Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Basic SEO Every Blogger Should Know

If you're not familiar with SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization  a technique required to improve rankings and drive traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Try to Google yourself. Do you see your website on the first page result? If not, you need to work on optimizing your personal brand. No one goes to the second page of Google unless you're desperate to find answers.

When you optimize your blog posts,  you're making your website more visible to people who are searching for specific keywords associated with your personal brand. If you use a common name like I did (Aletha Jane), you're going to have a tough time ranking it. It would be wise to use a name that's easy to remember. Let's say "A Day in the Life" or "The Wandering Geek" ... something that best resonates you. Next, secure your online turf with that brand name. The presence of your personal brand in the domain is a big SEO factor. Your domain name is the foundation of your online presence. Be unique.

SEO is a complex subject but don't worry, I'm here to help with the basics. No coding involved so you can breathe a sigh of relief now.

Why does my website need SEO?

Most of your website traffic comes from organic hits (not paid ads). This means people who are searching on Google somehow landed on your website. SEO can help your website gain more visibility on search engines where people will find your website on top of SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

But, the rules of SEO often change over the years.

Optimize for Intent

Investing in keyword research isn't that relevant anymore. When Google scans your website, it no longer looks for specific keywords. Google weighs in all the elements, and forms its own conclusions what your website really offers. Yes, search engines are that smart. Create content aimed at pleasing visitors rather than search bots. Long articles between 1,200 to 1,900 words rank significantly higher on Google. Don't forget to dazzle your blog post with multimedia! Blog posts with images get more than 90% of total views. Thus, reducing bounce rate and increasing more engagement.

Design is Key

When your web design isn't that great, users will eventually leave. Google can see how users are interacting with the website. Choose a template with up-to-date functionality, fast site loading and easily accessible content. Not only will that improve your page rankings, but will make your visitors happier. Google has officially considered mobile usability as part of its ranking calculations. Make sure it has a responsive design for smartphones and tablets, too. You can use Google's Developer Tool to check if your website is mobile-friendly here.

Build Social Media Profiles

Show off your website to all the social media profiles you have. Promote every blog post you publish as much as possible. Instagram is a great platform since bloggers rely heavily on images. It can be your visual channel in curating a feed that aligns with your creative style. You need to define your aesthetic content and be consistent with it. The idea is to make yourself memorable. Read on how to level up your Instagram game with three main photo apps.

Meta Description Still Matters

Without sounding too technical, meta description gives visitors and search engines information about your blog's content. It's that snippet of information you see under the URL link of a search result. Queries that you typed on Google are bolded in the description. Think of meta description as your short sales pitch to win over your audience. The standard length is 156 characters, any meta description longer than that will be truncated. When you don't have a meta description, Google will pull out the exact section of text from a page similar to the search term you used. For Blogger, you can change your website's meta description under Setting>Basic. Wordpress is more flexible. My favorite plugin is YOAST SEO, which allows you to write a unique meta description for every page of your website.



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