Having your blog posts rank high in Search Engines, such as Google, is a huge help in driving traffic to your blog or website. But, in order for your posts to actually rank high, you need to ensure you are making them search engine friendly, and optimizing every single blog post.
In this Beginners Guide, you will learn SEO by following the specific steps to optimize your blog posts and make them search engine friendly.
Learn SEO: The Beginners Guide to Making Your Blog Search Engine Optimized
1 | DOWNLOAD AN SEO PLUGIN
So, you can totally create a search engine optimized blog post without using an SEO plugin, but that is pretty much like choosing to walk when your running late and there is a vehicle readily available. See what I am saying? It makes your life easier, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
I personally find SEO plugins to be very beneficial in helping to ensure that not only are my blog posts Search Engine Optimized, but so is my entire website.
I use the Yoast SEO plugin for my website and I love it. It is super easy to use, and there is a free version. I personally use the free version, but you can totally upgrade to premium if you feel you need the extra features.
To install the Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress, simply go to Plugins — Add New. Then, install and activate the “Yoast SEO” plugin.
2 | FIGURE OUT YOUR KEYWORDS
Before writing a new blog post, you should focus on what your keyword(s) will be.
A great tool I use for this is Google Adwords Keyword Planner, which is a FREE tool that will help you find and select the best long tail keywords to use in your blog posts.
the first thing to do is to go to adwords.google.com, and then you will have to create an account using your gmail account. The next step is important!!!
When creating a new Google Adwords account, it’s important that you “Skip the Guided Setup” as indicated in the image below. If you don’t do this, then Google will force you to enter your credit card information as if you were an advertiser. Since you just want to use the free keyword planner, make sure to skip the setup.
Once you are in your account, you will want to find the “tools” tab on the top right hand of the menu. It may also just be a little wrench rather than the word TOOLS. Click that, and then click “Keyword Planner”.
Next you’ll see a box that says “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.” Type in your potential keyword(s) in that box and hit “Get ideas”. You do not have to fill in the other fields.
So, the keyword(s) you search will be the very first result, followed by potential ideas that are similar. To the right, you see the average monthly searches for the keywords, and the level of competition.
You always want your monthly search number to be high (but not toooo high), and your competition to be low or medium. So, for example, after a few searches, I decided to use Learn SEO as my keyword for this post because the searches were high, and the competition was medium. My post was originally going to be called The Beginners Guide to SEO, but when I did that as a keyword search, the average monthly views was only 10-100, and that is too low.
Now, the reason I mentioned that you don’t want your average monthly searches to be tooo high, is because when you have searched in the 100k – 1M range, you may not rank at all. Especially if you are a new blogger. I like to aim for the 1K – 10K range, but will also accept the 100 – 1K range OR the 10K – 100K range.
One last tip for choosing a keyword phrase is to use what are called long tail keywords. So, what the heck is a long tail keyword?? Well basically…
- A Long tail keywords consist of 3-4 keywords that are specific and relevant to what your post is about.
- And it is also searched for less, so there isn’t as much competition.
Less competition means having a better chance of being ranked higher, and therefor, found easily in search engines.
3 | USE KEYWORDS PROPERLY
So, not only do you want to include your keywords in your Blog Post Title, you also want to use them throughout your blog post. While having your keywords within your blog post is important, you never want to force them into your content to the point where your post becomes unnatural or less reader friendly.
Now, I want to talk a little more in-depth about where you should have keywords in your blog post:
So, having keyword(s) in your blog post title is a great option, but you should not sacrifice a catchy title just to get your keyword in there. The reason I say this is because your catchy title is a really great way to bring in readers, and you can still optimize your SEO in other ways.
If you can have both, then by all means have both!
IN A SUBHEADING:
Include your keywords in at least one subheading throughout your blog. This increases your SEO. If you were able to include your keywords in your original title, then a great way to include it in a subheading is by simply repeating your title again in your blog as an intro to your content.
WITHIN YOUR POST:
You want to include your keywords within your blog post as well. More specifically, within your first few sentences or first paragraph for better SEO. Having it within your post a few times is even better.
IN THE ALT TEXT SECTION OF YOUR IMAGES:
Not to be confused with the title section, you will want to include your keyword within your ALT TEXT section on all of your images included in your blog post.
IN YOUR META DESCRIPTION:
If you have the Yoast SEO plugin, you can edit your meta description and title to include your keywords. This will be the information and description that shows up in a search engine when your post shows up in a search.
When you scroll down to your Yoast SEO area, there is a button that says “Edit Snippet”. If you click there you can edit your meta description.
Your meta description should be a short description of your post, and it should always include your keywords.
Try to keep your meta description around 150 characters. If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, it will let you know when you use too many characters.
When you click the Edit Snippet button you will see this information:
4 | USE YOUR H2 (HEADING 2) IN POSTS
Heading are a great way to break up your posts for easy readability, but they also tell search engines what your blog post is all about and increase your SEO.
If you use WordPress, there are six different heading options to choose from.
I typically use the H2 or somethings H3 option. Here is the reason why:
- The H1 Heading is what your Post Title will be, so you want your subheadings within your post to be at least one lower than that option.
- H2 is technically considered the subheading of your H1 Title Heading. When a Search Engine finds your H1 Tag, they begin to scan for your H2 tags, then your H3 tags, etc. etc.
- Google also likes H2 tags, which obviously helps your post rank in their search engine.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, if you can use keywords within your H2 headings, you should. But again, don’t force them in there. Include them if they flow naturally within your headers.
5 | INTERLINK YOUR BLOG POSTS
Interlinking simply means linking to other posts on your blog throughout your blog post. Interlinking is great for SEO and it also helps keep people on your blog and reading older content.
It is easy to interlink. All you have to do is include links for other relevant blog posts from your blog within the current post you are writing.
Many times I use interlinking to elaborate on a point or direct people to a post that has further information. So for example, if I am writing a post about driving traffic to your blog, and I mention Pinterest as a tool, I might say something like “You can also check out my post: Grow Your Blog with This Step-by-Step Pinterest Plan, for detailed information on getting started with Pinterest.”
If you don’t have a spot withing your blog post to interlink older content, another great option is to simply include a “You May Also Like” section at the end of your post. You can then list a few links to other posts on your blog.
6 | OPTIMIZE YOUR PERMALINKS
A permalink is the description that follows your blog URL. In WordPress you can edit this directly under your Title box at the top of your post.
Now, if your permalinks are showing numbers or the date, you can also edit the format so that it shows just the post title. In WordPress you simply go to the settings option on your left side menu >> then hit Permalinks.
Then you want to choose the “Post Name” option.
You should include your keyword(s) in all of your permalinks in the future. BUT you do not want to go back and edit any old permalinks. If you do, all of the links you have shared (on social media, within other posts, in emails, etc.) in the past will no longer work. It is not worth it to lose that traffic just to change your older permalinks.
Just start implementing this step moving forward!
So, there are the 6 steps I recommend implementing to increase your SEO. Most are fairly simple and if you consistently implement them in your blog posts, they will eventually give you big results!
If you have been blogging for a while, and start implementing these steps now. It may take some time but you will eventually see the results and increase of traffic.
If you are a brand new blogger, and implement these steps from the very beginning, you may see the results quicker.
Either way, making your posts Search Engine Optimized is worthwhile, and I highly recommend taking the time to do so.
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