SEO Basics

SEO: what is it and why do you need to know about it?

Let’s start with the basics.

google.jpg
Effective use of SEO will rank your web page higher on a Google web search (source: Community Management)

SEO = search engine optimisation. It’s a collection of strategies, tactics and techniques designed to earn a high ranking position in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo), which will drive more viewers to your site. Fewer than 10% of consumers will advance to the second page of a Google search; even fewer will continue past that point. A ton of internet traffic comes from search engines. This makes it pivotal to ensure your page has a decent ranking – who wants to be invisible on the internet?

google-traffic-by-page-results
Over 90% of internet users will not venture past ‘page 1’ of results on a Google search (source: Proto Fuse)

How to Implement SEO on your Blog

Now that we’ve established a brief definition of SEO and discussed its value, we need to figure out how to incorporate SEO theory for our own benefit.

There is a variety of software which exists for the purpose of search engine optimisation. Popular sources include SEO Powersuite and Advanced Web Ranking. Alternatively, if you upgrade to a paid WordPress account, SEO options become available – but all of that costs money (which, if you’re first-world poor like me, is a fairly significant barrier). Instead I’m going to mention some tips on boosting SEO without having to purchase any software.

1.Use simple URLs

A URL is a “uniform resource locator“; the ‘address’ for a website. To be SEO-friendly, a URL should be very simple (i.e. easy to read for both humans and search engine algorithms) and state what the post is about.

Good example: https://thisisclairesworld.wordpress.com/post/how-to-optimise-seo

Bad example: https://thisisclairesworld.wordpress.com/post/9834

You can change this by going to the ‘More Options’ menu under ‘Post Settings’. Type your desired URL in the text-box which says ‘Slug’.

Alternatively, you can visit the permalink page under settings.

permalink.png
Adjusting your permalinks is an effective way to boost SEO (source: WP Beginner)

2. Use Categories and Tags

Sorting posts into categories and tags makes your site much easier to navigate. Additionally, categories and tags are what search engines use to understand what you’re writing about.

  • Categories are a method of grouping posts which are attached to your blog. For example, on this blog, I have a category for each of my different subjects, and another for personal posts, for example ‘digital media’ or ‘book reviews’.
  • Tags are more specific keywords which are attached to a specific post, for example ‘SEO’, ‘how-to’ or ‘blogging’.
tags
source: pearsonified

An effective way to tag is to conduct a keyword search (try wordtracker or Google Adwords), to find out what is trending (what people are searching for). Additionally, try different variation of the same keywords. For example, if you are writing a post on writers, you may choose to tag ‘writer’, ‘writers’ and ‘writing’, to cover as many potential web engine searches as possible.

3. Interlink your posts

They call in the INTERnet; “inter” as in between. People click between sources quickly and compulsively – so why not keep them on your site? Linking previously published posts to your new ones will encourage a boost in page views, increase your SEO score and keep people on your site for longer. Just copy the URL, highlight the phrase you wish to hyperlink and hit Ctrl+V. Click on edit after the hyperlink appears and you can play around with how you want your link to appear (see below). Hint: by ticking ‘open link in new tab’, your viewer is less likely to leave your site, or that particular page at least.

internallinking.jpg
Linking previous posts to the one you are writing is a way to boost SEO (source: WP Beginner)

4. Show an excerpt of your post, rather than the whole text, on the front page

This will make your pages load faster (because there’s less material) and increase page views, because followers will not be able to view the whole post in their reader and thus will be forced to visit your site to see the whole article. Search engines may find ‘whole posts’ to be duplicate content, so this also helps your SEO score to increase.

Now get out there & get famous!

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source: giphy

That’s it for my (extremely) simplified version of search-engine optimisation. There are an infinite number of theories out there; their respective validity is entirely dependent upon your blog style and content – so get researching!

-Claire

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