SEO Basics For Bloggers
SEO or search engine optimization is one of those “big” words that can make your head spin and your brain shutdown instead of taking action. In fact, whenever someone asks bloggers the one thing they want to outsource the most, it is always SEO. The reason for this isn’t because SEO is difficult, it’s just because it is misunderstood or not understood at all.
First, what is SEO?
Watch this video above for a quick overview of what SEO is and how it can help you as a blogger.
It is search engine optimization, which is the process of optimizing your content so that search engines can find it, understand what is being shared and then recommend it to people searching. The traffic that you get from SEO is called organic or free traffic. And it can be some of the best traffic you can get and one of the best ways to get people to your blog.
Sadly, SEO is often either skipped completely or an afterthought for most bloggers. I personally had been lucky enough over the years that I still got search traffic even when I wasn’t even doing the bare minimum that I already knew had to be done. But I left millions of page views on the table by not doing even basic SEO for my posts. Had I really gone all out from the beginning or much earlier in my blogging career, (and again this wouldn’t have been difficult to do), I could have had multiple times the traffic I did.
Eventually, I started to realize what a huge advantage bloggers have that just do the most basic, timeless SEO on their blogs and I started to create an easy to follow and pretty basic plan.
Think of it this way… if you did just a few things to optimize your blog posts, you would already be way ahead of the competition. Most other website owners don’t know how to do even these few things. This was my ah-ha moment and how I started to realize that even basic SEO is important to do.
The best part is that many of these basic optimizations can be done quickly once you have an action plan in place for every blog post you write.
They are all based on a very simple principle too: you have to tell the search engines exactly what you are writing about.
So basic right? But remember, without doing this, how can we expect search engines to know what our post are about and who they should send to read it?
So let’s jump into the most timeless SEO practices you should be doing on every blog post.
And I say timeless for two reasons. First, because this is the bare minimum you should be doing, and also because this is something that has never, in all of the SEO changes over the years, been advised not to do. This has always helped search engines understand your content and send you traffic. This is also something that I have failed to do in the past and those posts have always underperformed posts because of that. For this reason, I too am going back and optimizing my old posts.
Just like me, I think you will find yourself getting very excited to get more search traffic once you start optimizing your content. Why? Because once you realize how easy SEO actually is, you will want to learn more and do more because who doesn’t LOVE search traffic?
What I have learned is that SEO is very easy to do once you understand the principles, starting with what I’m about to share below.
It all starts with Keywords.
Keywords are phrases that search engines use to quickly categorize what your content is about.
These keywords are the basis for SEO and it’s going to be that way for the foreseeable future.
When someone is searching for a new minivan to buy, they may search: Minivan review
In this case, minivan reviews would be the keyword (most of the times a keyword is more than one word)
Here are the basics you should do to optimize your content for search engine traffic:
When writing a post, your main keyword should be in your title.
Example: A Minivan Review of each of our favorite 2020 models
You’ll also want to make sure this main keyword is mentioned in your blog post at least 2-3 times.
Your images should be optimized too!
Before you upload any images to your posts, you should change the filenames of those images to variations of your keywords. You can right-click images on your computer and click rename to do this.
To continue with our minivan review theme, I would name the pictures, depending on what is in the images, with things like the words minivan and review in them.
Example: hondaodysseyminivanreview.jpg and toyotaminivan2020.jpg
Note: These are very basic examples, but I think you get the point.
After you upload the images, I want you to also change the alt-text in the images too. To do this, once the images are in your blog post, click on the image, and then when the pencil is visible, click that to edit the image. This will bring up a window with a space to add “alt text” aka: Alternative Text.
The point with Alt Text is to describe what is in the photo. Use variations of your keywords here.
See, that wasn’t hard at all… and that is just the beginning of what you should be doing for SEO to get more free website traffic.
I am sure this has made you want to do more to SEO your blog posts because you can see how valuable SEO is and how once you understand it, you can use it to your advantage.
A big key to SEO is picking THE RIGHT keywords to use in your blog post optimization. If you’re choosing keywords that get a lot of searches and have lower competition, your chances of showing up high in Google searches go up exponentially!
We use a tool called SEMRush to get keywords for our blog posts. We use these keywords to know what topics we want to write about and we use them to know what to name our images, use in our titles, and put in other areas of our blog posts. Above I said to pick words that are the subject of your posts, but wouldn’t it be even better if you were picking these words using a program that told you how many times someone searched for these words and told you even better ones to be using?
This is a program that can tell you how hard or how easy it will be to get search engines to show your site with certain keywords.
It also tells you what keywords you already rank for and as you start ranking for new keywords it will tell you that too so you can measure your success.
There are so many different things that you can do with SEMRush that will help you tremendously with your traffic if you put it to work for you.
It’s dramatically changed the way we approach a lot of our content creation.
A quick warning: This whole SEO world can become a little addicting and you could become obsessed with this tool like I am. If you’re like me you will want to spend time, like hours on end learning how to use it, testing everything it can do, spying on competing websites and then putting it all into practice.
You will find that you keep the SEMRush tab open on your computer at all times because you always want to look something up. It will become your secret weapon for blogging success, but if you are like me, you will love it so much that you won’t be able to keep it a secret.
Keep in mind, few bloggers actually understand SEO enough to really be really competitive so by learning about it and having SEMRush, there is nothing stopping you from search engine domination!
We’re really focusing on working smarter this year and SEO is a big part of that.
Do you want to become an expert at SEO and drive a flood of traffic to your blog on Autopilot?
Then please take a look at the SEO Blogger Bootcamp!
It’s an investment that will pay off over and over again if you put the information to work for you!
Day 8 Assignment
Step 1: Sign up for a SEMRush PRO and check out your site. With our affiliate link, you will get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL.
This is a special affiliate link that SEMRush has set up for our students only. They really love what we’re doing with the 10k Challenge and they KNOW that their tool can help you get a lot of traffic if you put it to use. That’s why they want you to try it out free for 30 days.
It’s a 30-day free trial, so the main thing this trial will do is expose you to a whole new world. If you plan on making SEO a focus, it’s really a must-have investment. But, if SEO is not part of your traffic plan, then just go ahead and make sure to cancel before 30 days are up.
The first thing you should do after you sign up is to check out your own site!
Go to the Domain Analytics and then Overview.
Now enter your blog there and take a look at the report. Click on everything and geek out! If you don’t understand something, hover over the “i” to get more information.
Step 2: The second part of your assignment, it’s time is to optimize one of your blog posts.
Now go to Keyword Analytics and then Overview.
Enter some words that are topics of the blog post you want to optimize. You can see related keywords and phrases that you can use when writing your posts to get more traffic. You can see the top results that search engines show people searching and then go to those posts and see what they are doing right. What is the structure of their posts? How are they delivering the content? There is so much info for you here.
Now choose one main keyword and 2 secondary keywords (related) that you can use in your blog post.
-Use the main keyword in your title
-Use the main keyword 2 or 3 times in your blog post text
-Rename the filenames to your photos and re-upload them.
-Next, fill out the Alt Text on your photos
-The secondary keywords can be used in your blog post text and/or in the filenames of the images and/or Alt Text.
As soon as you have completed the optimization on your blog post, post a link to it in the 10k Challenge Day 8 Assignment thread here.
If you have a question about the Day 8 coursework, ask it in the 10k Challenge Day 8 Question thread here.