Hands up if you find the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) completely confusing as a beginner blogger?
If so, you’re not the only one.
From identifying the best platforms for keyword research to figuring out what the terminology means (meta description, anyone?), there’s a lot to take in before you can even start writing a post.
That said, it’s worth putting some time aside to learn the techniques.
After all, when done right, SEO can benefit your blog in a number of ways. Fundamentally, it can bring you more organic traffic from search engines, which can then translate to more page views, email subscribers and loyal readers.
If you’re struggling with information overload and need a simple SEO breakdown, I’ve got you covered. These are the 10 SEO basics for bloggers that you need to know if you want to seriously up your blogging game.
1. SEO Equals Long-Term Traffic
SEO basics for bloggers 101: I’m sure you’ve heard that SEO helps to drive traffic to your website, much like Pinterest or other social media channels.
However, did you know that SEO equals long-lasting, consistent and reliable traffic?
I mean, if you put a strong SEO strategy in place NOW, you can gain traffic from old blog posts and reap the benefits for YEARS to come.
2. Search Engines Have Hundreds of Ranking Factors
If you’re going to start optimising your blog posts for search engines, it’s important to know how the SEO basics for bloggers work.
Essentially, you write a blog post that follows an SEO-friendly structure and insert relevant keywords (more on this later!).
Then search engines will rank this blog post on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) according to hundreds of ranking factors that are constantly changing.
Let’s take Google, for example. It has spiders (sometimes known as crawlers or bots) that check your blog posts in line with over 200 signals. The algorithm then ranks each blog post according to its quality and authority in comparison with other websites that are trying to rank for the same keywords.
3. SEO for Bloggers Falls Into Two Categories
There are two categories that determine a blog post’s ranking in search engines: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO involves your content, theme and website experience – basically, anything relating to your blog that you can control.
On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to how much credibility and trust your blog has in the World Wide Web. It goes off external signals like backlinks (which are links to your blog from other websites) and social media shares.
Pro tip: one way to boost your blog’s backlinks is to write a post for another blog or website for free in exchange for a backlink. This is known as guest posting.
4. Content is King
Already have some basic SEO knowledge? Then you’ll know that producing original, consistent and high-quality content is still considered the most important way to please search engines.
After all, Google is just trying to help a user get the information that they need in the shortest amount of time once they perform a search. They don’t like their user to be faffing about. They prefer long-form, concise information that’s going to deliver extreme value to the reader.
As a result, they’ll put this type of content at the top of their SERPs.
5. You Have to Put Yourself in Your Reader’s Shoes
Speaking of the reader, you have to decide how you can best serve them with your content.
When we all blogged for a hobby pre-2010, we just wrote about topics we wanted to write about and hoped that we’d get some readers out of it. (Sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t – right?)
Nowadays, blogging for business purposes is a very different story. If you want to make a living out of blogging, you have to write for your reader first and foremost.
Put yourself in their shoes, assess their search intent and uncover what they need to know, and then publish content that answers their questions.
6. Keyword Research is Instrumental
Search intent is precisely the reason why performing keyword research is essential before you write any blog post.
Use a keyword research tool, like UberSuggest, to source a main keyword that has a low-competition score and a high volume of monthly searches.
And then be sure to create content that would satisfy the user searching for this keyword (and sprinkle this keyword throughout your content for good measure).
This way, it’s a win-win for the search engine and the reader!
7. Your Blog Posts Need to Follow an SEO-Friendly Structure
One of the more important SEO basics for bloggers is learning how to write a blog post that follows a set structure that will please search engines.
From your blog post title to subheadings, images to image descriptions, there are little ways to make Google do a happy dance every time that you hit that all-important “publish” button.
The result? Higher and improved SERP rankings. (Wahoo!)
Pro tip: Want a full breakdown on how to write and optimise blog posts for SEO? The “Superstar Your Blog Post SEO” eBook has got you covered.
8. Link-Building Counts for a Lot
Having a number of backlinks in place that direct to your blog shows Google that your website has authority and is superior compared to others.
This then has a positive effect on your Domain Authority (DA) score.
What’s a DA score, you ask? Well, it’s is a 1-100 rating of your website developed by Moz to mimic Google’s ranking algorithm. And getting several high-authority websites to link to high-quality content on your blog can significantly improve it.
Consequently, your DA score can contribute to your website’s overall SEO score. That’s why it makes sense to keep it as high as possible.
9. A Slow or Badly-Designed Website Could Be Affecting Your SEO
Your blog’s user experience is one of the most significant SEO basics for bloggers that you need to evaluate.
If your posts take (what feels like) forever to load, they’re difficult to navigate or you can’t read the font because it’s too small, you’re actually hurting your chances of being regarded as authoritative in Google’s eyes.
Instead, when it comes to building your website, always prioritise functionality over design.
Also, don’t forget to check that your website works on a mobile, given that the digital reader prefers to browse on a smartphone than a desktop.
10. It’s Important to Promote Your Blog Posts on Social Media
Finally, even though social shares aren’t known to be a direct ranking factor for search engines, they sure can help boost your rankings.
Think about it: if you’re frequently promoting your content and it’s getting a lot of attention, kudos and links on social media, Google will think your blog is a trusted source.
As a result, the climb up to the top of a SERP won’t be such a challenge.
Pro tip: If you want to encourage your readers to spread the love, make sure you add social sharing buttons to your website.
Getting Your Head Around SEO Basics for Bloggers
Sure, I realise that the SEO basics for bloggers are a lot to think about. In fact, if you got to the end of this post, I applaud you for your perseverance!
(You deserve a cup of tea and a biscuit.)
Even though it can feel overwhelming at times, learning and implementing SEO techniques are only going to make you a better blogger. And it’s worth investing in yourself to get there.
After all, the end results involve being seen as an expert in your blogging niche, having a beautiful blog that you’re proud of and getting your baby on page 1 of Google. Hell to the yeah.
Did you know all of these SEO basics for bloggers? Got any more SEO tips to share? Comment below!