This is a guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for absolute beginners that will give you practical advice on how to optimize your blog posts so that you can rank higher on Google in 2018. If you are a blogger or a digital marketing enthusiast that has ever quite known how to get started with SEO but want to get your feet wet, this is for you. Post your questions in the comments below and we can talk about it.
Before we even begin, download the Yoast plugin. It is a free tool that controls the meta-data on your page (the data behind your data) and will help you streamline SEO for all your content. Let’s proceed:
The title of your page should contain your main keyword, which should be as close to the front as possible. It is no accident that our title is “SEO For Beginners: Get Higher Search Ranking For Your Blog in 2018”. This is a vital indicator to Google about what the content is.
Yoast will automatically input a description of your post, but you should rewrite it to make sure it speaks to the mindset of your target audience. This is your chance to increase your pages’ CTR (Click Through Rates) by compelling audiences to click your link. If your CTRs are more than your competitors’, Google might rank your site higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Try to include relevant keywords in your URL. You can update that using the permalink settings on Yoast.
Metadata plays a role in how Google perceives your content, which in turn determines how much organic traffic you can generate. Use keywords appropriately but do not overdo it. Google’s algorithms are now especially sensitive to keyword stuffing and can tell when someone is trying to manipulate the system. Write for the reader and not the robot. Focus on creating relevant, quality content.
Are you with us so far?
Heading tags such as <h1>, <h2> all the way to <h6> instructs Google about the hierarchy of content within your blog post. Our title, for example ‘SEO For Beginners: Get Higher Search Ranking For Your Blog in 2018’ is listed as a <h1> tag. Check your source page on your blog to make sure the title has the <h1> tag. Google’s spiders mark <h1> as the most overarching title, and the rest of the tags as supporting content in descending order. Structure your content in a way that proves to Google’s spiders the organization and the relevance of the keywords that you’ve found.
Look at the organization of this blog post:
<h1> SEO For Beginners: Get Higher Search Ranking For Your Blog in 2018
<h2> Things You Should Know
Things You Should Know
A search engine spider is a bot that crawls through every page of your site. Every time it visits, it begins at the home page, reads your metadata and tags then follows the links in your content. Spiders are like little mercenaries who go out into the world and report information back to their search engine. This is how your web pages become indexed, and searchable on the web.
Think of Google’s index as a giant library of websites. The spiders that are constantly crawling through websites, links and content enable Google to create a hierarchy, based on its ever-changing algorithms, to rank these pages from 1 to infinity.
Conclusion (+Bonus Tips)
Optimizing your blog posts for Google’s rankings has become simpler with plugins such as Yoast, and algorithms that have simplified the whole process.
- Create relevant, high quality content.
- Be mobile-friendly (which means have a responsive website).
- Focus on decreasing bounce rates and increasing visit duration.
- Don’t share pirated content or overrun your website with ads and affiliate content.
The more you can show Google that your site is popular, relevant and authoritative, the higher up you go on those search pages. Start optimizing.
Our writer, Barbara Jebet, is a content strategist and a brand storyteller. Check out her blog: the slightly curious world of story pot.