You have created a blog, a WordPress blog. You have created a post. Now you are finding out the ways how can you rank your website in search engines or you might have heard about SEO from internet or friends that SEO increases traffic of a blog, so you are here to know how to do SEO. Am I correct?
Let’s get into the topic and first learn about what is SEO.
For Beginners: How to Start a Blog from Scratch
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which simply means you are making your website search engine friendly or you can say your blog will be visible in search engines (this is what we want in the end, right?) In this era if you think you will make a blog and it will automatically appear in search engines like Google, then my friend, you have to wake up now because you are not alone in the field. There are many other websites who are already very popular and can give you a big competition. So your survival is not going to be easy and ultimately you will need to ask how to do SEO for my website.
SEO is a set of rules which every blog or website owner have to follow to optimize their websites for search engines and thus improve their search engine rankings. It is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s “natural” or “organic” (not paid for) search results.
SEO is not a single day task. It is a process, a long process which asks for some investment (time + strategy + patience.) If you have done it well there is no way to put your website down.
Why Search Engine Optimization is Important?
I think many of you have got that what is SEO and why is it needed. Well, I am describing it for beginners. If you have already covered it, head to how to do SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
If you want your blog to reach the maximum audience, you will require SEO. Without it you will be the only visitor of your website, and no one will know whether your website exists or not.
If we talk about past days there was a very less competition and SEO was not so very popular among websites owners. But nowadays everything is digital. People have made websites to run their work online, so SEO marketing has taken an important place than ever.
Search engines serve millions of users per day looking for answers to their questions or for solutions to their problems. By doing SEO your website or blog will appear on the first page and those users will get their answers once they hit your blog link. This will help your business grow and meet the business objectives.
A quick view
Search Engine Optimization is important because:
|Search engines users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the results pages (SERPS). A well SEO can achieve this and your website will appear in the top positions that will gain more visitors to your blog.
SEO is beyond search engines. Good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a website.
No doubt we all trust search engines than anything else. For any problem, we just Google it and find out the answer. If your blog appears in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching for, it ultimately increases the web site’s trust because users are getting their answers on your website. And they will trust it more.
SEO also increases the social promotion of your web site. If users visit your website by searching Google and find something very useful or interesting they are more likely to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other social media channels. Forget about requesting your friends to promote your website 😛
SEO is like the investment in your future. You already know that SEO is not a one day task where results happen overnight. It’s a process which takes several months and sometimes a year. However, once your investment in SEO and efforts starts being realized you benefit from free traffic for the foreseeable future.
You know the competition and your competitors too. Everyone is investing in SEO services because it’s the only way to maintain your position in Google for a long time unless for some reason people stop using the internet to search, which I don’t think is possible in this era.
Now it’s a time to know how to do SEO but before that, I want you guys to know that there are two faces of SEO (Black Hat and White Hat) and you need to choose the right one for you.
Let’s take a look:
Black Hat SEO
Yes, you get it right! Black hat SEO has nothing to do with search engine guidelines. Black hat SEO means you are using aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually fools search engines. Using such unscrupulous search engine optimization tactic a website owner gets very good results in very less time and its website’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking illegitimately increases. The technique also lowers the ranking of a competitor’s site.
Some examples of black hat SEO techniques include keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, adding unrelated keywords to the page content or page swapping. Black hat SEO methods are usually considered unethical and are good for only those who want to make a few thousand dollars fast. It is not at all for a long-term website. For that, you have to head to White Hat SEO and its techniques because this is something which will work for you lifetime. Now we are heading to actual Search Engine Optimization techniques.
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO uses organic and legit techniques to rank your blog in search engines. Unlike Black hat, it obeys search engine guidelines in order to ensure it performs well for search for longer time. For doing this you have to take so many factors into consideration. What are those factors? How to do SEO for my website? I know you have now these questions in mind. Let’s know it then…
A Step-by-Step Search Engine Optimization Process
- Keyword Research
This is the most crucial step before doing SEO of your blog. You have to know the queries your users are searching on the internet. These keywords will help you make your blog search engine friendly. My advice is to use the free Google keyword planner tool. It gives you almost appropriate data. There are many paid tools also available for keyword research. As you are a beginner my suggestion will always use Google Keyword Planner.
