SEO for WordPress bloggers

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a loaded subject. If you’re new to SEO it can be extremely overwhelming to subject to try and comprehend. Heck, even if you’re a seasoned vet with SEO it can be an extremely overwhelming subject to try and comprehend.

I’m no expert when it comes to SEO. But, I have learned a thing or two over the past decade. So, included in this post are some of my basic, easiest to understand suggestions to help you improve SEO for your blog. Whether you use the free WordPress plan or the Business WordPress Plan take some small steps and watch how your stats change.

SEO TIPS

If you have the WordPress business plan, use the Yoast plugin. This won’t be applicable unless you have the business plan. But, if you have the business plan, Yoast gives you what is essentially a step-by-step guide of how to take a post from a basic post to an SEO superstar.

Pick a valuable keyword for your content. Keywords are are words or phrases that describe the content on your page or post the best. Essentially, a keyword is what you think people will search on Google to find the post that you’re writing. It’s important to pick a keyword that speaks to what you’re sharing, and that it also be something people will search. Keep in mind that if you pick too generic, you might not get indexed. And, if you pick too specific and people might not actually search it often… if at all.

Utilize keywords throughout your content. It’s important to ensure that selected keywords (subject matter) for your posts are woven throughout your content. This means trying to include your keyword within the title, any headings and subheadings used, DEFINITELY within your introductory sentence, and the concluding paragraph. Do not put your keyword in places where it is not applicable.

Optimize any images shared. If you’re uploading a photo to your blog, include keywords in the file name. If you have a business account, use a keyword rich description in the ATF. If you do not have a business account, use a keyword applicable caption.

Reference both internal and external links within your posts. With respect to your content, you should think of your blog as a sort of… digital spider web.

  • An internal link is one that links from your post to another page or post on your site. This is really quite simple, actually. If you make a post, link other similar posts. If you frequently talking about anxiety, link other posts you’ve made about anxiety. If you talk about parenting frequently, link some similar posts where you speak about parenting. Doing this creates a digital spiderweb within your own site, which tells search engines you’ve been around for a while.
  • An external link is one that goes elsewhere on the web. You can link to posts made by other bloggers. You can link to the site that possibly motivated you to write your post. When you are linking externally, make sure the site you’re sharing a link to is one relevant to your article. Don’t just link to link. Quality links are a valuable piece to any site looking to rank higher on search engine pages and the digital spider web you’re trying to weave should speak to your blog and it’s content/value

Use social media to broaden your reach and share your blog posts. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all great resources for sharing your posts and garnering more views. You can make new friends and acquaintances on these sites, grow your audience and your blog’s reach. And, in sharing links to your posts on social media, you’re both adding to the digital spider-web of your blog, and creating valuable back-links to your website.

Have a user friendly website. If your website is difficult to navigate, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your menu is difficult to find, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your text is a neon green colour that can be difficult to read, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. The sites which rank the highest within search engines are the ones that are most user-friendly to the masses. It makes sense if you think about it – why would google recommend a website to you that’s going to give you a headache trying to navigate? If your website is confusing, maybe it’s time to make some upgrades.

Fix broken links. Broken links can do a lot of harm to you when you’re trying to get your site indexed for search engines. If you do everything you can to have your content indexed but you do have broken links within your site, those broken links are going to ‘delegitimize’ your site/blog to search engine crawlers responsible for indexing. Think of broken links like people who try to clean by shoving everything in the closet and shutting the door. The mess is still there, you’ve just hidden it. Even if you’re taking every other step possible to be indexed, if you’ve got broken links within your site, your mess is still there, it’s just hidden.

Fix your blank pages. If you have a menu item on your site that goes nowhere at all, that’s going to harm your ability to be indexed. Even if it has nothing to do with your post content. If there’s a blank page somewhere on your site, search engine crawlers could possibly believe your site is incomplete and deem it not worthy of being indexed.

