OK, I need you to suck it up and read this post 🙂
The reason – SEO brings in 89% of my traffic and you want it to be your main traffic source asap.
Can you imagine getting 9 more readers for every 1 reader you currently have?
This is what SEO can do for you!
Yes, SEO is boring and confusing but I made this post as easy to understand as I could.
If you have questions after you read it, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready? You Can Do This!
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the method by which you improve or “optimize” your website and drive traffic. The content on your website as well as the content you create off of your website for your ideal audience is also important for SEO purposes. SEO is so important to your content marketing.
To do SEO well, you need to know your audience, understand your competition, be able to describe the problems you solve for your ideal target audience member and know your value all the while using the terms (keywords) that your audience is likely to use to find your information, even if it’s a new blog.[toc]
There are two types of SEO. On-Page SEO and off-page SEO. You need both to increase your blog traffic.
On-Page Search Engine Optimization
- On-Page SEO includes anything you do on your page to improve the ability of search engines (and your audience who is using a search engine) to find you. All the following are included in on-page SEO.
- Title Tags – This is essentially the title of your page. It could be a blog post, a sales page or any page on your website. The title should use the H1 tag to signify to the search engines that this is an important part of what this content is about.
- Headings & Subheadings – Likewise, headings and subheadings should also use H1, H2, H3 and so forth headers because this is what shows the search engines what is important. Plus, since it defines the way the heading or subheading looks to the user, it helps break up the white space and text for easier reading.
- URLs – When you are developing titles for any page or blog post on your site you want to ensure that they are made up of keywords that your audience will relate to but also that the search engine will recognize. For example, if you create a new post entitled: On Page SEO: Tips & Tricks to Getting It Right. The URL should be yoursite.com/onpageseotips but not the entire title. You want your page URLs to look good, have keywords, and be short.
- Optimized Images – When you create an image for your website the trick for SEO is to name the image something with the keyword in it. If you put a picture of a word cloud for your blog post about SEO, you’d want to name the image SEOkeywordcloud.png or something relevant to your article as it helps the search engines as they combine all the information from your page to know that the info relates.
- Body Text – The rule of thumb is that the keyword you want to rank for should appear within the first 100 words in the body text in the first paragraph.
- Responsive Design – If you don’t have a website or page that works on any device, you’re missing out on customers. Not only that, but all search engines penalize sites that aren’t responsive.
- Outbound Links – A site with good outbound links to credible sources for the information you are sharing with your audience shows that you’re more than likely a good site with good information. You don’t want to link out too much but linking to valuable sources helps your ranking.
- Internal Linking – A good internal linking policy for your website can increase how much of your site the search engines crawl. Plus, it can help your readers stay on your site longer. This is also a good sign to search engines that your content is relevant and high quality.
- Site Speed – Your site needs to load very fast, almost instantly. You know that you don’t wait when a site won’t load even if it says “loading please wait” try to optimize your site so that it loads very fast so that not only will the search engines rank it higher, your readers will enjoy it more.
- Social Sharing – Include social sharing icons that way people can share anything that they love easily. Plus, they can find you on social media and follow, friend, and like you. Speaking of social media, open comments on your blog posts to attract user-generated content that can also help with your ranking.
- Long Form Content – You want to include both short and long form great content on your website. Some people may call it epic content, authoritative content, or long form content. Basically, this is content that is very in-depth. It may have started with short blog posts in a series but can be turned into very long content that explains an important aspect of your niche to your audience. It could be on your own blog or done as a guest post.
Off-Page SEO includes link building and social media marketing. In fact, even TV ads, Radio Ads, Google Ads, Facebook Ads and so forth can also be considered off-page SEO. Essentially any traffic generating activities that you do not do on your website or blog is considered off-page SEO since the idea is to show the search engines that your site is authoritative with good content and information for your audience.
Doing SEO correctly helps you get more traffic. Sometimes the traffic comes from pulling them into your site with the right keywords that your audience will use search engines to find, and sometimes it means creating more links to your site via guest posting, directory listings, and social media activities.
Using good search engine practices will help you get more traffic because you’ll design a site perfect for your audience that sticks to your niche. Using SEO practices is one of the best evergreen sources of traffic that you’ll ever find.
What ARE Keywords and Key Phases?
When talking about keywords try to understand that there are keywords and key phrases. The technical terms are short and long tail keywords. A long tail keyword is long, includes modifiers and more information, while a short tail keyword is short and often consists of only one word without modifiers.
