Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about tweaking content so that it ranks well in search engines.
The first step is to write content that will resonate with readers, and the second step is to optimize the content for search engines.
Once you know that basic premise, you can move on to learning how to optimize blog content for search.
So how do you optimize blog content? And how do you get your blog to rank higher in Google searches?
1. Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research is step one of search engine optimization. This translates into finding what words people are searching for so you can rank better for those words.
Once you know what terms people are searching for, you can use them on your site to rank higher for those words.
So how do you know what words people are searching for?
Google’s AdWords Keyword tool is the easiest way to conduct keyword research. You can use it search for words and phrases that are similar to words or phrases people are searching for.
If you search for the term “blogging,” you’ll find out that 83,100,000 people search for “blog” each month, 550,000 search for “blogging,” and 135,000 search for “fashion blogs.” The AdWords tool also shows how much competition there is for each keyword.
The goal is to find out what phrases related to your content are searched for the most, and then using those terms on your blog. Google’s AdWords Keywords tool is great for this.
2. Page Titles
The second most important piece of the SEO puzzle is optimizing page titles because titles are a key component in Google’s search ranking algorithm.
Page titles are the text that appears at the top of the browser such as “7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog’s SEO” on this page. It’s the text that’s located at the top of the browser on each page.
This text is important because Google weights title keywords heavily. It believes that if a word appears in the title, it’s probably a key term for that page.
Using keywords in page titles is one of the easiest ways to rank better in searches because you automatically get more Google juice by using keywords in there.
For example, a bakery in the city of Irving could use a homepage title like this: “Argentina Bakery—the best cakes, pastries, and cookies in the city of Irving.” In this case, the bakery would rank for its name, “Argentina Bakery,” as well as “bakery,” “cakes,” “pastries,” “cookies,” and “Irving.” All of these are key terms for a local bakery.
The key here is that tweaking the title of pages to include keywords will increase search engine results because Google heavily favors title tags. This should also be done by describing the page content in the most accurate way. There’s no reason to stuff keywords in the title that will look odd to readers.
3. Post Headlines
Using Keywords in post headlines is another way to get an SEO boost.
Why is this good for SEO?
It’s good because, in case you haven’t noticed, the post headline shows up as the page title whenever someone is viewing that post. Since Google has a crush on title tags, you’ll want to use keywords in post headlines.
With that said, it’s best to write headlines that will first get people’s attention and then get Google’s attention.
For example, if you’re writing a post about search engine optimization, it’s best to use “SEO” or “search engine optimization” in the headline. This will catch anyone’s attention who is searching for those terms, and it will get Google points for having keywords in the headline which end up as the page title.
What you don’t want to do is write a headline like this: “This is an awesome post!” It offers no description for readers and zero words for Google to rank.
Since page titles are critical for SEO, post headlines are as well. It’s important to write headlines that will resonate with readers first, and then insert keywords for Google as long as it doesn’t take away from the reader’s experience.
4. Incoming links
In case you don’t know already, Google loves incoming links. It counts links as votes of confidence for your site. If other people are willing to link to you, the content must be pretty good.
Google loves links, and it really loves links from high quality sites. The more popular a site is, the more Google juice the link will bestow.
So the next time you get written about in CNN.com, make sure they link back to your site. If that doesn’t happen anytime soon, do your best to get more incoming links, especially high quality ones.
There are shady ways to do this, but don’t opt for those tactics. Instead, find ethical ways to get credible sites to link to you. Guest posting is one way to do that.
Remember, more links equals more Google juice.
5. URL Structure
Google also pays attention to the URL structure of websites. This means that it takes into account the keywords that are in the URL.
If someone searches for “blog” and that happens to be in your URL, you’ll get points for that.
Some people take this into consideration when picking a domain name, but that isn’t super important. What’s more important is making sure that page and post URLs provide the most keywords to Google.
It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but when it comes to SEO, it makes a big difference.
The point is to make sure that the URL structure for your blog includes keywords that are useful to Google. This can be easily done by ensuring the post title is included in the URL.
6. Description Meta Tags
Another way to improve search rankings is to provide an appropriate description of the page with meta tags.
The description meta tag is the part of the page that is shown below the title in a Google search.
By tweaking the description to match what people are searching and to include keywords, two things are accomplished: 1) SEO ranking improves 2) A more accurate description can be include to entice people to click through in a Google search.
This description can be optimized for keywords and to get people’s attention. Both are great for SEO.
7. All-In-One SEO Pack
Another way to improve SEO is to use a premium theme that is optimized for search right out of the box. An example of this is the Genesis theme framework that is used on this site.
Genesis is built with rock-solid SEO features that make it a great choice for improving SEO. It has built-in options for customizing title, headline, and meta tags that make SEO tweaks easy to make.
But if you don’t have the money yet for Genesis, the All-In-One SEO Pack is the second best thing.
It’s a WordPress plugin that makes optimizing for Google easy. At the bottom of each post and page, there’s a form for customizing the title and meta description. It’s as easy as copying and pasting content from the post and tweaking it to improve search engine results.