Here are few things you need to keep in mind when you do a keyword research.
|Always choose long tail and low competition keywords.
In Google search bar you would have seen that when you write a query it auto-completes it and give you suggestions to pick anyone. Use such keywords to get more idea.
Never ignore Google related searches at the bottom.
Find out your competitors keywords on the same topic. You can use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs etc.
- On-Page Optimization
As it name says, on-page optimization is what you do in your blog post such as page titles, internal linking, meta tags & descriptions, etc to make it search engine friendly. Now I’ll tell you how to do On-Page search engine optimization of your blog and some of the most effective ways to increase your page rankings on search engines. Whatever I’ll explain in below headings you have to perform this on your post.
Here is a brief introduction of all on-page optimization techniques:
Page Titles- Your page titles are one of the most important SEO factors that tempt search engines as well as readers. Every post you publish must contain a unique title, which includes the main keywords that you chose while doing keyword analysis. The title gives a detail of what your post is all about and this is the reason why is it in the priority list of search engines.
For example, you are writing a post on How to Start a Blog and your keyword is “How to Start a Blog”. You could write the title “How to Start a Blog from Scratch-Easy and Simple Steps to Follow.” In this title, you can see the main keyword is included. You can also add some other related keywords in your title. (Check above image)
This way, whenever someone searches for How to Start a Blog in a search engine, your post has a better chance of showing up because you have included those keywords.
Meta Descriptions- Many bloggers forget to provide meta descriptions for their pages. They think it is not necessary but if you’re learning how to do SEO of your blog then this is mandatory. Description gives little summary of your page which also includes the keywords. The description also appears in the search results when your page is listed.
For instance, if we continue to use the ‘How to Start a Blog’ example, then a good meta description for that page would include those keywords and related ones. So, “If you are wondering how to start a blog, how to create or make your own blog with WordPress, easy steps to start a blog for beginners, here is the guide.” would be a great description to use, as it is short and describes your page, whilst containing a number of specific keywords. (Check above image)
URL Structure- Always use short URLs because they are search engine friendly. For better performance, including the targeted keywords in URL.
As you see my page, http://www.bloggerskorner.com/how-to-start-a-blog/ I have included the main keyword which is relevant for this post. (Check above image)
Content- Do you know that a website with quality content can perform great with or without SEO? But SEO is a need now even if you think you can write a quality post. Why is it so? Because there are some search engine optimization techniques that everyone must follow. In short, if you want your website to appear in search engine results then you must do SEO of your post.
Now I’ll tell you what steps you should take to create search engine friendly content. Always think about long-term content.
First of all, your content must be interesting and captures the visitor’s attention. Don’t make it a lengthy post without containing any information that your users love to read. If it so, it will increase the bounce rate because readers won’t stay on your website for a longer time.
Your post must contain at least 300 words that solely describe your title. The words can go beyond 1500 or 2500 or more. But it should be relevant to the topic and interesting. Long articles are proven to rank better than short articles.
Now keyword distribution comes. Fix smartly the targeted keywords in between the content. Don’t make it spammy by overusing them. You can also use synonyms and close variants of keywords because it looks natural.
Also, don’t create big paragraphs. Better to create headings and subheadings to make it more readable.
Use bold, underline or italics to highlight the important parts of a page.
Always keep in mind that Content is a king and king always care about his people. So care about your readers what they want and what they are expecting.
Headings- Headings also play a bigger role in on-page SEO. Wrap titles, subtitles under H1, H2, H3 etc headings. Make sure your headings contain the keywords.
Use headings hierarchically i.e. the first heading tag is the <h1> and then the <h2> and then <h3>, <h4> etc. The subheadings are a great place to use related keywords in your content.
Internal Links- Internal links are the links in your content that redirect to some other page of your website. Providing internal links in your content is like building your own web. They are very important because once a search engine spider discovers your page it will follow the links they find on that page (both internal and external links).
Providing links on your page is a good practice as search engines will take those pages into account as well. And if you don’t have any other links within the text they will read your page and go.
Image Optimization- Always use images that are relevant to your topic. If you are using the original image then it is very good.
