So, let’s start this blog post off with a phrase that just about every single blogger out there has used over the last few days: “Wow, I can’t believe 2016 is over and we’re already 3 days into 2017 – what a ride it’s been – blah blah blah!”
Anyway, after spending a day writing down my goals and strategies for the blog and biz for 2017, I am ready for 2017 to be one kick-ass year! For all of us! I’m going bigger and better than ever before and will be giving you all the equipment you need to create a kick-ass, rocking blog by sharing all of my secrets with you.
I am starting off 2017 with another topic most bloggers consider to be boring. Yes, you guessed it. It’s another post about SEO, or search engine optimisation for those of you not in the know. And if you are one of those bloggers not in the know, then this post is for you.
What is SEO and why do you need it?
So, here’s the truth about SEO. At the start, you will spend a ton of time doing a ton of hard work, but the benefits going forth will be absolutely worth it. And even if you apply every single SEO tip and advice you find online, it won’t guarantee that you hit the first page of search engines every single time. Unfortunately, SEO just doesn’t work this way. It takes time. It takes effort. But it’s totally worth it. Just trust me on this one.
First things first – let’s start at the beginning. We, the humans, use search engines like Google and Yahoo almost daily to find answers to our questions. Whenever we type a query into the search bar of a search engine, a list of results with relevant answers will appear. That, in short, is what SEO all about. Search engines rank websites and contents according to a number of factors (algorithms that change way too often) to ensure that the best results appear for your query. SEO is a way to make your website appear in search results.
Well, now that we got all of the “technical” jargon and stuff out of the way, I am pretty sure you don’t need more convincing on why you need SEO for your blog. But… Here’s another reason that might just kick your SEO-brain into gear – SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your blog traffic. In fact, I have not spend 1 cent on growing my blog through SEO techniques. It’s absolutely free!
Well, that’s all good and well, but, why do I need SEO for my blog?
Think about it: Where is the first place you turn to when you are looking for answers to all of life’s questions? I don’t know about you, but I usually turn to Google. It doesn’t matter whether I am looking for a fancy dinner spot in a neighbouring town, or whether I am looking for uses for bicarbonate of soda, or even looking for tips and advice on how to improve my website, I always turn to Google first.
So, why does your blog or website need SEO?
People are online looking for answers to questions and you might just be the right person they are looking for. It is therefore important to optimise your site for SEO. If Google can’t find your site, then how do you expect your ideal target audience to find your site.
Although I rely on social media to drive traffic to my website, I rely heavily on SEO to drive organic, free and natural traffic. Social media is a great fall-back for when SEO doesn’t work out, but the main focus on driving traffic to my website is through SEO.
What would happen if there is a cyber attack on your favorite social media platform and it is forced to shut down? Will you cry because you are losing that traffic to your blog or website? Because SEO is a search engine feature, you can consider it a pretty safe bet for organic traffic to your website.
Here’s the truth though, search engines are smart. In fact, search engines are super-duper smart! But… They often need help too! And in order for search engines to find your site and rank it accordingly, you will need to place a focus on SEO for your blog or website!
Below are my top 5 tips for SEO success:
1. Yoast SEO
I am absolutely obsessed with this plugin! And if you are on WordPress, you need to download this plugin for your website. It is absolutely free and will allow you to do many awesome free things to improve your SEO. It is quick to download and install and is soooooooo easy to use! My #1 tip for clients – get the Yoast SEO plugin.
2. Get your own domain and hosting
Drop the .wordpress.com and the .blogspot.com and invest some money into your blog or website to make it completely yours. Not only does it make you look more professional and creates the impression that you are super serious about your product or service, but it also shows Google that your site is trustworthy and authoritative.
3. Create useful content
The main purpose of search engines is to provide their users with the most relevant and most trustworthy content first. This means that your content should be useful and mind-blowingly awesome. Your content should answer questions, solve problems and be 100% original. Try to be as useful as possible within your content. The better you answer a question, the more likely your users are to click on the share button and the more your content will be read, and trusted by search engines. Build that relationship of trust with your readers and they will do the rest.
4. Use text instead of images
Google can’t really read images, so stop using these cool graphics as headers for your post won’t help your blog’s SEO. When you place images in your content, make sure you title them properly so that they can appear in Google Images. Remember the importance of alt text too!
ALSO READ: How to optimise your images for SEO
5. Stop stuffing keywords
If there is one thing that annoys the Google spiders, it is keyword stuffing. What is keyword stuffing? Well, that is when you overload a post with keywords and bolding or linking those. Not only does this make it difficult to read for your readers, but the Googlebots marks you as a spammer and will rank your posts negatively.
ALSO READ: How to find SEO keywords for your blog post
If this SEO thing really tickles your fancy, then definitely check out The Blogger’s Guide to Search Engine Optimisation.