SEO First Steps, 5 Tips For Boosting Your Blog

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It’s no secret that most companies today should have a blog. It’s often the homebase of your social media world. But a blog doesn’t guarantee readers. One of the most important factors that will drive people to your blog is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. You can easily plunk down $5k to $10K on an SEO specialist or spend your nights at SEO meetups (often well worth the time), but there are plenty of really simple items you can get started on right this second. It’s all about giving search engines a better understanding of what your website is about. It’s not about tricking them, while that tactic may have short-term gains, it often ends up being a net loss. SEO is all about the details, ensure that all your details point in the same direction, and search engines will love you for it.

1. Use the right words

While I never recommend general ‘keyword stuffing’, it always helps to stay on topic. The more you post about things that are relevant to your target area, the more you are indicating to search engines that you are an authority.
  • Brainstorm on keywords that are relevant to your industry or product
  • Remember to use variations of wordings
  • Look at the keyword volumes in AdWords, this can help you to identify hot keywords
  • Don’t be afraid to tackle topics that are tangential to your field, it may make blogging more interesting and can attract a larger audience

2. Keep your titles on the mark

Titles are very important in SEO at several different levels. The actual page title, what you see in the tab or top of the browser window, is used by many search engines as an indicator of content and often as the actual link in search results. Titles that are shown within the page (indicated in html with an heading tag, e.g. H1, H2) also influence how your page is indexed. And lastly, the keywords in titles can be very good indicators of content, so they carry more weight.
  • You should have one H1 on the page
  • You can have several h2 and h3 tags, but not too many
  • Don’t use these heading tags for decoration, that’s what CSS is for
  • Use relevant keywords in your titles that you expect people to be searching for

3. Urls should reflect content too

The url for your website, as well as the specific ‘path’ for each page should reflect the content they refer to. If your blog urls are based off of ids rather than post titles then you have missed a big opportunity to tip of search engines. Search engines look at the url like the name of the webpage, like the name of a file on your hard drive. If you had a file with tips on SEO, you wouldn’t call it ‘page=2323’, you’d call it ‘SEO-tips-for-beginners’.
  • Google suggests names should be 4-5 words, they can be longer, but the extra words won’t add much more value
  • Don’t just stuff keywords in there, keep it natural and searchable, remember it should be like a filename

4. Set a description, the Meta kind

Meta descriptions don’t always have a large impact in SEO (people used to abuse them quite heavily), but they do provide a nice neat little blurb for people to read when they see your link in search results. It’s that blurb that will drive people to click on your link rather than the one above it – so make it count! Meta Tags In case you aren’t aware, there are a number of different ‘Meta’ items that can be hidden in the top of a blog post. They act as hints to different automated web tools, and they can be easily built for you with any of several different blog plugins.

5. Get some backlinks

When some one else links to your site it’s a big indicator that they value you. The more important the site with the backlink, the more valuable it is. So getting people to link to you is a big win, but there are some caveats:
  • Many links on blogs have a “no follow” tag, which means they are ignored by search engines, so don’t bother with “comment spamming”
  • Sites that link out to lots of places, even if influential, don’t provide much value. They are spreading their love to thin!
  • The text they use to link to you is also important, so try to keep that on target
The process of actually getting backlinks isn’t always easy. You should consider guest blogging, asking people to review your service or product, or just doing something remarkable that makes people talk about you!

But can a layman do this?

Yes! You don’t have to be a webmaster or html coder to follow these suggestions. Popular blogging tools like WordPress offer plugins that let you control all these aspects of blogging. Just do a search for the name of your blogging platform and SEO (e.g. “WordPress SEO plugin“) and you should be well on your way. Always remember to steer clear of any tool or company offering instant page 1 results, guarantees of traffic, or anything else fishy. Just like anything else worthwhile, good SEO takes time and effort to build up.]]>

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