You have probably heard about SEO.  You probably know that it stands for Search Engine Optimization and has to do with adding keywords to your website. But, do you truly understand how to use it in a way to grow sustainable, organic traffic to your blog?

In today's post, we'll break down the basics of SEO is and how it relates to your blog. I'll cover 5 ways you can start improving SEO on your blog right now as well.  If you want to 100% conquer SEO, then check out my e-book Explode Your Traffic. 

SEO For Bloggers

First, let's quickly cover what the heck is SEO?

So, this all has to do with how Google and other search engines decide what pages, posts, and websites they are going to show someone when they search a specific word or phrase. Search engines ranking pages, which we'll also refer to as SERPs, want to show their searchers what they think will be the absolute best sites for specific queries at the top of the search pages.  Their job is to show the best results, so they take this very seriously.

To do this, they all have an exhaustive algorithm that takes into account countless items when deciding which pages to show. Of course, they look at the content of the page to make sure it has the information that will answer the searcher's query, but it goes beyond just that.  When SERPs are deciding what pages to show they look at:

  • Content:  Obviously, they look for detailed content that relates to the search and has appropriate keywords. They also want it to be well-written, new, and fresh.
  • Structure:  SERPs don't want to send their searchers to shitty sites. If the site has endless pop ups, a design that can't be read on mobile devices, or a slow load time, then they are going to be less likely to display it. 
  • Reputation of the domain: If a SERP has deemed this domain not to be reputable because maybe they've found nefarious things like spammy ads, non-kosher keyword stuffing, or cloaking, they are less likely to show this site to their searchers. Likewise, if they see things good for your reputation, like that other reputable sites are sharing links to your site or that your domain has been in good standing for many years, then that means they are more likely to show it. 

So, what does all this mean for your blog?

Well, every day millions upon millions of search engine spiders are crawling websites determining their content, keywords, and rank so that they can display (or not display) them to searchers. As a blogger, it's good to have an understanding of simple things you can be doing every day to improve your blog's visibility through SEO so you can show up in SERPs and develop some sustainable and evergreen traffic to your site.

5 Ways to Improve Your SEO

1. Write quality content. 

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do it write good quality content that relates and connects to things your audience is interested in and possibly searching for. As a blogger, your unique style is what helps you stand apart, so you want to write in your own tone and style, and add SEO after. 

2. Think about your target audience.

While you never want to write FOR search engines, you can think about your target audience and what types of content they might be searching for online. Think about how THEY use the SERPs. Think about what questions they might be asking and how you might be able to answer those questions in your posts. You can write the best blog post, with the BEST SEO, but if no one is searching for that topic, then it will all be for nothing.

Alongside this, consider doing keyword research on topics before crafting posts to see if there is a general interest in the topic.

3. Use long tail keywords

When coming up with the focus keyword for your post, always choose a long tail keyword.

What 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

So why are these so important? It's all about visibility. I'll give you an easy example from my 9-5 job. I help small businesses (all of which have brick and mortar locations) grow their online presence.  When I'm helping them optimize their sites, I use focused geography instead of being too broad. Say they have an office in Camarillo, CA. This is about 50 miles outside of Los Angeles. I'm going to optimize them for Camarillo and surrounding towns (maybe Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, and Malibu.) Why not L.A.? Because that's less targeted. By using more local towns it becomes a smaller lake to fish from, meaning it's more likely they'll show up in the SERPs.  

It's the same with keywords.  If I'm working on a post about a berry mojito, I'm not going to optimize the post  just for "Mojito." I'll optimize it for the specifics, like "blueberry mojito." While there might be fewer people searching for blueberry mojitos, I'm going to be A LOT more likely to show up in the search results for this term for those who are, which means I'm more likely to get clicked on. 

4. Stop neglecting your images

Your images have SEO value only if you give it to them. SERPs can't look at pictures and know what they are, so they rely on YOU to tell them. There are 3 simple things you can do to give your images more impact.

  • Name them correctly. If you're guilty of letting your images be named IMG-3243.jpg thanks to your camera settings, it's time to kick that habit to the curb. Name your images with what they are, including relevant keywords to the post. If you're making that post about a berry mojito, make sure your images are named on your computer things like berry-mojito.jpg or best-berry-mojito.jpg.
  • Give your images an alt tag. The alt tag does a few things.   One, it helps the SERPs know what this is an image of helping it rank. Second, it gives the image a title. These titles are what are going to pull into places like Pinterest when someone pins an image from your site, giving it immediate optimization once on the platform meaning it'll get more repins and traffic.
  • Never rely on the text of your image. Likely you create some awesome graphics on your blog for things like Pinterest and Facebook that have valuable text on them. Remember SERPs can't read them. So I always suggest you put the text that's on the graphic ALSO in the body of the blog post, ideally as an H2 tag to give it higher SEO value.

5. Harness the power of links

When it comes to SEO, links are like doorways. When those spiders are crawling around your website, each link gives them a new place to go. You should be using links in 3 ways.

  • You should be linking posts of yours inside other posts, this is called internal linking. This gives those doorways to the SERP spiders, and for readers as well, keeping them on your site longer.
  • Link out to relevant posts and websites. SERPs will actually look and WHERE you link to in order to gain a better understanding of what you write about and what a post is about. This is called outbound links. 
  • Get links to your website from other reputable blogs and sites in your niche. This is called backlinking.  Backlinking not only creates these doorways to your site but it also gives you credibility in the eyes of the SERPS. When they see reputable sites linking to you, it tells them you're a site people like and are more likely to show you in the search results


Explode Your Traffic

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


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Post by: Kallie Branciforte

Kallie is the writer behind the lifestyle blog But First, Coffee, and the creator of the But First, Coffee YouTube channel. In 2016 she launched Caffeinate and Conquer. Read full bio...