For years, search engine optimization (SEO) was a mystery to me, like some obscure ancient language or trying to learn advanced trigonometry. I didn’t have a clue how to make SEO work or where to even begin. That’s changed. Since taking several online classes and working directly with a SEO guru, I have learned that SEO is not all that difficult to master. Once you know and understand the basic concepts, the lightbulb goes off. Trust me.
But why should you care about SEO? Well, as you know, it’s easy to build a blog, but hard to build a successful blog with significant traffic. SEO can help get your content in front of the eyeballs of your target audience, turning your blog from an average Jill into the next Scary Mommy. Imagine that?! The beauty of SEO is that once you do it right, you’ll be able to reap the benefits for a long time to come. So how can you make sure you are getting some search engine optimization presence on your blog without getting into the hardcore technical aspect of SEO? Here are 5 basic SEO tips for bloggers…
You might be surprised by this first one…but…
1. Hire a Professional SEO Expert
Hiring a professional SEO expert takes it completely out of your hands so you can make sure your time is best spent doing what you know how to do best – creating awesome content and blogging.
Also, by hiring a professional, you can ensure that your site is ranked for multiple competitive keywords related to your blog. Some SEO professionals charge upwards of a $1,000 a month, but you can find qualified experts skilled in SEO for much less on sites such as eLance, Guru.com and Fiverr. Before you hire one, ask them to rank you for free on Google – for something (a secondary keyword). Most of them will be able to do that for you quite easily (but don’t expect them to rank competitive keywords for free).
2. Make Sure Your Meta tags Are Right!
Your meta-information is presented in your website/blog as your “Title”, “Meta Description” and “Keywords”. When you fill out this information, this is the stuff that search engines will crawl for relevancy. So if you’re a food blogger in Atlanta, Georgia or a Christian blogger focusing on helping others overcome hurdles, make sure your meta description talks about what you are all about and that your keywords reflect these important details.
3. On-Page SEO
Mastering on-page SEO is very simple to do. Basically if your keyword is “cheap family vacations”, you’ll want to use that exact line a few times throughout your blog post or page. Don’t go overboard! Keyword stuffing is a big NO-NO. It’s not only unethical, but it will also hurt your search rankings.You’ll also want an H1 tag (Heading One) containing your keyword phrase. This should not be automated. Aim your focus at optimizing the title tags. For example, if you write a blog post titled “5 Quick Snacks Kids Love and How to Make Them” your title tag should be targeted more towards a keyword, something along the lines of “Quick Snacks Kids Love” with “snacks kids love” being a potential keyword. Check the popularity of the possible keyword using a keyword tool such as Google Adwords before optimizing for it.
Also make sure you have a picture whose alt text is “snacks kids love”, not something like “picture56” — that simply won’t do you any good.
That is on-page Seo at its core.
4. Don’t Listen to the Mainstream
Right now, SEO is in a very in-fluxed place with all the algorithm changes that Google is throwing down the pipeline. Many are scrambling to figure out what the heck is happening and they are finding themselves doing a voodoo rain dance and praying that their rankings will come back from out of the Google darkness.
Many old “rule of thumbs” are no longer applicable today, such as articles needing to be 500 words or even a 1,000 words. You can rank on Google (and other search engines) with 100-200 word posts if you understand what you are doing.
5. Page Rank + Relevance
This is the most important tip (other than hiring a SEO professional) when it comes to ranking on search engines. You are taking a huge risk if you decide to purchase high PR links. Even though you might get a short-term boost, paid links are frequently flagged by Google. Use the tried and true (and safe) methods of comment linking (manually) and guest blogging. Look for relevant blogs that already have high search engine rankings and significant traffic. From there, consider the smaller blogs with high quality content and steady growth.
Don’t forget about internal deep linking to help boost PR. When you write a new post, link terms to older posts that are relevant and insightful. Internal links improve the overall user experience on your blog, and shows search engines that you are delivering value to your visitors and readers.