I’m so fucking excited to bring you this post.
I love when I get to bring my work into my blogging; for those of you who don’t know, I essentially blog professionally for a company. (AKA: Content Marketing.) As I’m an apprentice, I also get a lot of opportunity to learn – sometimes my boss will find me online courses, or will bring in people for me to talk to. (Are you getting the title now?)
Often, the things that I cover at work will be relevant to blogging in general and not just for soulless corporations looking to dominate the interwebs. For example, one post I would highly recommend everyone reading would be: How To Rework Old Content To Increase Traffic – using that method, I managed to move a few old my old posts to top spots on Google and triple their views, which is something that I learnt at work. (And, if you wanted a real double-whammy, you could check out my Guide To Affiliate Marketing and learn how to make money off your newly optimised posts so that when the traffic rolls in so does the dinero.)
Anyways – hi guys! Welcome to Blogging 101, a series where I share blogging tips and tricks with you. So far, we have:
- The Complete Guide To Earning Money With Affiliate Marketing
- How To Improve Old Posts To Significantly Increase Traffic
- 20 Interesting Ways For Bloggers To Collaborate
- Step By Step: How To Convert Your Hosted Blog To Self-Hosted (WordPress.Com to WordPress.Org)
- Why Your Blog Needs Google Search Console + 10 Great Ways To Use It
- Starting From The Bottom – 10 First Steps For Beginner Bloggers
- 19 Great Web-Page Design Inspirations From Emails
- 8 Things I Learnt Converting From WordPress.com To WordPress.org
- How To Create FREE Blog Infographics
- Why You Need A Blogging / Editorial Calendar + FREE CALENDAR
- How To Gain Genuine Page & Site Views // Blogging 101
- How To Slay Your Blog Design and Branding
- 15 Easy Things You Can Do To Improve and Perfect Your Blog
- Blogging Networks for Brand Collaboration and Sponsorship Opportunities
- How To Earn Money Through Blogging For Big, Small and New Blogs
- Blogging Habits For Better Blog Growth
- How I Used Amazon To Earn My First Cheque
Today’s Blogging 101 post is another work-inspired post . . . and one that I think you’re all going to find very handy. Last week at work, I had a sit down for a couple of hours with an SEO expert to learn how I could create content that Google loved. So . . . let me share with you what he taught me. (And then I’ll include a few of my own because I like to think I’ve picked up a few things along the way . . .)
SEO Tips an Seo Expert Taught Me
This one is the most important – and the one that I was completely oblivious to. When you write a post, you can include meta data – which essentially describes your content and determines how it looks in search engine results. I personally thought that was the extent of it; I was wrong.
Apparently, Meta Data acts as a great kick up the ass for your content. Google essentially sees Meta Data and thinks “okay, cool, this is a post that’s to be taken seriously”. You can include your keywords, an alternative title (think: two optimised titles. Only one will be visible to people but both will be there in the code to pick up search terms) and it’s an instant boost in terms of being found and moving up the rankings. Meta data was the absolute key thing that I was told to include.
Now, if you want to be able to add and edit your meta data, for WordPress.Org users it’s as simple as a plugin!
Image File Name + ALT Text + Image Title Attribute
This is another one that I thought I was on top of . . . and was not.
So, by this point, we’re already pretty familiar with ALT text, right?
If you aren’t, it’s the invisible descriptive text that you assign to an image; search bots can identify that there’s an image there, but they can’t see that image of Chocolate Cake on your recipe post – they don’t know what the image is and how it relates. When you assign ALT text to an image, a search bot essentially sees “here is an image of a chocolate cake” and that then contributes to your rankings. This also means that you can get found on Google Images, which is always helpful.
But – but it’s further than just ALT text. You should also make sure that your file name and image title attribute have optimised titles. It sounds like a lot of work, but these are all opportunities to insert some good keywords and variations and more things to be found on.
Another thing that Google apparently loves is Infographics. Of course, the question then becomes . . . how does Google know that you’re using infographics? Does Google have eyes? Are the crawl bots sitting there saying “YAAAAS GIRL, work those icons and that font combo”? “YAAAS BITCH, eyebrows on fleek in the side-widget bio pic”?
For me, I just include the word “INFOGRAPHIC” in all the image details so that it’s very clear that the image is an infographic.
