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Improving SEO is one of the most important things you can do for your blog if you’re serious about making money from this blogging gig!
Getting traffic from Pinterest is great. But what if you could also be getting just as much, if not more, from search engine traffic every single day.
That’s traffic worth having if you make money from advertising on your blog. Speaking of money, if you want to find out how this blog makes cash I have a whole post about it.
Search engine traffic has also been proven to be much better at converting to affiliate sales than traffic from social media referrals.
This is because people searching on Google are more intentional. They are more primed for a sale than someone who stumbled on your post on Pinterest.
Also what happens if Pinterest ever goes down? What happens if Pinterest changes its algorithm? Having your eggs all in one basket when it comes to blogging traffic is a bad idea.
We should all be trying to grow our Google ranking, as well as keeping up with Pinterest, our email list and other social media. The work of a blogger is never over is it?!
These tips are the key things that you need to look at when it comes to improving search engine optimisation for your blog.
It is never too late to go back to old posts and apply all of the techniques detailed in this article.
I worried for ages about changing my URL structure to remove dates. I thought I was going to lose all of my traffic overnight. I had no idea how to change it without ruining everything.
In the end I paid a tech company to organise the redirects for me. They did it within 30 minutes for about £40.
My point is, don’t let the SEO list of things to do scare you off. It’s a lot to think about, but it is well worth thinking about if you are serious about blogging and making money from your blog.
Before we delve deep into the practical tips, if you’re serious about increasing blog traffic then I thoroughly recommend Elna’s Ready Set Blog for Traffic course. It covers SEO and Pinterest with tons of invaluable advice to get more traffic to your site.
Anyway, let’s got onto the SEO tips!
1. Key word research
If no one is searching for your topic, then no one is going to stumble across your blog and all of its amazing content!
Key word research is where you look into what kind of things people interested in your niche are searching Google for. It gives you inspiration for what to write about, as well as ideas for blog post titles.
Key word research may include looking at fellow bloggers in your niche to see what kind of content they are producing. If you are looking at an established blogger’s site, it’s a fairly good indication that what they are writing about is relevant and a good key word phrase to target.
There are a lot of key word research tools that offer free searches, or a limited number of free searches, and several that charge a monthly fee to use them.
You don’t need to spend money to do good key word research!
The best advice about key word research I have seen (I saw it on Income School’s YouTube channel) is to simply go to Google, write in a key word related to your topic, then hit the space bar and the letter “a” and see what autocomplete comes up with. Go through the entire alphabet and take note of the suggestions.
For example, if I type in “breastfeeding tips” and then add “a” one of the results is “breastfeeding tips after a C-section”. This is a great post title idea!
Look at the sites that rank in the top five for this topic. Are they huge sites, or blogs similar to your size? If the latter, then you have a good chance of creating an amazing post that will beat those other posts and get you a top spot.
The Yoast SEO plugin, which many bloggers like to use, will tell you to make sure your keyword phrase is in your headline, introduction and scattered throughout the post.
The thing is though, it has to seem natural. Try not to get too bogged down with getting a green light on your Yoast plugin. Its helpful but its not necessarily an accurate guide.
Use your key word phrase in your blog post title and throughout your blog post, but scatter in other key words that link to this phrase as well.
2. Blog post title
When it comes to your blog post title, do not go subtle. You want to be completely upfront and descriptive about what your blog post is all about.
Do not use puns, jokes or anything secretive. Make sure your key word phrase is in the heading, preferably at the very start.
Keep it short and sweet!
3. H2 subheadings
Google not only trawls your blog post titles, it also looks at the subheadings. Try to divide up your post using lists or subheadings which feature either your keyword phrase or relevant key words.
A great place to find ideas for your subheadings is Google! Simply pop your key word phrase into the search engine, and you will be given a “people also ask” section under the results. This shows other phrases people type into Google when searching your topic.
These are great for subheading ideas!
For example, I typed in breastfeeding tips for newborns, and got back the following four suggested questions. Clever!
When you use subheadings, opt for the “Headline 2” option when editing your blog post for these. Google notices them more than the smaller headlines.
4. Blog post content
Your thoughts on your weekend and what you did are very interesting to you, your family and your friends.
Unfortunately they are not interesting to Google, unless you’re very famous!
Your content needs to be relevant to your niche and it needs to be about something people are searching for. So that generally means it needs to be meaningful, helpful and informative content.
For example, it could be a review of a place you traveled to, a recipe, a list of tips for preventing nipple pain or a list of the best baby bouncers.
Whatever your niche is, you need to be thinking about what your key audience will be wanting to find out about. What are their pain points? What do they need help with?
Once you know this, then you can go back to point one and research your key words.
