Friday, 25 May 2018

What Is SEO and How Can It Help You?




I uploaded a post the other day about blogging and how to get more traffic to your blog. I mentioned in that post, that I once did a post about SEO, and I thought why not reupload and update it with some new tips and tricks. To anybody that is new to the blogging world, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it is this that allows your blog to be visible on search engines such as Google, which is the ultimate goal. If you appear on the first page of Google search results you have done your job very well indeed.

I work as a Marketing Executive as my full-time job, so SEO has been part of my day to day life since I first started working in Marketing. Over the years, I have implemented it onto my business website and onto my personal blog and when it is done correctly it really does make the biggest difference because you open yourself up to such a broad audience.


In this post, I am going to be letting you know about 15 of my sure-fire methods to improving SEO on your site. If you take the time and really try to implement each of these things it can make a huge difference. Obviously, you will only get back from your blog what you put into it, so it is worth trying it out. Because this post is really long. If you read this post and want any help with anything or you have any questions, please be sure to leave them down below in the comments.

Take a look at your blog header or logo
When somebody clicks onto your blog, the first thing that their eyes see most of the time is your header or logo. What you need to do with that header is make sure that it is good enough to entice people in and want to stay on your page. It needs to clearly show what your website or blog is about and be easy to understand. Anything that is too intense and crowded can often turn people away.

When people click onto your site and then go straight back off this is classed as a bounce, when your website hits a certain percentage of bounces Google will start to think of your website as spam and will try to refrain from showing it on their search results. A normal percentage bounce rate is around 40%, any more than that and you are in the red zone of what is acceptable. When designing your header, you just need to have in the forefront of your mind, does this represent my blog? Does this represent who I am as a person and a blogger? And, is this easy to understand and does it get my message across?

Is your site mobile compatible?
In this day and age, we all live on our mobile phones. They are glued in our hands practically all of the time, I know I am guilty of this. So, having a blog that isn’t compatible on mobile phones is just craziness to me. If you have standard themes that come with blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress they are already optimised for mobile phones.

When it comes to buying themes, it does often cost more to have it optimised for phone use. It is never very much more, but there can be an additional fee. You just need to think though that once you have it in place, it is there and it won’t cost you anymore in the long run. It is just all about making visiting your blog as user friendly for your reader, to keep that bounce rate nice and low.

Again, by doing this it can just make sure that people stay on your page which is so important when it comes to SEO, I will mention more about this and bounce rate further on in this post. If I click onto a website on my phone and it isn’t optimised for mobile phones and it is hard to navigate because you have to zoom in and out and I tend to leave the page. Mobile is the way forward!

Do you own your own domain?
When you have a blog and you want it to look professional and well put together then owning your own domain is one of the most important things that you can do. Yes, I know that this costs, but I think owning my own domain for the first year was only about £1.99 which is next to nothing and the benefits that it gives your blog are so much greater than £1.99.

By owning your own domain, it just helps to really show your identity as a blogger. It tells other people and also search engines, look at me, I am serious about this. It really goes in your favour with regards to SEO and quality score if you have your own personal domain URL. A good thing to do is to try and purchase the domain that you want for as long as possible. The price of a URL through websites like Godaddy tend to go up after a year and you get the best deal if you buy for several years. Another good tip is to buy it with more than one option, such as, .co.uk and .com. This way, no matter what people search, as long as you have a redirect on your page, your blog will come up.

Are your blog post titles catchy?
Images are the first thing that somebody notices about a post, but up there in importance with the images is the post title. This is one line at the top of your post where you really need to captivate people and encourage them to read more. By keeping them short and sweet you can let people know in an instant what your post is about, and they will know if it appeals to them.

Make sure that your title includes them all important keywords so that it is acceptable for SEO. If you google something for example, tarte shape tape concealer review, it is your post title that will show on Google, so that needs to be interesting and it needs to stand out from the crowd to get people to click onto your blog as opposed to other people's. I always try not to make them too wordy and keep them to the point.

