SEO Basics for Bloggers

Back for some more blogggging tips :) My hubs is taking over the post and providing you a basic overview for SEO to set up the next series of posts on this topic, here he is:

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.

SEO Basics

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.

Keywords

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.

Examples:
– 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.

metadata title description

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.

Images

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.

Links

A topic I can talk about for days…but I'll keep it short and simple.

There are two types of links:

Inbound (Backlinks)

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”.

Outbound

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.

Conclusion

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.

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53 Comments

  1. coffeeslag December 1, 2015 at 8:30 am

    This was so interesting and I actually learned a lot! I would love to read more tips like these. You definitely sound like an expert and super informative.

    http://www.coffeeslag.com

    Reply
  2. The Life of a Lady December 1, 2015 at 9:48 am

    You guys do a great job with these blogger tips posts. I always look forward to reading them! I learn lots from you.

    xoxo,
    Brittani

    Reply
  3. Breanna December 1, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I might sound silly but what is link juice?

    Reply
    1. Anthony December 1, 2015 at 11:37 am

      There is no such thing as silly questions! We are all here to learn.

      Think of link juice as a recommendation. For example, I want to find a place that serves cold brew coffee. I ask two of my friends, one that’s a barista and another who rarely drinks coffee, on where I can find the best cold brew. Each of them offer recommendations. I would be more willing to take the advice of my barista friend over the friend that hardly drinks coffee because he’s more knowledgeable on the subject and more likely has the best recommendations. He carries more authority/power.

      A website with a higher rank can pass link juice (authority/power) to a website with a lower rank through backlinks. It’s validating the lower ranked website’s credibility because it gave a “recommendation” (aka link) on it’s website that points to the lower ranked site.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
      1. Breanna December 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm

        It does!!!!! Thank you so much for your help :)

        Reply
      2. Heather Norgord December 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        Any analogy done using coffee is a good analogy haha. Thank you for all the tips! Very helpful :)

        Reply
  4. fancy December 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    short, sweet, and easy to understand. thank you for the helpful information on SEO.

    Reply
  5. Lilly E. B. December 1, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Great post! I feel like I have been doing all of these the exact way you mentioned, yet I have yet to see my pageviews increase significantly in the last six months. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Anthony December 1, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Truly this post just scratches the surface when it comes to implementing a SEO strategy. What I discussed should be the bare minimum any blogger should do for SEO. I will get more in depth on various techniques and case studies, but I first wanted to introduce the idea.

      That being said, there’s a lot of other factors that can contribute to gaining more pageviews…for instance, a social media strategy plan. I did check out your blog and would suggest you optimize your meta title and description tag. Right now this is what you have on Google.
      daily craving

      Using a tagline line and specific keywords within your metadata tags will help SEO. Example of ours below:
      thrifts and threads

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Reply
      1. Lilly December 2, 2015 at 6:59 am

        Thank you so much, Anthony! This is actually something I’ve noticed and have been searching trying to figure out how to change it. Could you please tell me how and where I have to go to edit meta tittle and description?

        Reply
        1. Kristen Conahan March 12, 2016 at 12:30 pm

          I believe it’s the back end of your website – you can change the code yourself or hire someone to help.

          xoxo

          Reply
  6. Esraa Bassiouni December 2, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Thanks so much for explaining what is SEO. I have been wondering for quite a time what is the SEO that every blogger is talking about. This article was really helpful.
    simplystylinglife.wordpress.com

    Reply
  7. Emilie December 2, 2015 at 5:06 am

    Hi! Can I just ask you something! I’m crazy about your menu! What HTML code are you using – if I may ask?
    Hope you can help me!

    Reply
  8. Trudy December 2, 2015 at 6:36 am

    This was so helpful and so well explained! I get really confused by it all sometimes so this is great!
    Trudy x | TrudyJohanna

    Reply
  9. Ewenique December 2, 2015 at 9:07 am

    It seems that SEO is always changing as Google implements different “rules” to play their game. I look forward to reading more of what you have learned.

    Reply
    1. Anthony December 2, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Yes, exactly! What worked 2-3 years ago may or may not work now. It’s something you consistently need to be up on. However, the foundation and proper setup typically is constant.

      Reply
  10. MizzJ December 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for the tips! For Flickr users, if you embed Flickr photos into your blog, if you edit the Flickr image title, it shows up as the alt text automatically when you embed it, so that’s one handy way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone :)

    Reply
  11. Yooni K December 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Wow! First, I would like to thank you for the post and series. I’m fairly new to the blogging community so SEO is still pretty confusing to me. You’ve managed to clear away most of the fog. Although while I still do not fully understand how to use SEO. I do comprehend just a bit. Now I am off to read on more of your blogging tip series!

    http://threesacompany.net

    Reply
  12. Kim Tuttle December 4, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this info. SEO has always been a topic a I ever really understood but knew it was an important aspect of blogging, this article clarifies it perfectly. Can’t wait to read more on this topic. Brittany, love your blog and style :)

    Reply
  13. Kimberly Saldana December 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    This post was absolutely amazing! I’m so glad you went into this. Something I really didn’t know anything about. The whole Google thing was really interesting, especially “eye-opening.” Mainly because I never put my website when I comment on a blogger’s site because I think my comment is more valuable than my URL. However, now it looks like it’s better if I do because it will help my blog!

