It is the joy of every blogger to see their content occupying the first slot on search engines when readers search for keywords relating to their content.
There is no other way to do this than to improve the SEO of your blog and that is why we will be writing on 30 SEO basics you must implement to improve your blog SEO.
Am very sure that your main priority now will be “How to get traffic from your blog” and the best way known to professional bloggers to get the most traffic for your blog is through search engines.
Am also very sure by now you know what “Search engine” is?
f you don’t then I will advise you to search the meaning of search engine on search engines ??.
If you still don’t get it, Google what Google is on Google. In short Google, Bing, ask.com, etc are all search engines.
According to statistics, Google now processes over 50,000 search queries every second on average.
This simply shows that 3.55 billion searches are made per day and 1.2trillion per year worldwide as of 2018.
That is for google alone, for all search engines an estimate of 5 billion searches are made in a day which translates to 1.8 trillion searches made per year on search engines.
I want you to ask yourself this question I asked myself when I saw these statistics, “Why can’t I also get a minimum of 1 million pageviews from these searches per month?”.
We can also get it, top websites like Wikipedia getting close to 9% of that traffic are not using any supernatural power, we are not just doing things the way they are doing it.
Neil Patel made a research on how many posts are published on WordPress every day, he said WordPress users alone publish over 2 million posts every day.
This means that as you read this paragraph hundreds of posts have been published on the WordPress platform only.
This is the major reason why your content doesn’t appear on google first page, there are millions of blogs out there publishing thousands of content daily as you do. So you have to buckle up if you really want to get anything from search engine ranking pages and that’s why we came up with some “SEO improvements” to help you fight for a slot in top 10 search engine results.
If it takes you a whole day to write a post then you must be ready to spare 30 minutes to fully optimize the post for SEO, there are many rules to follow if you are to increase your SEO ranking for free.
SEO for bloggers: 30 ways to improve your blog SEO.
Let’s start with this: there are two major branches of SEO and they are ON-page SEO and OFF-page SEO.
ON-page SEO is those measures you take on your blog to get your contents search engine optimized like adding keywords, meta description, and interlinking while OFF-page SEO is the measures you take on other websites on the World Wide Web to get your content optimized for higher search engine rankings like backlinks, Guest post, etc.
We will be mixing the two up today since this is our first post on SEO.
Also, there are three known types of SEO which are white hat SEO, black hat SEO, and grey hat SEO. We rote a comprehensive guide that comprises the definition, comparison, techniques, and the benefits of white hat, black hat, and grey hat SEO here.
So what exactly is SEO and how does it work?
Search Engine Optimization is usually regarded as all the legal processes adopted in getting “unpaid” “organic” backlinks to your website from search engines.
Now that you know what SEO is all about, let’s take our time in defining some terms related to SEO
What are search engines?
They are websites designed to search for information on all websites across the globe which in return recycle them to internet users that search for content via it.
searchers enter their keywords, click search and matching answers from those crawled web pages will be presented to the searchers.
What are keywords?
They are words and phrases that people search on search engines, they are also known as “search queries”.
To webmasters and bloggers, they are the search terms you want to rank for within a certain page.
If you place these keywords very well and you work on other SEO techniques we will discuss below, if searchers search for those keywords then you should be getting organic traffic from this SERP to your website (blog). Examples of keywords are “how to eat”, “Cake”, and “What is a book”.
What are backlinks?
Synonymous to inbound links, they are links to your blog from other websites on the internet.
They are very essential for your blog because they represent a “vote of confidence” which shows that other websites are vouching for your blog to search engines and that is why you should not just link to any blog anyhow
What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is an XML file that shows individual URLs of all pages on your blog, they are created for search engine bots to easily crawl to get information on updated pages on your blog.
It shows search engines all the contents that are available on your blog and how they can easily interpret them. An example of a typical sitemap is techorganism-35ebc4.ingress-florina.ewp.live/sitemap.xml
What are bounce rates?
