I know this isn’t my usual style of post, but after over a year working in Digital Marketing and improving my own blog, I thought I would share some tips! Grab a brew (and a couple of biscuits), because this is one hefty ol’ blog post. There’s quite a lot to take in, but if you want to improve the amount of organic traffic coming to your blog from search engines, you’re in the right place. I’m going to share how I managed to get 6x the usual amount in 3 months. I’ve found it easiest to work on my blogs SEO in chunks, tackling one thing a step at a time so it didn’t feel overwhelming. I promise, the end result is worth the hard slog.
SEO is short for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ – basically, improving your website/ blog so you rank higher in search engines. The higher your blog posts rank, the more likely your website will be clicked. There’s 3.5 billion searches every single day, every, single day! If you’re not optimising your blog for SEO, you’re missing out on a massive chunk of organic traffic.
Two tools to download and install if you haven’t already
I’m taking it right back to basics. If you haven’t already set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console then it’s a must.
Google Analytics – to find out what’s happening on your blog
Google Search Console – to monitor your blogs presence in Google Search results
They’re pretty simple descriptions for such fundamental tools, but without either of these you cannot optimise for SEO efficiently – especially without Search Console. I set up both Analytics and Search console a few years back. I found YouTube tutorials really useful for taking me through the process.
Overall website ‘health’
It’s really important to think about your website as a whole. Your blog will have a ‘domain authority’ score and it can be checked here: https://www.seoreviewtools.com/website-authority-checker/. You want your domain authority to be as high as possible. The lower the number, the easier it is to increase but you want to make sure ideally you’re above 20. This is a whole other blog post in itself, and there’s quite a few different things that impact your overall domain authority. In a nutshell, the higher the domain authority, the more likely that Google and other search engines will start to show your blog posts higher up in the search engine results page.
Make sure your technical SEO is up to scratch
So, once you’ve got analytics and search console set up, it’s onto technical SEO. You’re probably wondering what ‘technical SEO’ is. I’m going to try and keep this as simple as possible, it’s essentially elements such as your website speed, the code that makes up your website and how search engines can crawl your website. By ‘crawl’ I mean read/scan your website so you appear in search engine results.
Lets say your website is super slow, or search engines cannot properly read the text on the page due to incorrect technical elements, this will absolutely penalise your blog. So, how do you know whether your blog is technically sound? Here’s a couple of things you can do…
- Check Google’s page speed insights. This website is amazing for showing you the speed of your blog and showing you what elements are making it slow to load. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights. A popular issue for blogs is image size. If your blog is on WordPress you can use the plugin “Autoptimize.” There’s a couple of others out there too but I use this because it optimises more than just image speed. Just remember with these plugins to go into the settings and have a play around with the different options, keep checking back at the new speed and make sure it hasn’t caused your template to change.
- Set up a ‘sitemap’ in search console. A sitemap can be generated pretty quickly online, or if you have a WordPress website the ‘Yoast SEO’ plugin can create a sitemap for you. The sitemap enables Google to crawl your website and index this into Google.
Lets talk about keywords in blog posts
Keywords are important if you want your blog post to rank well, and a fundamental part of SEO for bloggers. It’s a focus word you choose to use throughout your post, so when someone types it into a search engine your post will show for it. Many keywords are competitive, meaning it can be quite difficult to rank higher than well known, high ranking websites who are also targeting the same keywords.
That’s where long-tail keywords come in. Long-tail keywords are extremely valuable because they are more specific, and usually less competitive when it comes to targeting, so you’re more likely to appear higher up in search engines.
keyword: Lipliner Longtail Keyword: Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk
Below are the search queries that show my Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk blog post I wrote in 2017 and updated earlier this year. To access search queries go to: Search Console – Performance – select a page under the ‘pages’ tab in the table – then click back on to the ‘queries’ tab. As you can see, people search for different things even though they are all similar. My blog post is targeting the majority of the words people are searching for which is why it’s ranking.
It’s really important to make sure the keyword you are using flows in your content. Your content has to be relevant and provide value. Google looks out for people that just seem to be using keywords sporadically, so make sure it flows.