Use Keywords and Keyword Phrases Throughout the Content
Keywords and key phrases should appear throughout your content. They should appear normal though, and not contrived. For example, don’t purposely misspell words just because other people do, and don’t drop keywords in that affect the flow of the content you’ve created. The keywords that you use should fit seamlessly into the content and expand on the meaning of the content too. This can take some thought and planning.
The best thing to do is to write normally to increase blog traffic. Write how you talk. Don’t try to sound like someone else. You have your own unique voice that your audience wants to hear. Keep the keyword phrases you’ve chosen in mind, but just write normally.
Then when you edit the content go back and add the keyword phrases that work best and make the most sense without altering the meaning of the content. It’s best not to include any keywords if it makes the content look weird or lose its meaning. Your first job is to write for your audience, not the search engines. You want a great user experience on your own blog.
Do Your Research To Increase Traffic
Before using keywords, you may want to use the tools available to you for SEO tips and how many people are searching for this information using these words. If you don’t know that a phrase is in high demand you could be wasting your time adding them to the content. Some good tools (and some are free tools) to use are Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool, Moz.com, Spyfu.com, Semrush.com, and others.
Use keywords for titles, alt text for images, headings, subheadings, bullet points and so forth but use keyword phrases sprinkled throughout the content to enhance understanding as well as help search engines find your information. Don’t forget to use synonyms too, but always check with tools to ensure that the keyword or keyword phrase produces results or not. If you don’t check you don’t know.
Heading Tags And Their SEO Importance For Blog Content
You’ve probably heard of header tags, but you may not realize why they are so important for proper search engine optimization (SEO). First, you need to understand what heading tags are.
Basically, it’s the code that you use to define a heading to make it stand out. SEO is about the words you use but it’s also about how you use them, how easy your website is to read, and how the search engines view the type of HTML information you provide that your audience doesn’t see.
What Are Heading Tags? – The number beside the header tag such as H1, H2, H3, H4 defines the importance of the word using this tag helps with H1 being the signal of the most important terms and words being used. In WordPress, you can choose the header tags via a drop-down menu after highlighting the word that you want to add tags to.
Using Them in Your Blog Post – When you use header tags in your blog post and other content it’s important to understand why you’re using them. Is the word you’re assigning this tag to important enough for it?
If it’s not an important keyword term, you may be better off using “bold” or other types of tags rather than one of the header tags. Using the tags signals to the search engines the importance of the keyword or phrase to the rest of the information on the page.
Header Tags Enhance Readability – Aside from being great for search engine optimization header tags are also great for enhancing readability. Since the tag defines the word visually it can help readers get the meaning of the words easier because it’ll stand out to the reader just like it would if it was “bold” or “italics”.
Make Your Content Easy to Scan – Most people read online in an F pattern. They scan across then down and across. They don’t always read every word unless they find the information interesting upon scanning. When you have important words, questions, phrases, and information using heading tags it makes it easy to scan and then easy to understand too.
Improve SEO – Using a header tag signifies to the search engine that the word or phrase that is using the tag is important. The search engine now knows that the content should also include words like the tagged one and will serve people who search for that phrase those results.
Formatting Your Fonts – You can take control over your fonts by editing the CSS so that when you create a blog post you don’t have to format everything again you can just apply the right tags to the content. You can learn more about CSS and Text by looking at this information. (http://www.yourhtmlsource.com/stylesheets/csstext.html)
Using Heading tags is very important for search engine optimization because that’s how search engines know something is important, but also helps people read the content easier and understand the content more because the design assists with understanding.
A Quick Intro To Basic On-Page SEO Factors
On-Page SEO includes anything you do on your website or blog that improves the ability for search engines to choose your site based on customer searches as one of the potential sites that your audience should look at for information.
Basic On-Page SEO
- Title Tags – If you have a title for a page or a blog post it is tagged with the H1 header tag. This tag signifies that this is an important word that is a title and the title is usually a search term
- Headings & Subheadings – Within any one blog post you may also have H2, H3, H4 and so on tags for other headings and subheadings. For epic or long form content you may have other H1 tags besides the title of the post too. The use of these tags can make a lot of difference to the search engines.
- URLs – Optimize your URLs to include keywords and be short and pretty. The entire title doesn’t have to be the URL. Instead, the first three keywords that you use should comprise your URL for that page or post.
- Optimized Images – Images that have the right file names, the alt description information filled in, and so forth can also help tremendously with on-page SEO because naming the images correctly will make them show up in the search.
