Way back when, I was enmeshed in the SEO (which means search engine optimization) world. I did consultations, contract work, and worked for a company where all I did was try to get websites noticed, and rewarded, by Google search. I had Internet shows and speaking engagements where I explained how to get better SEO and why it mattered to bloggers and small businesses. Well, some things have changed. Not much, but some things.
Let’s talk about some advanced beginner tips to help your blog’s SEO.
I had the opportunity to attend a WordPress Camp recently so I can’t claim credit for all of these ideas. But I can take credit for organizing the information from all of the important, smart people into an easy-to-use list. You are welcome!
I am going to start by assuming you’ve got the basic SEO tips for bloggers down. This means that you already have a grasp on keywords, good blog length, linking, and other 101 SEO tasks. If not, please start with this Alexa.com post on Blog SEO Tips. It’s an easy one to read and follow.
After that, there are some new advances in the SEO world that are more advanced but can go a long way.
1 ) Get SSL Certificate.
This has been drilled into my head as of late. Apparently, it is really important as Google has announced that it will not promote websites without it. SSL stands for secure sockets layer – it really means that you are guaranteed as a secure site for your users and visitors. Basic SSL is usually free with your hosting company. If, like many bloggers, you are on Bluehost, start with this Free SSL request.
How to tell if you have it? Check the browser box at the top while you are in Chrome:
My SEO guru, Peter with My Internet Scout, has the perfect situation. Notice: green lock on the left, “secure” listing, then the all-important https (instead of http). I use my guru’s site here since I still haven’t perfected mine. I am closer, yet not perfect. Getting the actual SSL from my hosting company was easy, determining why they are some issues harder, but time I am willing to spend based on how important this is.
2 ) Plug into Google Search Console.
This is different than Google Analytics (which, apparently, is a program rife with false positives and ghost spam so losing credibility). Google Search Console used to be Webmaster Tools. This tool will tell you what Google thinks of you (scary!), what is broken, and what you can do to fix your blog to get more juice.
Be sure to submit a sitemap to the Search Console where prompted. There are many plugins that will help with this process if you, like me, don’t know how to program it in.
3 ) Watch the plugins.
Do NOT let updates linger. I have had a website hacked through a security issue with a plugin. Updates can help with this. Scared to update? Talk to my friend Kelly at WP Plugin Coach. Or at least read her stuff.
4 ) Watch and check your site speed.
Head to pingdom.com and test your URL to see how quickly it loads. Anything over 3 seconds is considered too long for visitors to wait and creates a higher bounce rate, as well as penalization by Google. This site will tell you where your blog’s problems are (then it is up to you to fix them, which may require some research but is ultimately your call).
5 ) Install Facebook pixels.
This is for a select audience and isn’t really about SEO perse, but if you intend to or currently run any Facebook ads or campaigns of any kind, pixel that site! Facebook pixels allow you to follow people in eerie detail, which means you can retarget them if you want to sell anything. It is an extremely powerful took for bloggers. An industry expert recommended the WP Plugin Pixel Your Site. Her input was that even if you aren’t running FB ads now, you might in the future, so go ahead and pixel it up! (She said it with more grace than I.)
There are many other tips, such as use h2 and h3 tags properly, internal link to yourself, and be sure to tag and store your photos with useful metadata. Use good post titles (don’t be cute! This is your h1, which is a powerful SEO indicator), and so on. Also, I personally love Yoast SEO plugin, but I have heard some spit out its name in disdain. That’s your call.
There are so many things to do for your SEO to help your blog, and who you talk to and what month it is will change the list of “musts,” too.
Ultimately, SEO can take hours and a lot of sweat, or you can do nothing for it and cross your fingers. It’s YOUR blog so it’s YOUR decision.
I don’t get a lot of traffic on this site (again, no social media will hurt a blog but it’s a lifestyle choice), but it is nice to think I am doing a few things to get my little-blog-that-could more help being seen.
If you have any other tips or things you have done that are “musts,” please drop them below so I can learn!