Today, I would like to talk about how to optimize your blog for search engines. I am not going to talk about what SEO is, but rather give you hands-on tips on how to create an SEO-optimized WordPress blog. For those of you who are not familiar with Search Engine Optimization, please refer to the following article that explains in detail what SEO is.
Set up Google Analytics
Once you have set up your WordPress blog and have written a few articles on it, you start seeing some traffic coming in. In the beginning, it can be only 10 visitors a day, but let’s be honest 10 is better than 0, right?
Hopefully, you are checking Google Analytics on a daily (or weekly) basis to see where the traffic is coming from and you see that most of it (probably) is coming from Social Media as you share your posts on Facebook, Twitter & Co., but then some of it is organic traffic. In order to access this information, Click on Acquisition > All traffic> Source/Medium
Google Organic traffic comes from Google, which means someone typed in a search query and then your website showed up as a relevant search result. For Lipstick and Pixels, organic traffic is the 3rd biggest traffic source.
On-page optimization for Bloggers-Keywords
One of the things that search engine rely on when analyzing your website is keywords. So, you must make sure you include them throughout your blog. According to one of the most reliable sources on this subject, MOZ, there is a way to use and position keywords in order to influence search engines and rank your blog (posts) higher for the keywords of your choice.
Here’s how:Let’s say you would like to rank for “blogging tips”. If you want search engines to consider your blog content relevant to this search query, then you need to put blogging tips...
Once or more in the main title
Make sure the target keyword appears in the blog post title respectively, the URL. Try to come up with a short and concise title, don’t make it look spammy by repeating the same words many times. For example, 5 blogging tips that will increase your traffic.Here’s what ranks on the first page of Google when I type in blogging tips:
Once or twice in the headings
Throughout your blog post, you should also have titles followed by small paragraphs. If you are not doing this already, then you need to incorporate it into your SEO strategy. Example: Blogging tips for newbies; then you go on and explain in the next paragraph why you think so. Make sure you are attaching an h2/h3 tag to your headings. You are not sure how to do it? Let me show you:
Just select the text formatting option from your WordPress editor menu (it's located in the upper left corner) and select the desired heading type.
At least 3 times in article text itself
Make sure to include your target keyword throughout your blog post. Just make sure you keep it on point.
Once or more in “bold” and “italics”
Use the keyword blogging tips in bold and italic at least one time.You might be interested in How to set up an online shop on WordPress
At least once in the alt-text of a picture
Okay, this is a bit more technical. Let’s start with your picture’s names. Always name your images in a descriptive way, related to the article they are inserted into, e.g., seotipsforbloggers.jpg. Avoid using names like 383409dfhfhjdf.jpg.
Sometimes when you are trying to load an article, the pictures won’t load, for example, because of a slow internet connection. In such cases, the browser shows the so-called alternative text or alt-text. Adding alt-text to all your pictures can boost your ranking!
Insider tip: Manually adding alt-text to pictures can be very annoying. Save time by installing the SEO Optimized Images Plugin, which will automatically add the alt-text, such as the name of your article and category, for you.
Once or more in the Meta Description of your article
Optimizing your content for search engines should definitely include writing meta descriptions for your blog posts. This doesn’t need to be hard either if you are using the right WordPress Plugins. Download Yoast SEO or the All in One SEO Pack, which is what I am using on this blog, and when you craft the text for your posts, make sure to fill in the meta description as well.Here is how it looks on my blog:
WordPress SEO tips for bloggers: Must-have plugins
Optimizing your blog articles for keywords helps you rank high in search results, but what also helps you on the backend is installing some plugins. Here's my must-have list:
Site Speed Optimization
Some of the things that search engines care about, is how quickly your website loads. I mean all those beautiful, high-quality pictures are great, but if you are running on a slow internet connection and your browser is trying to load all 15 images, each sized 3 MB, it can get pretty frustrating. Search engines know that and so they are taking into account your side speed.SEO Tip for Bloggers: Install the w3 Total Cache Plugin. It really helps with website performance and reduces loading times.
Most of the new WordPress themes today are mobile optimized, which means they can be viewed without a problem on a mobile device. However, if yours is not, you should keep in mind that this will have an impact on your search results. Plus, there is nothing more annoying than opening someone’s blog on your phone and not being able to navigate through the content. Even if someone visits your blog, they will leave immediately and probably won’t come back.SEO Tip for Bloggers: If your blog is not mobile-friendly, install the WPTouch Plugin. It will automatically create a mobile theme that will be shown to your visitors with mobile devices and thus maintain your SEO ranking.
Internal linking is a very common and yet very effective practice of on page SEO-optimization that has advantages not only for your website but also for your readers. You should insert links to your existing content throughout your blog posts in order to provide your visitors with more relevant articles to read. After all, your website visitors are crucial to your blog’s success and you want to keep them happy, don’t you?SEO Tip for Bloggers: Increase the time users spend on your blog by installing WP Optimize by xTraffic. It has tons of amazing features that help you reduce the bounce rate and help your blog readers discover more relevant content on your website.
Schema .Org Markup
Have you ever tried to google your own blog or article? I bet you did! If you are not happy with how your search results appear on Google, Yahoo and Co., there is a way to change that.For those of you who are not familiar with Schema.org, it is a collection of different HTML tags that can be added to your website and is used to enhance the snippets for your blog posts. A Snippet is an extract of content or details obtained from your blog. This is the first thing that appears to your users on the search result pages. It is crucial that it contains detailed information about your blog post and is presented in an appealing to the user way to increase CTR ( click through rates). Here is an example:
If you google apple pie recipe and you presented with these search results, which one would you click on? Images and ratings in search results can do wonders. Make sure you optimize your blog for search results.SEO Tip for Bloggers: Increase CTR of your blog posts in search results by installing the All in one Schema.org rich snippets Plugin. You will thank yourself later!
Although Google favors all of the things I have mentioned above, you never know how Google's algorithms work exactly. Stuffing your content with keywords won't help you in the long run and could, under circumstances, even hurt your rankings. But if you write high-quality content that is really popular amongst your readers that gets many shares and you do follow the basic techniques, you are on the right path to ranking on the first page of the search results.