I am by no means an expert when it comes to SEO for blogging. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making your website visible in search engines and ultimately increasing the traffic coming to your site. Before I started blogging, I didn’t even know what it meant, so I’ve had a lot to learn (and still do!) My blog is a self-hosted WordPress website and one of the plugins I use is Yoast SEO. The plugin helps to analyze posts in terms of their SEO and, having read through some of the helpful posts on their SEO blog here, I better understand how I can optimize my blog posts. So, I thought I’d share 5 things I’ve learnt about SEO for blogging, all things which I’m still perfecting myself!
1 – Meta descriptions
This was definitely a term I hadn’t heard of before. A meta description is that small piece of text you see underneath the page titles on search engines such as Google which tell you a little bit about the page you’re about to click on. For blog posts, perfecting the meta description that appears in search engines is vital for SEO. Using keywords from your post will mean that your content could rank higher in search engines. Also, an interesting snippet that is just the right length (not too long or too short) will make it more likely that a web user clicks on your post to find out more about your content.
2 – Internal linking
I didn’t realise before I got the Yoast SEO plugin that linking to other areas of your site is good for SEO. Search engines can look at the internal links in your blog posts and see how your content is linked and that your blog covers similar topics, for example fashion, beauty or travel. A good idea for blogs is to link back to category pages on your blog. This post is all about blogging, so I’ll put a link to the blogging category on my website here to show how this post relates to some of my other content.
3 – Outbound links
As a blogger, I like to share links to products or services that I like to use. Whilst an outbound link won’t affect your blog post’s SEO too much, it does add value to a post for your readers as it gives them something to try for themselves. Sharing an outbound link on your blog will help the SEO of websites you link to as well, and it’s always good to help out others when it comes to SEO. If you help them, they may even help you too!
4 – Image alt attributes
This was another new term for me when I first started using Yoast. An image alt attribute is basically a description of an image, telling users what it shows. I wasn’t sure what the purpose of this was at first, but reading up on it I soon realised. For those who are visually impaired and may use screen readers, a description of an image is vital, as it gives an idea of what the image shows and how it relates to the blog post. In terms of SEO, providing image descriptions using the keywords from a blog post links the images to the text, so content can be ranked higher in search engines because of this.
5 – Using a keyphrase only once
Establishing a keyphrase for a blog post tells search engines which keywords your content should be ranked under. If a user searches your keyphrase, the hope is that your post will come up somewhere in Google’s search results. Using a keyphrase for more than one post on a blog is not a good idea, as it can result in search engines ranking content lower. For example, on one fashion post I could use the keyphrase “autumn outfits” and on another “transitional dresses”. Thinking of different keyphrases for posts means that you’re not competing with yourself in search engines and shows the range of content readers can find on your site.
As I said, I still have a lot to read up on when it comes to SEO for blogging. Using the Yoast plugin and reading articles on their website (linked at the start) has definitely helped to better my understanding. As one of my new year goals is to learn about SEO, I will carry on reading and learning and seeing how I can improve my blog’s SEO.