Did you just start blogging, but have no clue where to start with SEO? No worries! Here are some simple SEO tips for new bloggers to help you figure it out.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of optimizing your website in a way that provides you the best chance of ranking in search results. SEO can be used to describe optimizing for any search engine but is most often used to describe the idea of optimizing your website for Google search results.
Why is SEO Important For New Bloggers?
Search traffic is the primary source of traffic for most sites, and often time it is the best traffic. Search traffic tends to convert significantly better than social media traffic, from places like Facebook and Instagram, for one simple reason.
Your article was shown to them to answer a specific question they have (their search) by a credible source (Google). This lends your article credibility that you can never get from social traffic consisting of people who randomly stumbled upon your site.
Think of SEO as an investment in the future of your blog. It’s a big investment of time and knowledge, but one that you can tackle with the help of these simple SEO tips specifically for new bloggers.
16 SEO Tips For New Bloggers
#1 Don’t Write for Google
Making sure your post is well written for SEO is incredibly important, but it does not mean you should write your articles for Google. You should always write your articles for you and your audience. This is a trap we fell into a while back.
For over a year, every article we wrote was written to fill a keyword. What’s the problem with that? It makes it easy to lose your voice and make your articles feel robotic. Google wants to rank content that readers engage with and want to read.
Think of it this way: Google wants to provide readers with articles they want to read, so the best way to rank is to provide articles that excite your audience. Make sure to keep an authentic voice as you write your articles in order to give your blog a better chance of ranking.
#2 Write for Google
Wait. What? Didn’t I say not to write for Google? Yep. So what do I mean?
The truth is, if you want to rank for keywords, you do need to write for Google, too. But there is a way to write for your audience and Google.
The content of your articles should always focus on what your readers want to read while the structure of your article should focus on what Google can easily understand. For example, a tool like Yoast SEO will help you structure your articles in a way that makes it easy for Google to understand. When Google understands your well-structured article, it knows to rank you higher.
#3 Do Keyword Research
Keyword research can suck, but it is important. Keyword research can take many forms, but in the most basic sense, it is merely trying to find what keywords people are searching for related to your topic. My basic process for keyword research is as follows:
- Brainstorm a list of potential keywords
- Plug those keywords into Google
- Look at the article names of the top results and look for common words used
- Plug those words into a tool like KWFinder
- Pick one or two keywords to target
Don’t let keyword research wholly dictate what you write. But once you know what general subject you want to write about, it is essential to take the time to do a bit of research to find the best keyword for your article. This may force you to make slight changes to the direction of your article, but it is necessary to give your articles a chance to rank.
This SEO tip for new bloggers is really quite simple: take the time to do keyword research and do it right.
#4 Make Sure to Include Your Keyword in Your Article
I know this seems obvious, but it’s a common mistake for new bloggers. If you want to rank for a term, then you have to actually put it in your article. Write your keyword several times into the body of your article for the best results, but make sure to keep the next tip in mind when including your keyword.
Take a second and scan this article and try to find the keyword I’m targeting.
#5 Don’t Keyword Stuff
It’s going to be tempting to shove your keyword into your article as many times as possible. Resist that urge. Making sure your keyword is present in your article is essential, but keyword stuffing is a surefire way not to rank as Google can read it as spammy behavior.
#6 Include Your Keyword in Your Title and Headers
Including your keyword in both the title and some headers helps Google establish the hierarchy of your article. It signals to Google exactly what your article is about so it can rank your post appropriately.
#7 Focus on Search Volume
If your goal for ranking on Google is to get more traffic, then it logically follows that you only want to target keywords that people actually search. Free tools like Google Trends will give you a good idea of the monthly searches a topic receives. However, paid tools such as KWFinder tend to be more up to date and provide more information such as keyword difficulty.
#8 Build Authority
One of the number one mistakes that new bloggers make is that they try to target keywords way out of their reach. You may be an expert on your subject, but Google doesn’t know that, so it’s unlikely they are going to rank you over the giants in your field. You may make the best meatloaf ever made, but until Google figures out that you have the authority to make that claim, they are not going to rank you over the Food Network.
The most significant authority signal for SEO is backlinks from other sites. So how do you build authority?
Focus on the first tip: write for your audience. You can try reaching out to other sites for backlinks, which can work sometimes. But the best way to build authority is to write high-quality content that people want to read, and the backlinks will start to roll in.