    Really great! Looking forward to more blogging tips posts.
    xo

    belleenrouge.wordpress.com

    Reply
  14. Lyn December 5, 2015 at 5:33 am

    One of the best posts about SEO I’ve read so far! You really write in “human language” and with all the examples etc, really good :)
    I have 2 questions though (they may be stupid but I just don’t know the answer or I’m not sure about the answer) :
    1) if you save the images with a name (for example “SEO basics for bloggers 1) on your computer, does google also find it under that name or does google just see it as an image?
    2) about the keyword in the description, can you give us the answer what’s the keyword in this case (the Thrifts and Threads blog) or is that also for the next time?

    Thank you for sharing your tips!
    & I’m pretty sure Brittany has a lot of support from you regarding the blog, which she absolutely deserves, and it’s beautiful to see how you two work together on the blog and that you’re not shy to be in the Snapchat stories (lots of bloggers their bf’s/husbands are, I don’t blame them but it’s just nice and sweet to see) You’re a great family of 3, well of 4 actually counting Eloïse in :)
    xox Lyn

    Reply
    1. Anthony December 13, 2015 at 12:05 am

      Hi Lyn!

      Thank you for the comment :) To answer your questions…
      1) Brittany and I always try to rename our images based on keywords we’re trying to target. When you import them into WordPress, what you named your images will be placed into the title tag. So it makes it convenient. This happens MOST of the time. When using VSCO, even if you change the file name, VSCO will add a title such as “Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset”…which is annoying, but can easily be replaced by putting what you want in the title tag while you import your pictures.

      2)I didn’t want to go overboard on the keyword stuffing, but I was shooting for “thrifts” and “LA Style Blogger”. I know in the title it says “LA style blog” and in the description it says “Los Angeles style blogger”…Google is smart enough to recognize the variation. You want to get the same idea across with different keywords.

      I don’t mind the Snap…occasionally lol

      Reply
  15. Auneetuh December 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    SEO has always been the bane of my blogging existence, this was really helpful! Thank you. I live in a small city with very few fashion bloggers, I have a level of popularity right now but whenever people search for “winnipeg fashion bloggers” , I am never on the first page. How can I increase my ranking and get on the first page with that search title?

    Reply
    1. Anthony December 12, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      I just did a quick look throughout your site and “Winnipeg” is mentioned maybe once or twice. It’s not in your meta title/description either. If you notice, when you type in “Winnipeg fashion bloggers” in Google, that blogs that come up have “Winnipeg” in their title or description. I would suggest adding that keyword, that way you let Google know you’re a Winnipeg blogger.

      Also keep in mind, you want to rank for keywords with high search volume…”winnipeg fashion bloggers” hardly has any number of searches. You may find it more beneficial to target other keywords.

      Reply
  16. Elizabeth T. December 11, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Thank you so much for this helpful post! :) I really appreciate it, especially as a new blogger who has almost zero clue about SEO and all of the technical things! Can’t wait to read even more from this series of posts!

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

    Reply
  17. Shelby December 13, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    So far these post have been the most helpful with starting my own blog! I’m currently in the researching stage and getting started is pretty intense! Looking forwards to your future posts.

    . Shelby

    Reply
  18. charlene January 5, 2016 at 10:01 am

    thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  19. Brooke Lisow January 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Hey Brittany and Anthony,
    Happy New Year! I truly enjoy reading your blog and following you on Insta and Snap. You have the cutest little family :)
    I FINALLY just launched my blog, PalmTreeAndTrends.com, (please check it out feedback and tips are welcomed.)
    Anthony, I was wondering for the part you mentioned about METADATA TITLES / DESCRIPTIONS how would I be able to add a description on google search for my blog?

    Thanks in Advance.
    Brooke Lisow
    @BrookeLisow

    Reply
  20. Katherine January 6, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Hi Brittany – thanks so much for these posts, you’ve got such a beautiful blog that it’s an absolute pleasure reading :) more inspo to start my own!

    Reply
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  24. Carolina Hellal February 5, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Thank you so much for doing these posts!! they are so helpful, and easy to understand! Keep up the great work, you guys are such a great team!

    Reply
  25. Kristen Conahan March 12, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge! I find it so interesting as well and it’s quite a game to keep up with it all. Totally get your drive for learning and “winning’ the game.

    Two questions:

    1) how do you know if someone has linked you as nofollow or do-follow? I’ve been told to make all of my links no-follow when linking to outbound links, is that a good suggestion?

    2) other than press, can you share a post on how to get incoming links to your site? Is the only way press?

    Thanks in advance!

    http://www.stylewaxpoetic.com

    Reply
  26. Ashley June 15, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Great information and very well-explained… Thanks for this!

    Reply
  27. JordanLaurelle October 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks so much! This was such a helpful post!!

    Reply
  28. Brittany October 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    These are so beyond helpfulllll. I can’t thank you guys enough!! My number one resource for sure! :)

    Xx Brittany
    SincerelyStyled.com
    ^^with that said, lol

    Reply
  29. Raihan November 17, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    A good way. This post has good information and a list of all the activity with good explanation. SEO has always been the bane of my blogging existence, this was really helpful! Thank you. I live in a small city with very few fashion bloggers, I have a level of popularity right now but whenever people search for “Winnipeg fashion bloggers” , I am never on the first page. How can I increase my ranking and get on the first page with that search title?

    Reply
  30. Raihan November 18, 2016 at 12:41 am

    This post will help me to develop my own-self website.Thank you so much for this helpful post! : I really appreciate it, especially as a new blogger who has almost zero clue about SEO and all of the technical things! Can’t wait to read even more from this series of posts!

    Reply
  31. David Roth November 19, 2016 at 5:38 am

    so so so useful! thank you!

    Reply
  32. Michelle January 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you so much! Just starting my blog and this whole series is helping so much!

    Reply
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