‘SEO’ (Search Engine Optimisation) is something that gets mentioned a tonne in the Blogosphere, but it can be a little intimidating whether you’re just starting out as a blogger, or you’re an old pro – but, not to fear, I’ve been working in SEO for a good few years now (what? But Fran, you almost never mention it?!), so I’ve got you covered with some SEO basics to get you started!
Work out your keywords
SEO is basically all about your search rankings – which basically means where you end up on Google when people search for certain words – otherwise known as ‘keywords’. So, before you get started with optimising your blog, you really have to work out what keywords you want your blog to rank well for – the more specific, the better. Terms like ‘lifestyle blog’ or ‘travel blog’ are pretty generic, so it’ll be pretty hard to get on the first page of search results for, but more specific keywords, like ‘London-based student lifestyle blog’ or ‘budget travel blog based in the UK’ will be easier to get a good search engine placement with, although they won’t be as commonly searched. It’s all about balancing out keywords that people are searching for, but don’t have tonnes of competition. That’s where keyword tools, like Google’s Keyword Planner, come in – they’ll help you really find the right balance…and once you’ve settled on a couple of key phrases, it’s time to optimise your blog!
Sort out your meta tags
You’ve probably heard this phrase floating around a lot in the Blogosphere, but what does it even mean? Meta tags are basically words that describe your blog content to search engines, so they get a better idea of your content – and they’re also the text that shows up on a Google page underneath the link, so potential readers will see it, too. This is a really important place to include your chosen keyword(s), as well as a little basic info about your blog – factors like where you’re based, your name, and how long you’ve been blogging for can all be really valuable in your meta tags.
Whilst you can add your meta tags with HTML, if you’re not 100% confident with that, most blogging platforms also let you do it on the interface, so no worries if you’re not a coding whiz!
Add some image info
You’ve probably seen, when uploading an image on your blog, the options to add ‘alt text’ to them…but what does that mean? Alt image text is basically a short sentence that describes the content of your image to a search engine, so people can find it easier if they’re looking for a specific picture. For instance, if you’ve got a great blog post with swatches of an entire new range of products, adding alt image text to those swatches – ‘swatches from the new X range by Y brand’ – will mean that it’ll rank better in an image search if someone’s looking.
The other use of alt image text is that it’s great for accessibility – people who are partially sighted or blind are able to enjoy photographs a lot more when they have descriptive text attached.
Get rid of broken links
Broken links are awful for SEO, as they stop the search engine’s crawlers from being able to index your page properly, and lower your domain authority, too. It can be a mammoth job, finding all the broken links in your archives, but thankfully, there are tonnes of online broken link checkers online to help you out, so you can find them directly. Depending on how many there are, it can be a couple of hours’ work, but it can make a huge difference to your SEO and DA.
Use your No Follow links
If you’ve done sponsored content before, you probably know your way around a ‘no-follow’ link: it’s basically an attribute you can add to a link that tells a search engine that you don’t endorse that link; that you’re not vouching for it in any way. Any time you’re linking to something you genuinely like or find valuable and think your followers should check out, you’re free to leave it as a ‘do-follow’ link, though.
I hope you found that helpful, but as always, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet us @talentedtalkers if you have any questions!