Basic SEO for every blog post

Basic SEO for Beginners

Search Engine Optimization is one hell of a daunting prospect, isn’t it?

You know you can drive tons of targeted, FREE traffic to your site from Google and Bing, but you have no idea where to begin and don’t have the money to afford to pay an SEO specialist.

We are going to give you the easy way to do advanced SEO even if you are a complete novice. By the end of this post you will have 4 killer SEO techniques that will already drastically improve your rankings.

The big hairy scary 3 letter swear word “SEO”

Every blog post needs SEO. I’m not referring to the massive technical SEO that scares most bloggers. We all know SEO has changed over the years to include a large variety of technical, strategical and even creative elements that takes up large amounts of time and effort. Worst of all, some of these elements, like link building, can even damage your rankings in Google.

I’ll tell you an industry insider secret:

The most basic on page SEO elements are also some of the most important SEO elements that you can implement as part of an SEO strategy.

Basic SEO, if done correctly, also doesn’t take much time. Making SEO changes to every blog post that you create sounds like it should take ages. But luckily it’s simpler than you think.

I’m going to show you how to easily optimize every blog post for SEO, as part of the creation time you would have put into that blog post in any case.

You are trying to be a pro, right?

Not only will better SEO on each blog post help you get better rankings in Google, it will also increase your traffic for free to the pages you want:

  • Landing Pages
  • Sales Pages
  • Product Pages
  • Blog posts that serve as the first level of your conversion funnel
  • A piece of native advertising (good traffic leads to more work for you)

I know, those terms sound scary, especially if you are new to the vast world of digital marketing. You can rest easy in knowing that by the time you are done reading this you are going to have the tools to put yourself ahead of the pack.

You won’t be adding much time to your overfull schedule, and you will also be better equipped to learn about those terms that suddenly don’t seem so scary any more.

4 Basic SEO elements to optimize in every blog post

Before we jump into it, if you are running your blog with WordPress, make sure you install the WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast. It will make this whole process a lot easier.

Title, description and keywords

You’ve thought about what you would search for before you started writing this post. You even did a few searches to help you decide on your keywords of choice, the words you want the article to rank for. You’ve decided on a SEO certified title and you have your meta description tags in place. You are ready to take the SERPs by storm.

If not, let me break it down for you:

  • Think of what you are trying to give people with your blog post. It should be valuable information that people are already looking for. What would you search for to find a piece of content like you have or are going to create? Type that into an incognito search. Have a look at the related search results. From this you can make a 100% more educated choice in terms or keywords to use for your content. Make sure you use this keyword, or keyword phrase, in the title and description of your content. Because you will also be using these keywords in your content.
  • Try and keep your title between 50 and 60 characters in length. You don’t want your title to get truncated like the titles in the image below.Truncated Titles in Google Search results
  • Your meta description should be kept between 150 and 160 characters in  length. Does your description make people want to click on the link to your content? It should, or you are doing this wrong. Remember to use that keyword in your title.

This sounds like a lot, but the more you do it the easier it gets. It just becomes part of creating content. I know it sounds confusing and technical, but it’s not.

Remember the WordPress SEO plugin I told you about?

Basic SEO elements with WordPress SEO

If you install the WordPress SEO plugin, all you have to do is type your title, keyword and description into the provided fields and you are done. Now add the fact that you use your targeted keywords in your title and description and you are already more of a pro.

And we are only 5 minutes into this!

Create Alt-text for every image in every blog post

I’m hoping that it’s common knowledge by now that every blog post that you create should have at least one image. I don’t really care how good your writing is. You are not Stephen King and this is not a fiction novel. Images can get someone’s attention even before they read a single word of text on a page.

