If you’re a regular around here and you’re wondering where Fitness Friday is, it’s on pause for this week. Sorry. Instead, I’m going to give you some SEO insider tips. SEO is actually a big part of my job so I know all the tips and tricks. I don’t think you have to be an SEO expert to be a blogger, but obviously knowing a few things will help to boost your blogs visibility in search engines. Which, before I forget, is the point of SEO – it stands for Search Engine Optimisation and basically is the act of helping Google to understand your blog and therefore know when to feature it in search results. The main key to SEO is producing regular, quality content as this helps Google see you as an authority leader in whichever subject you’re talking about, but there’s a few technicalities which will really help Googlebots to get what you’re about.
I’m going to try keep this as easy to understand as possible but if you have questions, leave me a comment, tweet me or email me and I’ll try to clear them up!
Not linking to your own posts
Internal links, where you use a hyperlink to link to your own posts, is a good practise to get into because it helps people to navigate around your blog anyway, but in terms of SEO it helps to spread “link juice” around your blog to each page. The homepage of your blog always has more authority than the rest, but this is passed through your blog by internal links. So, at the top of my blog I have categories – this internal linking passes authority down to each category, and because the anchor text (the text which you can read rather than the actual URL) says what each category is about, when Google sees it it understands what these pages are about. Having categories is actually really really important for this, otherwise Google (and people!) won’t know how to navigate your blog. Humans can use search bars, Googlebots can’t.
Internally linking in a post also helps to spread the authority about. Google can only give power to a post if it has read it, and it can’t read it without links pointing to the post. An example of me internally linking is if I linked to a post I did a while ago on what PR’s actually look for in a blog. Just make sure when you link, it flows naturally for the reader – if there’s nothing to link to, don’t!
Not using a title tag
Every page on a blog or website has a title tag which tells Google what the page is about – the title tag is different to your post title. When you search something in Google, the title tag is what comes up and lets you know what the post is about, not the title of the post. Naming the title tag to what the blog post is about helps Google knows to pull up your post when relevant searches are made. I’m not 100% sure what it’s like on blogger, or with wordpress.com, but if you’re self hosted on wordpress you can download various SEO plugins which allows you to change the title tag of a page. Doing this is SO important, to the point many SEO experts will joke that there’s no point optimising your blog if you don’t use title tags.
While I’m on title tags, try to include a keyword or two. My title tag for this post is “Common SEO mistakes to avoid and how to fix them to improve visibility” so will be relevant to searches on SEO mistakes, how to improve SEO visibility, improve SEO visibility etc.
Not re-naming your URLs
The reasoning behind this is similar to why you should rename your title tags. Again, not sure how it works on other platforms but in self-hosted WordPress, you can change that underneath the title in the permalink bit. Tech talk right there!
Not using alt tags
You know when you upload your image, and there’s the option to add a title, caption and alt text? You need to fill the alt text in with what the image is about so that search engines actually know what the image is. They read words, not pictures. If you have say, an image of a lipstick swatch, you should put the alt text as something like “lipstick brand and shade swatch”. When someone then searches for a swatch of that image, Google knows to suggest your image. The whole point of SEO is to get people to click through to your blog, so if your picture comes up and it’s relevant, you’ll get a visitor.
Having posts that are too short
There’s debate on what the optimum length is for a post, however most people believe that the range of words should be in the region of 300 – 700 to be optimised for search engines. Of course, the odd post which is only 100 words, or even an occasional 2000 word post, is fine – just try to keep the majority of your posts at least 300 words. It’s not something you have to do religiously, most blog posts are around 500 words naturally, it’s more of a case of avoid those posts which are just pictures and then one sentence saying where your clothes are from. It can look spammy in Google’s eyes – remember, they can’t see pictures! Long posts won’t be punished by Google, it’s just they only crawl a certain number of lines so anything longer will have it’s end missed off. Which is fine if it’s good content your readers will like! This post is a good 1000 words so it may not all be read by Googlebots but hopefully it will all be read by you!
If you’re just blogging for fun, SEO isn’t something that should be of a huge concern. Obviously having your blog discovered by Google is a bonus, it’s actually where I get most of my traffic from so for me it’s a good skill to have to get my blog noticed. Remember, SEO will get people on to your blog but good content, layout, imagery and personality will keep them there!
A last piece of advice from me if you’re trying to really SEO the hell out of your blog is to go self hosted on WordPress. When you have a .blogspot or .wordpress domain, any authority your blog has is basically taken by them so your blog isn’t as valuable. Going self hosted also allows you to install plugins to help optimise your blog, and also puts you in control of your website – wordpress or blogger don’t have to keep your blog if you don’t technically own it!
Any q’s? Leave me a comment and if it requires a lengthy answer, your email