Raelyn Tan: Blogging & Digital Marketing Strategist

SEO Tips for Newbies: Ranking Your Blog Content

Free lunch! Free lunch!

You probably know that there aren’t any free lunches in this world.

Well, the closest any blogger/ online entrepreneur can ever get to getting FREE stuff is through SEO.

Caveat: You do spend a ton of up front work to get ranked, but after that, it’s a good ride to be on.

Every day, tons of blog owners earn loads and loads of money off free traffic from Google.

seo-tips-for-newbies

Here are some simple SEO blog tips you can implement right now to up-level your search engine game.

SEO Tips For Beginners: Search engine optimization tips for your website to get organic traffic, perfect for newbie bloggers.

Pin me for some good SEO karma 🙂

My experience with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO started out as something foreign to me. S..E.. what? I soon learned that SEO is basically the art & science of getting your website ranked in Google.

Do you feel like SEO is this overtly technical thing that you have to master? That was how I felt too.

People search for a keyword they are searching for, click on your website, and ta-dah!

You have a new visitor and a potential customer.

Then, I went through this phase of delusion. I thought that it was going to be a piece of cake ranking stuff at #1.

Here’s a piece of cake for you:

seo-blog-tips-newbies-final

Imagine my sore disappointment when I realized that I’d done everything I could but I was still not ranking yet.

You know, those people that promise you #1 rankings in XYZ day? Those aren’t real claims, people!

Fast forward to today. I want you to know that it’s possible to rank, but it takes time and intentional effort.

I’m going to share some of the most fundamental tips right here to get more organic traffic – you’ll love it!

Why you should care about SEO, even as a newbie blogger/ entrepreneur

seo-age-maturity-tips

That picture should actually say “Organic traffic is just like fine wine,” but you get the idea.

It’s one of the largest sources of traffic… that’s free!

Small tweaks to make your website more Google-friendly will give you a huge ROI in the long-run.

One of the greatest perks of blogging is having tons of content for Google to potentially rank.

As your website matures, you start having more authority in Google’s eyes – and you get even more visitors than the month before.. and the cycle goes on and on! 

Imagine this.. you wake up to tons of traffic every day from Google, day in and day out for relevant keywords in your industry.

These people engage, subscribe, and some eventually purchase your stuff – daily!

All excited now?

SEO Blog Tips For Newbies:

1. Keywords matter

seo-keywords-matter-blog-tips

In the search engine’s eyes, those videos you recorded, that flash content, that awesome design… its just random code to Google.

Words matter because Google can comprehend words.

Specifically, keywords matter.

Keywords are words that you want to rank for. Use the Google keyword planner to figure out exactly what keywords you want to target!

Each article should have one target keyword.

google-keyword-planner

Whatever you do, make sure your keyword is relevant to your article. Do not try to force feed particular keywords that don’t align with what your article is actually about.

seo-beginners-google-keyword-planner

Under “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category,” type in keywords relevant to your post.

Google will crank out suggestions of keywords for you:

google-keyword-planner-seo

Pick a keyword, and optimize your article for that keyword!

2. Update title tags

The title tag is a big factor that Google uses to understand what your blog post is about. If you wanna change just one thing in your post, it would be the title tag.

Ensure that your title tag has your targeted keyword and is under 55 characters.

Google displays only 55 characters in search results, so anything more than that will not be read by search engine users anyway.

Watch your characters, and add in your keyword!

seo-blog-title-tag-optimize3. Update meta description

Meta descriptions are what you see in the search engines underneath the title. Its primary function is to entice readers to click through to your post.

Keep your meta description within 150 – 160 characters, and have your keyword inside. Google will bold any keywords if it is in your description when someone searches it.

This increases your click through rate.

seo-blog-meta-description-optimize

4. Uplevel your interlink game

One of the best ways to let Google know what your post is about?

Link to your own posts with the relevant keyword.

Here’s a useful analogy:

Imagine Google’s bots as spiders crawling around your website. Links allow for more efficient crawling, and the bots can move from page to page.

Also, using your keywords in your links to your own pages help signal to Google what your article is about.

This also helps to reduce your bounce rate as more people click on your links and visit multiple pages. (see what I did that? I linked to another page using my target keyword)

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5. Beef it up

seo-length

Beef up your content (without sacrificing quality, of course!)

The more words your article has, the better Google can understand what your content is about, and rank your articles for the relevant keywords.

I keep my blog posts to at least 1000 words unless there’s a particular reason why I want to keep the post short, such as in my insane quick tips series.

6. Add alt text for images

seo-alt-text-imagesAll those beautiful images you have, not being read by Google… what a pity! Use relevant keywords in the alt text of your images.

The same applies for the title of your images too.

7. Change your permalink structure

SEO TIPS v2-final

Your permalinks matter.

They should look something like this: https://raelyntan.com/create-lead-magnet,

and not https://raelyntan.com/2016/5/6/create-lead-magnet, or worst, https://raelyntan.com/p=81?.

Use dashes to separate different words.

Use a 301 redirect plugin if you’ve people (or your own posts) linking to your post before changing the permalink!

8. Install the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

Thankfully, we have an awesome WordPress plugin that will help you do most of the above.

If you’re on WordPress (and you should be, as self-hosted WordPress is the best blogging platform), use the Yoast SEO plugin.

It generates a string of content checks to ensure that your blogpost is nicely optimized.

yoast-seo-plugin-checklist

Of course, make sure that your blog post remains compelling – here’s a template on how to write the perfect blog post.