If you want tips of writing brilliant blog posts you can check out this post.
5. Blog post length
It used to be said that 500 words was a good length for a blog post.
Now 2,000 words plus, preferably 5,000 words is the gold standard. And these can’t just be any old words.
They need to be relevant, on topic and not repetitive! Your post should be long, but packed with facts.
It should dive so deep into a topic that your reader is left with zero questions once they get to the end.
If time is an issue for you, which, let’s face it, it is for all of us, then you are much better off focusing on one amazing blog post per week than seven a week that are short and lacking detail.
It’s truly about quality and not quantity.
Focus on nailing your key facts, using key words, writing quality content and using H2 headings to divide your blog post up.
6. Alt Text
Every image in all of your posts needs to have alt text relevant to your key words.
Try not to use identical alt text descriptions for every one of your images in your post. Vary it and try to make it sound like a natural description rather than a list of key words.
7. Your niche
Google likes to refer its users to the very best type of content.
In order to ensure you are being sent to the best content, Google likes to use sites that are seen as an expert in their field.
For this reason, blogging about everything and anything isn’t necessarily going to cut it with Google.
Google wants you to be focused on one thing.
8. Site speed
I have ignored this issue for way too long! I am finally getting down to sorting it out and it is a nightmare to organise after you’ve already posted more than 700 blog posts like me.
My advice? Focus on site speed as soon as possible!
A faster site will keep people one your site for longer, increasing your usage time, encourage people to visit more pages on your site, decreasing your bounce rate, and appeal more to Google.
There are several issues that impact on site speed. I am not technical at all, but I have been reading up a lot on the subject recently.
You can use Google Site Speed to check out how your site is doing. Pop in your homepage and then the address of one of your most popular posts. It will tell you how your site is doing and offer suggestions for improvement.
The key things to think about are:
- Your theme. A good theme will be optimised for speed. Double check that any theme you are thinking about buying will be optimised for speed, reading reviews and checking into the background of who has made the theme. Look for recommendations on blogger groups on Facebook if you are unsure.
- Image size. Seasoned blogger will recoil in horror to learn I was downloading images from Shutterstock or my phone and just dragging and dropping them to my site. No resize. What an idiot! Images on your phone can be as big as 5MB or even more these days. Images downloaded from places such as Shutterstock can be 10MB! That is going to seriously slow down your site. To give you an idea of how wrong I have been doing it, the ideal image size for a site is about 75KB, and no more than 100KB. Sort out your image sizes now everyone! It’s an easy thing to do from the start and not so easy to fix down the line.
- Plugins. Too many plugins will slow your site right down. It can be tempting to go crazy downloading lots of plugins with cool features. But try to remember that those plugins working away at creating cool features on your blog will be slowing down the site for users. Deactivate plugins that are unnecessary. If site speed is an issue for you, try disabling one at a time to see if a specific one is causing issues.
9. Link to relevant blog posts
Wherever possible you should be linking back to other blog posts that are relevant.
If you have written a blog post deep diving into a topic, you may well have other posts that crossover, even if just a little bit.
Make sure you weave in references to at least two other posts every time you upload a new post.
When adding your links make sure the actual link is done on relevant key words, don’t just put “click here”.
Don’t forget to check out these breastfeeding tips for more information.
This not only keeps your audience on your blog, checking out other content, but it also is great for SEO. Google likes to see you’ve linked between posts.
10. External links
Have at least one external link to a strong site that offers good and reliable additional or relevant information.
For example, in an article about postpartum health I would link to sites such as the NHS and NCT. Don’t just link to their homepages, link to relevant articles on those sites.
You’ll want to keep an eye on broken links, as websites may update and delete pages from time to time. Google doesn’t like to hit dead ends when trawling links.
You can use a plugin to check for broken links to save you time. These can fix your links in bulk.
11. Simple URL structure
Many WordPress sites will default to having the date in your URL when you first launch them.
If you are just getting started, or haven’t yet launched your blog, please change this right now!
Google likes relevant up to date content. If it sees a post has a date from two years ago in the URL its going to count against that post (at least that’s the theory anyway!).
Don’t have dates in your URL. If you do have dates in your URLs and you are a long way along in your blogging journey, do not panic!
I hired someone to pop into my website and add some code to do all of my redirects for me. This took them around 45 minutes and it cost me just $49.
Before publishing a post, you’ll also want to be sure the URL has all of your key words in. I tend to take out any numbers, for example if a post is 11 tips for new mums, I just pop it in as tips-for-new-mums.
Hopefully these tips have given you some good ideas for how to improve your website’s SEO.
Do not ignore this area, as it is so important for your blog and can bring you thousands more hits and that equals more money for you.