Everyone uses images, the pros use SEO optimized images:

  • Every image on your site should have alt-text. The WordPress SEO plugin automatically uses the titles of images as alt-text if no alt-text is created for the image. Alt-text is a great way to help Google understand what an image is about, the better Google understands an image the more likely the image will rank.
  • Use keywords and keyword phrases as part of your image alt-text. A quick and easy trick I use quite often to help me with alt-text is that I just describe what is going on in the image and I try to somehow use my chosen keyword if it doesn’t feel forced. “Pretty blond girl wearing a Nirvana t-shirt” would be awesome alt-text if your image was of a blond girl wearing a Nirvana t-shirt. You get bonus points because “Nirvana t-shirt” is your keyword.

Interlinking – Giving Google directions

Look at yourself as the guy standing outside a shop on the corner of the road spinning the big yellow arrow. A kind of air traffic controller that tells users and Google what to do when they reach your content. What do you want them to read? What do you want to show them? What actions do you want to take?

Who knows your site better than you? Who can give better directions?

  • If you have created a relevant or helpful piece of content on the same subject as a new piece of content, you should be linking to the older content. Same goes from old posts to new posts. It’s good to provide a resource, it’s even better if that resource is something you created yourself and you can link to it.
  • Interlinking is best used when it is an editorial link (a link within the main body of copy of a blog post) that points the user to a relevant piece of content. Don’t over do it by putting hundreds of of links in one blog post. One link in every blog post pointing to another blog post on your site is a good start.

The most important thing when interlinking is that you should always keep it relevant. When you have finished writing your new post read through it, be on the lookout for any text that can be used as anchor text for a link.

I’ll give you an interlinking secret:

If you have a blog post or another piece of content that already ranks well in Google, Google places that page in high regard. All links from a page Google holds in high regard are a good thing, even if it is internal links. So start interlinking those relevant ranking blog posts right now. It’s the easiest way to show Google what you hold in high regard.

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Link Building for beginners

I’m sure you have heard that backlinks are important for your website’s SEO. I wish I could tell you that this isn’t true. Unfortunately it is true.

You need links pointing to your site to help boost your rankings. Links to your site are still one of the most important ranking factors that Google consider. But link building can be a daunting task and if you don’t do it the right way, you might even get yourself a Google penalty, that will not do your rankings in the SERPs any favours.

Here is a beginner link building secret:

If you are just starting to get your toes wet in the wild world of SEO, you don’t have to be scared of link building. Link building is more of an advanced SEO technique and if you are a beginner you can build links, without even building links.

That sounds to good to be true, right? Let me break it down for you.

  • Creating informative and quality content that serves a purpose should be your first and most important goal as a professional digital marketer. If your blog post, video, image, inforgraphic or any other piece of content you create is useful to your readers, people will link to it. Thus it makes 100% pure sense that you should be focusing on creating the best content possible and then you will get some links. They won’t be a huge quantity, but they will be quality links that do your SEO efforts a lot of good without you even trying to build links.
  • Network! Network with other bloggers. Network with other digital marketers. Network with journalists. Network, this doesn’t mean just replying to a tweet every now and then. This means making legitimate connections with other people in your niche and the industry (locally and internationally if you can). Once you start getting into more advanced SEO you will come back here and thank me for telling you to make friends in all the right places. Not only will they be linking to your content, they will also be sharing your valuable content with their own audience.

And that my friend is SEO power, right there. Might sound simple to some but get that right and you are outranking 75% of your niche!

Do you have a particular SEO problem that you could use some help with? Leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.

Ruan F

Ruan is the founder and editor of one of South Africa's most influential blogs, gevaaalik.com. Not only has he been blogging for 5 years, but he has also built up immense knowledge around content marketing, digital marketing strategy and SEO. During the day Ruan is the SEO Strategist for a multimillion dollar digital agency and at night he imparts his experience to other budding digital entrepreneurs with informative content and online training. He has worked with brands like Microsoft, Monster Energy, Opel and Castle Lite in order to assist them in their efforts to drive traffic to their campaigns and digital content.

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1 Response

  1. May 17, 2015

    […] people leave your site without engaging with your content. Bounce rate most certainly affects your SEO efforts and a high bounce rate will not do your ranking any […]

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