According to Google, Bounce rates are the percentage of visitors to a particular website (blog) who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
“A rising bounce rate is a sign that shows some things are not in place on your blog which makes readers navigate away immediately they visit a page”.
We wrote the Meaning Of Bounce Rate And How It Affects SEO
What is an algorithm?
They are defined as a process or set of rules to be followed in solving operations. SEO algorithm changes from time to time.
Now let’s get started with our business of the day “30 proven ways to improve the SEO of your blog”:
30 ways to improve your blog SEO
1. Writing original and lengthy articles
Content is king! It is a no-brainer to “search engines” that you created a blog to share your ideas to the world through writing and you intend to start plagiarizing other posts on the internet to make your own blog.
Without blog posts, your blog would no longer be regarded as a blog and you can’t be called a blogger.
Search engines won’t consider blogs with irrelevant and copied articles, we are no longer in the era where you can copy other bloggers’ articles and get your blog on search engines’ first page.
Google’s major priority is to provide their users with relevant and problem-solving results so they won’t hesitate to punish you for plagiarized articles by de-ranking your website.
I wonder what goes through some bloggers’ minds when they copy and paste what other bloggers have written.
I always wonder what they will blog about if the blogs they copy from don’t exist! Also, when you write.
Please ensure that your articles are not lesser than 500 words if you want to get an average rating from search engines like google.
For competitive keywords, a minimum of 1500 words. Just know that the higher the number of words the higher the chance it has to rank better on the search engine result page.
Gone are the days when you write 300 articles and you get your posts on the first page, the algorithms are fast changing.
“In rare cases, you may have to lessen some posts to 300 words, you can go on with it but make sure that 80% of your contents are up to the required 300”.
An entertainment blogger once told me that it is impossible for an entertainment blogger to achieve the “500 words milestone”. That even top bloggers writing below 300 words in entertainment blogs are getting more SEO juice than blogs with 5000 words, I shook my head and smiled.
It is very possible for entertainment blogs to write posts with 500 words.
Please get it right now, the only reason why entertainment bloggers are getting higher search engines ranking is because of their Domain Authority and Page authority which we will discuss further in this article and that’s why you will never see beginner entertainment blogs on top searches.
If you hire writers and you don’t know if the articles they publish on your blog are original, you can check out their originality with the use of an online tool known as Copyscape.
In addition, when writing please write for your readers, not search engines, you created started a blog for your readers, not search engines.
2. Buying a domain name and making sure it speaks about your niche
Did you also notice that blogs with sub-domains are fast disappearing into thin air on search engines nowadays?
Unlike before when sub-domains still make Google’s top 10, you need to get your blog a custom domain like .com, .com.ng, etc before your blog can be trustworthy. You can get this by reaching out to any hosting company.
Even if you have a blog with most of your articles on an average benchmark of 100,000 words with sub-domains like myblog.blogspot.com you won’t still get to the top 10 of competitive searches, blogs with sub-domain are usually regarded as testing and unprofessional blogs.
Furthermore, buying a domain name relating to what you do on your blog is very substantial for SEO ranking but not compulsory, I repeat not compulsory!.
Many SEO experts do say it doesn’t perform the magic unlike before but I can tell you that it is a mere fallacy, if you support the root domain with enough backlinks it will work.
Google gives preferential treatment to blogs that include their niches in their domain name like a blog on” Amazon coupon” having its domain name like amazoncoupon.com.
When the time comes he will top the search for that keyword no matter how competitive it is.
For example, I searched for coupons on Google, see the first URL that popped out in the image below coupons.com
hope you get what exactly am talking about now?
3. Installing Yoast SEO or All in one SEO plugin
Yoast SEO plugin comes with a handful of free features for bloggers to help improve your search engine optimization and to me most especially.
It is the best plugin to improve the SEO of your WordPress blog, with it you can set your Meta description, choose your separator like -/ and it will even generate a sitemap for you, all for free!.
