There’s a lot of information out there for bloggers in terms of social media advice and growing your audience. However, there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot about SEO basics. I find this pretty baffling given the amount of traffic potential harboured by the almighty search engine.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, SEO stands for search engine optimisation and it’s all about getting your website to the top of the Google search results pages.
What is the point of SEO?
Higher rankings means more visibility. More visibility means more click-throughs. And more click-throughs means more traffic.
SEO is a huge topic with so many aspects and nuances. Plus, it is constantly changing as Google updates its algorithms. There are too many technicalities to cover without turning my blog into a dedicated SEO blog. And I love talking about food and travel far too much to do that! Nevertheless, in the next few posts I will be covering some SEO basics that you can easily implement for every post that you publish.
SEO can be risky business as the wrong techniques can land you in big trouble with Google. Worst case scenario, this can lead to your website being de-indexed meaning it won’t show up at all. Please don’t panic though, as the techniques I will be sharing are very simple and honest.
So why on earth should you listen to me? I am a Marketing Manager at a digital marketing agency in London and SEO is a huge part of what I do on a daily basis. I keep on top of the latest updates, implement big SEO campaigns for my clients and write endlessly about it on my company’s blog. Therefore you can trust me, I promise!
SEO Basics Introduction
The foundations of SEO are built on providing a useful experience for the user. All SEO practices are devised with this goal at the centre. Therefore, optimising each individual post is about working out what your post is offering to the user and how you can present this information to Google.
The mighty search engine will favour pages with great content and clear information. I am going to start this SEO blog series by discussing keywords. What they are, why you need them and how you can use them.
The first step of the process is to identify the keyword or phrase that most relates to your post. For most websites this involves extensive keyword research to ensure you are targeting the best possible keywords for those you are trying to reach. However, bloggers tend to push out a lot of posts. Therefore, knowing how insanely busy most bloggers are, this extensive research will simply not be worth it.
Instead, just employ a bit of common sense. Put yourself in the shoes of the person typing a search term into Google. If you were looking for the information in your post, what would you type in to find it?
For example, if you have written a restaurant review you would choose a keyword along the lines of: ‘[insert name of restaurant] review’. Be specific, or else your post could get lost in the more popular search terms.
So you’ve got your keyword or phrase. Now you gotta do something with it!
Try to ensure that you use it in the title of the page, as well as the SEO title (more on this in the next post). You also need to mention it at least a couple of times throughout your post. However, and please take note of this, do not over-use your keyword or use it in a way that makes it blindingly obvious that you are using it for the sake of getting a few extra SEO points. This is called keyword stuffing and is bad. Don’t do it.
Including your keywords in your posts should occur naturally. It’s also a good idea to use synonyms of your keyword to avoid repeating yourself and to cover off a different alternatives.
If you find that you are struggling to include it in your post or title then perhaps you need to rethink your keyword. Given that your keyword is supposed to accurately represent your post then it should already be in there. You will also need to use your keyword in the meta description and slug but as with the SEO title, I will be covering these in the next post.
Keywords are a crucial first step in the SEO process. They are the all-important indicators to Google of the content in your post. This will ensure that your post reaches the right people, provides useful information and as a result, increases traffic and lowers bounce rate on your site.
In the next SEO basics post I will discuss meta data and how to implement it quickly but effectively.