Quick overview, if you need a refresher...SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process in which websites are ranked on SERPs (search engine results pages). Every day bots crawl websites and take what they find from the content, the keywords, the images, and so on, and decide WHAT that page/post/website is about. It then uses that info to display post and websites to someone searching for a specific keyword on the internet. The algorithm for ranking high in Google and other SERPs is constantly changing, but there are many things you can do to improve your likelihood of showing up and gaining traffic this way.
1. Writing Poor Post TitlesNaming your blog post title is a little bit of a balancing act because you want something that hits all the keywords in your post but also is interesting enough that someone wants to click on it and read it. When it comes down to it, make sure your focus keywords are in the title in a sequence that someone might be searching for them. For example:
- Good SEO Post Title: The Best Fall Nail Polish Colors
- Bad SEO Post Title: My Favorite Nail Polish to Wear in Fall
2. Giving your Images Generic NamesThis is a simple way to help optimize your images for google, and once you're in the habit it's a super easy step that will actually keep your own computer more organized as well. Make sure to save image files with names full of SEO-Friendly keywords. For example, instead of saving an image as "image-19.jpg" I'm going to save it with keywords from the post it's going into such as "flannel-fall-style-inspiration.jpg" Give the images descriptive names that relate to the content of the post to help boost the post's overall SEO. Note: Use hyphens - instead of underscores _ or spaces when naming images:
- Wrong: flannel_fall_style_inspiration.jpg
- Wrong: flannel fall style inspiration.jpg
- RIGHT: flannel-fall-style-inspiration.jpg
3. Not Writing Quality ContentAt the end of the day, the best thing you can do it write good quality content that relates to and connects to the keywords your audience is searching for. Typically I'll write a post and then scan through it again after to check to see if there are places to improve the post's SEO. This way I get my natural voice into the post while still properly optimizing it. For example:
- Good for SEO content: This season my fall style inspiration has been army green vests and outfits with flannel pieces.
- Not so good for SEO: This season I love vest and flannel!
4. Not Setting Your Meta DescriptionsThe meta description is the snippet of text that appears underneath the link of a search result, for example:
5. Using auto-generated URLsAnother important step to really seal the deal on a post's SEO is to have an optimized URL. Many sites with auto-generate your URL, but you always have the option to change it (in WordPress you do this right under the title where it says "permalink.") This should be descriptive and include a long-tail keyword. For example:
- Right, an optimized URL - http://URL.com/best-diy-hair-masks-for-dry-hair.html
- Halfway there - http://URL.com/view/?p=5343&/diy-hair-masks.html
- Impossible Read or Understand - http://URL.com/09-2016/utM39tze4Gh.html
6. Forgetting to Take Advantage of Internal and External LinksLinks are such a great way to improve your post's SEO. Links are really important things to consider when making your blog SEO-friendly. The challenge would be to try to make sure every post you optimize has at least one inbound link and one outbound link!
- Inbound link: Also referred to as internal linking, the process of linking another page on your own site.
- Outbound link: These are links that link to other blogs, articles, and website.
- Right: To see more of our honeymoon in Peru, check out my travel guide to Machu Picchu for more pictures and stories!
- Wrong: To see more honeymoon pictures click here!
7. Neglecting your Image's alt tagsOptimizing your image's keyword within the “alt text” is one of the best ways to improve the image's SEO, which will help drive traffic to your site. Search engines bots are not able to interpret a photo, so this allows them to understand what the photo represents. Additionally, it's very important for Pinterest (aka: a blogger's second Google). By creating a well optimized "alt text" you can ensure everything pinned from your website will also be optimized on Pinterest, generating more views, more pins, and more traffic! As you can see above, "fall-outfit-2" isn't the best description for this picture to get found on Pinterest, nor does it tell Google all that much about the image. Had a created a powerful alt tag, that would be in the Pin's description instead.
8. Not Using Long-Tail KeywordsWhat is a long-tail keyword? A long-tail keyword is a search term that is somewhere between two to five words long and is more targeted as opposed to reaching a mass audience. Here's an example:
- Keyword: braid
- Long-tail Keyword: Simple Half-up Pull-Through Braid
9. Using Images Instead of TextGoogle can’t really read images, even though we can help it understand what the picture is with alt tags and descriptive names...content will still be king. If you make a really great header image for your blog post, remember Google and other search engines can't read that graphic. So, you need to put the text that's on the graphic into your post as well (ideally as an h1 or h2 tag). Also, consider shying away from always having the image first and try putting a keyword and content-rich paragraph ahead of images.
WANT MORE? Get the Book!
Ready to start getting more traffic to your blog? This is the book for you! In this ebook, I'm not just going to walk through step-by-step ways to increase your traffic, but I've also included tons of resources, worksheets, trackers, and more.
This book is for anyone looking to get more traffic to their blog, whether you're a new blogger or have been blogging for many years but finally want to understand how to get organic traffic to come to your site every day and in a sustainable, evergreen way.
The Book Includes:
- How to get organic traffic to your blog
- What is SEO and how to use it for your blog
- Using social media to drive traffic
- The best ways to market your blog posts
- Tips for expanding your audience reach
- How to get MORE traffic but spend LESS time doing it