So you want to start a blog? This could be a standalone blog, or a blog used to promote your main business or products. When you have traffic visiting your blog you have the opportunity of converting it into sales, but you need the traffic first, so you need SEO. Here are 10 blogging SEO tips to get you started.
- Get Your Own Domain And Hosting
When setting up a blog you have two options. The first is to host your blog on one of the popular platforms – wordpress.com or blogger.com, for example. Your blog will look something like: YourBlog.wordpress.com. This approach has two main benefits – it is really easy to do, and it is free.
The second option is to get your own domain and hosting. Your blog will then look like: YourBlog.co.nz. This costs money and is a bit harder to setup, but this is still undoubtedly the best approach. The cost is measured in tens of dollars a year, so is not expensive. And while it is harder to set up, it is still within the abilities of most people, even if you don’t have technical experience.
The process involves getting a domain and hosting, installing WordPress, then installing and customising a theme. You will find lots of guides to help you do this, or you can spend a little bit more to get it set up professionally.
The SEO benefits make this small expense worthwhile. Your blog will look more professional so will attract more readers, and it will be more interesting to Google. You also have more flexibility with your own setup.
- Optimise Your Theme
Your theme can have a big impact on SEO, so make sure you use one that is created with SEO in mind. You will then need to optimise it to make sure it is helping and not hindering your efforts:
- Adjust your settings and use plugins to make your website load as fast as possible. You can check the speed of your website here.
- Adjust and fully optimise your theme’s responsive settings so that it looks great on mobile devices.
- Fix anything that’s broken, and make sure all your links and navigation work properly. To help with this keep the navigation simple – this helps create a good user experience as well.
- Tweak Your Permalinks
One specific thing that you should do to optimise your theme is to optimise your permalink structure. The default WordPress setting is not ideal, so go to Settings > Permalinks and change it to something more suitable. In most cases using the post name is the best setting.
You should get this setting correct at the start of the process, though, as it is hard to change later – adjusting permalinks can break links to your website that you have already earned.
- Install An SEO Plugin
Even when you have your own domain and hosting, and a fully optimised theme, you will still benefit from an SEO plugin. They add the finishing touches, like analysing the readability of your post, checking keyword density, and ensuring you have the right number of characters in your meta description.
- Write Fantastic Original Content
The best way to make your blog successful is to create content that is better than anything else on the internet. Everything you produce should be relevant to your niche, and should be incredibly useful. You have to solve problems, help people, educate, entertain, and inform.
You can do this with:
- Online tools that you create
Creating content like this will keep people on the page, encourage them to share, and ensure they come back for more. This is all good for SEO.
- Build Internal And External Links
Links are crucial to any good SEO strategy, and there are two main types: links to other parts of your own website; and links from third-party websites back to yours.
The first is easy to do because you are in complete control. You should include a lot of internal links in your content, but make sure they are all relevant. You should also use a mix of keywords in the anchor text, so long as they sound natural.
Building links from third-party websites is more difficult which is why so many people try to cut corners by purchasing links. This is the wrong approach. Google hates this and invests a lot of money and time to find and deal with them. It is simply not worth it.
Some people call this a new approach to SEO, but really it is just old-fashioned marketing – building up relationships with the owners and managers of high quality websites that already rank well on Google. You can then use this relationship to market your blog posts. Remember that one link from one of these good quality websites is worth much more than loads of low quality links.
- Comment On Blogs
One specific way you can get links from third party websites is to comment on other blogs. In addition to the link you will get, this will generate traffic, increase the reach of your brand, and help you to build relationships.
The best way to do this is to:
- Only comment on blogs that are relevant to your niche
- Use your real name
- Don’t be pushy and don’t sell
- Offer genuinely helpful, informative, or entertaining contributions
Finding blogs that are relevant and that allow links is not always easy. One approach you can use is to research your competitors. Find out where they are getting their links from and then focus your efforts on those websites. You can get a competitor website audit to help with this.
- Generate Sitemaps
Sitemaps help Google and other search engines to understand the structure of your site, and they tell Google where to find your content. Plus they are simple to setup – just install a sitemap plugin and let it work behind the scenes.
- Work On Your Social Media Profiles
Google use lots of factors when it ranks your blog posts, and social media is one of them. The equation is fairly simple – the more people you have liking and sharing your content, the better it is for SEO. You should therefore get your posts in front of as many eyeballs on social media as possible. You should do this by:
- Constantly working on building your following (including through paid ads if necessary)
- Build relationships with social media influencers in your niche
- Post content on social media that you don’t post anywhere else to give it a value of its own
- Share other people’s content
- Make sure your profiles are set up properly with contact details that exactly match and keyword rich descriptions
- Expand Your Knowledge
SEO is an enormous field and is one that constantly changes and evolves. You don’t have to know everything about the topic, but it is worthwhile taking some time every month to read articles and posts on the most authoritative sites on the internet. Even half an hour will help. Given the amount of information out there this might not sound like much, but if you read good quality sites like Moz.com or our blog at The Web Guys you learn about new trends and get advice on the best strategies.
SEO is something that requires continuous effort, but with these basics in place you will have a good platform to grow.