It is crucial to get search engines, particularly Google, to find your blog. You’re missing out a large audience if you don’t.
SEO (search engine optimization) can be difficult to understand at first. It’s actually not that difficult. The most important thing in SEO is to use common sense and apply a strict process to your content.
SEO was a term that meant we were writing for search engines rather than humans a few years back. SEO strategies such as repeatedly repeating the same keyword several times was a surefire way to rank high in Google. However, this is no longer true.
SEO best practices today are directly related to how people consume your content. High-ranking content should be well-written and SEO-friendly in most cases.
How do you do that?
SEO is complex. I will only cover the basics. Remember that SEO won’t make your blog a success overnight. SEO is not a quick way to get paid traffic. You need to take the time to plan your SEO strategy and build a good reputation with Google.
SEO is a process that takes six to twelve months to see results. You should set realistic expectations when you first start SEO. SEO can be a great investment if it is done correctly.
SEO is Important
GrowthBadger reports that organic search accounts for 60% of all traffic. This percentage could be higher in some niches.
Traffic is essential. Traffic is the key to a blog. Search is a large source of traffic so you should focus on optimizing your website for search engines. You shouldn’t rely on search traffic alone.
Search traffic can also be used to make decisions. Searchers are looking for a solution to a problem.
Facebook is different. You’re not looking for something, but you want to connect with your family and friends. Social media has a lower reach and more difficult to convert, so conversion rates are often much lower.
Organic search by niche Source: GrowthBadger
Google: How does it work?
Google may be the largest database. Google uses “spiders”, or “bots”, to access all content on your website. It has scanned millions (or even billions) of webpages to index them.
Google uses over 200 metrics to score your content and compare it with other blogs once it has captured the content.
SEO is not a way to compete against Google but with other bloggers.
There are only two things that you can improve on.
- Content on-page
These two categories encompass everything related to SEO.
Google evaluates your content and compares it to other content, as I have already mentioned.
But it wasn’t always like this. Google began its search engine years ago by determining how important an article was based on the number and quality of the links it provided to other webpages. The web was created by linking content to another content. The more interlinks there are, the more important an article must be.
This was a difficult game to play. To get content to rank, there were many bad SEO strategies. Webmasters might buy backlinks from blogs.
Google made the decision to improve user experience in 2008 (content, navigation, and other links). Google would count towards a website’s ranking in a Google Search. Google also receives feedback from site visitors to determine the content’s quality. Google views your content the same way a person would.
When creating content, two factors are more important than ever:
- Intent – What visitors expect to see on your website should be in line with their expectations.
- User Experience — How does your site compare to other sites? Is your site difficult to navigate for the average user? Are popups interrupting the user’s reading?
The user experience can refer to many things, including the theme you choose, the navigation menu and the links within your content.
You should first focus on page content if you are just starting out. This is because you have complete control.
SEO: Why is intent important?
SEO writing is very different from writing for other media. Google understands that readers are looking for solutions to their problems.
These are the two most important questions to ask when writing a blog post:
- How informative is your content?
- It is transactional!
These should be your first concern when it comes to the purpose of your blog.
It’s the paradox of SEO. The SEO content you create is at odds with the information–> transactional content.
The organic search funnel is similar to paid traffic. If a visitor searches Google and arrives at your site, it means they are somewhere in the purchasing process. The intent of your blog should correspond to this point.
This means that your content must match the intent of keywords entered into Google.
My favorite example is “What is a Mortgage” and “What’s the Best Mortgage Rate.” They both search for mortgages but their intent is very different.
A search for “what is the best mortgage rate” might lead someone to a different point in the sales funnel than someone looking for “what is the best mortgage rate”.
Are you unsure of how transactional or informational your content should be? Google gives clues.
Always check the search results for keywords you are trying to rank for. This doesn’t mean you have to duplicate the content. You should still get a sense of what your readers want to see on your site. Follow up with similar information.
Walt Disney stated about his cartoons that you should “pluss” your content, which means constantly improving it to make it better.
This does not mean that you should make your content more long than other articles. You should instead add content or information that creates value for the reader’s place in the sales funnel process.
In order to answer readers’ questions, it is a good idea to answer them all in your article or link directly to other articles on the website.
You Want to Learn More About SEO?
My guide to SEO Writing is available.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks, or links to your site, are another aspect of SEO. These links are more important than the content of your blog.