Those features I mentioned above are just a tip of an iceberg, the major reason why many bloggers consider the Yoast SEO plugin is that as you write you can check the readability scale of the post you are writing.
Also, using a focus keyword you can check “how fully the post is optimized for search engine and the improvements you can make on the post for better SEO”.
“All in one SEO pack” is also a nice plugin to use, most of the features present in Yoast SEO are also in place here so it is left for you to choose between the two You can download these plugins from the WordPress directory.
4. Keyword research
Keyword research is one of the major bedrock of SEO.
It is very important for you to do keyword research before you publish new posts on your blog as this is what search engines will highlight when a search is being made by searchers on the keyword.
However, Long tail keywords like “How to guest post” are recommended for beginner bloggers because they are less competitive unlike short tail keywords like “Guest post” which are heavily competitive.
Each and every time you draft a post on your blog, make sure you see how well the long-tail keyword you want to write on will fare on the search engine ranking page before you write on it.
The simplest way to do this is by searching for a keyword on google then scrolling down to get the related keywords you have there like the image below and including these keywords in your post.
Improve SEO: how to do simple keyword research
Don’t stuff keywords, please! You will get banned by Google though it will plummet your SEO ranking.
There are tools to plan that for you and the best you can have at the moment is semrush, these tools will give you the list of related keywords, and how competitive it is.
And the list of websites competing with you for the same keyword listing PA and DA.
If you want a free keyword research tool, Google keyword planner is the best solution and it is a free tool that will help in researching keywords that are related to the post you want to write.
You will get the average no of searches the keywords get monthly, the tool was not created for keyword research, it was created for those who want to do an ad campaign on Google known as Google ads (adword) so you have to register for before you can use it.
5. Keyword close to the beginning of your article
At least a focused keyword must appear once in the first paragraph of your post, not including it in the first paragraph of your post hints to search engines that you are not writing on the required keyword.
While entering keywords in the first paragraph and please make sure it doesn’t contradict the title of the post. This is because the first paragraph is where your readers will decide whether they should continue reading or stop and leave.
6. Adding Headings and including keywords in header tags
It is very important for you to add headings like H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 in posts that are lengthy.
Proper use of header tags will help improve post readability by breaking content into sections and are very influential for your SEO ranking.
You don’t necessarily have to use all these headings in a single post.
Throughout my blogging career, I haven’t used the H5 and H6. If you are going to use all of them then your post must be somewhere around 10,000 words.
Please make sure you don’t use the H1 tag again because h1 stands for your title, as time goes on we will write fully on Heading tags, their benefits, and how to use them.
7. Keywords close to the end of the article
Adding keywords at the end of your post is very important for SEO, including keywords at the end of your article, will help in increasing the density of your keyword.
It will also tell search engines how important the keyword is to the post.
#8. Get familiarized with your country’s SEO
Before you start writing, you must search for the keywords on Google to check the website ranking for the keywords in your country.
It is very important for you to take note of their PA and DA and the number of words in their posts, PA stands for Page Authority and DA stands for domain authority.
The best way I do this is by adding Nigeria to the front of the keywords like the image below which will fish out Nigerian websites ranking for it.
You will notice that I included Nigeria in the search, if I should remove Nigeria then the reverse would be the case.
I always advise bloggers to consider beating home competitors first before they can go International.
I wonder how you want to beat BBC for news if you can’t handle local competitors like Linda Ikeji and other blogs in Nigeria not even up to her standard.
There is a tool I know you can also use to search for local competitors known as KWfinder or Mongools.
The best way to tell Google the country you want your blog to rank for is by using Google webmasters to set a geographic target as I mentioned earlier on.
Just follow these steps to set a geographic target Go to Google search console >> Choose the website property you want to use >> Select Seach traffic >> International targeting >> Country and select your country then save the settings
9. Monitoring your competitors
There are many tools to monitor your competitors like SEMrush, kwfinder that you can use to monitor how your competitors are faring on social media.