Provide a descriptive name to your image as it is important for image SEO.
Optimize the size of the images – the smaller the size (in bytes) of the image the better.
Use an ALT tag to describe the image as it helps search engines understand what the image is about. If the text in ALT tag is a keyword then you will have extra chances to rank better.
Check out How to Write a Blog Post
- Off-Page Optimization
Now when you have read how to do Search Engine Optimization On-Page, it’s a time to know the other face of SEO, i.e., Off-Page SEO. It’s a time to let other people know about your business or website.
Off-page SEO is the technique to gain exposure for your business in the online world. Basically, it tells Google what others think about your website and helps Google to determine the value of any web page. It is done outside your website to improve your search engine rankings. Off-page SEO is all about link building, social media, and local SEO.
Like on-page SEO, there are also off-page SEO techniques that we will learn now:
Directory Submissions- Directory Submission is constantly working to build quality backlinks. Choose an effective directory and select a proper category. It is a process of submitting website URL on various business directories or web directories to create backlinks.
Forum Submissions- Do participate in search forums which are related to your business or websites. Reply to threads, answer people’s questions and give your suggestions and advice. This way you gain the trust of other community members. Once you build up trust among community people you can provide your website links (when necessary) in your answers. There are more chances they will click on the link you provided. Quora is one of the best forums for all categories. Make use of “Do-Follow” forums.
Infographic/Image Submissions- Graphics, images, etc representing information or knowledge on any subject is called infographics. These days, infographics are getting popular on the internet. Submit your infographics on infographics submission websites and give reference links to your webpage or blog. It is one of the best methods in off-page SEO as it attracts and targets your audience.
Article/Blog Submissions- Submitting articles on high pr article submission websites is a good way to acquire a link to your website. Low-quality content and content that has more keyword stuffing might get rejected. When you submit articles on different sites you can attach the link of your site to generate traffic for it.
Video Submissions- Visual content has more potential than text and videos can make a huge impact on your search engine optimization efforts. It offers the way to promote your business in the form of video. To make your video popular give a proper title, description, tags, and reference links and publish it on websites like Youtube, Vimeo etc. This way you can gain more exposure and links to your website.
Business Reviews- There are many business reviews websites like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Glassdoor etc. where you can create a profile for a website with a link to it and start getting reviews from clients/customers which will also help in showcasing the quality of work. Positive business reviews contribute to good brand awareness. If you only create a profile in a high ranking review site like Yelp with your brand name and your website link then also you will get your brand to the top of search rankings. Isn’t is wow?
Guest Blogging- Also known as guest posting – is the practice of writing a post to another person’s blog in order to build relationships, exposure, authority, and links. There is a number of high-quality blogs that accept guest post. You just need to find out a blog of your niche and request its owner for guest blogging.
Using the following ways you can figure out the blog of your interest where you want to post an article:
Keyword + “write for us”
Keyword + “become a contributor”
Keyword + “contribute”
Keyword + “guest blogging”
Social Networking- Nowadays people spend more time surfing social media sites. They scroll down their news feed and click on the link which they find interesting. They share, like, comment on that link. Similarly, if your content would be appealing people will love it and the reach of your content will increase automatically.
When content gets clicks from multiple IPs it appears more authoritative by sending a signal to Google that multiple visitors around the globe are accessing the content. Create your business or website profile in great social media sites like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest etc. Share your content on these platforms, increase your fans list by posting interesting topics, pictures, videos and engage your audience.
- Measure Results- Traffic and Ranking
SEO won’t be done until you check its performance because then only you will come to know the results of your efforts.
Track the keywords you have worked on. Check their rankings and the volume of traffic they are getting as it gives you the ability to craft your SEO strategy around the keywords that require the most attention and provide the most benefit. You can use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs etc for tracking your targeted keywords and measuring traffic.
SEO may take your more time but once it is done properly its fruit can be enjoyed for a more long time. It’s a long process, like everything else in life, nothing good comes overnight. By implementing only a few things you cannot get better results. For a proper search engine optimization, you must first learn how to do SEO and once you have learned it, apply those practices in your website and wait for the good days to come. Till then keep on doing.
If you find any doubts related to the search engine optimization process/techniques, please let me know in the comments.