You want links that are “followed”, rather than “nofollow”. You should still take every link. Even if Google doesn’t count it, a link is still a link.
Link velocity refers to the speed at which a blog post’s number of links grows. Google considers blog posts more important if they grow faster. Google interprets a high link velocity as more people liking your article and finding it worthy of sharing.
The placement of backlinks is another factor that is often overlooked. It is crucial to ensure that your backlinks are relevant. It is not always possible to get links from every source. A link within a blog post can be more valuable than one in a forum discussion.
Backlinks should be obtained from respected sites in your niche. This is crucial. This is crucial.
Here is a quick overview of how to get backlinks.
- Guest posting on other blogs
- Guest host on podcasts
- Contact broken links blogs to see if they can be replaced
- Write an article about your niche by conducting a thorough survey.
- Make an infographic that can be shared
- Use HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
- For other businesses, write testimonials
- Create authoritative long-form content
It is important to ensure that the URL can be easily shared, not just for social media but also for backlinks. It is more difficult to share URLs that are too long.
Side note: You may believe that you cannot rank for keywords if you don’t have backlinks. This is not always true. In several cases, I have been able rank for keywords of low- or moderate difficulty with no backlinks.
Backlinks are not easy to obtain, as you can see. These links can be difficult to obtain, especially for those just starting out.
My opinion is that you must first create a strong foundation for your blog before you can get backlinks. For the remainder of this article, I will be focusing on on-page SEO techniques.
Google ranks a website using more than 200 metrics. Let me touch on the technical SEO aspects of your WordPress website.
Let’s talk about the ones that give you the most bang for your buck.
Check out my article on SEO writing for tips and tricks to improve your writing.
1. Choose from a variety of WordPress hosting options
WP Engine is the web hosting company I turn to when creating a WordPress blog. WP Engine is a WordPress hosting company, unlike many other providers. If you need a host to host your email, you will have to search elsewhere. WP Engine offers many WordPress-specific features, including caching. A content delivery network (CDN), is also included automatically. WP Engine is the right choice if you are looking for reliable, fast and reliable hosting for your WordPress blog.
WP Engine Review
Your choice of web hosting provider is the most important. Slow web-hosting providers can have a ripple effect on all other aspects of your website. WP Engine is my choice for speed, and it’s a very affordable option. (If you are interested, I also discuss other options that might be more suitable for you in my article “Best WordPress Hosting for Bloggers”.
2. Increase the speed of your WordPress website
Page load speed is critical for SEO and users. This plugin will speed up your website’s loading time by compressing your files and using a CDN. WP Rocket is my favorite WordPress plugin to speed up your blog.
Slower websites will rank lower. Google says that one second can reduce conversion rates by 70%. So make sure you make it count!
GTmetrix allows you to test your blog. GTmetrix offers a free tool to show you how long it takes for your WordPress site to load.
How fast should your website load? The ideal speed is between five and three seconds. You should be concerned if your blog takes more than seven seconds for loading.
WordPress can be a resource hog. WordPress is slowest if you have too many plugins. Plugins are the best way to increase WordPress’ functionality. You must find a balance.
You should be aware that not all plugins will work equally. Some plugins are more well-developed than others.
WP Rocket is a great tool to speed up WordPress.
WP Rocket is a plugin that compresses, combines and caches your content. This reduces the time it takes for your blog to load.
Improved load times is a whole article in itself. I’ll be discussing it more in detail at some point.
3. Choose from a variety of WordPress themes
All of my blogs use this recommended WordPress theme. Although it’s not the fastest WordPress theme, it is SEO-friendly and comes with many child themes that you can use with your blog. The Genesis Pro version comes with WP Engine. However, it also includes a version that supports Gutenberg blocks.
Pre-Made Templates 41 WooCommerce Support Yes Version Free Yes Price Free – $360/year
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Too many bloggers have used free or cheap WordPress themes out of fear of losing their budget. Avoid making the same mistake.
The choice of WordPress theme will have a major impact on the design and functionality of your website. It can also make or break your blog.
Your branding will suffer and your Google ranking will be affected if your blog looks too generic. You also need a site that is easy to navigate and easy to rank and index your content by Google.
Based on my experience, StudioPress Genesis is the best theme for SEO.
Genesis is SEO-friendly and uses schema markup to help Google find your webpage content. This WordPress theme is highly recommended and I use it on my blog as well as every other WordPress blog that I have created.