Does your link contain your keywords?
When you are uploading a post, you will then be given a link which you can then send to people to take a look at. This link is one of the key things that you should make sure is optimised to make the most of SEO on your post. When Google scans your page, this is one of the first thing that they look at and take into account with it being right at the top of the page.

I know that nowadays some blogging platforms do automatically generate a link that contains the post name which is more or less perfect. Other blogging platforms that don’t do this tend to just use the date that the post is uploaded. Always make sure that your link has your keywords from your post in. For example, if I was uploading a post for the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer Review I would make sure that each of them words were included in the title.

Be careful though not to use connectives in your URL link. There is no need to have words such as ‘and’, ‘the’ and ‘it’ in the title. It just makes it long, hard to remember and confusing, not to mention that they are not SEO phrases and will not do your post any good. Keep it short and to the point with the important keywords that you are going to use throughout the rest of the post.

Analyse your content
Content is key. Your images may entice people onto your blog, but it is the content that if on your page that will captivate people and make them want to stay and read more. Once people like your content you can guarantee that they will be back for more. But you need to really hook them and by looking closely at your content and thinking about your audience you can nail it.

Firstly, I would make sure that my content is written in a way that my audience likes. I have a fashion and beauty blog, so I don’t need to be overly formal with people, at the end of the day I’m not writing in the Financial Times, it is a blog. I want to have a friendly and open approach with the people who read my blog, so I will include anecdotes and pleasantries, to make everything more relaxed. You need to think who your readers and get a feel for what they like, the key is to know your audience.

Another factor that is important is how you structure the content on your page. It has to be clear and easy to read. I have been guilty in the past of writing a line and then having a space thinking that it would be easy for people to read. Realistically it is just messy and choppy and poorly wrote. Content should be in structured paragraphs and the only line breaks should be to change the topic or go to a different angle.

Furthermore, the use of one font and size should be carried out across your whole blog. By doing this it just uniforms everything and makes it look much professional. If things are in different sizes, colours and fonts it can confuse the reader and they may not know what to focus on. You just have to think about how you want your blog/website/brand to be portrayed.

Implementation of keywords
When creating, and uploading a blog post, keywords should always be in the forefront of your mind. Without your vital keywords in your content, search engines won’t be able to see what your post is about and then can’t show it in their search results. If you take anything away from this incredibly long blog post it has to be about the importance of keywords. Before I start a blog post, I always do a little keyword analysis. It doesn’t have to take forever, and it doesn’t have to be long winded. I think about the post that I am going to write, and I start using search engines to look for certain words or phrases to see what results come up and if it is a keyword that I want to implement into my post.

Then I will write my post. I won’t think about keywords for the time being, I will just write my post as I want it to read so that I know it has a good flow to it. Then when it is in the proofing stage I will go through and implement keywords where I think it needs them. You do have to be careful though not to put too many keywords into your post. If your content doesn’t flow and it is choppy due to the overuse of keywords this can go against you in regard to SEO. Everything in moderation is key and make sure that it reads nice and smoothly when you are finished.

Take a look at your images, are they optimised for your blog?
They say a picture tells a thousand words and it sounds really cliché, but it is ever so true. Especially if you are a beauty blogger like myself, by using images you can convey what your blog or your post is about with a simple image before people even have to read one word of your post. When used correctly images can score you some real brownie points when it comes to boosting SEO on your website.

The first thing that I would do is make sure that every post that I upload has 3 or more images. By doing this you can ensure that you have optimal SEO through your images as one image can easily be missed by the little Google bots that scan your page. Also, make sure that the file size that you are using isn’t too large and won’t slow down the loading time of your page. Then to really optimise your images before uploading the image I would make sure that the file name that you use is something appropriate. If you are doing a review on a concealer I would name the image ‘Tarte Shape Tape Concealer Review.jpg’, this is just a way of getting your all-important keywords into your page without them being blatantly thrown into the text. It also helps when people are looking for images as this will show on Google Images under them words.

