Hi friends!! So this past weekend Jose and I were blogging mentors for Haven Conference. Haven is a conference for bloggers & as mentors we had a group of bloggers that we hosted live chats with. Jose and I both have a passion for blogging & we have learned a lot along our decade of blogging. Jose and I have been chatting a lot lately that we would love to share our knowledge about blogging with others & being mentors this past weekend inspired that so much! So here we are, starting our series to hopefully help & inspire those who want to start a blog or who have a blog & need a little assistance. We will be doing various blog posts in this series to help out fellow and aspiring bloggers. Today we are starting with a hot topic from our group this past weekend, basic SEO for bloggers. SEO is something that is a little bit mysterious, but so important if you have a blog that you want to be seen by others. I hope this post is helpful! Be sure to pin it for later use & share it with others who you think could find it useful!
WHAT IS SEO?
Book Definition: Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
Basic Definition: When someone Google’s something, applying different elements to your content/website to rank higher in the search results. Higher = towards the top (first page) of the results.
What are Keywords & Phrases?
The keywords and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site
Things That Impact SEO
Backlinks are external (from your website) links that point to your content. If Countryliving.com shared an image from your blog that links back to your website. This suggests to Google that your content is legitimate and informative. We always say yes to features (from creditable websites) as long as backlinks are provided. Backlinks from a good website are helpful, excessive backlinks from spam websites can negatively impact you. So if someone asks to share your content, do a quick search of their website to determine if they are a good and legitimate website.
There are backlink analyzers that can be done to see if you have an excessive amount of bad backlinks, and you can create a ”disavow” list to send to Google, telling them not to recognize your content on these bad sites.
Overall Take Away:
Participate in home tours with other bloggers and say yes to other sites wanting to feature your content. If you have worked with a brand or company, negotiate into your contracts you writing content for them on their blog or website with backlinks to your website.
In regards to bad backlinks… it needs to be quite excessive to truly negatively impact you. So don’t spend too much time worrying about it, we audit our backlinks roughly once a year and update our disavow list.
Internal Links are essentially the same thing as backlinks but on your website (not external). Links to other content on your site within your site. Think of this as the YouTube Suggestion pane. We have all dove down the dark hole of YouTube by just watching a video and clicking the next video on the suggestion pane. Try to replicate this on your website. When you create content, think of ways to add other links to blog posts. We try to tie in organically within the content, but also we do an “if you like this…” or “other recent blog posts…” at the bottom of our post.
There are plugins that will analyze your content and create a suggestive internal link. We don’t fully endorse the Yoast Pro upgrade as we don’t really see a lot of ROI for the cost, but it does have a good feature that suggestive similar content.
Meta Description is found under the title of the blog or website when displayed on google. This is fully customizable and can be done within the free Yoast plugin on WordPress.
Why it’s important. Google likes taking the path of least resistance when it comes to finding creditable sites and keywords. The fastest way to analyze content is in a summary format and that can be found within the Meta description.
Think: Synopsis + Keywords/Phrases + Click bait (for blog posts only)
Meta Descriptions for Pages: Should be direct (generally no clickbait) and cover what is found on that page with targeted keywords or phrases.
Meta Descriptions for Blog Post: Should be written in a conversational tone, including the targeted keyword. Should hint at what the article is, but leaves room for curiosity (clickbait).
Image Title & Alt Title
Title all of your images relevant to your image and with keywords your targeting. Consider how Google sees your blog. It is all code to Google and not the beautiful view you see.
Title images in a non-conversational tone, but descriptive and with keywords, keyword variations, and phases. If you have multiple slightly different images of the same thing use this to hit variations of keywords. Example: Linen Cabinet, Pine Cabinet with Linens, Linen Cabinet Storage.
Here is a bad example of how we did not correctly title our image. In this example, Google is only seeing this image as IMG_1452.jpg. This is a missed opportunity to identify the image as an Antique Plant Stand, or Antique Garden Stand, Iron Plant Stand, Vintage Metal Plant Stand … Any variation of what the image is can create a keyword authority and searchable result in google. This is done prior to uploading the image to your media folder. Simply rename the file.
Also notice that right after the Image Source (<img src=…) it registers the Alt Text. This is another area you can identify the image while including a keyword. I like to use more of a conversational tone in the Alt-Text compared to the title. Example of Alt-Text, A vintage White Iron Garden Plant Stand used as Home Décor.
How Google Sees Your Site
Open Web Inspector or Inspector Element from your browser. It will open up the code of your website. This is how Google sees your blog. You don’t need to know what your reading, but it’s a good way to understand what and how google sees in your content.
Write well-structured blog content with a Header, Sub Header, and Paragraphs. This promotes well organized, non-bot (fake), content that Google will more likely consider to be authentic and informative. This is a suggestion but not a requirement. Google would like for your blog post to resemble a textbook, but also consider how your content is displayed to your readers. Maintain a fine balance.
Free Tool: Yoast
Yoast: is an SEO plugin that helps reference your content with your suggested Keyword you manually plug-in. It does not communicate with google or create authority for your keyword.
Highly Recommend using Yoast Plugin within WordPress.
There is a free and Pro version. The Pro version has a few extra features, but the free version covers 95% of your need. The extra feature from the Pro is the internal linking which can be done manually or potentially finding other free plugins.
If you want to learn more about SEO, yoast.com is a great resource. They have a blog where they explain SO much about SEO and answer commonly asked questions.
Paid Tool: SEM Rush
We have used SEMrush for about a year and a half. We think this tool has endless potential but it is very expensive. Basic Membership cost is 100 a month.
It does come with free Seminars, Webinars, Podcasts, and an academy that takes general and specific approaches to SEO areas.
Where are you in the SEO Journey?
Content is King. Focus on providing the very best content you can create. Maximum effort in image title and alt title text for your photos. Create meta descriptions for all pages and blog posts. Structure your blog posts with Headers, Sub Headers, Lists and Paragraphs, attempt to reach an average word count between 700-1200 words. Use free version of Yoast as a reference for your readability and keywords.
All items from new blogger. Participate in home tours and strengthen your backlinks. Go back through older post and create or update internal linking.
All items above. Consider purchasing SEO tools or hiring SEO management company. Deep dive into Keyword analytics and keyword ranking, create a disavow list with google
I hope this first post in the blogging series is helpful & useful wherever you are on your blogging journey. Be sure to head on over to my Instagram [HERE] & let me know what you want to see next in the series! Thank you as always for stopping by the blog today & every single day to see what we are up to. xx