Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

An Easy Introduction to SEO for Bloggers

An easy introduction to SEO which is specifically aimed at bloggers with no technical know how



Generally on julie-ellen, I write about the things I love - beauty news and reviews, with a little fashion and lifestyle for good measure. Occasionally I will even write about my efforts to lose  weight or to increase my health and fitness levels. Its all good fun! There is no doubt though that blogging isn't just about fun. As everyone who has tried it knows, writing a blog is incredibly hard work and in the 18 months I have been blogging I have had to learn  to do things I had no experience of before, like photography, editing, web design, negotiation, accounting and so on. I definitely do not hold myself up as any kind of an expert in these areas but hopefully I can help some of you by sharing the things I have learned. So I have decided to set up a series of posts called Working Wednesdays where I will share some of my thoughts on the more complicated areas of blogging and hopefully in the comment sections, you will share your experience with me too. 

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation which describes how we can try to influence where search engines rank our blogs. I am definitely no expert on any of this stuff but I have learned a fair bit over the last few years of blogging so today I thought I would share what I have learned with you in this Easy Introduction to SEO for Bloggers.

Let the Spiders In  

The very first thing to do is make sure that you have given Search Engines permission to check out your blog. From your Blogger dashboard select Settings, then Basic, then Privacy. You will see two questions, answer yes to both and press save. Now the robots can check out your blog and decide how to rank it.


Content Really IS Key 

It is important to have at least 500 words in every post because Google robots may rank posts with less words than that lower than those with 500 or more. Also try to post often and most important of all, try to post regularly. Google will not rank you highly if it doesn’t think you are reliable.

Description 

Another simple thing which you can do to improve your SEO, is to add a blog description. Simply go back to the dashboard, select Settings, then Basic, then Search Preferences. At the top of the page you will see the words Meta Tags with a box which says Description underneath. Click edit, type in your chosen description and save. Think carefully about what you write. This is what will show up in the search engines' listings under your blog name. Aim for about 155 characters. Use keywords that are relevant for your blog. I have used Scottish, beauty, stylish, lifestyle and mature - all keywords I hope people may type in to find my blog. 

Keywords 

Before you even start to write your post, first decide what your keywords for that post will be. So for example if you are posting about your favourite pink lipsticks for summer I would suggest that your keywords might be those 3 words. ‘Pink’, ‘Lipsticks’ and ‘Summer’. Try to use those 3 words in the first and last paragraphs and maybe once or twice more through the body of your post.

Title 

Tempting as it might be to pick an achingly cool, cryptic title, it really is much better for SEO purposes to pick something very easy which uses your key words and makes it very clear to your readers what the post is about. So using the previous example, I would recommend you simply name the post something like ‘My Favourite Pink Lipsticks for Summer”.

Headings

These can be really important for SEO but on blogger all the hard work is done for you. Your first main heading is automatically your title so all you have to do is use the drop down menu and select Minor Headings for your paragraph headings. Thanks blogger for making SEO so easy.

Images 

Before you upload your images rename them using a title relevant to your post. So in my Pink Lipsticks for Summer Post I might rename each of my images with the brand and Lipstick name e.g Mac-flat-out-fabulous-jpg before I even think about uploading them.

Resize Your Images 

Loading speed is a significant ranking factor for search engines.  Never let Blogger resize for you. Use editing software, whether paid like Photoshop or free like Picmonkey and resize your images to the size needed for your blog. 

Title Text 

Once you have uploaded your renamed and resized images it is time to get serious with the SEO. Click on the image and you will see a menu that includes the option ‘Properties’. Click on that and you will get an ‘Image Properties’ Box with two blank fields. The first field is the Title Text. The Title Text should be descriptive. Something like An image of my favourite pink lipsticks which are perfect for the summer months. 

Alt Text 

This should be shorter and in bullet points. I like to either use my keywords or the same name I used when renaming the image. So if it was an image of all the lipsticks I wrote about in the post my alt text would be Pink-Lipsticks-Summer. For a single product I would use the brand name and shade number or description, for example Mac-FlatOut Fabulous-pink-lipstick.

Create a Custom URL 

Blogger automatically generates a URL for every post, but you should always consider whether you can improve it by adding in your keywords. To change your URL, simply click on the 'Permalink' button on the right hand side of the screen when editing 
your post and change the settings to 'Custom Permalink', this will then allow you to create your own URL. 

Search Descriptions 

I know I am starting to sound like a boring record but before you hit publish you should always complete the search description box. It doesn’t have to be long, in fact it’s better if it isn’t, just keep it short and too the point. Something like - A post about my collection of pink lipsticks, both high end and budget, bold and subtle, all different and all perfect for summer.

Use Links 

The final tip I have for you if you're serious about improving your blog’s SEO is to work on increasing your links. I have spoken in more detail about this in my last Working Wednesday post where I shared my Ten Tips To Increase Your Blog Traffic but it is really easy. You can improve your SEO by guest posting on other blogs, by linking within your own posts to earlier posts you've written and even by linking back to your blog from your various social media accounts. Simple so there's no excuse not to do it. 

So there you have it my Easy Introduction to SEO for Bloggers. I know it was a long one so well done for making it to the end. I really hope it helps. 
If you have any tips that would help the rest of us, why not spread the love by posting them below.
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