Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Simple SEO For Beginners

During a #everyblogger Twitter chat a few weeks back, I realized how confusing SEO is for some bloggers, and while I explained it (partially, in 140 characters), a lot of bloggers remained very confused after the chat and asked me to write a post explaining SEO in depth. So here are the basics - let's go!












First of all, what exactly is SEO?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization and it's basically the order the search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) show the posts / articles when searching for something. For example, if you search 'what is SEO', the first result on Google will be  searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo. I will mention some of the things the writer of that post did that you can too, to hopefully get your posts to the top, and what I did to the link to make it easier for anyone to pass them and be first (selfish much? probably). 

Key Words - Let's imagine the next situation together: you're trying to figure out what SEO is, so you open Google and search 'what is SEO'. Google will show you (the post above) by Search Engine Land because the words What and SEO probably repeat themselves a lot (without being spam-y, be careful with that). The biggest tip I could give you to improve your SEO is to include keywords in your post, first paragraph, title and headings ('mini titles').

Title - what do you think readers will search when looking for an article like yours? If you're writing a post explaining what SEO is - and dedicating your full blog post to that, call it What is SEO (that's what Search Engine Land did). Or, if it's easier for you to think this way, think of what you'd search to find the post you're looking for. If you're using Wordpress, there is a plugin that allows you to have the title on your website and on search engines look different (can't remember what it's called though).

Permalink - if you use Blogger, you'll automatically have a 'pretty' permalink for your post although you can still change it on the Post Settings sidebar (right) while writing/editing a post and then clicking Permalink. You will be able to edit your permalink on any platform you use.
   Permalinks should include your keywords/what readers might be looking for and be easy to remember, for example: use something like /guide/what-is-seo instead of /post/rgt784gtw47.
   When I mentioned earlier about 'passing' people on search engines, here's what I meant. When you link to someone on Blogger you can click the add 'rel=nofollow' attribute, which means the post you link to won't gain any 'popularity' points on search engines (the more people who link to the website the higher their 'popularity' is, and the higher they'll show on search engines - more details below). If you don't have blogger, add rel="nofollow" after the link (we're talking in HTML, of course), here's an example, you can copy paste it and change the highlighted link to whatever you'd like, if you want: 


<a href="http://zoessecretstyle.blogspot.co.il" rel="nofollow"


Photos - there are two rules you should be following when it comes to blog photos. The first, name your pictures. I may be looking for a banner that tells me what SEO is, or something like this, which is a more visual way to understand. The photo will mostly make sense by the end of the post, I'll cover the rest when I write a continuing post to this one.






I found this picture on the top row of Google Images by searching 'what's SEO'. When I downloaded the photo to my computer, I saw it was named seo.png, which has nothing wrong with it - actually, it's almost perfect. 
    Similar to the permalink concept, no one will search for 'image fg8fw478' when searching for images (to add to their blog posts, for example). Put something usable in your image name. After downloading the photo, I changed it's name to 'simple SEO for beginners Zoe's secret style', because there are two things potential readers might be looking for:

  1. a post on simple SEO for bloggers, which is why I wrote the first part.
  2. or, they're looking for images from my blog, Zoe's Secret Style, which is why I include my blog name in my image name so they are more likely to click on the post, and drive traffic to this specific post.

The other thing I wanted to tell you about photos is not to use them at the top of your posts, but after the first paragraph, at least. Search engines have a preference for text, so if you have some text before your photos you will probably be rated lower, which brings your whole posts 'popularity' down.

Link back - the more links you get back to your site, the higher ranking your post will get. Think about it this way, the more positive reviews you read about a product, the more you'd like to buy it, right? I have only recently realized this and need to do this more myself, but when you tweet about a new post - don't tweet the link to your blog, but to the post itself! 
   For example, instead of me tweeting 'Need help figuring out SEO? I found help at ZoesSecretStyle.blogspot.co.il'. I used to make this mistake when linking to my recent post. This won't help you at all - don't do it! Here is what I should've tweeted this whole time, and you can too by clicking the link.


Of course, you can also use shortened links (such as bit.ly, or you can buy your own shortened custom domain from wherever your regular domain is from. The biggest advantage is that you can fit more in your tweets!

Google+ - has a ton of impact on a posts SEO. I am planning another post to elaborate on Google+ SEO alone, but just remember your ranking on Google will appear higher too, and often to whoever has your followers in their circles! Follow my Google+ traffic tips to learn more about increasing your traffic from the quite unpopular social media platform no one seems to like, with minimal effort.

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I hope this post helped! Please let me know if you'd like me to write more posts on this subject, and if you have any tips you want to share in the comments!

Zoe xx


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