What is SEO? What does that even mean? Today, you are going to learn all about leveraging SEO for new bloggers.
For anyone new the online space, learning about SEO and how to use it in your web space is crucial. It is one of the most important tools for growing your audience, reach and income goals.
So what is SEO?
SEO is a very large umbrella term for a lot of things that you need to be doing on your back-end. We will go over the basics today in order to you started and not overwhelm you.
In most basic terms, it means ‘search engine optimization’. Search engine optimization is the process in which you (the new blogger) make it easy for search engines to find your content and get you ranking on the front page. The best part about SEO is that it is FREE and it is your opportunity to shine. If you can put in the work to optimize your SEO, it is your chance to outshine your competitors who aren’t. However, if you aren’t employing SEO on your website’s pages and blog posts, there is no way for a search engines to find you.
Submit Your Website to Search Engines
First of all, search engines need to know you exist. How do search engines such as Google and Bing know you have a web space? Well, you need to tell them. It is a very simply process, but you need to physically submit your web address to the search engines. Here are the resources on how to do that.
What are keywords?
Search engines rely heavily on keywords in order to perform searches for millions of people each day. These keywords tell search engines what people want to see. Keywords essentially let the search engines and your audience know what you are writing about.
There are a lot of factors that go into ranking on the first page on Google but a big one is using keywords. The second factor is using the RIGHT keywords. Therefore, it is important not to use saturated keywords, as you will never get found.
It is easy to identify sutured keywords as they are words such as: makeup, beauty, photography, marketing. As you can see, these are very short keywords and highly targeted by much bigger competitors. A majority of your efforts should be spent on finding high-quality keywords. Longer keywords look something like – how to take better iPhone photos. These are called long-tail keywords and are truly specific to whom you want to reach and what your content is about.
How do you find keywords?
Depending on the course of action you decide to take, finding high-quality keywords can either be a lot of effort or expensive. There are plenty of services out there that make finding keywords easy but they can cost. If you want to spend money on finding keywords, I highly suggest using SEMrush.
If you want to do it the old fashion way and save some dollars, try using Google search and Google Keyword Planner. As you can see from the image below, finding long-tail keywords using Google search is pretty simple. Allow Google’s autofill and suggestions do the work for you. Personally, I use this option fairly often, as it is easy and straight forward. Google suggestions are populated based on what people are actually searching, so it is a fairly accurate place to start.
Google Keyword Planner is found within the Google ads, and it has a great tool for showing you similar keywords. You will need a Google Ads account to get this tool, but it does not it does not require using the ads feature. Once you’ve set gotten access to Google Ads, there are two different tools available, “discover new keywords” OR “get search volumes and forecasts”.
When you just start your blog, using ‘discover new keywords’ is appropriate. Simply type in your general keyword and it will provide a list of related keywords and searches. If you want to dig further into your search, copy the list and paste it into the second tool, ‘get search volumes and forecasts’. This will show you an approximated searches made per month using these terms.
Write Quality Content
My biggest secret for leveraging SEO for new bloggers? Writing quality content. Sounds pretty easy, right? However, most people get this part wrong. Most people believe they can quickly write a blog post and throw it up. I want to caution you against this tactic at all costs. Instead, I want to encourage you to write your BEST and most THOUGHTFUL content. Provide as much value in your blog posts as possible. This is said all too often, and almost cliche, because it is true.
Statistics show that quality and longer content rank higher on Google. It can often to be hard to write large amounts for blog posts, as it can feel like a research paper. However, the longer your posts, the more value you can pack into them. Providing value shouldn’t feel a chore, as not only does it help you rank, but it helps you serve your audience better. And that is the overall goal, right?
In a study perform by serpIQ in 2012, it was found that long form content received better rankings. Why is this? Well, because long form content is often more comprehensive and more valuable to your reader.
Writing and creating content for my blog is often a three day process. I start with outlining and research. During this period, I also try to brainstorm all the value I can provide on a given topic. For example, link out or providing a supplementary freebie. The second day is often spent writing my content, this includes the blog post and any related freebie. The third day is spent editing my work, grabbing images and creating graphics. This may sound easy, but there are easily 15 to 20 hours spent on a single post.
Update Old Content
If you are a newer blogger with 6 months to a year of blogging under your belt, updating old content is a great way to improve SEO. There are a variety of ways to update old content, refresh and make it new again in Google’s eyes. Google crawls your website fairly often and is able to ‘see’ when content has been refreshed or updated. I highly suggest, reworking old posts every 6 to 12 months in order to continue leveraging SEO for new bloggers.
Normally, I start with reviewing old blog posts. I edit them for voice and check for any missed spelling or grammar. You can never be too careful. Then, I see where I can add or expand on a topic, or link to other external resources. Remember, value is your friend. If you can add ANY extra value to your posts, it is beneficial to your rankings AND your audience.
Finally, I check my keywords. Are there any keywords that would have worked better? Am I using enough related keywords and their synonyms in my writing? These are the types of questions I ask when looking through old posts.
Recommended plug-ins for WordPress Blog
If your blog post is hosted on WordPress (highly recommend), here are the essential plug-ins I recommend to SEO-ify you web space. These plug-ins are merely the starting point. There are handfuls of amazing SEO plug-ins for your WordPress website. But, I want you to focus on getting good at the basics. Mastering the basics of SEO for your website and blog posts is the key to growing your page views and your audience.
Okay, so you’ve SEO-ified (yes, I made that up) your website, now what? Well, I wish I could tell you this was the fast way to success but it isn’t. SEO is playing the long game and it is often why people ignore it. Most people spend their energy growing their Instagram or Facebook page, these are all very ‘micro’ actions. They give a burst of exposure for a short amount of time. Leveraging SEO for new bloggers is a ‘macro’ or long-term action for success. SEO ensures your blog posts hold space and get exposure for a long time.
If you’ve found this post helpful, why don’t you grab your FREE SEO for Starters Checklist? This checklist is ease to read (and print) to ensure you don’t miss anything in your next blog post. Keep up the momentum!