- Body Text – Understand that body text is also important because your keyword should show up within the first 100 characters of body text after any heading is used. This helps confirm the topic of the post that matches the title.
- Outbound Links – Using high-quality outbound links also signals to the search engines (and your audience) that your information is quality information that is accurate. If you use fishy links that have been shown to be false, it can downgrade your search efforts.
- Internal Linking – If you want the search engine bots to crawl more of your site, include relevant posts in an internal linking program or create links to resources within your blog posts.
- Site Speed – Make sure your site moves fast. If it doesn’t load fast find someone who can help figure out why. There is a lot of technical information about fast loading sites that is difficult to understand that has to do with compressing images, how many images you add, the types of images and so forth.
- Keyword Synonyms – Remember to use keyword synonyms within your content too so that you don’t overuse one keyword. Even if you want a page to rank for a specific keyword, that’s in your title, headings, subheadings, and in the body text but you don’t want that one keyword phrase to comprise more than 2 percent of the overall content.
- Social Sharing – Ensure that you make it easy for your audience to share what they love. Sharing is part of SEO too because it gives you external links to your content, but the fact that the social sharing app is on your page makes it on-page SEO.
- Long Form Content – Include long form (or epic) content that can behave as cornerstone content for your audience. When you do that it’s also important to use more H1 tags than just the title since the content is so long.
When you understand how on-page SEO works, you can quickly understand how it also helps your audience outside of search engines. It makes your content easier to read, understand, and browse.
It makes it easier to tell others about it and makes it overall more user-friendly than if you didn’t use any type of SEO at all.
The Art of Working Your Keywords & Phrases Into Your Blog Content
Using keywords and keyword phrases properly within your content is really sort of an art. You want the content you create to contain the right keywords, but you also want the content to be easily ingested by the user.
You don’t want your audience tripping over words that are out of place, misspelled and even misused all in the name of using keywords in your content for search engines.
Research Your Keywords – Before using any keywords it’s important to research them. Start with your seed words, then develop a list of keywords that you know will get results because of the information you’ve discovered.
Make some of your Content Long Content – Long-form content, epic content, or cornerstone content is very important for SEO purposes. The longer the content, the more you can work the keywords you want to rank for into the content. Long content has more room for H1 tags, subheadings, and more.
Use Analytics Strategically – to make sure that your efforts are working are the analytics you have access to. Google Analytics and the analytics native in your email software, blogging platform, and so forth are all important to understand and view to ensure that you’re getting good results from your efforts.
Promote Everything You Write – Part of SEO is self-promotion. Use social media to push out the content you’ve created to help get it on people’s radar. It can take time for a search engine to crawl through your website and start delivering new content as a search result. By promoting everything you write you will encourage this process to go faster.
Creating SEO titles that include important keywords and key phrases into them takes practice so that they make sense. You need to learn how to form the titles and headlines in a way that shows what the reader will learn when they click through without tricking them or being clever or misleading.
Don’t Forget To SEO Your Images!
Using images is an important part of ensuring that your audience reads and understands your content. An image or a video can help with understanding and make the content even more compelling, useful, and valuable to your audience.
Include Images in Your Content – An image will make all the difference for your audience because it will get their attention. When you pick an image for content that image will often show up when people share the content which helps get more eyes on it.
Don’t ‘Steal’ Images – This has nothing to do with SEO other than you don’t want to get your site taken down for stealing images. You cannot do a Google search for images and then use it as your own. You must create the image yourself or buy it from a reputable source and then follow the rules about how you can use the image.
File Name – When you get an image you need to rename it to match the content you’re putting it with. Use the keywords that you’ve developed for that piece of content in the image title. It’ll help the image show up in searches which will then lead back to your content.
Alt Tags – Alt tags or alt text is where you put the image description. The image description is important. Don’t just put “lady with blue shirt” as the description. Instead, you can add your keywords. For example, if you’re creating content for the virtual assistant community about keeping files organized you can change the lady in a blue shirt to “virtual assistant organizes her files”.
Compress Images – You will need to make sure the image is the right size for the web and not for print. This means the image can be smaller than you would make it for printing and still look amazing.
You may want to read more about compressing and image sizes at Washington University in St. Louis’s Arts & Sciences Computing web page. (https://computing.artsci.wustl.edu/help/web/resize-images-web)
Ensure your image is Responsive – You also want to make sure the images you use are responsive. If you are using a responsive website template like a responsive self-hosted WordPress theme, read their instructions to ensure you’re doing it right.
