[AD] I can’t quite believe how long ago I started a blog and how, if I’m honest I really didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. Blogging seemed quite straight forward, write a few words and add a picture and as they say Bob’s your uncle. But in reality, there is a little more to blogging than that. Yes, those are the basics but what everybody really wants is people to come and take a look and actually read what you have written. That is when I started to do some research on how people could find my blog. The first step was to promote my blog posts on social media, but this entailed setting up social media accounts and actually finding some followers.
Another way of people finding your blog is via search engines such as Google. Google now processes over 40,000 searches every second which totals over 3.5 billion searches every day. With that many searches being made every day how on earth do little blogs as mine get noticed? The answer is SEO; Search Engine Optimisation.
There are many companies that are experts in SEO and can help optimise web pages to rank higher in search engines. Businesses such as click.co.uk are far more experienced than me and are able to optimise websites to a much higher technical standard than I ever could. Search engine optimization can seem complicated but there are a few simple things that a blogger can do to increase the visibility of their blog posts in search engine results.
WHAT IS SEO?
Simply put, SEO is a number of actions a person does to help their blog post gain a higher position in search engine results. Search engines have ‘bots’ that crawl the web looking for search terms and will then rank each post it finds based upon how well it matches the search term used.
For example, if I searched in google for ‘Afternoon Tea‘, I get 361 million results. That’s not very helpful at all. However, If I narrow down my search and type ‘Afternoon Tea Dunsley Hall‘ there are 13,300 results and my review of their afternoon tea is on the first page at number 6. This ranks after the venue’s page and a number of trip advisor reviews.
As a small blog, I am really happy with this result and I know from my reader stats this post has been very popular with people visiting my blog over the past 2 years.
What Did I Do To Rank My Post At No. 6?
There are a number of points that I looked at while writing this post, this is a very simplistic overview as I am by no means an expert in SEO. What I use is a WordPress plugin called Yoast.
Yoast is set up with a traffic light system and a number of SEO markers. The idea is that you turn all of the SEO markers to green. This is what the Yoast plugin looks like for my Afternoon Tea at Dunsley Hall blog post:
When you are working on SEO for a blog post the first thing you need to do is decide on the keyword; this is what someone would type into google to find what they are looking for. For this post, I used the words. ‘Dunsley Hall’. I did some research by typing in searches myself in google and I decided on either:
- Afternoon Tea Dunsley Hall
- Dunsley Hall
My research had shown, as stated above, just ‘afternoon tea’ gave far too many results and I would never rank high enough in search results. One of the markers is to use the keyword in the main part of your post a number of times. Using afternoon tea at D
This post is one that I need to go back to and work more on SEO. When I first started blogging I really did have no idea what I was doing regarding SEO and even when I started to use Yoast after I had heard it was the go-to plugin, I still didn’t really know what I was dong and just chipped away until the overall post was green. As you can see there is a redpoint and 3 amber points and I want to revisit my older posts and try to turn as many of the markers green as I can. In this particular post, I can certainly turn the red marker green by adding a meta description; this is the summary that is shown when you publish a link to a blog page. If no meta description is posted then the first 150 characters of the blog post are used.
As I said above I really am not an expert when it comes to SEO but I find that Yoast really does help me optimise my blog posts as well as I can with my limited understanding. Specialist SEO businesses can be a godsend if you find yourself out of your depth and want an instant boost to your blog post’s search rankings.
One other tip I can give is to go back to old posts and review the SEO and where possible update the posts. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and nothing can beat you continually keeping up to date on all things SEO.