You can check their domain and page authority, you can also spy on top keywords they rank for
10. Optimizing page title
Your title is the first thing that gets the attention of searchers on search engines when they search, you must make sure that your title is fully optimized for SEO.
Make sure your post titles are not longer than the required length because it is an important factor in getting your article to Google’s first page. Also, ensure that keywords appear in your title.
Make sure that your title doesn’t contradict the body of your posts. For example, you are writing on a post with the title “How to install window 10 on a computer, make sure you are talking about installing window 10 on the post not “how to blog with a computer”.
11. Take advantage of your comment section
if you have a blog that is conversational where tons of comments are produced daily like a forum, you can take advantage of those comments to improve your SEO.
When your readers ask a question you can reply to them by including more keywords in your reply.
I have seen a typical case when I search for a keyword on google and the answer was in the question; isn’t that superb?
12. Page-load speed
According to research, 40% of people abandon a website that takes time to load; No one will wait all day just to read a post on your blog, time is very essential!
The next step any reader will take after waiting for the maximum of 2 minutes to load a page is to leave especially if they were directed by search engines, why wait 2 minutes for a page to load if there are thousands of pages that can give them what they need and will even load faster than yours?.
Search engines consider Page-load time and frown at websites that their pages take time to load!
There are many factors that will delay your page load time and they are Large images, Redirects.
Adding excess and irrelevant plugins, Not updating to the latest version of some tools you use on your blog like blogging platform (WordPress, Drupal, or Wix), themes, etc.
You can tackle this by reducing the number of plugins you install, compressing your images, update your files when due
Making your contents readable is very essential for your blog, am quite sure you won’t want readers to navigate away immediately after reading your first paragraph because your article is hard to comprehend which will surely increase your bounce rate.
I made mention of the Yoast SEO plugin above where I said it is very important for sitemap, meta description, and the rest, Yoast SEO will also help in scaling the readability of your post.
After installing Yoast SEO plugin any time you are done writing a post just scroll down to see your post readability test.
14. Reducing your bounce rate
We already defined bounce rates above, Search engines frown at high bounce rates and you have to make some tricky moves to ensure that readers don’t leave immediately after they finish reading a particular post.
A higher bounce rate leads to a reduction in search engine rankings. If your content solve your readers’ problem then I see no reason why they won’t want to know more about your blog.
There are several things that lead to an increase in bounce rate:
- Boring and not well-ordered article
- Unpleasant fonts and size
- No hyperlink or logo to your homepage
- Unattractive blog design
- Your pages take time to load
- Not interlinking your contents when needed
- Not adding related posts
- Not employing readers to take action after reading
15. Image optimization
SEO experts recommend a minimum of one image in all posts you make. When you add images to your posts, make sure that they are properly named with Alt text.
The alt text must be named in such a way that they contain the focused keywords. For instance, a post that speaks about adding images in SEO should have its images alt text as adding-images-to-boost-seo-ranking, the hyphens (-) are very essential for search engine bots to read and digest. The images must contain your focused keywords.
Also, one of the reasons why your pages take time to load is because of large images, you must compress those images to reduce the size and maintain the quality, there are many plugins In WordPress to compress images and a typical example is the smush plugin
Permalink structure is very important and may damage your SEO if care is not taken, if you blog on WordPress you can change the way your permalinks are displayed by going to settings >> permalinks.
I usually recommend default permalink with dates and post title or permalinks with post title only and that’s what all top blogs on WordPress do.
If you are using blogger, you have no problem since the default permalink is set for all blogger blogs. Permalinks like yourblog,com/c=my-title&date are not good for SEO.
When you write on WordPress, your post title will have its own different unique URL having in mind that the default URL you set will be joined to it e.g. 2018-06/my-post-title.
