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Few topics are more intimidating than SEO. Most of the time bloggers aren’t exactly sure what it is, or how to do it, but they know that they need it! By definition, SEO is the process of maximizing traffic to a site by ensuring that site appears high on the list of search engine returns. SEO helps your blog gain visibility to people who are searching for what you’re offering. Where a blog or website ranks in search returns is dependent on a given search engine’s formula, also called an algorithm, and these algorithms change regularly. So, the algorithm Google uses is different than Bing’s, and the algorithm Google is using today won’t necessarily be the same in a few weeks. SEO is a broad topic, and definitely can’t be covered in one blog post, but we’ve narrowed down our top 7 tips on how to tackle it, from a blogger’s perspective.
1. Don’t try to outsmart search engines. Meaning, if you’re writing a post about chocolate chip cookies, don’t just repeat the term “chocolate chip cookies” hundreds of times throughout your post. Search engines are looking to provide users with the result that they think will be the most valuable, and not necessarily the one that mentions the searched-for term over and over.
2. Be specific with your titles. So instead of naming your post about chocolate chip cookies “Yummy Treats” consider giving it a title that pertains to what you’re actually writing about.
3. Link build. Every time someone comes to your post from a link found on another blog, or from social media (think Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook), that helps to ‘up’ the credibility and quality of your content from the viewpoint of search engines.
4. Name your images. When you upload images to your blog posts, you’re often given the option to name them (a name is different than a caption–a caption is seen below the picture whereas a name isn’t). Rather than uploading media to your blog with the name “IMG_1234.jpg” give it a name that makes sense, and describes what it is, i.e. “BloguettesChocolateChipCookie.jpg”.
5. Keep in mind that Pinterest board titles are also detected by search engines! So if you’re pinning images from your blog onto your Pinterest account (which you totally should!), you can name that board aptly. So going back to the chocolate chip cookie reference, we’d pin those images to a board named something like “Bloguettes Recipes” instead of “Tasty Food”. We only recommend doing this for your own images–don’t pin other people’s images to a Pinterest board that you’ve denoted to be content that you created.
6. Write a meta description! A meta description is the short snippet just below the link of a search result. Often times all you need to provide a meta description for your blog posts is a plugin. Here is one we like. Use your meta description to tell potential readers what they’ll get out of your post if they decide to click. And keep it right around 150 characters. Too long and it will get cut off, rendering it pretty much useless.
7. Do your research! There is always more to learn about SEO. With every new algorithm, there are endless articles from experts and bloggers about what the updates mean. One of our favorite blogs to get SEO news and knowledge from is The Moz Blog.
As we mentioned in the beginning of this post, search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so the world of SEO isn’t something you can learn about once and become a pro. Becoming sufficient in SEO is a process, and we hope these tips can help you jumpstart the optimization of your own blog’s search engine visibility or at least get you thinking about how you might be able to use SEO when writing posts.