Search engine optimization (SEO) is an increasingly popular type of marketing, and if you’re starting a blog, it’s not one that you want to ignore. However, you’ve already got so much on your plate between planning, writing for, and maintaining your blog, that learning a whole industry can be intimidating.
Learning the basics of SEO takes a bit of time, but the benefits are certainly worth it. SEO can not only help you rank better on Google, therefore landing your content closer — or even on — page one of a Google search, but using SEO tools can help you evaluate your website, make it more user friendly, and better compete with similar blogs on the internet.
Basic SEO Concepts
To an SEO beginner, the concept of this industry seems simple: optimize your article to get as close as possible to page one on Google’s search engine result page, otherwise known as a SERP. Essentially, this is done by link building, or inserting links to your content on other websites on the web. These links relay information to Google’s code about how helpful it is.
At first, it might seem like more links equals better results. While this is not wrong, this only scrapes the surface of what SEO encompasses. For one thing, not all links are created equal, therefore not all links will be beneficial to your blog. For another, there are many strategies to choose from when link building, as well as useful tactics apart from link building.
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Some of the tactics you may encounter may be considered black-hat SEO, meaning you want to stay as far away from them as you possibly can. So, when you are doing research on SEO, always research through multiple authorities and read the most current information out there. Some of what is now considered black-hat SEO used to be common practice.
To avoid this, you should try to look for sources that are trustworthy. Blogs from SEO tool experts, like SEMRush or MOZ, generally provide trustworthy information. Definitely avoid any advice that boasts fast results or companies that promise hundreds of links for cheap. It typically takes months for link building to make a true impact on your site, and every link should be well thought out and strategized. In addition, black-hat link building can penalize your ranking.
Once you’ve done a bit of research and you think you have a more or less solid foundation of link building, you can get started. There are many reasons to want to utilize SEO. Some of the benefits include :
- An increase of traffic
- Awareness of brand
- Return on investment
- Increase in use of site
When you’re starting out with SEO, it’s important to find reliable sources. Always double check with multiple sources to make sure you are learning the best and most current practices, as SEO is an ever-evolving industry and sometimes good practices turn into bad ones.
When looking for sources, look for signs that they know what they are talking about. Page One Power, for example, Pageonepower is a link building company that has great link building content and resources . Not only do they have a blog that features industry best practices, but they have also recently released a new SEO magazine: Pages . Some of their content includes interviews from top SEO professionals and in-depth methods.
What About Guest Posting?
Guest posting may seem like a gray area for bloggers. If you have your own blog, why should you want to write for other blogs? And why should you want other people to write for you? The answer goes back to the basic concept of SEO: link building. By participating in guest posts, you send more positive signals to Google.
Accepting Guest Posts
From an SEO perspective, guest posting can be a great asset. For one, it provides your site with more content that your readers or internet researchers can link to. You can also reach more readers this way, as most writers post their articles on their social media.
However, there are some mistakes to watch out for , like black-hat link builders spamming your blog with posts. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t accept posts with links, but definitely take the time to go through all the links in articles you receive as you copy edit them. Also, make sure that there is a balance between links: you want a fair amount of internal links to direct readers to other posts on your blog, a few links to cite information from authoritative sources, and you can allow a couple links to smaller blogs — if the information is good.
Writing Guest Posts
Depending on how much writing you do for your blog, you may not want to take more time out of your schedule to write for someone else’s. However, writing articles for other sites is what can really make a difference for your site because of backlinks. Backlinks are links that point back to your website; the more you have, the more Google thinks you are trustworthy and provide good information.
When writing guest posts, you should keep basic website metrics in mind. To start off, post on sites that have a domain authority (DA) above 20, and the higher the better. Once you get more comfortable with SEO, you can look into metrics beyond DA to rate websites. Keep in mind that you should never have to pay for a website to publish your article. If an editor gets back to you asking for money, you can negotiate, but there are plenty of sites out there that accept free guest posts.
Formatting Your Articles
When you are writing articles, formatting matters. When Google crawls websites for keywords, it pays attention to a few crucial areas — specifically headers and SEO components such as title tags. It doesn’t take a lot of time to format your articles for SEO but doing so can help you increase your organic traffic and rank better on Google.
When writing your articles, you should format them using headers 1, 2, and 3. Header 1 should be used for the title of the article, Header 2 for each section of the article, and Header 3 for each subsection. Essentially, Google pays extra attention to the headers, so you will want to include keywords into them as much as possible without sounding dry or repetitive.
In addition to headers, you should make sure to fill out the different SEO elements when publishing your blog. Be sure to have a clear title tag, a succinct meta-description, and several keyword tags. Completing these will enhance your articles for SEO and they don’t take very long to finish.
Craft SEO-friendly content
You should do a keyword research first to find out the best low competitive keywords. After that, enter your target keywords and the location. After clicking “Create SEO Template” button, you will receive a template of SEO recommendations based on target keywords and actual content that your rivals have.
All of this info can be exported to a word file. Also, you can integrate your SEO content template with Google docs and start writing.
Watch the video below to learn more about SEO content template:
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Golden Rule of SEO
It may be called search engine optimization, but ultimately, optimizing for people first will essentially get you to where you want to be. SEO can get very methodical and there is a lot of depth to the industry, but if you are just starting to optimize for your blog, you can go far if you keep your audience in mind. A lot of the strategies that you already use for writing your blog are useful for SEO — like determining that if you are writing something you wouldn’t want to read, your audience probably won’t either. By keeping SEO strategies and intent in mind, you can really push your blog to succeed.
What Not to Do
Depending on how much time you have to spend on your blog, you may not want to spend a lot of time on SEO — especially if you need to work on design, articles, or infographics to post. This might make it tempting to choose an SEO service that promises many links for few dollars. Just remember that quality link building takes time and effort, and inadequate links can incur penalties with Google .
SEO has changed significantly in the last five years, and it will likely go through even more changes in the next five. Though it might seem like a lot to keep track of, regularly integrating a few key practices into your blog routine can make a huge impact on your blog. Quality link building won’t happen overnight, but with a bit of time, patience, and quality, you can start optimizing your blog.