You’ve probably heard about SEO, or search engine optimization. And if you haven’t, well… Let’s just say that learning how to implement SEO in your blog is important. Heck, mastering this is a highly valuable skill in the online world. There are blogs specifically for it. You’ll find courses, coaches and experts!
And see, here’s the thing.
You could have the most profoundly written thinkpiece or came up with a life-changing home organization hack or stumbled upon the most inspiring story about clam chowder. But if no one’s reading it, no one will ever really know your awesomeness.
Now, I know there are bloggers out there who do it as a hobby. Some of my closest blogger friends started out blogging to have a place to share their thoughts whenever they want.
However! If, by some reason completely unique to your particular circumstance, you:
- Want to take your blog to a whole new level;
- Practice consistency as a writer;
- Have a blog for your business,
Then, blog buddy, you need an audience.
And there’s no better way to be found than in search engines. Bing, Yahoo, Duckduckgo and, of course, Google.
A tl;dr: To implement SEO in your blog is important.
And yet, when I asked around “How do you implement SEO in your blog?”, most beginner to **stage two** bloggers answer the same thing:
And okay, pause for a sec. No disrespect to Yoast SEO. I LOVE it. I use it on my blog. We use it here in BBP. It is a LIFE-CHANGING magical tool!
But there is more you can do to implement SEO in your blog beyond making sure those Readability and SEO buttons are green. And, like Yoast, none of them really need that expert-level technical know-how.
How to Implement SEO in Your Blog (beyond installing Yoast!)
1) Add alt texts on every image
Alt texts in images were originally made for screen readers, which helps our visually impaired friends in knowing what exactly is in the image they’re currently scrolling through. Simply put, alt texts are for those who can’t see an image.
You know who else “can’t see” an image? Search engine algorithms.
Alt texts are a way for search engines to “see” the images you include in your blog posts.
Now, if you’re familiar with Pinterest, you may know alt texts as that box you put your Pin Description in.
Please don’t do that!
We’ll talk more extensively on alt text and pin descriptions in a future post. But for now, know this: An effective alt text is one that describes the image. So if your image is a pink jellyfish against a blue background, put that in your alt text.
2) Make your blog post human-friendly
If I have what I like to call an “SEO philosophy”, it will be this: place 30% priority to appealing the algorithm and 70% priority to appealing the readers.
Simply put, while gaining the approval of Google and Pinterest and Bing is important, I place a higher importance to my actual readers. The human beings who will actually find insights in or be entertained by my content.
Because, let’s be real here, those search engines? They listen to what the humans say. Those algorithms take note of what articles and pages we frequent. That’s why they have come up with metrics like bounce rate and session times.
If a visitor stays long, then whatever web page they’re visiting must have a high value, yes? YES.
What’s ONE way you can make your blog human-friendly?
Avoid keyword stuffing.
That is so early 2000s Internet, y’all. Quite frankly, the algorithms today are way smarter than it was back then. Google has basically become allergic to keyword stuffing. Instead, write a blog post that your readers (and YOU) will love!
3) Always have inbound and outbound links
Inbound links are links to pages or posts within your website. Meanwhile, outbound links are links to pages or posts from another website.
I’ve seen blog posts with lots of inbound links but zero outbound ones. And though you will get some brownie points from Google for your inbound links, you’ll be much more valuable if you share the love and link to another website.
Bonus points if you let them know you linked to their page or post, too! People love it when others link to their blog post. And some will even share your post across their social platforms too!
4) Optimize your website performance and speed
You said we’ll only be tackling beginner-friendly tweaks, Kate! Those are super-technical terms ahhhh can’t!!!
I understand why you’re panicking, friend, but CALM DOWN.
I’m not gonna tell you to go ahead and rewrite your blog’s CSS yourself. Honestly, even I don’t know how to do that!
Fortunately, there are small things you can do to improve your site speed in a few minutes, like:
- Being intentional with what plugins you use. If you use Jetpack, don’t make the same mistake I did and also installed Jetpack alternatives. (I know! I’m so mad at myself too!) Only install and activate the plugins you’ll actually use.
- Use performance-improving plugins like Autoptimize and WP Smush.
- Choose a great web hosting service. Here in BBP, we use 1and1 IONOS Hosting but Siteground and Lyrical Host are top picks for our Blogging Buddies members too!
Side note on hosting: If you’ll have a site that has a lot of features and will be super image-heavy, I highly suggest picking either a managed WordPress hosting or your own server.
Not to worry, though. Shared hosting will do for most bloggers!
There are so many other ways you can up your page speed. But we’ll talk about that and the ones above more extensively in a future post.
5) Use a cool, keyword-able permalink
But what exactly is an uncool permalink, you may ask? Well, this:
Basically, when there’s numbers, it’s not a cool permalink.
You want to be able to put some keywords into your permalink! To do that you need to go to your WordPress Dashboard >> Settings >> Permalinks and click the permalink structure you want. At the moment, I’m using the permalink structure with dates on my blog so I could enable redirect from my old WordPress.com link to my current self-hosted domain.
It’s true that implementing SEO doesn’t have to be super technical. But you can always go a layer or two deeper than just using an SEO plugin like Yoast. I’ve given you five things you can do but even just doing two of them is massive!