SEO hacks for bloggers or blogs, in general, can be very different than for regular websites. Unfortunately, many bloggers are intimidated when trying to figure out how to use SEO practices or overwhelmed by all the SEO advice out there.
Instead of sticking your head in the sand, let me show you some quick, easy ways to optimize your SEO that won’t drive you crazy. These tips are easy to implement and don’t take much time at all.
SEO hacks for bloggers work over time
Search engine optimization is a long-term game. It’s not something that can be improved instantly or quickly, but it is a strategy where consistent effort pays off over time. So don’t get discouraged if you don’t start to see search engine traffic increase right away.
1. Use keyword phrases
Long-tail keywords are where it’s at! People don’t search for just a single keyword anymore.
Think about it- What was the last thing you searched for online? I bet you didn’t use a single word, right? Right! Searching for a single keyword online results in a mess of untargeted, general leads. Talk about a waste of time.
Instead, people search for an exact solution. Instead of searching for dog shampoo, people are more likely to search for dog shampoo for dry skin.
2. Fix your slug before publishing
Your slug is the portion of your URL that takes you to the post. For example, the URL for my blog & biz strategy coaching page is http://theartofbetter.com/coaching the slug of that URL would be ‘coaching.’
The URL to this post is http://theartofbetterblogging.com/seo-hacks-for-bloggers the slug of this URL is ‘SEO-hacks-for-bloggers.’
SEO hacks for bloggers is my long-tail keyword phrase for this post.
If you’re wondering why it’s important to fix it BEFORE you hit publish, lucky you! That means you’ve never had to set up redirects and deal with 404s and broken links! *high five*
3. Optimize your image file names before uploading
Your image file names need to have your keyword phrase in the front[ish] part and relate the point of your post. You’ll also want to have your site name in there. This is one of the most straight-forward SEO hacks for bloggers. It takes minimal effort or strategy but can pay big dividends.
The trickiest part is making sure you’re doing it BEFORE uploading. Argh. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to re-upload.
While you’re at it, make sure you’re optimizing your image file size. Crunch those suckers down. Google also notices page size & speed as playing a large factor in reader friendliness. Makes sense! My favorite free image optimizer is Kraken.io. I prefer that to yet another plug-in on my site to do it.
4. Use image ALTs to your advantage
Every image has an ALT attribute that you should be using in the correct way.
The ALT was created back in the early days of the internet when 96k speeds were a luxury so most internet browsers would keep the images turned off so they wouldn’t have to wait 4-6minutes for a single page to load.
Today, however, image ALT tags are used primarily for accessibility reasons and by search engines to glean information about a web page.
Every time you put an image into a post, you’ll want to craft a fabulous, keyword rich description to put in the ALT field. This process is similar to crafting a wonderful excerpt for your post. Get your keyword phrase near the front and use natural language to describe the article.
Avoid keyword stuffing! Google will spank you for it eventually, and it’s just tacky.
As a bonus, whatever you put in your image’s ALT tag will show up as the default description when saved on Pinterest…. and the vast majority of Pinterest users don’t bother to change it before pinning. Yay! RELATED: How to Drive Colossal Traffic Using Pinterest
This is one of my favorite SEO hacks for bloggers because it also helps grow your Pinterest following without a single extra step.
5. Always place your keyword phrase forward
The placement of your keyword phrase should always be near the front… front of the headline, front of the ATL tag, front of the file name, front of the excerpt, etc…. whenever possible.
Don’t do this to the detriment of readability, though. If your words, sentences, and even small paragraphs don’t make sense, Google knows. Plus, your priority should be to take care of your readers, right?
6. Structure your post for short attention spans
Love it or hate it, attention spans are short short short nowadays. Search engines know this, especially Google. They know that most people searching prefer particular types of articles.
Yes, I’m talking about numbered list posts. Again, whether you love em or hate em, numbered list headlines are the #1 type of headline clicked.
Second place goes to the ‘how to’ type headline.
Google knows what people want, and people want numbered list posts and how-tos. It’s just the nature of the beast we call the internet.
What does that mean for you? You need to have a fair amount or, at the very least, a sprinkling, of numbered list and how to posts.
Honestly, I’m not sure why people hate on the numbered list post so much. I think a lot of writing purists out there take it as some sort of insult that internet content needs to be scannable. Meh. Personally, I’ve got bigger things to worry about.
Google knows what people want, and people want #ed list posts and how-tos. SEO Hacks for… Click To Tweet
7. Craft your headline like a boss
Headlines are important but remember to write the post first before even thinking about what you’re going to title it. Start with your conclusion, next do your intro, then the meat of the post. Many times your post is going to evolve as you’re writing but having a particular destination in mind helps keep you focused.
This is the age of a million and one tools out there, darling, use them! My favorite headline tool is easily CoSchedule‘s Headline Analyzer.
Pro tip: odd numbers perform better than even numbers in numbered list headlines. That’s odd, right? (HA! See what I did there?!)
SEO PRO TIP: Odd #s perform better than even #s in headlines. That's odd, right? (HA!) Click To Tweet
8. Your meta description matters!
Your meta description is the little summary that appears under the headline and URL in search engine results. If you don’t specify a meta description, search engines will just show the first sentence or two of your post.
Instead, craft your meta description for SEO. Get your long-tail keyword towards the front, tell possible readers why they need to read YOUR post, and don’t forget to include when you have a content upgrade included with the post like a video, workbook, checklist, etc.
9. Use H2 headlines to your advantage
Remember, internet content needs to be super scannable. Another way to do this that will help your perceived readability, and your SEO, is to include multiple H2 sub-headings throughout your blog post.
Doing so breaks up your text and helps prevent information overwhelm for your readers.
Craft sub-headings so that the first one in the post contains your keyword phrase near the front. See how building great SEO for your blog is all about compounding strategies? It doesn’t have to be complicated!
Building great blog SEO is all about compounding simple strategies! It doesn't have to be… Click To Tweet
10. Use your chosen keyword phrase throughout your blog post
After you’ve written your epic post, crafted a fabulous headline, and made sure to insert clever sub-headings, go back through and add your keyword phrase at least 3-4 times in your text. If your post is more than 1000 words, try to work a few more in there.
It’s extremely important to do your best to ensure that your post still sounds natural. The best way to double check this is to read your post aloud to see if it still sounds conversational.
11. Get inbound links from bigger sites & social media… but do it right.
Sure, any blogger knows that guest blogging for bigger sites and getting other links on bigger sites can be huge for SEO. However, did you know the text that’s linked is also important?
“Check out Jenns awesome post <link>HERE</link>” is not as beneficial as “Check out Jenn’s awesome post on <link>11 SEO Hacks for Bloggers Who Hate SEO</link>”
I call the former lazy linking. I catch myself doing it from time to time also, I think everyone does, but its best to do the latter, by a lot.
Google is the eye in the sky and sees everything so the text that’s linked to your URL matters. Even as you’re interlinking your own posts, which is important, be cognizant of the text you link.
Also, when you’re linking to a piece on social media, be sure to get the title or keywords in the post.
➔ SEO PRO TIP: Don't be a lazy linker! Link text that matters- KWs or post title! Click To Tweet
See, SEO is easy!
OK, well, maybe not easy, but doable. Right?
I put these SEO hacks for bloggers together to simplify and demystify SEO. A few small changes here and there can make a huge impact over time.
Now that you’ve read my entire piece, go back and identify how I’ve used each of these strategies in this blog post!
Do you have any other easy SEO hacks for bloggers that you’d like to share? Pop em in the comments!