SEO for Bloggers
If you’re reading this article, it means that you’re part of a select group of people who know that starting a blog is the best way to share thoughts, tips and advice with your audience online. But what if no one gets to see those blog posts that you’ve lost blood, sweat and tears over? How do people actually find your blog on the World Wide Web? Nowadays, a quick Google search does the trick for most. However, in order to show up among those first results, you will first need to get acquainted with this crucial acronym: SEO, or search engine optimization. This simply means making your website easily readable and accessible by search engine bots so that your pages show up for a relevant search.
You’re in luck, as writing a blog is actually amazing for your SEO. Research suggests that companies who blog get 3 to 3.5 times more traffic than those who don’t. But climbing the Google ladder with your blog posts requires a bit more than just having a blog. As a foundation for being well-ranked, your content needs to be informative and useful to the reader, frequently updated and unique (they can’t find this incredible information anywhere else). However, if you’re serious about ranking higher – that’s just the beginning. We’re here to provide you with those additional tips to give you the SEO boost your blog deserves. Whether you’ve started a blog or added a blog section to your site, here are the ultimate 8 SEO tips for bloggers:
01. Find the right topics
It shouldn’t be surprising that many avid writers with established blog sites have presumably already covered the topics about your industry. So how can you make sure your blog posts stand out on Google? Elementary, my dear blogger: Research.
The goal of the first part of your research will be to find the best topics to write about by targeting niche keywords in your field of expertise. Just a small reminder: keywords are phrases that tend to be 2 to 5 words long, that a person enters into a search box when looking for something on Google. By inserting these keywords into your content, you’ll be able to appear in the results for that specific query. Ideally, you’d choose the most popular terms in order to reach a larger audience and get more eyes on your posts. The thing is though that using a popular and broader term is extremely competitive and will show a varied range of results.
For example, put yourself in the shoes of a person searching for ‘cake’ on Google. It’s not so clear what their intention is – and the results will reflect this ambiguity. In this case, you’d be competing with strong pages like Wikipedia, very well established recipe blogs and the band ‘Cake.’ That’s why when it comes to the amount words your keyword contains, more is always better, as these tend to be more precise and much less competitive, e.g. ‘gluten-free orange pound cake recipe.’ Using these so-called ‘long-tail’ keywords allows you to target a very specific intent that answers your audience’s query directly. The key is to find those ‘specific intent’ keywords that still get a solid amount of search volume (average monthly searches for a keyword). Anywhere between 30 to 1,000 searches is recommended, over that number may start to get too competitive.
How to go about it? Start by listing all the broad topics you’d like to write about, then break them down into more specialized subjects. For a food blogger the so-called ‘seed topics’ could potentially be: cakes, soups, salads, etc. Look at each topic separately and brainstorm further about more specific ideas for each one, for example, winter mushroom soup, carrot and ginger soup, etc. To discover the search volume and get more ideas, there are some great (and free) SEO tools out there that will guide you on your quest to finding great keywords for article topics.
Some of our favorite tools for finding blog topics:
Ubersuggest – a tool that gives you plenty of keyword suggestions when you pop in your seed keyword idea. It’s based on Google’s Keyword Planner and the Google autocomplete function.
Answer the Public – a tool that allows you to get a huge list of questions and related phrases around the topic of choice.
Keywords Everywhere – a Chrome extension that shows the search volume for various keywords. Great to use in combination with the previous one.
What’s the best way to suss out your competition? Easy, just Google it. The second part of your research consists of figuring out how you can make your content better than what is already ranking, or as the folks at Moz have coined the term ‘10x content’, which means creating content that is 10 times better than what’s on the first results page.
First, you want to investigate the space you’re trying to compete in by searching for your chosen keywords and analyzing the top 5 to 10 results. Doing this will allow you to understand better what people are looking for in terms of content, plus it will give you some indication about what Google believes is the best result for that specific query. You can draw inspiration from what others have written to make sure you’re covering all of your bases and writing the most thorough and in-depth article possible. Then, think about the added value that only you can provide in your piece. Maybe you’ve tried out several recipes for a flourless chocolate cake and you’ve discovered a magic ingredient. Maybe your images are just so much more appealing than the ones you’ve seen in the top results? Or maybe you’ve made a video that includes all of the steps for the recipe? All of these elements that you take into consideration will take your content to the next level and definitely pay off when Google decides the fate of your page. Lastly, make sure you apply the coming steps to all the articles you’re writing – as they’ve proved themselves valuable for every kind of business or topic.
02. Optimize your posts
Once you’ve found your keywords and have done some research on your competition, it’s time to dive into your article SEO. If you’re looking for optimization tips for your blog as a whole, check out these 12 tips to ace your website’s SEO. For blog post level optimization there are a few tasks to fulfil to make sure your post is fully optimized. Good thing we’ve got a handy list so you don’t forget a thing. Your article’s main keyword should be included in the following places:
Your post title (H1)
The first paragraph of your post
The first part of your SEO title
Your SEO description
The URL of the blog post page
A couple of times in the post itself, or variations thereof
Naturally, if you’re writing about a specific topic you’re more likely to include those terms. Don’t worry – you can use some synonyms and variations of your keyword as to not sound too repetitive. Google and search engines are getting much better at understanding them. Remember that you’re writing for people and not for search engines. All of these elements are super easy to implement on the new Wix Blog as you can see in the image below.