These tips will work for video as well as still images. The point you must think about is, what information can you add to any image to make it clearer who the information is for, what it’s about, and who should read it and why.
Use Formatting To Boost Your SEO Score
A very important aspect of your blog posts, website content, and any online content is how it is formatted. Proper formatting doesn’t just help visually, it also helps behind the scenes with search engine optimization.
Let’s look at a few tips to help you use formatting to boost your SEO scores.
Know the Point of Your Message – It’s hard to write one word if you don’t know in advance what the message is. What do you want the reader to take away from reading the content? That’s the message and the point.
Know the Keywords You Want to Use – Before you write one word you should already have completed the keyword research that informed you about the topic that you wanted to communicate to your audience.
Create an Outline for Your Post – Now that you have a title, know what you want to tell your audience, and the keywords you want to rank for in this piece of content now you should create an outline. An outline should consist of some bulleted points that consist of keywords. Each point becomes a subheading for the content.
Use Paragraphs, Bolding, Italics – As you work through the content write about each bullet point in paragraphs using heading tags, bolding, italics, and other ways to emphasize the important points of the article. Plus, this style of writing makes it easier to read.
Create Structure with Headings – Remember to use H1, H2, and so forth tags to signify the start of a new paragraph that goes with the title of the content. Creating chunky content will be easier on the eyes but also easier for the search engines to find the keywords and rank your content.
Create Subheadings & Bullet Points – When you’re developing the structure of the post, you will want to also create subheadings (h2, h3, h4) tags as well as use bullet points and other features that make the content stand out, look good, and be easy to scan.
Link to your Other Relevant Content – A great way to increase the SEO value of any content on your site is to include a link to your other content that the reader of this content might find interesting too. This also informs the search engine that you are an authority on that subject.
Link to Resources – Search engines value scholarly and authoritative information more than they do random information from just anyone. You can boost the authority of your information simply by linking to scholarly sources that prove your point.
Remember that anything on a list, headings, bolding, italics and so forth make everything easier to read.
When it’s easier for your audience to read it’s also easier for the search engines to categorize it due to your use of keywords, bullet points, headings, subheadings and so forth. SEO isn’t only for search engines, it’s also for your audience.
Helpful WordPress Plugins for SEO
Improving SEO sounds complicated, and make no mistake, it is involved, but with the right plugin, you can make it easier. Because it’s not hard to do, just time-consuming. Going through the process is very important and very fruitful but why not have a plugin to make it very simple? These plugins work great. Most of the time you only want one plugin at a time. Try each one to see if it works well for you but be sure to uninstall one before adding the other.
Yoast SEO – The premium version of this plugin for WordPress does so much that it’s become one of the most popular plugins for WordPress ever. This plugin can guide you through making your website and blog more search engine friendly. It helps you manage keywords, submit sitemaps, and more.
All in One SEO Pack – Because search engines are how you will receive a lot of your traffic, it’s very important to implement search engine optimization tactics, but it can be confusing to do. If you want to stay organized, you can do it with this plugin. It’s an all-inclusive plugin as the name implies that will set up your site best for SEO. (This is the SEO plugin that I use).
The SEO Framework – This plugin is currently free and offers broad control over your SEO. You can set up your site to be very SEO friendly and it will give you help with keywords, customize your tagline, the title information, descriptions and more. This is a pretty powerful plugin even though it’s free and not as popular as the others.
JetPack by WordPress.com – This plugin is easy to use and can help you create sitemaps. Jetpack automatically creates sitemaps for your website that will work with Google Webmaster Tools and that Google Search loves.
SEO Squirrly – This plugin is being touted as SEO help for people who know nothing about SEO and don’t want to know. It takes the technical stuff out and lets a novice set up their site with the right optimization including helping you avoid keyword stuffing. It also offers some pretty awesome analytics.
WP Meta SEO – WordPress is already SEO friendly due to the code and how it’s set up, but this plugin is worth a try due to the features it comes with. It has a powerful dashboard complete with permalink structure, meta titles, descriptions, HTML image resizing and so much more.
SEO Post Content Links – One thing that increases optimization and makes your website more interesting to a search engine and to your audience is how long your audience stays on your site. To get them to stay longer including internal linking help. This plugin makes this more automated.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization – Large images can cause your site to slow down and this plugin seeks to help you with this problem by automatically compressing images according to your instructions within the bounds of the software.
There are more advanced tools that you can get from Hubspot.com, SEMrush.com, and other SEO oriented professional sites, but all of these plugins listed work really well and can be used with great results.