Why Search Console Is So Valuable
Search Console is so valuable for SEO, it’s how you’re going to find out which of your posts do the best, what Google searches drive traffic to your website and so many other valuable metrics. Here’s a bit of a glossary to outline the different terms, what they mean and why they’re important for organic traffic.
In the ‘performance’ tab in search console you will see a line graph
Total clicks: how many people have clicked through to your blog from Google
Total impressions: how many times one of your posts was viewed in Google
Average CTR: how many people clicked through after seeing it
Average position: the average position of where your blog post/ blog pages sit in search engine results. The lower this number, the better!
The aim of the game is to increase impressions, clicks and average CTR whilst decreasing average position.
The image below is taken directly from the Search Console linked to my blog. I’m not even half way through working on my old blog posts and optimising them, but you can see the posts that I’ve already worked on below. In the top bar above these results you can look at the queries, pages, countries, devices, search appearance and dates.
The Queries Report
This report shows me the exact search terms people are using to find my blog and blog posts. You’ll probably find your blog/ brand name appear quite far up. There’s so many different queries that can lead to the same page, and this is really useful to see because you can update and optimise your existing blog posts based on the queries driving the most clicks and traffic.
An example of this is the query ‘Glossier Futuredew Review’. When I wrote that blog post I knew it wouldn’t be very competitive (the product had just launched), so I knew I had more chance of getting on the first page of Google by focusing on ‘Glossier Futuredew Review’ as my target keyword.
If you take one thing from this post…
One of the main things you can do is go back to your old blog posts and optimise. For me I had blog posts I’d written without any second thought to SEO still getting traffic, so I started with those and I’m seeing really good results. Have a look in search console and see which of your blog posts rank highest. Then look at the search terms generating clicks and update it based on that (if they’re relevant).
A Few More Tips For Creating An SEO Friendly Blog Post
Still with me? I know there’s A LOT in this post, but I’m going to wrap it up with a few more tips!
Optimise Your Blog Post Title
You want your title to contain the keyword/ topic of your blog post whilst also being enticing enough for people to want to click through. If you have an SEO plugin on WordPress (or whatever platform you use) it will probably give you hints on length, ideally you want a title to be 60 characters.
Improve Blog Post Length
In an ideal world all blog posts written would be a minimum of 700 words. Blog posts with a lower word count can rank well, but the more information you can provide, the better. That being said, readability and relevancy is key. If a blog post you are writing really doesn’t warrant a higher word count then so be it, this is just another way to help a post rank well.
Best Practises For Images
As I’ve mentioned, image size is really key and can often be an area that lets a lot of blogs down in terms of page speed. Another thing you can do to optimise images is name them correctly and add alt text. Alt text is the written text that appears in place of an image on a webpage, if the image fails to load. It’s valuable for screen-reading tools to describe images to visually impaired readers. Your alt text should describe exactly what your image is.
Optimise Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are the small pieces of text that show below the blog post title in search engines. I know with WordPress they are quite easy to update. It’s another place you can put your target keywords and basically tell people more about your blog post and why they should read it.
This is essentially linking back to one of your blog posts from another. Where possible, and if it flows, link back to a previous article you have written. Internal linking works as Google finds your posts and pages best when they’re linked to from somewhere on the web.
Check Out Your Competition
Once you’ve decided on your keyword, type it into Google and see what comes up. Look at their titles and meta descriptions and see how you can tweak yours to make it look better. I wouldn’t actually click into the post and get too much information (basically, don’t copy), but it’s definitely important to know what you’re up against.
A website that’s helped me over the years
Nothing has helped me more than experience and actually working on optimising accounts and my own blog. But, if you do want to learn more I highly recommend checking out Neil Patel, there’s so much useful information he puts out there that’s really valuable if you’re trying to improve your blog SEO.
As you can see, SEO really is made up of so many small elements that paint a bigger picture. It’s not simple, people are employed full time to manage the SEO of websites so you’re learning a whole new job by taking on optimising your blog – good on you!
I realise this is a pretty big post, so thank you for sticking with me. I really hope if you are a blogger or even a small business owner and want to improve your SEO this provided some insight! I’m thinking of doing a part two and sharing even more aspects, so if there’s anything you want me to cover in more detail let me know in the comments.
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