Make your posts content easy to read and understand. Use short sentences. Use headings. Use subheadings. Use bolded sentences when you’re trying to accentuate a point. Break up the content into small chunks so that, even if someone is an idiot, or if they have a short attention span, they can make it through your post. When you’re sharing your content you should be dumbing it down so that the stupidest person on earth could read it and understand it. The reason for this is, search engines want to rank pages highest that are easiest for everyone to read. One long run-on paragraph is going to be harder for people to get through. Content that is rich in technical language is going to be harder for people to get through. If something is difficult for people to consume, search engines are not going to rank it as reader friendly.

TO CONCLUDE

As with every suggestion, tip or trick I offer on this blog, please take all information provided with a grain of salt. Use what works for you and leave what you don’t want

SEO is such a convoluted subject that there’s a lot of advice floating around the interwebs. Quite honestly, you could probably take any number of the first two hundred suggestions that come up from a quick google search and see some improvements in your site rankings. To be successful with SEO, it’s all about doing including the small details and taking those extra little steps to make you content user/reader friendly.

If you have made it through all of this and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer whatever I can.

I LOVE ANALYTICS.

What can your analytics teach you? What should your analytics teach you? If you have a blog, or any form of social media, you have access to analytics. Do you use them?

346 people have visited my blog today from 53 countries and territories around the world. How cool is that? People from all over the world have found my blog, my words, my little corner of the internet.

3,321 people have viewed my published tweets.

1,106 people have viewed my Instagram page.

18 people found my blog through search engine results.

6 people found my blog from Facebook. And I don’t even have a Facebook account.

I don’t say this to brag, I say this because analytics fascinate me. I love tracking visitors, hits, interactions, popularity (or lack thereof depending on the post) and reach.

I use my analytics to determine what the best time of day is to post something, as well, what the best day of the week is to post something. I also use my analytics to determine what topics will garner more hits, and what topics won’t really resonate with my community. Also, on that note, I use my analytics to understand my community.

Why?

An estimated 40% of the people who read #MillennialLifeCrisis are Gen X-ers. That’s right, the largest group of people who read this blog are not even Millennials. That tells me that these things that I’ve felt alienated me for so long now are in fact, not generational, but more so just the overall human condition.

Quite often I’m asked different variations of ‘what’s your secret? How’d you get so many followers?’ What’s my secret? I don’t keep secrets. I use analytics. I’ve been using them since I worked in corporate settings and I can say without a doubt, that if you’re looking to grow an audience for your personal blog, analytics are going to play a major factor in your success, or lack thereof.

How many people viewed your blog today? What countries did they come from? What did you do as a measure to help convince them to return to your blog? How can you use your analytics to your favour?

Here, I’ll give you an example:

Let’s pretend that you live in London, England. Now, upon reading the base analytics that WordPress provides to EVERY user (regardless of if your account is free or paid), you notice that far and above anywhere else, the majority of your audience is from the United States. If you want the most people possible to see your post, I do not recommend hitting publish at 9:00 AM Greenwhich Mean Time. Why? Because for the majority of your audience, that’s the middle of the night and they’re asleep. Instead, I recommend you schedule your post to be published at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. Your post will be top of feed for all of your American audience to see, and you stand a much higher chance of having farther reach.

If you’e blogging for a hobby and you don’t care how many hits/visitors your blog gets, analytics probably won’t matter to you. But, if you want to build a community, your analytics can be one of your best assets. They will tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you’re doing right and how to improve upon all of it.

I still post what I want when I want. But, I also know that if I do something like… posting this after 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, it’s going to get far less hits than had I gotten by butt in gear and posted this 10 hours ago.

That is how I use, or don’t use, analytics in my favour. Whether I post it at the optimal time or not, I’m still going to track visitors, hits, interaction. Why? Because I’m a nerd who loves data. Because I believe in the value of analytics. Because this blog is my pride and joy and I really appreciate knowing all that I can about it.

So what do your analytics teach you? How can you use that information to your favour?


If you liked this post and would like to read more of my blogging tips, click here. All blogging tips/tricks/advice/suggestions are all categorized under ‘Marketing’ on my blog’s main menu.

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Blogging 106: Writer’s block? Here are some simple subjects to write blog posts about.

