Whether you’re just starting out as a blogger, or you’ve been at it for a while, today I’m going to share with you some SEO Basics for Bloggers. These are items you should make sure that you have in place on your site that will help to optimize your blog for search engine optimization.
The things we’re going to look at today are things that you should do that will help to optimize your entire site. In the future, I’ll do a post or two on how to optimize individual posts.
6 SEO Basics for Bloggers
WordPress vs. Self-hosted WordPress
If your blog is hosted on WordPress, you’ll never really kick SEO ass. You need to be self-hosted in order to really make it happen. I’m unsure about Blogger–given that Google owns them, your SEO on a .blogspot.com blog might be better than if it is hosted by WordPress.
To do: register your own domain (ideally the name of your blog contains your main keywords), and host your blog on your own server.
In WordPress, the default option for your Permalink structure (which is the direct and unique URL that is generated for every single blog post you publish) looks like this:
This is terrible for SEO, because that random string of numbers means nothing. You can optimize your permalink for SEO, and again, we’ll get into that in a later post. For now, go to Dashboard–>Settings–>Permalinks. Choose the “post name” option, at the very least, or create a custom one as I’ve done.
In the olden days, one of the main ways to get people to find your site was through MetaTags. Essentially, what they are are keywords that identify what your site is about, but they written into the back-end coding of the site, so that they are apparent and readable to Google spiders, but not necessarily to your regular readers. MetaTags aren’t as important any more, partially because many people tried to game the system, and stuffed their MetaTags with keywords that may or may not have been related to their actual site.
To do: install the SEO by Yoast Plugin on your blog. Once it’s installed, click on the “Titles and Meta” option. Under the “home” tab, place your site’s keywords.
You need a sitemap so that Google knows who you are, and that you have a legitimate site. Sitemaps makes Google recognize all of your pages and posts, and it speeds up the ability for Google to index any changes to your site.
To do: install XML’s Sitemap Generator, and let it walk you through the process of creating a Sitemap. Or, if you’ve already installed SEO by Yoast, you can use their option. In your dashboard, click on SEO–>XML Sitemaps, and tick this top box.
Google will check how quickly your site loads. If it’s slow to load, you won’t get as high of a ranking. Loading times are dependent upon things like images and videos (ie: how many, how big the are).
simply put, the more you publish, the more traffic you’ll get. Having said that, I realize that not everyone can publish 5 posts a week, or even multiple posts per day if it’s just one blogger. However, create a schedule and stick to it. Aim to post at least once a week.
To do: create an editorial calendar for your blog. Schedule what days posts will go up, and outline what those posts will be about.
I’ll do future posts on how to optimize individual posts, and also on things like back-linking, social media, and keywords.