The Genesis framework has this built in already, but if you’re not ready for that, the All-In-One SEO Pack is a great substitute. Installing and learning how to use it is the easiest way to improve SEO.
If you are a newbie who just started a blog and looking for ways to build it means then you have to familiarize yourself in SEO methods. First of all, you should know some basic SEO terms which will help you greatly when you are learning SEO tactics. Below are some of the important SEO terms. If you know the terms already, then you can utilize this article reading time as a refresher.
1) SEM: Search Engine Marketing. As the name suggests, it is the marketing tactics that include two marketing methods through search engines. One is SEO and other is PPC. SEO is the tactics of optimizing websites so that it occurs naturally in the search result. PPC is Pay per Click and here, the webmaster is paid for each and every genuine click on the ad registered in his site.
2) Backlink: Backlinks are simple hyperlinks that point another site. This will help in determining page rank of a site and will also influence in determining the sites search rankings. Read next point to know much about this.
3) PageRank: Google used to rank each and every website that it indexed in the web to evaluate its relative importance. For example, if site A refers site B in a link, then some proportion of page rank will flow to site B (only if site A allows it. That is, there should be no NoFollow tag). If many links flow to a particular site, then it will get high value. Higher the value, higher the page rank and vice versa. But page rank alone will not decide the quality of a site. There are many factors like traffic, backlinks, etc.
4) Anchor Text: Anchor text in the backlinks will be viewable and clickable in the web site. If you have keywords associated in these anchor text, then Google will club your site with those keywords and hence it will result in better search rankings. That is, if any one searching ‘Online Money Making’ in Google, then if you have some of your anchor text with the same term ‘Online Money Making’, then it will help you to get better search ranking.
5) NoFollow: This is an attribute associated with the hyperlink. This attribute will not allow the flow of page rank to the site which is in the link. This will happen in many places like blog commenting (if NoFollow attribute is not there, then more spammers will comment in your site to get some link juice), in paid advertisements, etc. Google will not consider such NoFollow links for its page rank calculation or any other algorithms.
6) DoFollow: This is antonym of NoFollow.
7) LinkBait: To gain search ranking by getting many backlinks, SEO experts used to publish a piece of web content, video, picture, quiz or anything else is called LinkBait.
8) LinkFarm: This is one of the oldest methods to gain backlink. In this, all the sites will link to every other site in the farm to gain page rank artificially. Now it is called as spamming and there is pretty good chance of getting penalized by Google.
9) SERP: Search Engine Results Page. This is the result page that you will get when you search anything in the search engines like Google. Good SERP ranking will drive you more traffic.
10) Search Algorithm: According to Google, it is a complex calculation with more than 200 factors directly affecting SERP of any website. Some of the factors are page rank, website age, backlinks, title/meta tags, etc.
11) Title Tags: This is nothing but the title of the site/blog itself. This is very important factor in the algorithm. This should be unique and should reflect your main keywords.
12) Meta Tags: This is the tag that is only for the use of search engines. They will be inside the HEAD tags of your sites HTML code. They will be used for keywords, description, etc.
13) Keyword Density: This is the normal keyword density per page. That is, the total number of key words in the page divided by the total number of words in it. This is important for the early algorithm of Google. But this is not a deciding factor anymore.
14) Keyword Stuffing: This is a rarely used word. Artificially filling any web page with keywords is called as keyword stuffing. This helped in the early stages. But now if you do the same, you might get penalized.
15) Sandbox: This is where the new sites will be placed before moving to Google’s actual index. That is, Google will place all the newly developed sites in the Sandbox and after verifying its legitimacy, it will move the site to its main index. After moving to the main index only the sites will appear in the search results.
16) Plagiarism: This is the method of copying others content and publishing in one’s website portraying that it is their own content. This will be penalized by Google if it came to know about that.
17) Web Crawler: This is also called and search bot or spider which searches the whole web for new pages, links, sites, etc., on behalf of search engine.
18) Robots.txt: This is just a file in the root of your domain which informs the other search bots about the sites structure. We can grant/revoke search bots access to certain specific pages inside the website by placing appropriate commands in the robot.txt file.
19) Cloaking: This is a method of spamming in which a website will show different content to search engine and also for human visitors. The purpose is to get high Page Rank and to get more traffic and using that traffic to sell or promote unrelated products.
20) Content spinning: This is the method of stealing others content and replacing all the possible words with its synonym and publishing in their own site with some keywords. This is usually done to publish unique content and to get high search ranking to drive more traffic and to generate revenue through affiliates or PPC. This will not generate readable content mostly.
I have briefed some of the key words used in SEO world. If there is anything other than this (surely there will be), kindly share with me.
This is an introduction to seven easy ways to improve SEO. To learn more, check out this Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by Google. It talks about these techniques and a few more, and makes for a great follow-up to this post.
What are your thoughts? Do you know some simple ways to improve SEO? Feel free to share them in the comments.