With the exception of a very select few, every writer/blogger has been there before – when you want to write but you don’t know what to write. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings you can go through, writer’s block. And when you’re there, you’ll give anything to get out of your rut. How do you? You write. Write about anything. Write about everything. Write about the things that you may think are stupid and do all that you can to ensure those words hit the page. Write everything down. Even if it’s never going to leave your drafts folder, put those words on the page.

Here are some subjects that you can write about, things that you can share your opinions on, things that people enjoy reading about;

Write about how you wound up in the career you’re in now. Whether you have a common job – such as a nurse or a teach, or an uncommon job – such as a cardiothoracic surgeon, someone somewhere in this world is wondering what it takes to become a professional in your field. Sharing the story of how you got there could help a lot of up-and-coming professionals.

Write about the most incredible trip you’ve ever taken. Whether you’re a world traveller, or a one-and-done type of person, travel is a subject with one of the broadest audiences on earth. Even if someone is not going to the location you’re speaking of, they still will want to, and enjoy, reading about tales from your adventures.

Write about your hometown. Where are the best places to eat? Where are the best places visit? What are the funnest activities to do while there? Whether you live in the largest city on earth or a small town in the middle of nowhere, people will travel through your hometown each year. Why not give them a guide of things to do and places to see while there? Categorize it as ‘Travel’, because, while yo might not be travelling there, those that are travelling there will be the ones reading it.

Write about mental health, self-care, recovery and coping. This is one of the most broadly discussed topics on WordPress. If you have experience with mental health issues, either with yourself or a loved one, share your perspectives. Not only does it lessen the stigma, but it helps other’s feel less alone in their present situations. This might sound like a sad statement to say, but it’s nice to have a community, or friends, who understand what you’re going through.

Share your talents. Can you play the piano? Can you play the guitar? Can you kick a field goal as easy some people get up in the morning? Share that with the world. And, if it’s a talent you have that is teachable… something that others can learn, share. Pass on that wisdom. Millions upon millions of people take to the internet to learn new skills… even things as simple as the different ways to tie a tie. From second languages to second natures, if you’ve got the skills and wisdom to do it and patience to teach it, use your blog as a platform to teach it.

Talk about celebrities. People love to read other’s perspectives of celebrities. It’s quite literally why the Kardashian’s are famous. Share your opinions on celebrities. If someone agrees with you, they’re going to love your take and if someone disagrees with you, they’re likely going to want to talk about it. And, since this is the perfect opportunity, use your blog as a platform to remind people that two people can disagree with one another and still treat each other with respect.

Talk about true crime and mysteries. Does true crime fascinate you?Whether people admit to it or not, true crime fascinates a lot of the world. People disappearing, seemingly off the face of the earth fascinates people. There’s a natural wonder and curiosity within many people that wants to know what goes through someone’s mind when they commit murder. There are Youtube Channels of people just giving their take on different murders from around the world and these channels have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. On Sept 30 a woman in Anchorage, Alaska found an SD card on the ground that was labeled ‘Homicide at Midtown Marriott’. The SD card was filled with photos and videos of a man named Brian Smith sexually assaulting, murdering and then disposing of a woman’s body. I read a blog post a few weeks back about this story in which the author merely shared their opinion of what they think on the subject matter and the post had 3,200 likes on it. The post had more likes than the blog had subscribers. Why? People love crime.

Write about another blogger. Someone that you appreciate, or admire. Someone’s content you read on the regular. Spread the love. That blogger is going to appreciate the shout-out, and your community could possibly find themselves another blogger to love as well!

Make lists! People love lists because they’re short, easy to read and to the point. What are the ten best things about being female? What are the ten best things about being a male? What are your favourite songs of all times? What are your top travel destinations for 2020 and why? Make a list. They’re quick to read, allow you to share your opinions and are posts that people frequently like to comment on.

Whatever you’re writing about, write with your heart, passion and soul behind it. Authenticity is important in blogging. People will see if you’re passionate about what you’re sharing or if you’re just blogging to get attention. They can judge your character, even if they’re a stranger. So always make sure that you’re blogging about things that you love.

Write it.

Write it all down. Put it in your drafts folder. Some of it might be stupid, sure. Hell, I’ve got a lot of stupid posts in my drafts folder. I can promise you that after it’s written, you might realize that some of it’s pretty freaking awesome.