9. Increase your site speed

seo-website-site-speed

Make sure your site is running FAST. Google penalizes slow sites.

You can check your site speed using Gtmetrix, Pingdom and Google Pagespeed Insights.

Increasing your site speed is a whole other article on its own, but these 2 tips will help you to speed up your site significantly.

  1. Compress all your images. All images on my site go through 2 rounds of compression. First, I compress my images manually using tinypng.com. I also install a plugin called WP Smush that automatically compresses any images I upload further.
  2. Run a Pingdom test, and under “File Requests,” sort the requests by load time. You’ll be able to see what files are being opened and how long it is taking. Look at the requests which are taking the longest time to load, and delete them if you can. When I did this, I deleted a bunch of files, and my site sped up significantly.

seo-tips-for-newbies-pingdom

Summary

Optimize your blog posts for Google with the following steps:

  • Have every post target a particular keyword
  • Optimize title tags
  • Write interesting and click-worthy meta descriptions
  • Create longer posts
  • Alt text for images
  • Interlink abundantly
  • Optimize permalinks
  • Use the Yoast SEO plugin for more assistance
  • Increase your site speed

If you complete these steps, you would already have a leg up above 50% of all content creators.

Want more SEO related articles?

bloggging-business-resource

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Yay! I’ve just switched comments on. Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:

Trudy Hibler

Hey, Raelynn! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us newbies, and doing it in a manner that…even us newbies can understand! I’m pinning this twice, once to my private board and once to a public blogging board. When we share with others, we open ourselves up to having more shared with us. Karma, right? Thanks again. I feel much more confident about launching my blog.

Trudy

Hey Trudy, thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it. And you’re so right about how sharing opens you up to better stuff! I have a post about how you can start your blog right here: https://raelyntan.com/how-to-start-a-blog 🙂

Really awesome.. Today I learn some new things that was totally unknown to me.. thanks again…

You’re welcome Mukesh!

Gin

Hi Raelynn!

I have a few questions if you don’t mind and also thanks so much for clearing up this SEO thing for me!

First question… you said “Use a 301 redirect plugin if you’ve people (or your own posts) linking to your post before changing the permalink!”
I’m a bit confused on that statement and don’t understand what you mean.

If I use the WPSmush plugin you recommend will it affect any old pictures I already have on my site? I just remember trying another picture plug in once and then having my pictures either messed up looking or turned into thumbnails.

Last question-where do I put the Meta Description? I’m looking at my WP Dashboard under the Posts section and don’t see that part.

Thanks so much!

Hey Gin,

If you’ve people linking to you and you’re changing your permalink (blog post url), these people will land on a 404 page! Also, any SEO juice that your post is getting due to the links will be lost. A redirect solves this problem.

No it doesn’t as far as I know you have to manually smush old pictures, which shouldn’t take very long…

To see the meta description you can use the Yoast SEO Plugin, subsequently you should be able to see the meta description of your post.

You’re welcome!

– Raelyn

Nice Seo Blog Tips…!

I’m glad that you liked them!

What a wonderful and detailed article! Thanks so much for posting, I’ve learnt a lot 🙂
Xo

Hey Elaine, thank you for stopping by! You’re welcome 🙂

Some great points in the article. I’m new to the SEO game but isn’t email outreach the best way to kickstart a SEO campaign? I mean your idea of guest blogging sounds great but i have tried it and it is super time consuming. Much easier said than done getting guest blogs on established websites when you’re a newbie.

Email outreach could work too. I wouldn’t say there’s a best method, depends on preferences and strengths

Konstantinos A. Kogkalidis

Well written post. As far as I know though there is no need to target a single keyword, but you can use few. No “stuffing” of course. Besides that, you didn’t mention the so called keyword density and responsiveness (and in general optimized UX) of the website. Furthermore, not all people use WordPress, so a better option than promoting it in this post it’s to analyze the functionality of yoast and lead users to another post where you are going to review seo tools of famous cms platforms (such as WP and yoast). Last but not least, the undeniable key 1 factor of ranking is the content itself. Whatever I say it’s my genuine opinion and I express it in a polite mood. No offense. I love helping other people to improve blogging all together.

Kisses from Greece,

Konstantinos

P. S. Your face is definitely Korean. You are based in South Korea though or probably the States?

Hey Konstantinos, well I’m Singaporean, although I’m happy to look South Korean, haha!

Yes you are right, no need to have a single keyword, multiple keywords are possible too, but it gets very confusing and tedious especially for beginners. Easier to have a single keyword and focus on that for starters.

Keyword density is not a ranking factor.

Optimized UX – definitely! Just didn’t wanna add it in because otherwise my post would get too long if I add in all 200+ ranking factors

Not all people use WP but most of my audience does, or at least those that listen to what I say. I have a post about why wix and whatever else doesn’t really help here: raelyntan.com/best-blogging-platform – so once again, its to make this post succinct. I may take your suggestion and analyze the functionality of yoast in a future post!

And yes, content is ofc the #1 factor, but most users already know that and including it in this post wouldn’t value-add much – hence i didn’t add it in.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
Raelyn

Wow! This is very helpful thanks for posting this. We’ve been trying to increase our traffic by posting on social media and other blogs, etc. Hopefully, our views will increase. It’s quite challenging to get to the first rank or be the first name to appear on the search engine. Will definitely save this.

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