SEO this, SEO that. But what on earth is SEO? Why does it matter?
Before I went self hosted, I had heard of SEO but never actually knew what it meant/the power of it. Honestly, I didn’t think that it was even important for me to do research on it and start including it into my blog posts. How wrong was I.
I am definitely not a SEO expert of any kind, but I wanted to share everything I know, and hopefully help out a few of you so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did (I’m now currently editing 300 blog posts so that they’re SEO friendly!).
What Does SEO Actually Mean & Why Is It Important?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
In short, you want your blog posts to be as SEO friendly as they possibly can. The reason being is that when your blog posts are Search Engine Optimised, your blog posts are going to start ranking higher in search engines. For example, if you searched ‘clothes for plus sized women’, you’d get thousands and thousands of search results. The goal is to make sure your posts are as SEO filled as possible to make sure that your site is one of the first pages listed.
If you’ve written a post about clothes for plus sized women, but haven’t made it SEO friendly, your site/page is likely to rank very low.
When your site is SEO friendly, you can expect to see your traffic grow by +25%.
Yoast 101 – What Their Analysis ACTUALLY Means
Focus Keywords & Long-Tail Keywords
A focus keyword is essentially the main word or phrase that your post is about. For example, if you were writing a blog post about a gardening, your focus keyword would NOT be ‘deep sea diving’. If your post was about a cake recipe, your focus keyword would be something along the lines of ‘recipe’ or ‘cake recipe’.
The reason you have a focus keyword is to let Google know what that specific article is all about.
On the free version of Yoast, you can only select one focus keyword. However, with their paid package, you can include multiple keywords in your post.
With your focus keyword, you need to make sure that it is in the first paragraph of your article. This is because you want your readers to know exactly what your post is about, just from the first bit of text. You also need to make sure you are using your focus keyword throughout the whole blog post, but do NOT spam your article with it, so pick your keyword wisely. Again, let’s say that your focus keyword is ‘recipe’. Don’t just write ‘recipe, recipe, recipe recipe’.
Ideally, you want to start including long-tail keywords. Instead of using the keyword ‘recipe’, you’d use ‘easy christmas cookie recipe’. This is to help narrow down your site. You can only imagine how many other people have their key word as ‘recipe’, but there will be a lot fewer people who have used the keyword ‘easy christmas cookie recipe’.
You’re also going to want to include this keyword into a Heading 2 or Heading 3 at least once. It won’t give you any SEO brownie points for adding it into a Heading 1. Leaving Heading 1 for the title of your blog post and that’s it.
Lastly, you want to make sure that you’re using a new keyword for each post. You don’t want to be competing with your own blog posts for the top spot.
Text & Word Count
Each article needs to be a minimum of 300 words, otherwise Google won’t be as willing to rank it as high. Google loves an article around 1000 words. Try to keep each sentence under 10 words though. It doesn’t matter too much if you go over the 10 word limit occasionally, but try to shorten sentences where you can.
You also don’t want to be starting every sentence with the same word. As Yoast says ‘try to mix it up a little!’.
Every one of your articles should contain images. Not only will it help your post look more attractive, but they also help to break up the text. I can guarantee you that I’ll be a lot more likely to read the full post if there are images in it, rather than one with zero images.
Furthermore, each and every one of your images should have alt descriptions. I personally just write the title of the post, followed by my URL.
There are two types of links you want to include in your blog posts. Outbound links and Internal links.
Outbound links are links that direct you to another site. For example, if I was writing a haul post and linked in the websites where I got that product from, that would be classed as an Outbound link.
Internal links are links that will direct you to another page on your site. A lot of people will either add internal links throughout their blog post, at the end of the post, or leave little ‘Related:‘ sections at the end of a paragraph.
Ideally, you want to add links that make sense. Let’s say the following was a paragraph from one of my blog posts:
‘One of my favourite skincare products at the moment has to be the Pixi Glow Tonic. It really helps to brighten up my skin (which I definitely needed ever since I moved to London!) and really helped me to grow my confidence when I’m not wearing any makeup.’
Now, here’s a list of links you could add to that section of text:
- ‘Pixi Glow Tonic’ – an outbound link to the Pixi website or an affiliated link to purchase that product.
- ‘my favourite skincare products at the moment’ – an internal link to a blog post where I’ve spoken about my favourite skincare products.
- ‘ever since I moved to London!’ – an internal link to a blog post where I spoke about my experiences with moving to London.
- ‘grow my confidence when I’m not wearing any makeup’ – either a outbound or internal link to a page that talks about how to grow your confidence when you’re going bare-faced.
Just make sure that you’re not trying to shove multiple links down the readers throat (eyes?). You want them to click the link, so make sure you use them sparingly, but enough to interest them.
The meta description is the short snippet of text that google will show under your title.
You’re going to want to include your key word in your meta description. Also, your meta description needs to be anywhere between 150-160 characters. Just keep this in mind when writing yours out. You’re going to have to try your best to sell your blog post to the reader in a tiny paragraph!
Your slug is what your link will look like. For example, my slug for this blog post is seo-basics, meaning my URL is https://brookeclarke.com/2018/03/21/seo-basics/. You want to edit your slug so that it’s short, people can remember it and it includes your keyword.
Right now, my current device breakdown looks something like this:
This is telling me that 32% of my traffic comes from desktop, 4% comes from a tablet and 64% comes from a mobile device. Can you imagine how low my overall traffic would be if I didn’t have a mobile friendly site?
Think about it. How many people do you see a day on their phones? The answer is a lot. Now, how many people do you see on laptops or computers a day? Yes, you may still see a large amount of people on their laptop, but this number is nowhere near the amount of people on their phones daily.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly, then you’re potentially missing out on a bucket load of traffic.
- Go self-hosted and install Yoast.
- Update any old blog posts and make sure that they are all in the green ‘Good’ SEO rating.
- Delete any blog posts that may be harmful to your SEO rating/you can’t be bothered to edit.
- Guest post on other sites to get back links to your site.
- Go through old blog posts and add your newer blog post links to it.
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