Thank you for your comments on my last photography post regarding the camera’s manual setting. I read each and every comment and will be following it up with some video tutorials on how I edit Brittany’s photos. I really feel that video will be the best way to teach my techniques. Given that video takes a little bit more time to put together, I figure we could dive into another subject while I finalize the photo editing series.
This post is an overview so you can understand the concept of SEO and how it can help your site, upcoming posts will be more hands on about how to take action and implement these concepts.
Before we get started, let me share some background information about myself. After college, (and right before I met Brittany) I actually worked for an agency developing social media and SEO strategies for local businesses and big brand/start-up companies. I was always fascinated with internet marketing and how I could “game” Google’s rankings through the use of various SEO techniques.
I would read every article, participate in every forum and test every idea I could get my hands on. It was definitely a newfound hobby of mine… seeing how fast I could rank a website for any given keyword. Through this, I started to develop my own techniques and moral conscience (too much to explain on this post, but let’s just say some people don't play by the rules when it comes to SEO).
Long story short… I know a thing or two about SEO and I actually still consult small businesses as a side gig to my full-time job.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
When you go to Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine website, you type in various keywords/phrases for what you’re looking for and the search engine will provide a list of website results that best match what you typed in.
It’s the search engine’s job to provide you with the most relevant list of websites that match your query. It tries to understand what you are looking for and provide the best possible results.
SEO is about optimizing your website so that search engines will acknowledge you as a credible source and put your website among the listings. Proper SEO will increase your website visibility and drive more traffic to your site.
In this post, I am going to focus on Google as the main search engine because they dominate the market compared to others (Yahoo, Bing, etc.)
Understanding how Google works
Google sends out a spider that crawls billions of web pages across the internet to collect information to either add or update Google’s massive index.
Basically, Google spiders will comb your website and collect every little bit of content within your website to add to Google’s search results.
Form there, Google uses over 200 different factors to rank your website based on keyword relevancy. Obviously we will not be covering all 200+, but I will lay the foundation and cover certain key factors that will point you in the right direction for optimizing your website.
What is your article about? What words/phrases would others use to find your post on Google?
Your topic will determine which keyword/keywords you will want to focus on.
Make sure to always include keywords within:
1. Post Title
2. URL (www.thriftsandthreads.com/keyword)
3. Article content
4. Metadata (Title/Description)
This will show Google the main topic of your post, but try not to over do it. Many people believe that by putting the keyword multiple times throughout a post will get them higher rankings for that keyword. This is called “keyword stuffing” and a big no-no. It also takes away from the article itself.
Importance of Post Titles
As stated above, when writing a post, always make sure to include your keyword/keywords within the title of your post.
Example: SEO Basics for Bloggers
The keyword I’m really focusing on is “SEO Basics”. But I also wanted to make it a little more specific to capture “long tail” keyword traffic as well.
Long tail keywords are typically 3-4 word phrases that are more specific and are exactly what the user is searching for.
– SEO Basics for Bloggers
– SEO Techniques for Beginners
– Blogger Techniques on SEO
Metadata Titles / Descriptions
Metadata is the text you see within Google’s search results, but not necessarily within your own blog post.
Make sure your keyword is used within the page title and description. There is a plugin that I will explain on the next post that makes this process very simple.
Google spiders are not able to read images, so they rely on the image file name, title, and alt text to be able to index appropriately.
So before you add your images to your blog, make sure you rename your file and add alt/title text that includes your keyword. This can be all done through WordPress. If you have multiple pictures in a blog post, try using different variations of the keyword in each image.
A topic I can talk about for days…but I'll keep it short and simple.
There are two types of links:
Links from other sites mentioning your website. This can pass “link juice” depending if the link is a Dofollow or Nofollow.
Dofollow – Links that pass “link juice” from website to website.
For instance, if a website that has a higher page rank mentions your website on theirs with a Dofollow backlink, they can pass some of their authority to you making your site more reputable within the eye's of Google.
PageRank is Google’s way of measuring the importance of website pages.
Nofollow – Links that do not pass “link juice”.
Links you have on your website that reference other sites.
Between the two types of links, backlinks are the most important. It shows Google other websites view you as a credible source. But it's wise to have a nice ratio between the two links… not having 10,000 backlinks and 10 outbound links.
A few years ago, all it took to rank high on Google was to create massive amounts of backlinks… basically spamming the internet leaving your website link through blog comments, forums, etc.
Those days are gone. I mean, don’t get me wrong, backlinks still play a major role but it’s not as easy to manipulate Google’s search results through their use anymore. Your website is ranked on more factors than just backlinks.
I hope this provided you with a brief introduction to SEO. Next week I will be diving into more of the hands-on uses of SEO, including the plugin Yoast (WordPress SEO plugin). I will go over how to install, proper setup and basic functions. It really makes my life easier and such a must-have tool.
As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you shortly.
If you're new to the blogging tips series, make sure to check out the other posts HERE.