I’m not easily frustrated. People who know me know that I am a very happy go lucky person. But if there is one thing that will really make me pull my hair out, then it is when bloggers rely on SEO-plugins for their search engine optimisation (and then even dare to complain that the plugins aren’t really doing anything for them and claiming that SEO is rubbish or bogus).
There is so much more to SEO than a simple plugin. If it was that easy, then there wouldn’t be people out there making tons of $$$ by helping businesses with their SEO. Yes, plugins are helpful, but I cannot stand it when bloggers simply install a plugin and cross their finger that magic will happen.
I am not in any way anti-plugin. I have many a plugin on my site, to ASSIST me with certain things. But, I put the hard work in behind the scenes to ensure that the plugins do its job perfectly.
Anyway, why am I telling you all of this? Because, reasons. Today I want to show you how to optimise your blog posts for SEO without a SEO plugin. Even if you have a SEO plugin installed, this post will still help you. Yoast (and whichever SEO-plugin you use) requires some work from your side to work. You don’t simply install it and magic will happen.
How to optimise your blog posts for SEO (without a SEO plugin)
Do your keyword research
Keyword research is one of the most essential parts of search engine optimisation. When you are writing a blog post, you are probably already including your keyword in your content (without even realising it), but, with proper keyword research, you can achieve much better results.
Before you start writing that blog post, jot down the topic you have in mind for that specific post. Now, do some research relating to that topic and see if you can find what other people are searching to find the answer you are hoping to provide in your blog post. Jot down those keywords next to your topic.
The next step you want to take is to use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner to see what others are searching and what the competition is for your keyword.
With all of this information at hand, you are pretty set with finding a main keyword, and at least 2 – 3 more keywords you can use within your blog post.
When it comes to keyword research, I always like to remind my readers and clients of the importance of long-tail keywords. People often use long-tail keywords to find answers and therefore, by using long-tail keywords, you are targeting the readers looking for answers only you can provide.
Use your keyword strategically
The aim of SEO is not to include a ton of keywords in as many places as possible within your blog post. Funny story that. When you stuff your blog post with keywords, you are not only annoying your readers, but you are also severely irritating Google and you will get penalised. The key to search engine optimisation is to use it strategically within your content, to avoid your readers and search engines getting frustrated and angry.
Here are 5 places you should add your keyword in your blog post:
Not only are you using your title to draw your reader’s attention, but it is also a great place to let search engines know what your content is about. Try to use your keyword as early in your title as possible. When you have a long headline, make your keyword the focus and use it at the beginning of your title – this is called front-loading and it is great for letting readers and search engines know immediately what the blog post is about.
- Headings and subheadings
Use your keyword within headings and subheading, but make sure that it fits in with the natural flow of your blog post. Add your keyword where it makes sense, rather than forcing it. If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it. This doesn’t mean that you should use your keyword within every heading and subheading, but try to at least have 1 heading with your keyword. DON’T STUFF KEYWORDS.
The same rule applies here. Add your keyword within your body text, but again, ensure that it flows naturally within your copy. When it comes to writing a blog post, your aim in not to see how many times you can include your keyword in your blog post. Your aim is rather to ensure that your readers love what you write. Another thing I always tell my readers and clients is that they should focus on their readers first, and allow search engines to fit in with their content, rather than the other way round.
Another important place to add your keyword is in the URL. This also lets search engines know what your blog post is about. Always, but always, include your keyword within your URL.
Make it easy for your readers and search engines to move through your site by adding internal links to your blog posts. When adding internal links, make sure it is relevant to the topic at hand. Not only does it help readers, and make them stay on your site longer, but Google can also crawl through your website and index your other relevant content easier.
Optimise your images
I’ve written a whole blog post on this topic, but to give you a brief overview, Google can’t read what is displayed within an image, and therefore you need to help search engines understand exactly what your image is about. In this blog post, I explain how to optimise your images for SEO.
Make sure that your blog post looks good on mobile
Research shows that more people surf the internet via their mobile phones, rather than using laptops, desktops or tablets and therefore it became a big deal for websites to have a responsive design. When readers are using their phones to find content, Google will show mobile-friendly search results first. Not only is a mobile-responsive website great for your user-experience, but it also counts for SEO as well.
As you can see, it is pretty easy to optimise your blog post for SEO without an SEO-plugin. Yes, it is a lot of work, and yes, you won’t see miracles happen overnight, but you can make it happen! Hard work WILL pay off. Don’t place your focus purely on a plugin, but rather use it to complement your blog post. Content in still KING.