4. The Content Above the Fold
Google scans your content like a reader. Google renders web pages exactly as they appear in a browser. It’s important to consider things such as the layout, navigation, and location of buttons.
Your content “above” the fold is one of the most important aspects. This refers to what you see when you first view a webpage. Visitors are less likely to see content further down on a webpage, so it is not surprising.
You must be your best self on a first date. You should make sure that the content is above the fold and encourage the reader to continue reading. This is known as “open looping.”
These are some examples of an open loop:
- To indicate that there is more content below, use a visual cue like an arrow.
- Use a table with contents
- Ask the reader a question which is answered below the fold
- Uploading an image that is only partially visible above the fold
Remember that what is above the fold on a desktop device may be different than what is above the fold on your mobile device.
5. More informational than transactional
Organic search can be viewed as renting search results.
Google is not your company, and Google has the right to change its algorithm at any moment. Would you expect organic traffic to be just as important as paid traffic if you were in Google’s shoes? It is not.
It is in the best interests of both the shareholders and the company to make money.
Paid traffic is more transactional than organic. Google only wants paid traffic that converts, while Google values the value of the content to the reader more than organic traffic. Transactions are secondary.
This allows you to get more traffic from paid search than organic. Organic search requires that you engage your reader with your content, and make it educational.
You can make any outcome you wish from the visitor with a transaction.
- Sign up to receive an email newsletter
- Place an order
- Clicking on an affiliate hyperlink
You can create an article that is too transactional, but Google will not rank it. You must make content to please Google.
6. Images from the Compress Blog
ShortPixel can preserve similar quality images to your photos, but only take up a fraction the disk space. This not only speeds up the loading of your pages, but also helps with SEO. ShortPixel is my favorite image optimization tool. They provide both lossy compression and lossless compression options.
While blog images can look great on a blog, they can also slow down page loading times. My experience shows that images can consume 70% of your download time.
ShortPixel is the WordPress plugin that I recommend. It is easy to use and can compress images up to 90% in certain cases. Image optimization with ShortPixel supports both lossy and lossless compression options. They are compatible with all the most popular image formats, including JPG, PNG and GIF as well as the latest WebP.
7. SEOPress WordPress Plugin
SEOPress, a competing WordPress plugin to Yoast SEO is lighter and offers more functionality. SEOPress Pro is the best version. It includes structured data types, breadcrumbs and Google Page Speed. You can also rewrite URLs.
Platform WordPress Price FREE – $118 Per Year
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I used the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, but it has become too complicated. Yoast has lost its identity and values as a company. Recently, I switched to SEOPress. I find it lighter. It is my opinion, the best SEO plugin.
SEOPress is not only a tool for creating content that is correct, but also a tool to share your content on social media.
It has all the functionality of Yoast SEO, but it also allows you to create a predefined schema or add your own customer schema for any blog posts.
8. Linking to Content on Your Site
LinkWhisper, a WordPress plugin that helps with SEO, can be used to help you make sure your internal links are effective. It automatically suggests links to add, and it finds older posts that require more linking. Although I like the idea of the tool, the execution is a little lacking, especially in terms of ease of use. LinkWhisper was sometimes difficult to use.
Platform WordPress Price $77 – $167 Per Year
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You have full control of your blog so you can link to other articles on your site. Consider the content you create as a blueprint of the web, with pages interlinked between each other.
You might consider writing a lot of articles on core topics. Google places your blog in specific niches so you need to expand your articles and cover them in detail.
LinkWhisper can be used to automate this process as well as add internal backlinking. It is something I do manually.
9. Make short WordPress Slugs
Avoid using long WordPress URL slugs. My experience has shown that the WordPress URL slug should be focused on the main topic of the blog post. I also recommend that you remove any stop words. Google with BERT today understands complete sentences. However, removing stop words in URLs makes them look cleaner.
Shared via social media, not only in SERP.
It is easier to read and makes it more concise when you look at the URL. Because it is often used in search results, I chose to leave the “for” stop word for this particular post.
This tip also applies to URLs that do not include the category name or dates. Although it is possible to use categories in large sites, this can be a good idea in larger sites.
Although it is recommended for most blogs, I prefer the post name URL structure. This is the best SEO-friendly URL for WordPress.
This article focuses on optimizing your blog for search engine optimization.
Check out my SEO course for writers if you are interested in learning more. Instead of getting too technical about SEO and building backlinks, my course targets writers.