At this point, we all know about this one – the word count of your post is a major factor for your search engine rank. If you want to be indexed, the minimum is 300 words but if you want to rank highly the minimum is more like 1,000. The real good word length is 1,500-2,000 words. Google loves meaty, in-depth and useful content.
How many of us think about our URL? I’d wager not many. However, we really should.
Before you go live, look at your URL, remove all unnecessary words (especially adjectives) and include a keyword or phrase. Another tip that he recommended to me (I haven’t tried this yet, so I can’t bank on it) is to sometimes remove the hyphens. Apparently changing some how-tos to howtos can give you a little boost – who knew?
Ugh. I hate, hate, hate keywords. I don’t get it. Genuinely, keywords are the one thing that have always gone over my head.
Have you ever tried researching them and finding out what they actually are? Have you? It’s impossible. It’s as though everyone who’s ever been interested in SEO ever sat down, had a meeting where the definition of keywords was very clearly defined, and decided “eh, we know that now so there’s no need to ever discuss it again“. So my shitty definition is something along the lines of: words and phrases you want people to search into Google and your site to appear for.
Now, if you’re a long-term reader of Blogging 101, you’ll know all about Google Search Console. It’s probably my favourite tool ever for blogging – and, best of all, it’s free.
You can use Search Console to see (some) of the queries that people are finding your site on – and what then from there you have your keywords! It’s like magic! You can see these keywords, add them in more frequently and tailor content for them. Which leads me nicely to my next point.
How To Find What Content Your Site Will Rank For
Again, this is something we touched on in Optimising Old Content For More Search Engine Traffic, but using Search Console to improve and find ideas for new content that your site definitely can rank for is another great tip.
You can filter queries by specific pages too, if you want ideas on how to improve content, but what I like to do to find new content creation ideas that you’re almost guaranteed to rank for is find keywords with a low page rank, but a lot of impressions and write content around these.
You can add in additional information (impressions, CTR, position, etc.) to help you identify keywords and how effective they are for you. (The same goes with pages; you can sort information by page to see how individual posts and pages perform.)
Filtering by Impressions, CTR, Clicks and Positions I usually look for a very low position (think above 15) and a decent amount of impressions. This means that there’s traffic looking through results – which makes it worthwhile for me to create content.
I did this really quickly and picked out a few results that fit this criteria. You can see how I could tailor an existing post or create a new post around some of these keywords.
Various other helpful ideas:
These don’t really fit into any particular category, but they’re helpful little tips that he gave me.
– Cntrl+F on a page to search it; this is useful to find whether you’ve mentioned certain keywords or phrases in a post
– You can find all links to your site in Google Search Console
– “site:URL” into Google to see all currently indexed pages of a website – this is good to see if your posts are actually on the search engine
– On Search Console, if words repetitively come up (so for me this would be things like “teen” and “gift”) make sure to include these one-word keywords in your copy but also you can write content around these subjects
Things I’ve Learnt & My Top SEO Tips
Now, although I learnt a lot from Tony (the expert), I also like to think that I’ve learnt a few things myself over all my various years of blogging. I bloody well hope so, at least.
Post structure (headings)
I hope you guys have noticed this more recently, but in longer or informative posts I now structure my content under headings and mini sub-headings.
Although this is something that you can easily add in using your normal writing interface, these changes are actually in your pages code and allows Google to see the categories and hierarchies within your writing.
Keyword variations are probably one of the most important things that I would recommend – after all, how many ways are there of saying the same damn thing? Hm? Even simple things, like wanting a good pizza shop, can be asked this many ways minimum:
– Pizza shop
– Pizza near me
-Pizza delivery to [ins postcode]
Not only do keyword variations allow Google to make associations about what your subject at hand is, they allow you to be found on a lot of other searched too! Win win.
High quality outbound links also provide your posts with a nice boost; essentially, it looks like you’re providing people with value.
Immediate social sharing and Pinterest
Backlinks are a massive part of search engine ranking – which is why Google penalises so heavily when it comes to manipulating them. An immediate backlink, however, is social media sharing. Personally, I love Pinterest because Pinterest itself acts as a search engine within the platform, so once you’ve pinned your post it’s available for discovery there too!
Well, we’re finally finished here. I know this post was long AF – but I hope you managed to get some helpful SEO tips from it! Let me know what you thought down below; will you be using any of these tips?
All the love,