beginner's guide to SEO part 1 feature image

Beginner’s Guide to SEO Part 1

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about SEO, DA etc. in not only blogging, but the digital industry as a whole. For any new blogger wanting to make an impact, understanding all things SEO is a must. But what exactly is it? Why is it so important for blogging? Welcome to my beginner’s guide to SEO. I’m expecting my parents to read this as well because they’re always asking me what SEO is.

What is SEO?

First things first, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

When you have a blog or any website, you want it to perform well on search engines, so that you get more traffic (visitors) to your site, therefore increasing your site’s visibility. It’s more likely to get viewed if it appears as a top result on Google etc.

With over a billion websites in existence, reaching those top pages is hard. That’s where SEO comes in. How can you optimize your blog to perform well on search engines?

Creating SEO-friendly content

It’s all well and good having great content, but if it’s not search engine friendly, then your blog won’t rank highly. You have to write with search engines in mind as well as humans.

Think of search engines as one of your blog readers. They need to be able to understand your content in order for it to be deemed worthy of reading and therefore ranked.

Step 1: Keyword Research

For a post to appear in search engines, you want the topic to be something people are actively searching. That’s why keyword research should be the first step before even writing your blog post.

Once you have you have your topic in mind, use a keyword tool such as Keywords Everywhere to see what exact words people are using and which ones are popular. Once you have these, you have a bank of phrases and topics to use in your blog posts.

Step 2: Have a Plan

Before you do any writing, it’s a good idea to have a plan, so you know what direction your writing is going in.

Planning includes the topic, structure and how you are going to integrate your keywords into the post as naturally as possible. You don’t want it to be obvious that you’ve written a post solely aimed at being SEO-friendly. It has to make sense for people too.

Step 3: Write!

Once you have done the preparation, it’s time to write your post! Don’t forget to proofread your work as you go, and maybe get someone else to read it as well incase they spot mistakes you don’t. Search engines like their grammar.

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Step 4: Making your post SEO-friendly

I always prefer to optimize my posts after writing them, but it’s up to you. Here are a few simple things you can do to your blog posts to ensure the best SEO.

  • Paragraphs – Like humans, search engines don’t like long blocks of text. Adding paragraphs is a must.
  • Headings – Including your keywords in headings helps Google and other search engines know what your blog post is about, therefore improving your ranking. Subheadings also help signal topic changes within a post and make reading easier for your audience.
  • Inbound links – Inbound links are when you include a link to another page/post from your own blog. Your audience has the option to read more content from you, and Google likes it because it shows you have a good knowledge on a given subject.
  • Outbound links – Outbound links are links to other sites. For example, if you link to another blog, this looks good as you are supporting others and therefore search engines trust you more, increasing your ranking. Linking to similar sites also helps search engines to better understand your niche.
  • Text length – 300 words is the minimum requirement for good SEO. Search engines don’t like short posts. Articles should contain valuable content. At the same time, don’t have a post that is thousands of words long. Humans and search engines alike don’t enjoy reading pages and pages of text!

A Helping Hand

If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog (read my self-hosting post here), then there are tools that help you optimize your work in the form of plugins.

A plugin is a tool that has a specific function which helps to extend or create new features for your blog.

Yoast and Squirrly are two of the top SEO plugins. Both do have paid options, but I think the free plans are absolutely fine.

They work on a traffic light system, with various points turning green when you reach the requirements. The likes of keywords, links, readability and more are analysed with the plugins.

Yoast and Squirrly are life savers and for anyone wishing to blog seriously, I’d highly recommend choosing a self-hosted WordPress blog as these plugins do the SEO work for you!

Continue the Beginner’s Guide to SEO with part 2!

That’s it for part 1 of my beginner’s guide to SEO. You can find part 2 here where we will be looking at domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA).

Megan x

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