If you are a new blogger, you may have heard of SEO. It is most talked about topic in the world of blogging. You must learn SEO if you want to be a successful blogger.
Also Read: How to Set up a Blog For Better SEO
What is SEO and Why it is so important in blogging?
Just like your blog pages there are billions of other web pages on the internet. Around 25 blog posts are published every second. They contain one or other similar types of content.
When people put queries on browsers they got list of relevant web pages with their links and short descriptions. The list is called SERP or Search Engine Results Pages.
Have you checked where is your blog ranking on SERPs for the queries related to your blog contents?
Search Engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! etc. are the softwares that carry out the web searches. Google dominates the search engines market with a share of around 93%.
All the fight here is to get your blog posts in first page of the SERPs. That means your blog should rank higher in the SERPs.
Why it is important to rank high in SERPs ?
If you use Google Analytics you may have the data of visitors to your blog. Check the number of visitors to a post and it’s ranking in the SERP. You can also use seo tools like SEMrush, Mix, Ahrefs etc. to get these data.
Does you find any relation between the rank of a page and number of visitors to the page?
Mostly, top five results of a SERP got all the traffic (visitors). And if your blog post is not in the top five of a SERP it will hardly get any traffic. No traffic means no earning. All your hard work behind the post will go in vain.
Now, what should you do to rank your blog in the first page of a SERP ?
Here comes the SEO to your rescue. First you should know how search engine works and then optimise your site accordingly.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process or technique of optimising your website so that it rank high in results for search queries related to the website contents.
With millions of post being published competition in blogging is getting tougher every day. Bloggers adopt different SEO methods (white hat and black hat) to boost their site rankings. Many SEO tools like Moz, SEMrush, Ahrefs etc. are also available in the market which somewhat eases the work of a blogger.
Search engines regularly update their algorithms to give better results. Techniques in SEO that worked before find little application today. You should be aware of all these updates in blogging World.
All these factors have greatly increased the significance of SEO in blogging.
How Google Search Engine works
- Crawling and Indexing webpages
Search engines spiders or bots crawl webpages and store (index) the information in their databases. If a page is not properly crawled (Crawl Errors) then it will not get indexed. Links play an important role in web crawling.
- Ranking and Search Results
For a search, the search engines look for relevant pages in their databases, rank them and return result pages according to their algorithms.
Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! have built their data centres all over the world for the quick access and the storage of the massive data.
Google consider more than 200 variables to rank web pages. Relevancy and Popularity are the major factors among them.
By optimising the site architecture and the content of your blog you can easily make it more relevant and popular than the competitors.
On Page SEO
Keywords : Intent and Use
Selection of right keywords very important for a page ranking. Use keywords that best match with the intent of the target audience. Wrong audience will only help in dropping the page rank.
Use Google suggested searches for a query to find the right length of the keyword. It will help you to target the right audience.
You should check the volume and competition of the keywords using free tool like Google keyword planner or other paid tools like Ahrefs, Keywordtool, Wordstream, KWfinder etc. Safe score can differ for one niche to other.
Use the keyword in the Post title, Headings, Sub-headings, Meta description and Permalink. Blend the keywords with the content appropriately. Use them wherever they are necessary. Try using their synonyms.
Length of the post : Long or Short
Use mix of long, medium and short posts. It has been observed that short post get easily ranked while long posts rank better (higher) in search results.
So, if your audience is looking for short answer (tips) or detailed guide on a topic and your blog is delivering them then it will gain more authority.
Content engagement is very essential for the success of a blog. Bounce rate predicts the engagement of your audience. If your blog has higher bounce rate that means visitors don’t engage with the content. Google will see it as a sign to move your page down the SERP. You can use the following tips to increase the content engagement of your blog:
- Appealing Title : Click through Rates
Write appealing, simple, about 60 characters long title including focus keyword at the beginning. Use words like buy, download, guide, tips etc. relative to the search intent of the audience. Page with high CTR tend to find top place in the search results.
- Subheadings and flow
Use proper sub headings throughout the post. Write focused and unique content. Use simple sentences and short paragraphs.
- Images and Data
Use image, data, tables, info-graphics etc. to enrich your content. Be careful with the size of images. Bulky images can negatively affect the page rank. Compress the images before inserting them into a post.
Site architecture can make or break your blog. Fast loading, properly designed pages are easy to crawl by search spiders. They also got good engagement. People desire faster loading and easy navigation on websites. They don’t want to wait or get messed up while visiting your site.
- Use proper categories and tags for better crawling and navigation
- Page speed : Use Cache plugins, AMP etc to boost your site loading speed. Check your site speed
- Install Mobile friendly and Responsive Themes
- Only install Plugins which are required
Off Page SEO
Google determines popularity and brand value of your site by assessing it’s authority. Google finds a site more useful and authoritative if it has references (links) from other websites and engagement on social media.
Check your website authority
Why Off Page SEO is important?
Out of many variables, Google finds Domain authority and Page authority as the most influential factors to rank a page in search results. That’s why link building and Off Page SEO is so important.
Quality vs Quantity
Quality of links matters more than the quantity of the links. So, the source of backlinks should be consider as priority than the number of backlinks.
Fewer links from high DA sites especially .gov or .edu are more fruitful than numerous links from low DA sites.
Natural backlinks vs Artificial backlinks
When other website owners add your site links naturally on their site then the links are called natural links.
When you put your site links on other websites by yourself then the links are called artificial links.
These are the common practices bloggers use to build links :
- Blog directories
- Guest Posting
- Commenting on other sites and forums
- Link exchange between bloggers
- Social media marketing
Some of the methods are not natural to get backlinks and therefore in long run your site may get penalized by Google.
Google advice that your website should have natural back links. So, always try to create unique contents with reliable information to increase the chances of getting in-article natural back links.