Are you consistently posting on your blog?
To hold your audience and keep them interested and wanting to come back you need to be consistent on your blog. If they like what they read but you don’t post for months at a time they aren’t going to spend their time keep coming back to see if you have finally uploaded, they will just go elsewhere to see what somebody else has to say and you have lost yourself a reader.

Make sure that you think of a schedule in your mind and try to stick to it. It doesn’t have to be set in stone but just a rough guide to keep you on the right track. I write and upload a blog post every alternate day or at a push, every third day, this is manageable for me and I find it really easy to do. This way, I can upload on time every day without too much pressure and my readers know where they stand because majority of the time there will always be something new for them to take a look at.

Also, when you upload on a regular basis it also helps to boost your site up the search engine rankings. Platforms will notice that you are consistent, and they will link that to being a source of reliability so they are more likely to show you on their search results. You don’t have to upload all of the time but just be consistent in your uploads and try and stick to a noticeable plan.

Notice the importance of linking
Every successful blog or website if you look closely will have a lot of links within it. These links will either be to other pages or posts on that site, or to external websites. By doing this it shows that you are relevant, and it shows authority in that field. Basically, it says, not only do I have this post, but take a look at my others and it helps Google to know that you know that you are on about by having other things that are relevant.

For me, if I am doing a product review I will leave a line at the bottom that says take a look at my reviews on these products, or if I mention a product mid-flow I will link to that post. It doesn’t hurt to do this, and it only takes a couple extra seconds when you are uploading. Plus, if you have enticed people into reading your post, chances are that they will want to take a look at some more and it helps on them all important pageviews.

Secondly, for linking I have to mention the importance of backlinks. Back links are when another website or blog links back to your blog. When Google sees that, there are links going back into your blog,  they can see that you are relevant, people are talking about you and it helps to boost that all important quality score. Back links can come from other people mentioning you and linking, from social media and even that links you use in comments.

Is your website or blog fast loading?
We all know how annoying it is when you click onto a website and it takes forever and a day to load up. It literally does my head in and if I click onto a website and it isn’t fast responsive I will click back off because realistically who has the time to watch a website load for what seems like forever?

Always check that your website can handle what you are uploading. For example, if you are uploading a post which is very heavy in images make sure that they aren’t too large. Yes, we want the images to be high quality, but you can keep the quality and have a reduced file size. It just allows people's computers, phones and tablets to be able to handle the amount of data that you are trying to show on their screen.

If your site does take a long time or it even gets to the point where the screen times out because it takes that long, it can be really negative for your all-important quality score. The little Google-bots that scan your site will notice how long it takes to completely load and this will impact your position on the search rankings because Google don’t want to show anything that will look negative on them. At the end of the day by Google having us high on the search rankings it is basically them promoting us for free, so they need to make sure that what they are pushing is good stuff.

Could you implement videos into your posts?
A good way to think about SEO is like a credit rating on a numerical scale. You could say that each of your blog posts are ranked from 0 to 100. If you tick all of the boxes and you are near the 100 mark, your post and your blog will be highly visible on search engines such as Google. Oppositely, the lower you score the more scrolling through you will have to do. Obviously, we all aim for the first page of Google.

One of the things that really boosts your “point” and the quality score of your post is by adding a video. It is very similar to images, but videos are much more valuable to your posts. Search engines recognise that you have really tried with your post if you implement a video of a similar persuasion into your post. If you are confident enough to get behind the camera I highly recommend it if you want to give your blog or website that extra push in regard to SEO.

Be active on other blogs
There are so many other bloggers out there, so you can guarantee that there are other blogs out there that are similar to what you are doing. As you can see, I have a fashion and beauty blog, so you can only imagine just how many similar blogs there are out there for me. A great thing to do is look for them other blogs that are similar to yours and be active on them. Speak in the comments section. Let them know what you think of their post (nice things only please), engage with people and let people know that you exist too. It doesn’t hurt by linking to your own blog at the end of your comment.

