So you’d like to get better at SEO? Well, wouldn’t we all!
There may be agencies who offer Search Engine Optimisation at vastly inflated prices, but they don’t necessarily do any better than you can on your blog.
OK, they may have more resources at their fingertips – access to different media, vast advertising budgets, personnel engaging on social media, etc, but even a lowly mummy blog can create an impact if they want to get better at SEO.
This is what you can do:
1. Find out the questions people ask
You need to understand your readers before you can write for them. And you also need to understand what people are searching for in the search engines.
You see, it’s not worth writing for yourself if you want to get the search engines interested. They aren’t interested in you. Search engines want to serve the public, so you need to ride that wave and find out what questions people are asking.
This is because it is questions that people generally enter into the search fields. So you need to know these questions and adapt your posts to fit them. This gives what you write a better chance to get matched with the search criteria of the search engines. This in turn will increase your chances of your post getting higher in the search results, which means you get better at SEO.
Go onto Quora.com and see which questions people are asking. Lurk around social media to find out the subjects people are interested in. Hang around forums to see what troubles are keeping people up at night.
2. Do keyword research to get better at SEO
Now you know what people are searching for, it’s time to find the keywords that would attract the search engines. There are various ways to do this, but I suggest getting a WordPress plugin called Webtexttool to guide you as to which keywords are hot or not.
There is also a programme called Ubersuggest designed by Neil Patel that provides the top trending keywords in relation to what people are searching for right now. You can sneakily use your competitors’ blogs to find out what keywords they rank for, as well finding out keywords that have high popularity with a low cost for advertising.
That is what you need to look for – keywords or keyphrases which everybody is looking for, but isn’t used in a lot of content so you don’t have a lot of competition. Sometimes it is a matter of adjusting your chosen keyword to make it more worthy. The obvious ones are usually really difficult to succeed with if you want to get better at SEO.
3. Think about your subheadings
Subheadings aren’t only to break up your text – making it more readable for your skim-reading audience so they can understand your post’s subject quickly and easily – they can be used for SEO purposes too. These are one of the elements of your post that always gets noticed, which is why the search engines focus so much on them.
In fact, if you use the WordPress plugin Yoast SEO (which BritMums uses for their posts), one of the criteria that needs to be met is to optimise your subheadings with your chosen keyword. The Webtexttool mentioned above gets even more sniffy if not enough of your subheadings are enriched with a keyword.
Therefore you can see I have sneaked in an additional keyword laden subheading at the bottom of this post. Just to make the Yoast SEO happier. But even so, this still doesn’t seemed to have worked:
Grrr – I’ll never win!
4. Optimise your images with your chosen keyword
This is a very common rookie mistake. And definitely gets you a red button in the SEO plugins to-do list if you haven’t complied.
Did you know that images are invisible to the search engines? They are only programmed to index words. This means you need to add words behind your images to get the search engines to notice them.
This means you need to fill in the alt tag behind your image. Click on your image to bring up the edit button, and this will take you to a menu to fill in the ‘alternative’ text:
Not only should the alt text contain your chosen keyword, but it should also be a full description of the image. This is because the alt tag not only serves the search engines. People with impaired sight use programmes that read everything to them, and an images without alternative text will be missed out for that person.
This is also necessary if you read your stored posts in somewhere like Pocket without WiFi. Because the images cannot download, you really need to have good descriptive ‘alternative text’ to understand what is going on.
5. Enrich your snippets to encourage a match
Going back to the Yoast SEO plugin, it really helps if you are able to optimise your rich snippets if you want to get better at SEO.
Sorry for the jargon, but this is what a rich snippet looks like:
This is what shows up on Google’s page as a result of a search request. Each entry needs to contain the keyword to encourage a match.
As you can see, this title isn’t the same as the headline of this post. This is because I wanted to push my keyword closer to the front of the SEO title. This makes it more attractive and noticeable to the search engines.
The ‘meta description’ area underneath is just as important, both for searchers and search engines. Just like the ‘alternative text’, this needs to contain a useful and relevant description with your chosen keyword.
Not only does this look better on the search result page, you know fully optimising it will give it a much better chance of matching your readers’ searches.
6. Link to relevant blogs, both internally and externally
Linking out of your post is also a major factor to make you get better at SEO. Search engine spiders love links. These act as portals to finding new content to index.
And it works better if this content is relevant. Relevance is a very important factor for SEO. Spiders will soon get annoyed if they cannot see a valuable connection at the other end of the link.
You could link to a relevant post inside your blog, especially if it is a cornerstone post. Cornerstone posts are like a haven for keywords, as they are generic but thoroughly useful to your blog’s readers. They tend to be very long, and are therefore perfect to link back to for SEO purposes.
Also consider linking outside of your blog to an influencer’s post. Especially if they have a high domain authority or web ranking. Again this needs to be totally relevant to your post to get extra brownie points.
You can see what I’ve done in #2 above.
And links can be created when commenting. After writing the perfect comment, rather than submitting your blog’s homepage, select a relevant post’s URL instead. This ultimate relevance will help raise your blog’s own domain authority as a result.
Achieve success when you get better at SEO
If you make an effort with your SEO activities every time you write a post, it will soon become second nature. Do this consistently, and you’ll find the search engines will start to notice your blog much more.
As the majority of blogs won’t be optimising their posts, you will be stealing a march on them as regards getting noticed by the search engines. And you never know, one day your optimised post will completely comply with a search request, and you’ll find yourself at the top of Google!
Just make sure you get this from Yoast SEO on a regular basis:
And you’ll soon start to see results. And you’ll thank yourself for attempting to get better at SEO.
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About Alice Elliott
Alice Elliott, aka Fairy Blog Mother, is an award winning blogging consultant who has been looking after bloggers since 2006! Woah, that’s a long time! She specialises in “explaining things really simply” about WordPress, and has twice been noted as a top WordPress influencer for 2019.