A few months ago I asked on Twitter if you would like a quick, easy to understand, guide to SEO and some SEO tips, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. After a small break at the beginning of June, we’re finally here with the goods I promised so long ago.
When I’m not online shopping or creating content for this blog, I work fulltime in communications – think website, social media, and all things communication-y. Part of my role includes reviewing Google analytics and ensuring our website is being seen, a task I also do for my blog. Of course, this means I am all about SEO.
SEO is one of those beasts whose roar is far scarier than its actual bite. Once you understand what SEO is, and how it works, it’s actually incredibly easy to implement throughout your blog. Although easier to implement when you have such plugins is Yoast SEO, if you’re not self hosted and unable to utilise Yoast, this guide can help you on your SEO journey.
What is SEO?
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation: Optimising your content to ensure that it is indexed correctly across Google.
What is indexing?
Google uses a “crawler” which gathers information about online content and uses this information to build an index. This index is used to determine what content is relevant to a search query.
Optimising your content means that Google will understand who you are and what you do, and ensure your blog appears in the correct search queries.
Optimised content improves your Click Through Rate (CTR) which means more traffic, as well as your Domain Authority (DA) which means you’re a trusted site!
Why do we need SEO?
A lot of your page views likely come from Google searches – this is how people find your page.
Therefore it is essential to optimise how you appear in search results, to ensure you have a professional, informative presence and provide a positive user experience.
How do you optimise content?
There are many ways to optimise your content:
- Meta titles
- Meta tags
- Permalinks and slugs
- Page content and readability
- Page headings and subheadings
Google ranks pages based on many different factors, from CTR through to key words. The more clicks you receive, the higher you rank. This is why keywords are important: they improve your clicks.
What is a keyword?
A keyword is essential in SEO. It helps Google index your content, and ensures your content is seen in relevant queries. Every page should have a keyword. This keyword should be used in the following locations:
- First paragraph of content
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Meta Titles
The meta title appears in search results and browser tab, and is often the first line of content seen. Having an optimised meta title improves your CTR.
The meta title is different from the main heading or page name.
- Do use keywords early in the meta title
- Do use consistent formatting
- Do use at least 50 characters including spaces
The meta description appears in search results, and is the first piece of information the reader will see. It is important to have an informative meta description as it improves CTR, which improves ranking.
- Do include keyword in meta description
- Do use up to 320 characters including spaces
- Do use active voice
- Do use a “call to action” i.e. “Click to read more!”
Permalinks & Slugs
What’s the difference?
A permalink is the complete url, i.e. www.bryjaimea.com/seo-tips
A slug is the changeable part of the url, i.e. /seo-tips
- Don’t use stop words i.e. “a” “and” “the” (examples)
- Do use include keyword in slug
- Do keep slug short and simple
Page content & readability
To optimise SEO for page content, it is important to use keywords and consider readability. The easier the page is to read, the easier it is to understand, the easier it is for Google to determine the relevance of the content.
- Do use your keyword in the first paragraph
- Do write copy more than 300 words
- Do use headings and sub-headings
- Do use active voice
Page headings & subheadings
Headings are used to create structure within the content of a page and identify the nature of the following section. They also aid accessibility as a screen reader can create an outline of the content.
For SEO, headings help Google understand the content when indexing your site.
- Do use your keyword in headings or subheadings
- Do make headings clear and informative
- Do not follow a heading with more than 300 words
Links help Google understand your site structure, site content, and the relationship between content.
Using links also helps the reader find related content.
- Do use at least one internal text link to related content
(i.e. a link pointing to content within your blog)
- Do use at least one external text link to related content
(i.e. a link pointing to content outwith your blog)
Google not only uses meta titles and page content for indexing, but image meta data. Many people use Google Images to find content which is why it is important to optimise your images for SEO.
Good SEO practice on images also aids accessibility.
- Do use descriptive file names
(i.e. children-laughing-park.jpg not IMG50002.jpg)
- Do write a description including the keyword
- Do use responsive sizing
(i.e. <width=”100%” height=”auto”>)
Finally, Just remember: you’re LIKED!
Yes, another acronym! Being Liked is an easy way to remember these SEO tips for your blog, and each post.
Links: Use internal and external links!
Information: Maximise the information in search results!
Keywords: Use keywords everywhere!
Engaging: Write in an engaging way using active voice!
Descriptive: Make your descriptions informative!
Are you feeling SEO ready?