Make sure your keywords appear in the permalink for this post as this will increase your SEO ranking.
Matt cuts an SEO analyst said Google gives more attention to the first three to five words of your post URL so make sure the keywords are in the first 5 words of your post URL and please don’t stuff them.
Make sure your post URL is not too long too, Yoast SEO plugin will come into action here too because it will alert you when your permalinks and title are too long!
Getting backlinks is easier said than done! It is one thing that gives bloggers a lot of problems because it is really difficult to get.
You need backlinks for your blog and not just anyhow backlinks, Heavyweight backlinks (confused right? Don’t be!).
Backlinks show a sign of trust and authority, it shows your blog is popular and recommended by other websites.
I don’t lie to bloggers! Nowadays, passing a needle through the eye of a camel is easier than getting backlinks from websites with high Pagerank, you need to work for most of them to get what you want, a typical strategy we use to get backlinks from top websites is by” GUEST POSTING”.
I made a post on “what is a guest post, how to guest post, and benefits of guest posting ” Check it out: How to guest post and 8 benefits of guest posting
A backlink is really a wide branch, we hope to write many articles about backlinks in the future and when we do I will include a link here
Interlinking is just like backlinks, the major difference is that interlinking is on-page SEO since the linking is done on your blog while Backlinks are done on other websites.
You must link your blog posts together properly when called for in all posts you make
19. Relating tags and categories
I wonder why people just add categories and tags anyhow when writing a post; they are really useful for SEO and are both taxonomies used in classifying your blog.
Categories show the branch to which posts you create belong, you don’t add posts to categories and tags that are not related to it.
Maybe am just saying nonsense because you don’t even know what tags and categories are and you can’t differentiate them, I will help by giving you the definition of tags and categories:
What are Categories? : Categories are taxonomy used in classifying similar blog posts into a wide group. Let us take this post for an example, it deals with SEO and should be under the category “SEO”
What are Tags? : Tags define a category further, they classify your post for further grouping and most times sound like a sub-group. For example, if this post belongs to the category SEO then the tags should include branches of SEO like Backlinks, improve SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO.
20. Setting up Google Console
We have talked a lot about the Google console (Google webmaster) tool so we don’t really need to waste much of our time here if you did not read it.
Google console is a tool all bloggers must have and it must be properly linked up with your blog, it offers various services like checking broken links, international targeting, sitemap submission, and many other services.
21. Encouraging social media sharing
Am very sure you don’t know that the number of shares you get on your pages determines your SEO ranking, you only share your blog posts for traffic purpose.
Social media have high Pagerank and Domain authority. All popular social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest all have very high domain authority.
Do you know how your page rank will increase if you have more than 10000 links on these platforms?
Apart from that, search engines even give preferential treatment to websites with many shares on social media. It shows your contents are interesting and helpful that’s why you got those shares.
22. Adding useful pages
23. Adding a sitemap
The sitemap carries information about your pages and posts showing when they were created and last modified.
Sitemap speed up the process of indexing pages on your blog.
Am quite sure you must have been thinking of how to get the code to build a sitemap page for your blog.
You don’t need any code, if you are a WordPress blogger then download a Google XML sitemap then all will be solved easily.
24. Site navigation
Search engines don’t take navigations issue with levity. A page that does not let users navigate around your website is not proper and could easily get you de-ranked and even improve your bounce rate.
Your website is supposed to be in a way that users can easily click through other pages on your website.
This is the work of themes and templates majorly so you get the best theme or template for your blog.
25. Mobile and desktop optimization
Many bloggers don’t take the time in checking how their websites look on Mobile because they designed and update their blogs with a laptop.
About 80% of internet users surf the internet with their phones. You need to optimize your page properly for both Desktop and mobile views.
As a blogger, you need to collect various gadgets and web browsers to access your blog to see how they look.
Also, in April 20115 Google started penalizing websites that is not mobile optimized by drawing their SEO ranking back.
