So your blog is all set up and ready to go. You have your topic picked out and, quite honestly, it’s pretty awesome if you say so yourself. Now the question becomes: “how do I find my readers?” In this post, we’ll cover SEO basics so you can grow your blog audience and blog smart.
People are going to come across your blog posts a number of ways. Some will find them through social media, others through word of mouth. One of the biggest ways people will find your blog, however, is through search engines (like Google).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are a few useful techniques you can use to help your blog posts rank high up on search engine results. Collectively, these techniques are known as search engine optimization (SEO). Here we outline a few of the most powerful techniques that you can leverage to grab that number one spot and get your blog seen by future fans!
Focusing SEO on Keywords
Keywords are the words or phrases that are most central to your blog topic. A keyword can be a single word like “baking” or it can be a whole phrase like “baking english muffins”. It is essential to pick the keywords that are relevant to your article and to use them correctly.
To leverage keywords for SEO, you should make sure of three things:
- First off, you want to make sure you use your most important keyword in the title of your post. Ideally, the title of your article is phrased the same way that people might search for your topic. For example, imagine your keyword is “baking english muffins.” You might want to title your article something like “How to Bake English Muffins.” Simple enough, right?
- Second, you want you use your keyword in “heading 2” or <h2> format throughout your article. “Heading 2” headings are used to title the subsections of your post and help to break it up into more readable chunks. That way, you’ll never overwhelm your reader with huge walls of text!
- Third, you want to make sure that your keyword is used in the optimal keyword density. Your keyword should make up no more than 1-2% of the total words in your post. If your keyword density is too high, it will begin to negatively affect your SEO. This practice is known as “keyword stuffing”. Think of your keywords as food for your blog. Eating just enough makes you feel great! Eating too much makes you “stuffed”…sluggish, slow, and less efficient.
Selecting Content for SEO
There are a few essentials to keep in mind when drafting up the content for your blog post. The top three things you should focus on are: word count, time on site by your readers, and original content.
When considering word count, you are going to keep your posts at a minimum of 300 words–we recommend something closer to 500. This will do a few things. Most importantly, it will keep your content high quality. There is typically more to any given subject than can be covered in 300 words…don’t be afraid to share your expertise with your readers! That’s why they’re visiting your blog after all. Additionally, it will allow you to use your keyword more times (without “keyword stuffing” of course!) and will increase your reader’s time on site.
Time on site (or session duration) refers to the amount of time that a reader spends on your blog before navigating away or clicking the back button. The higher the time on site, the better your search ranking by far. Choosing intriguing topics and providing readers with engaging content will keep them enthusiastic about reading your posts all the way. This will ultimately keep them around for longer, improving your SEO dramatically.
Original Content is King
You may have heard the expression “content is king”. Well, all of us here at Tymbal tend to agree. Good, original content, such as articles, pictures, graphics, videos, etc. are engaging, will satisfy your audience, increase your time on site, and earn its own SEO boost in the search algorithms. As long as your content is truly original and can not be found anywhere else, it is going to help you get to the top.
Backlinks are Key to SEO
When Google first came onto the search engine scene, their PageRank algorithm was a pretty big deal. Even though it may seem obvious to us today, they were the first search engine to rank a webpage based on how many other sites link back to the page. This meant that the more links that lead back to your page that existed out there on the internet, the higher your SEO ranking. PageRank still exists today (although it is far more complex now), so it is still important, just a little different than it used to be.
Getting quality backlinks is big. You can start by setting up your blog on social networks, posting your articles on your accounts, and engaging with your audience. Beyond that, you are going to need to start making relationships with other influencers in your community. Offer to write guest blog posts or trade backlinks one for one (just make sure they are in high quality places!). If you are new, you can even link to other blogs for free as a show of good faith.
Good SEO Takes Time
Whatever your approach, make sure you stay after it and put in the effort. You are not going to see results instantly..good SEO takes time. Once you build your reputation, craft original high quality content, and get your readers engaged, the search engine rankings will follow closely behind.