The Benefits Of Interlinking Your Site’s Content
Internal linking helps website navigation, defines website hierarchy, and distributes ranking power throughout the entire website. Internal linking strengthens your website by providing clear paths for search bots, keeping users on your site longer, and creates structure for your overall site.
The benefits of internal linking are:
Decrease Bounce Rates – When you have a good internal linking strategy, visitors to your site are less likely to bounce off. They should be able to look at the words on the first page they land on (any page) and find the information that they need.
Because of this, they’re less likely to leave (bounce off) your site.
Increase Page Views – If you can effectively cause your audience to click on other pages on your site, you’ll end up with more page views. This is helpful because the more page views you get, and the fewer bounces you get, the higher your page will rank in search engine results.
Improve Website Flow – Not only does it improve the flow of your site to your visitors but also to search engines. Seeing the internal linking shows that all the topics on the site are interrelated which means the site is a niche site about a specific topic.
Boost Engagement – When a visitor comes to your website via an external link, what are they going to do after reading that content? If you include more internal linking, both before and after the main information they are linked to, as well as within the content you’ll end up with more engagement because the visitor will know what to do next.
Internal linking is an important aspect of creating a fully optimized website or blog. It helps readers find all your important content, and it helps the search bots crawl your site fully. At most, Google will index between 150 and 250 pages of any site.
The more authoritative your site, the more pages will get indexed, but you must use a good internal linking strategy to ensure that it works for both your visitors and search bots.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Outgoing Links
There was a time in the “old” days of internet marketing where people worried about having outbound links, taking away their link juice and sending people to other sites. But, today, this is not a problem. In fact, the more you can link out to authority sites the higher your own site will be ranked because it will be good information for your readers.
The benefits of linking to authority sites are:
- You Can Attract Valuable Eyes – If you are sending a lot of traffic to a source they may notice you and link back to you if you also offer a lot of good information.
- They Make Your Site More Valuable – When you link to authority sites it signals to search engines and your audience that you are a valuable source of information.
- Search Engines Reward Your Efforts – The search engines will note that you are linking to authority sites about your topic which will help them know what your topic is.
- Increase Engagement – When you link out to people within your community who are authorities in your niche you can increase engagement with the community.
The trick is to link it out in a natural way based on the interest of your audience. Let’s look at some ideas so that you can develop authority links that really help you and your audience.
- Link to A Relevant Resource – Anyone you link to should not only be an authority site, but it should be relevant to your audience. You don’t want to send them to your competition, but a link to a research study from a college about a point you’re making is an excellent idea.
- Use In-Content Links – A good way to expand on the idea that you’re proposing to your audience is to use links in content that give a little more information about the topic. Again, the link needs to be an authority site, such as a reference site, University, or another expert.
- Link to High-Value Content – Don’t link to other bloggers or your competition with one exception. Link to valuable content that is scholarly, relevant, and considered high value on its own. One exception is if a blogger is known as a high-value resource in your circle but isn’t your competition then linking to them can help build a powerful community.
When you find good information for your audience you should link to it and share it. You cannot be everything to everyone even within your own niche. This furthers your connection in the search engine’s eyes to your topic and helps everyone know your subject without a doubt.
On-Site Ways To Boost Your Authority
Creating a website that is authoritative, relevant, and has amazing content is the first step to boosting your web authority. Let’s look more deeply into this process so that you can ensure that your website looks and acts as an authoritative site.
Optimize Your Content – Ensure you are using the right heading tags and HTML that helps your content appear the way it should for anyone reading it, including the search bots. Use the right meta descriptions, title tags, and formatting.
Create Content People Want to Link To – People who are interested in your niche will want to link to your epic content. When you create long-form, epic, or cornerstone content, think about who might want to use this content as a resource.
Develop Social Signals – When you add social sharing to your site, and it shows how many likes you have, how many shares you’ve had, and so forth that is a social signal that this content is valuable.
Link to Authority Sites – When you link out to authority sites about your niche topic then it will help your site become more known for the topic and more of an authority site too.
Post Consistently & Regularly – You don’t have to post daily if you don’t want to but you should post on a regular and consistent basis. Your audience will get used to you having new content to read, and the search engines will crawl your site more often as you update it.
Wrapping It Up
You’ve learned why it’s important to focus on the content on your website, how it plays into search engine optimization, and why paying attention to SEO helps you create better content for your audience too.
Boosting your web authority just entails being relevant, consistent, and accurate in the content that you provide to your audience.