All these sidebars you see displayed on one side of a computer are not displaying like that on a phone.
Most of the 4 footer areas you see on your blog with a laptop are not 4 when you see them on mobile phones and that’s why you should be careful when dragging widgets.
26. Adding videos to your content
Videos are very essential in a blog post; they help in adding further explanations to your post.
Including at least a video in your post like I did in this article will boost your SEO content.
It is not compulsory for you to add videos to your content but when deemed fit please add them.
The benefit of adding video to posts in SEO does not only limit you to optimizing your post, it will always let your readers reach you through video search.
There is a separate tab for video tabs in google where searchers can watch videos relating to their content, your video will be placed here too if you are the real owner of the video.
27. Writing articles related to your niche
Writing articles related to your blogging niche is very important for SEO ranking, if you search for something on fashion, you can never see websites on animals making the list.
Let us say you search for keywords on “how to make money online” and you see this URL on the list: Makemoneyonline.com.za/make-money and foodnews.org/food/make-money, which one will you click first?
28. SSL certificate and getting HTTPS
In 2014 Google announced that they are going to take SSL certificates seriously and that websites without them will get punished.
Webmasters didn’t take this seriously since no fierce action was taken by Google. In July 2018 Google chrome started marking websites without full accreditation of HTTPS:// as not secure, no wonder all blogs you see nowadays all have https://.
Google wants to ensure that it protects the privacy of its consumers that was why this strict decision was taken.
Websites without SSL certificates are not only penalized by Google chrome, sites without HTTPS:// encryption will also get their SEO ranking reduced drastically too.
You should contact your hosting company on how to get HTTPS:// for your blog, in most cases they are free.
29. Watching your broken links
Do you know how sad you feel when you visit a website and you discover the page no longer exists?
That is exactly how your readers feel when they surf your pages and get redirected to a 404 error page.
Have you searched for a keyword on google and you discover the page no longer exists? Surely the owner of the website will get punished for it.
Search engines consider a ton of broken links on a blog as a sign of a neglected and expired domain.
You may easily get your blog deleted from search engines if care is not taken and that’s why we recommend that you use a redirection plugin if you want to redirect those pages to other pages on your blog.
30. Add yours
We guess there are SEO gurus here reading this so we want to make this list endless, help us add more by dropping your own “SEO tips” for bloggers.
FAQ on SEO
How to do SEO for bloggers
We have talked deeply about that in this post, in fact that’s exactly what this post is meant for
How can I write SEO-friendly blog posts?
We have really talked about how to write SEO-friendly blog posts here.
In case you did not read it and you are here You can write friendly SEO posts by following the guidelines I gave above on header tag, readability, writing original and lengthy posts, Yoast SEO, keyword research, and optimizing page title.
What are the best SEO plugins for bloggers?
- Yoast SEO
- All in one SEO pack
- Google XML sitemaps
- Broken link checker
Does blogging help SEO?
Yes! if you are not a blogger, you can also add a blog section to your website to frequently add posts, it will really boost your SEO ranking
Can guest posts improve SEO?
Yes through backlinks! Not only SEO and traffic in general. Guest posting on other blogs as these will secrete the relationship and boost SEO ranking.
Some bloggers do tell me that they follow all these tips and they are not getting the results they want.
we can’t all have our blogs on Google’s first page at the same time, some blogs have to occupy the second page and more.
Am not telling you this to discourage you from optimizing your blog, it is the bitter truth!.
SEO is not a magical process that will work in a week. It is a lifetime project for your blog and please have it at the back of your mind that millions of blogs are also optimizing their blogs the way you optimize yours, the best optimizer gets the best result.
You just have to keep working on optimizing your blog more and more and am very sure if you do these things properly you will get the result.
Your content will start appearing on the search engines’ first page in 6 months.
But google is not the only search engine out there, if you don’t get your traffic from google, you can get it from other search engines like Bing.