Lots of bloggers do it, there is nothing wrong with it and it is just a nice way of introducing yourself to them. Also, if you have a post that is relevant to theirs, leave a link to it and let you show your take on it. I get so many click throughs from links that I have left in comments sections on other blogs. It is just a way of sharing followers with one another especially if the blog that you are commenting is similar in some way to your blog or website. Not to mention that it is a great source of getting backlinks to your blog by commenting on other blogs – it shows that you are relevant, and it improves your quality score.

Hound people on social media
Nowadays everybody uses social media, it is just second nature to people. In this day and age, you it is a great tool to have to boost the visitors to your website or blog. The thing with social media is that everything is at your fingertips. You can send out a tweet and within seconds it can be in the palm of somebody’s hands. When I first started social media, I did some research before I dove into it. I tested different kinds of posts on different social media outlets and I just looked to see how they performed. I looked for popular hashtags in my kind of field and what were the best times to post. When I got all of the data together I created a social media plan.

On my plan, I write down my social media outlets that I want to post on. I then jot down what I want to post on certain times throughout that day. I then upload it to something like Hootsuite. Hootsuite automatically pushes things out on social media on different platforms without you having to press a button, it just takes the pressure of having to stay active on social media. Plus, any links that you use on social media that go to you blog are all classed as back links that I mentioned before that show that your blog has authority and that you are posting relevant things and that helps to improve your all-important quality score. Not to mention that it is a great way to talk to other bloggers and the people who like to read your blog.

Try out a guest post
I mentioned earlier on in this post about the importance of backlinks on your blog. To Google this shows that other people are talking about you and that you are relevant in your field. One way to really enhance this and open yourself up to more people is to try and do a guest post with somebody else who has a similar blog to your own. By doing this you can implement many links back to your blog whether it be to your homepage or to a certain post.

It also helps to broaden your audience. Even though your blogs may be similar the chances that you have the exact same readers is very slim. It just helps to show even more people look what I can do and come and check me out. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of self-promotion every here and there and guest posts are perfect for that!

I know this has turned into an insanely long post and I am so sorry if it bored you to tears if you even managed to get this far. I that SEO is a lot of work and it can be hard to implement and get your head around, but when you do the return can be great. If you have any questions about anything that I have mentioned or if you want me to go into any more detail about anything just be sure to leave you a comment below and I will get right back to you. Also, if you like this kind of post let me know and I will try and do some of them more often.
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16 comments

  1. This is so, so helpful! I've been blogging for around 2 years now on and off and I still don't know that much about SEO! This has everything I need to know about it! Thank you!
    Chloe X http://chloelxuise.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is worthwhile just knowing the key items!

      Danielle xx

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  2. Wow what an interesting post ! I started my blog in January so I have a lot to learn ! Thank you for sharing !
    https://thefrenchiestblog.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem sweetie, I'm glad you liked the post!

      Danielle xx

      Delete
  3. This is the most helpful post I read today, I love how detailed every point is. Would it be possible to do a post on the GDPR regulation and how affects us bloggers? I am useless and I honestly don't have a clue in what we are supposed to do.

    Yiota
    pinkdaisyloves.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a great idea. I work in marketing so I know all of the in's and out's when it comes to GDPR, it has been all I have done now for months!

      Danielle xx

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading sweetie, I'm glad it could help!

      Danielle xx

      Delete
  5. Great tips! SEO is so useful for making your whole blogging business more professional and above all, discoverable.

    www.upyourvlog.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, small steps can make the biggest difference!

      Danielle xx

      Delete
  6. such great advices! you sum it up perfectly!!!(:

    xx from italy
    Cate ღ 35mm in Style

    ReplyDelete
  7. I always love learning more about SEO so this post was super helpful! :) xx

    Maiya | http://www.maiyabellexo.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m glad it helped you out sweetie!

      Danielle xx

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  8. Great tips, thanks so much! This is my first time visiting your blog and I love it! I'll be back :) xo

    Sinead | www.subjectbeauty.com

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  9. Aww thanks my dear, I hope it could help!

    Danielle xx

    ReplyDelete

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