I am glad you are still with me! I was wondering if I had chased of all you guys with those technical (read as: boring) blogging terms. And I am gonna go out on a limb and imagine that you are here for my next post on the series on blogging for non techies. And today let us talk about SEO basics for bloggers, even if you are a newbie.
Beginners Guide to SEO for bloggers
SEO or Search Engine Optimization are just techniques to help the search engines find your site easily. I know it seems like some sorcery to increase the traffic but it is not so. Maybe it is, but I am only talking about those little things that you and I can do without having to relearn blogging entirely.
While I still want blogging to be fun and a place to talk about things you love, I don’t mind taking these small extra steps that may not take much of your time. Also, it is not like you have to do them all. Just pick only what you can do and enjoy blogging rather than stressing yourself too much.
Choosing the right keyword
Keywords are the search phrases that we type on the search engine. I have discussed more on what keywords are in my earlier post and let us focus on how to put them to use effectively now.
The aim is finding a balance between using an unique keyword (that nobody uses) and using something that everyone uses. Give a bit of thought on ‘What search queries would your post answer to? ‘ and this will help you in achieving a better SEO as a blogger.
For example, let us talk about the keyword for my review on Fahrenheit 451, instead of using just the title of the book, I use the title and the word book review, just to make sure it is not the film but the book that I am reviewing.
This is just to give a basic idea, there are several free keyword planner tools online to help you choose better. But that is a topic for another day!
While I totally support using the keyword three or four times in your post, DO NOT JUST DUMP THE KEYWORD IN EVERY ALTERNATE SENTENCE. Google will punish you for overusing (keyword stuffing) it !
SEO friendly title
The whole objective of a title is to tell the reader (and the search engine) what the post is about. I know it may sound obvious but you will not believe the number of blogs that fail to do this. The easiest way to achieve this is to use the keyword itself, when it is possible.
I have been using this “book review: title of the book” as a standard format where title of the book is the keyword. Quite recently I found out “Title of the book – a review” works better, the keyword being at the beginning. I will let you know if changing them makes a difference.
Having a strong permalink or URL to your post is kinda important too. Make sure it is not too long or too short. And it ideally should contain the keyword. In case of a review, I usually include the title, the term review and if that is too short I add the author’s name too.
One of the major advantage of moving to WordPress is that I got to change all my permalinks (AKA the URLs) and get rid of those dates from them. The dates do not have anything with SEO, but I personally didn’t like them because they dated the posts and made the permalinks too long.
Use shorter paragraphs and headings
It should not come as a surprise when I say we, readers, have a short attention spans and that posts with shorter paragraphs work better. But including relevant headings to your paragraphs makes the search engine appreciate it better, because you are now telling it see what is important, ie, your heading.
Make an attempt to use headings (H2) and sub headings (H3) in your post, as relevant. If you can, include the keyword in your H2 tags (the headings) without making it too conspicuous.
Another place to sneak in the keywords is the meta description, which is like the blurb to your post. Since it is the first few lines that a reader sees make sure it piques the interest of the reader before they click the link.
In case you don’t write a meta description, the search engine will use the first 160 characters of your post which may not be as good as you write your own. So it is always a better SEO practice to include the meta description.
Attention grabbing first paragraph
Just like in the real world, you get to make the first impression just once. Many people stop reading after the first three lines and if you don’t impress them by then, they would leave your page.
For this reason, I usually avoid copy pasting the blurb content (from Goodreads) as the first paragraph in my reviews. But whatever you add in there, just make sure the keyword is included.
Put your images to use
With blogging becoming more and more visual, we need to make sure our images are top notch. Be it just using the book cover or a relevant image from Google search, we need to make sure they are not only on brand but also SEO friendly.
Though search engine crawlers are essentially “blind”, we can make sure they index and rank our images with the image alternate text/tag. Including the alt text might seem negligible but it will be so much better than “IMG56784” when you fill the alt text with something relevant like “Blogging terms to know keyword”.
While you are at it, follow the same rule when you name your image.
I may have already spoken about how crucial interlinking the posts in your site was and I think it is worth a repeat. Basically you are trying to hold the attention of the reader to your blog and make them go binge reading your posts. Linking to your older reviews or any other relevant posts is a way to reduce the bounce rates as well.
Creating an archive page like Evelina has at her Avalinah’s Space or a simple index of your reviews is also a good idea. They offer a bird’s eye view of all your posts to the readers and helps the SEO crawlers staying within your blog.
While you are interlinking, make sure you fix all your broken links. There are lots of free link checkers like this one that list the error links for you.
Bonus: Install Yoast plugin
If you use self hosted WordPress for your site, do not think twice and install the YOAST plugin for all your SEO needs as a book blogger. It even guides you step by step.
If you need any help or have a query about any of these things, feel free to DM me on my social accounts or leave a comment here. I would be happy to help you out!
Similar topics you might like
- Why Book Blogging Is Different From Other Niches?
- Blogging Terms You Have To Know
- Commenting On Other Blogs – Commenting Etiquette
- Does your blog have these? A checklist for new bloggers
- How to update old posts for better SEO ranking and more traffic
Check out this link for more of such posts.
Do you focus on SEO as a blogger? Are you already doing any of these? Or if you don’t, why not? Which of these ideas do you think will be difficult to follow? Let us talk.