10 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your SEO
SEO is one of the biggest mysteries to many bloggers, but it's also one of the most important concepts to master to improve traffic to your blog. The good news is, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, doesn't have be scary. I've got 10 quick & easy ways to improve your SEO so you get found in search.
If you need a quick overview of what SEO is and why it's important for your blog, you're going to want to push pause and go read THIS POST. Then come back here when you're ready.
10 WAYS TO IMPROVE SEO
Now, I'm not going to promise that you'll end up on the first page of Google search overnight, but implementing some or all of these quick SEO tips will improve your placement on search engines over time.
#1 - Plan Your Keywords
Before you type the first word of a blog post, you need to know what your keywords will be for that post. Take some time to do a little research to determine what people are searching for that might land them on your blog.
- Google's Keyword Planner
- Google's predictive search (you type, it suggests)
- Pinterest's predictive search
#2 - Use CoSchedule's Free Headline Analyzer
CoSchedule's free headline analyzer tool helps you write better headlines for blog posts (and email newsletters, but that's not what we're talking about today). Simply type in your ideal headline and it gives you a score, like this:
Ideally, you want that number to be green, and the higher the score, the better the headline. While this doesn't weigh the searchability of your keyword, it will help you write a solid headline that includes your main keyword.
As you scroll, you'll notice that it provides more than just a score. You can see how your headline will look in search engines, in email inboxes, and how readers will read it when they glance at it, like this:
Pretty cool, right?
#3 - Start Your Post With Your Main Keyword
If you might notice, the very first word in this blog post is "SEO", as that is the main subject of this post. If it doesn't make grammatical sense to have your main keyword as the first sentence, at the very least, make sure it's in the first paragraph.
BONUS: Make it bold. It tells search bots that those words are more important than the words around it.
#4 - Optimize Your URL
When you create a blog post, by default, you are given a URL that goes with it. Every word of your blog post title will appear in the URL, but you can change it, and in most cases, you should.
- Click the "edit" button next to your URL
- Put your main keyword at the BEGINNING of your custom URL
- Remove stop words, like "the", "and", etc.
#5 - Use Keywords In Anchor Text
Anchor text is any text that is linked to another website. A lot of times, we'll put "Click Here" and link those words to a related blog post, but that does nothing for our Google juice.
Instead, use keywords and form an actual sentence, linking the entire sentence to your related blog post.
BONUS: Make it a do-follow link to your own content so search bots have a path to follow.
#6 - Use Heading Tags Properly With Keywords
Heading tags are H1, H2, H3, and so on, and they are read by search bots and can help boost your SEO ranking if used properly.
Here's an example from this post:
Your main keyword should be used in an H1 tag towards the beginning of your blog post. This can be a rewording of your blog post title, to make it easy. Use secondary & tertiary keywords in your H2 and H3 tags throughout your post.
Only use an H1 tag one time per post. It's the most important text and search bots will see it as such.
Highlight the text you wish to change, then select your heading from the formatting drop-down menu:
#7 - Use Keywords In Your Image Names
Have you ever looked at the HTML from your blog post or page? This is what search bots read. It's crazy stuff. What you might notice immediately about HTML is that there are no images....only text where the images should be. Like this:
The highlighted portion up there is an image as seen by search bots. If you don't name your images, they'll read something like "DSC_0014" instead of "The Beginner's Guide to SEO for Bloggers". Now, which one of those image names will help improve your SEO?
HOW TO: After editing your images, name them according to your blog post, using keywords, BEFORE uploading to your media library.
#8 - Use Keywords in Alt Text For Images
Alt text tells readers about an image if an image fails to load, but it is also read by search bots. Remember that image in #6 above? Here's that same image with the alt text highlighted:
This basically gives you a bonus entry in the SEO competition. Personally, this is where I type what will appear as my Pinterest description. I pack that bad boy full of relevant keywords and keyword phrases because, not only can search bots read it on my blog, they can read it on Pinterest, too!
HOW TO: When adding media to your blog post, type alt text in the corresponding box, then add to your post:
#9 - Write a Custom Meta Description
Your meta description is what tells people who see your post in search what it's about, enticing them to click over. If you don't write a meta description, by default, the first few lines of your post will appear.
If you are writing a sponsored post, for example, that would be exceptionally bad, as the first few lines of your post are most likely a disclosure stating that you were paid to write this post. (Yikes!)
If you do a Google search for "ConvertKit for bloggers", you'll see that the words "ConvertKit" and "bloggers" are marked in bold in the meta description:
(You might also notice that I show up multiple times on Page 1 of Google search for that term. Just sayin'.) *wink*
HOW TO: Well, that's where #10 comes in...
#10 - Install & Use Yoast SEO
Before we talk about how awesome the Yoast SEO plug-in for Wordpress is, let's be very clear on one big detail:
YOAST SEO PLUG-IN DOES NOT "DO" SEO FOR YOU.
It's simply a guide, a sort of SEO checklist built into your blog. So don't install it and expect your SEO to magically improve. You have to use it, and use it properly.
But yes, it's awesome.
So, Yoast sits at the bottom of the text editor section of every blog post and page, and you can basically use those little green dots as your virtual SEO checklist.
TIP: To use it effectively, you need to set the main keyword for your post first.
- Set your focus keyword
- Click "edit snippet" to write a custom meta description
- Try to update all other items on the list until they are all green