I think it's fair to say most bloggers would describe search engine optimization (SEO) as essential but overwhelming. With undecipherable terms like "meta tag" and "a-href" and other back-end feats of wizardry required, who wouldn't find search optimization tactics to be a bit much? If you're looking for quick tips you can put in place to boost your blog content discoverability sooner rather than later, and get back to spending more time on creating content than back-end hacks - look no further. Here are a few SEO essentials for bloggers.
How Google Works
To simplify a bit - algorithms, search ranking, page authority and all – here are the basics. Search engines like Google have tools that evaluate every piece of content published to the web to assess its quality. Content that shows up on the first page of search results are there because Google has determined these are the most relevant, highest quality pieces of content on the web on that given search topic.
What kind of “stuff” does Google look at to assess quality?
While there are several factors, one that you can readily influence is how often a webpage is shared on social media or linked to on other sites. These are “reputation” signals to Google that demonstrate content quality. Here’s what you can do about it.
Make sure your blog platform has social sharing enabled
If you make it easy for your content to be shared, the more likely it will be. Use a platform that has social sharing buttons on each blog post page. You might even add a call-to-action to your posts and ask people to share the content to their social networks.
Research and Use Keywords
Use tools like Google’s keyword planner to understand what key terms people use when searching for content around a certain topic. Then use that keyword in your blog title and the content of the blog itself. You can also ensure that each of the images embedded in blog posts are optimized with keywords in the alt and title text (read on for an in-depth and, promise, easy how-to). Pro SEOs have a fine tuned “keyword density” meaning a certain % of the total word count of a blog will contain relevant key words to boost content discoverability in search engines. Just remember that Google algorithms are sophisticated and blogs too heavily populated with keywords without attention paid to the quality and readability of the content can be flagged as spam.
Not only is guest posting great for collaborating with other content creators, but it is also great for SEO. Going back to Google's reputation signals a link to your blog on another website can boost your authority in search.
More Search Engine Optimization Tips for Beginners
Again, this is just an intro to steps every blogger can put into action easily and asap. Want to get into the finer details of SEO to level-up your content discoverability? Here are a few of my favorite resources from around the web.