If you’ve just started blogging and you’ve been confronted with this complex creature called SEO, then don’t run, or hide. Instead, the best way to try and get on with SEO is to try and understand it, and then try and tame it.
If you optimise your blog in the right way, your site will begin to rank highly on the search engine results page (or SERP) when people search for certain keywords. This will therefore drive more traffic to your site. By using SEO, you are making it easier for the search engines to give users relevant results for their searches.
Original and Engaging
The first and foremost aspect of optimising your blog is to write good, original content. If you have created a blog for any other reason, you’re doing it wrong. You’re optimising your blog so people can find it and read it, so creating content that will compel them to share it and return to your site at a later date is a necessity for a great blog.
Optimising Your Content
Using keywords in your posts will mean that Google will pick up on it and acknowledge it as relevant, and it will help bump your blog up in the rankings. You can use tools like Google Blog Search and Google News to help you figure out what searches are popular right now, or within the last day. You can then use these keywords in your next post.
Ideally, use the keywords in your title and near the beginning of your post. If you’re writing naturally, then you’ll use the keywords a couple of times within the post as well as using related phrases. Don’t stuff your content; instead focus on who you’re really writing for- your readers.
The Technical Bit
Structuring your site for people is all very well, that’s who your blog is ultimately for, but you need to structure your site for the search engines too. Your most important content should be in HTML text format, so the search engines can find it. The crawler bots from Google that look at your site often devalue image, flash files and other non-text content. If you want to see what the search engine sees, try viewing the cached version and you’ll see what indexable content you’ll have on your site. Check whether your pages are visible to the search engines too.
Tools can make your time as a blogger much easier and more efficient, especially if you’re finding SEO confusing or time consuming. Here are a few that will help you along the SEO road until you’re a pro.
Google’s keyword tool is AdWords, which can help you research potential keywords. Although there are other keyword tools, this is the foundation that you can build upon.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is an excellent all round plugin for WordPress sites. It includes everything you might need, and for an newbie blogger, or for anyone new to SEO, it’s easy to use.
Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are tools that you cannot go without for implementing SEO tactics. For all your tracking traffic and SEO advice needs, you can’t go wrong with these tools.