03. Structure your content
This one may seem pretty obvious, but imagine a world in which articles didn’t have any paragraphs, subheadings or titles, and text would appear in a stream-of-consciousness type form. Oh, the horror! Indeed, a blog post without any structure is not a pretty sight. And search engines would agree.
Therefore, in order to provide your readers with the best experience possible, some simple formatting comes in very handy. Essentially, when you decide on different formats for your text, behind the scenes your giving them a specific tag in the code. And this is actually how search engines are able to distinguish between different types of text and their hierarchy within a page.
The little pieces of HTML are called H-headings and they ranging from H1 to H6 in descending order of importance. This means that H1 is your most important title (your article title), H2 is one level below (heading), and so on. Think of it as reading a newspaper in which you have a main headline, subheadings and paragraph text. And it’s ‘oh so simple’ to adapt in the new Wix Blog. Once you’ve selected your text, the formatting toolbar will pop up where you can select T1 (which is the H2) or T2 (which is the H3).
04. Post frequently
In the words of Riri, starting a blog involves some work, work, work, work, work. You can’t expect to write one blog post and wait for the visitors to start rolling in. Blogging is a bit like going to the gym: it’s hard sometimes to do it regularly, but the benefits are huge. We’re not saying you need to write a 3000-word post every day, but you can start by publishing a post weekly or bi-weekly. According to research, blogging more frequently can have a great impact on your SEO. Why is that? When you provide those hungry Googlebots with your fresh and updated content, they will keep on coming back for more. Plus, you’re giving the search engine more opportunities to rank your pages. Looking for some inspiration? Feast your eyes on these beautiful blog examples.
The key to posting more frequently is simple: be organized. A posting schedule can help you make your blog plan a reality. In an excel sheet create a table that includes each blog post’s publishing date, writing deadline, some references and the focus keywords you’d like to target. Having a good overview of the grand plan will make you feel more in control and encourage you to stick to your schedule. #bloggoals
05. Be mobile friendly
Let’s face it, you’re probably reading this blog post on your mobile device right now, right? As the use of devices has become so widespread, we wouldn’t be surprised. Even Google has taken notice and started checking the mobile version of your website for indexation purposes. Indeed, since the mobile-first index rolled out in March the mobile version of your website is the primary version that will be consulted in order to rank your sites. Wait, did someone just say major game changer? Not exactly… as both desktop and mobile versions are still used. However, those with a mobile-optimized website will get that extra SEO boost. This is exactly why it’s so crucial that your website is mobile-friendly.
Don’t panic (if you’re a Wix user) as your Wix Blog is completely mobile-friendly in terms of design and navigation. As for the technical stuff, we’ve got you covered too. And here are more goodies for you: the new Wix Blog, you can write, edit and publish blog posts straight from your mobile device. Ready, set, blog on the go!
06. Add alt text to images
The famous saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is true for most people, but unfortunately it’s a different story for search engines. Google and others can’t see images like we do. This is why you need to add some context (in the form of text) to help them figure out what’s on your photos, graphs and other pics. Adding alt text to your images helps search engines to understand them better and thus index them more efficiently.
In addition to that, adding these little textual descriptions will enable your images to be found on Google Image Search. This will allow you to get even more traffic to your site and ultimately, better SEO. To add alt text to images on your Wix Blog, double-click the image to edit and fill in the section that says ‘Describe this image’ under ‘Alt text’. A great first tip we can give you in order to write good alt text is to describe the image to a friend who cannot see it. For more tips on how to write SEO friendly alt text, check out our article.
07. Link internally
Ever wondered how a Googlebot gets from one page to another? Probably not. But we’ll let you in on that secret: through links. Indeed, links are kind of like a spider’s web behind the scenes of your website’s pages. When you link from one blog post to another page within the same domain (sitename.com), it makes it a lot easier for search engine bots (also known as “spiders”) to discover all of your site’s pages more easily and scan the content from head to toe. This process is called “crawling.” Once crawled, the web pages are indexed, meaning saved in a massive library. It is said that websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages than those who don’t. The more blog posts you’ve got in that library, the higher the chances of your pages appearing on search results for a relevant query.
Even more than that, by adding more internal links you’re just facilitating clicks to more pages and allowing your visitors to browse freely. This is a great signal to Google that your audience is satisfied with your website and the content it provides, and you’ll get a cool SEO boost for it.
Pro tip: Instead of using ‘click here’ or ‘read this,’ use descriptive text when linking to an internal blog post. This gives more context and makes it easier for Google to understand what’s on the upcoming page.
08. Engage on social
Thought that social media was merely a place where your parents can publicly embarrass you? Think again. Although not commonly known for its SEO power, social media is a great way of getting your name (and your links) out there. By sharing your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, the chances of someone amplifying your content automatically increases. This is true especially if readers agree that your content is valuable, original and well-written. And you know what comes with more views, right? More clicks to your site! Google perceives that extra amount of traffic as a signal that your blog is loved by others, which can do wonders for your SEO. Need any more convincing? Well, it really doesn’t require that much effort, especially if you use Wix. Just add a share button at the bottom of your posts and don’t forget to share your published blog posts on your own social channels. Oh, and if you need more tips for mastering social media, we’ve got an article about that too.
By Ruth Eschenheimer
SEO Content Specialist