says ‘pumpkin soup’ rather than click here.
11. Include an external link to a high quality and relevant source
Where possible I try to include one external link in each post to a high quality source that is relevant to the topic of that post. For instance a wikipedia page, or a news website, or something like Tripadvisor.
12. Create a ‘pinnable’ image
I make at least one ‘pinnable’ image per blog post. That is, a vertical image with a text overlay of the blog post title. This is the image I will pin to Pinterest, another search engine that is image-led. Pinterest is useful as not only does it send traffic to my blog but it is also crawled by Google and can help with SEO rankings there.
13. Format the post correctly
Once I’m almost ready to publish the blog post, I go through the post again to correct the format as necessary. I want to have good use of headings, short paragraphs, and use of bullet points where relevant. Google, and the rest of the internet, likes easy to read, ‘skimmable’ content. As such, writing for the web is different to traditional writing technique and format.
14. Use an SEO plugin or tool
I use the YOAST SEO plugin on my WordPress blogs to help streamline and guide my SEO techniques. It super useful to prompting you to tweak each blog post to maximise for SEO visibility.
Further SEO techniques for blogging tasks done on a regular basis
There are a few other SEO tasks I do an a semi-regular basis to help maximise my Google rankings for my blog. These are part of my blog maintenance routines and I recommend staying on top of them at least every quarter to help boost your Google rankings.
1. Check for and fix any broken links
Google doesn’t like broken links. It considers them unhealthy for the internet ecosystem as it doesn’t help your readers sending them to a non-existence webpage. So you don’t want to be linking to an webpage that no longer exists.
I have found that a lot of old comments on my blog now have dead links as old bloggers have quit over the years after leaving links on my comment forms. I also find that if I share shopping links for products, they often get removed when the product is no longer on sale.
2. Check Google Webmaster Tools / now Search Console
It used to be called Webmaster Tools and recently renamed to Search Console, be sure to set up your blog on the Google Search Console and regularly check for any errors that Google flags up for you. Google is usually pretty good with it’s help guide if there are any errors you need to fix.
3. Check for Page Site Speed
Google tends to prefer websites with faster site load times, that is the length of time it takes for a user to load your webpage to their browser, either on a desktop or mobile device.
I recommend choosing a web theme that is fast loading, be sure to smush your images and keep checking for page site speed and act on any recommendations you are given.
Don’t stress if it’s not the best of the best, it’s something you can tweak as you go along.
4. Submit sitemap with Google and other search engines
You can submit your sitemap to Google and other search engines to help prompt them to scan your and list your blog posts.
5. Update old posts with related links within blog
This is a task I do when I have some spare admin time, or even whilst watching tv in the evening. I will go through my old posts (I have over 1000! eeeek!) and if I have written some related posts I will edit the blog post and add the related links in.
I either add an extra sentence, or hyperlink a relevant term. Or I’ll add a subheading ‘you might also like:’ and a list of a few related links.
There are still so much many more SEO techniques for blogging, and it’s a huge topic to learn about. I’m still learning as I go!
But with just these simple techniques I have managed to grow a steady stream of traffic to my blog for years and it only continues to grow.
Remember your blog is part of the world wide WEB, help search engines include you in that web by using keywords, and links, and the SEO techniques above to create the most relevant listings possible.