#9 Do Not Buy Backlinks
This is a big mistake new bloggers make. All it takes is five minutes in a blogging Facebook group or a search of Fivver to find someone willing to sell you backlinks.
You needed to build authority. The best way to build authority is backlinks. So why not buy some?
It’s simple. Buying backlinks is against Google’s terms, and you will be penalized if you are caught. A penalty may not seem like that big of a deal. But a Google penalty can have a massive impact on your traffic and take years to recover from.
Simply put, avoid Google penalties at all costs. Buying backlinks is not worth it.
#10 Don’t Focus on Big Keywords
So what do you do while you wait to build authority? Do you just not worry about ranking for keywords until you have enough authority?
No. You target lower authority keywords. You may not have the muscle to write for the keyword “Meatloaf recipes,” but you may be able to rank for “Easy meatloaf recipe with ritz crackers.” This is called a long-tail keyword, and they are much easier to rank for since they answer a very specific question. The long-tail keyword has less than 0.1% of the monthly search traffic as the big keyword, but you at least have a chance to rank for it.
My biggest SEO tip for new bloggers is this: a small bite of a small pie is infinitely bigger than no bite of a huge pie.
#11 Answer the Question
You’ve taken the time to find the perfect keyword to target and you’re ready to write your article. Great! But you’re not done yet. If you want to rank, you need to make sure to answer the question that is being asked.
What do I mean by that? You need to be sure that your article answers the question the reader is asking when they search for a keyword.
If someone Googles “easy meatloaf recipe with ritz crackers,” they are almost certainly searching for a recipe, not the history of easy meatloaf recipe with ritz crackers. Always answer the question the reader is asking for your target SEO term. You want to make sure your audience knows what to expect when they click your article so they stay and read it. If it isn’t answering the most obvious question, they’ll close your article and keep searching.
#12 Answer the Other Questions
Some searchers may only have one question, but most have multiple questions. You want to answer as many of them as possible in your article.
How do you figure out what other questions people may have? Easy! Google tells you.
Often, Google will provide a snippet titled “People also ask” that will show you exactly the questions readers want to be answered when searching for a given keyword. It’s always a good idea to try to answer these questions when writing your article. If the question firmly fits within the topic of your article, dedicate a section of the article to specifically address each question.
However, just like keyword stuffing, don’t try to force the question into your article. If it does not fit the topic of your article, leave it out.
Take the time and be thorough when you’re writing your article and try to answer as many of your reader’s questions as possible.
#13 Monitor Your Ranking Keywords
After you’ve ranked for your desired keyword and you’re sitting pretty on the front page, your work is not yet done. Search engine results are constantly changing, and you must be aware of how those changes are affecting you. There are many ways to track your keyword positions, such as using Google Webmaster tools, but the easiest way I’ve found is to use a tool such as SERPWatcher by Mangools.
#14 Don’t Freak Out
Your positions will change, and you are at some point going to get hit by an algorithm update that causes you to experience a significant traffic drop. Don’t panic. If you are writing your content for your readers, your traffic will rebound. If you see a big drop, it may be an excellent time to reevaluate your strategy and look at updating old content.
Nonetheless, avoid the temptation to make any big changes immediately following a significant algorithm change. Both losses and gains are often not permanent and may correct themselves in just a couple of days. Just take a deep breath and be patient.
#15 Use the Proper Tools
Everything you need to do regarding SEO can be done with free tools. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great free SEO tools, but they can be difficult to find and unreliable. I prefer to have everything I need in one spot, and Mangools is perfect for that.
Mangools is a suite of powerful SEO tools that allow you to find new keywords, evaluate their difficulty, save them for later, monitor keywords, and see your site’s overall performance all in one place.
You can check out Mangools here and see how it can improve your SEO workflow.
#16 Always Be Learning
The SEO game is constantly changing, and there is no silver bullet. No SEO tips could ever teach a new blogger everything they need to know. If you are serious about improving your search traffic and growing your blog, you need to take the time to keep learning.
This means you need to stay up on all the latest trends and always be experimenting. It will be a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end.
Start Applying These SEO Tips Today
There is no better feeling in blogging than knowing that you’re seen as an authority on a subject as you happily sit on top of Google’s search results. But you’re never going to achieve that unless you take the first steps today.
Before you go, take a minute to apply one of these SEO tips on your blog and drop a comment to share your work!