You’re a blogger. Maybe it’s a hobby, maybe you’re looking to start a business. Those income reports claiming six-figure income dazzle you monthly; as you dream of having even a mere percentage of that, thinking about how those numbers would change your life. Perhaps you’re creating a sales funnel for your small Etsy store, or launching an indie boutique. Affiliate marketing or launching a coaching business may be your goal. There’s one thing that you’ve heard of, and KNOW that you need to become more proficient in. That mysterious, nebulous, slightly terrifying thing: you’ve got to figure out SEO. Don’t worry: I’m here to share my top 3 SEO tips every beginning blogger should know.
Heads up – and this is going to get fun – this is part one of my two-month SEO Saturday series on the blog. Each Saturday in January and February, I will make a blog post about some form of SEO-related topic for beginning (and maybe not-so-beginning) bloggers.
SEO Tip #1: SEO isn’t Just Technical Information
Can I make a confession? When I was a brand new blogger, working on my first self-hosted site, I was scared of SEO. I mean, it’s such a big thing that it has to have an acronym! There are people whose careers are completely about helping websites be found on Google. So many new terms to learn, like backlinks, ranking, on-page SEO, off-page SEO – oh my! It makes my head spin sometimes just to list all of that.
At the core, however, there are a few things that most content creators know and are familiar with: the know, like, and trust factor. These work for SEO as well as human interactions. Google comes to know your site as you continue to create content. Google likes you when you create good content that people like, and trust (and come back to repeatedly). You earn rank (and trust) when you update that content to be fresh and current.
So yes, friends, get to know that technical information. It will serve you well, and you’ll learn so much about how to be found on Google and how to edge out the competition and rank higher (and increase conversions, which is something every website owner wants – making money is not a bad thing at all!). However, remember that at the heart of an algorithm is a creator. SEO is about pleasing man and machine simultaneously – and if you have to choose, please the man. After all, mankind is the one that has the cash.
SEO Tip #2: SEO is About Helping People Find You
This may sound like a contradiction to my last point, but hang tight. It’s all going to come together in a minute. Some bloggers remind me of that one kid who was really good at hide-and-seek. We all had a friend like that: could always pinpoint the best hiding spot, and could outrun everyone. Chasing and catching that friend was like chasing Hermes the Greek god. “My ideal client will find me,” these bloggers will think. “I’ll just say what I need to say, and the right person will come to me.” Their logic – and mine as well, for a long time, was that if I wrote for a machine (see above) that I would be a sell-out for the message that I had to say.
No one wants to be a sell-out – right?
SEO is not selling out your message. It’s about finding a new way to say your message in a way that helps your audience find you. You’re no longer running by yourself with your own ideas and content; you’re trailblazing and creating a path for your ideal client to find you. Your ideal client – that person who feels a leap in their soul when they read your words – is looking for you! But they don’t search in fanciful phrases and clever turns of words. They type basic keywords into the mighty Google…and find someone else.
You can use your clever turns of words – after all, that content is going to make your kind of people fall in love with you – but use clear, SEO-optimized titles. Be smart about alt text (alt text is text that you input when you upload images which makes the images indexable – we’ll get to that in detail in this series, I promise). Use the FREE Yoast plugin (there is a paid upgrade; you can get that one as you grow – and it’s totally worth it!) as a tool to help you optimize your titles, tags, keywords, and links.
The key is to avoid shouting into the wind – you don’t want to do a lot of work and then have no one read it. Marrying SEO with your personality and uniqueness helps your ideal person find you and fall in love with you and your content.
SEO Tip #3: SEO is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Shocking, I know. However, we live in a fast-paced world, and we expect fast results. It only takes minutes for some content to go viral; it takes years to establish the credibility of other websites. For a small blogger, SEO can feel like an uphill climb to success.
To help yourself with that marathon, do small tasks every day that help your website. Here are a few ideas:
- create new content
- interlink existing content (ie, find related articles on your blog and link to them! Make sure that they make sense; don’t randomly link to a non-related article)
- update current content
- review your categories and tags
- update heading levels in your blog posts (pro tip: add your keywords into your heading level 2 – it’s a great practice for SEO!)
I’m going to stick with the running metaphor here, because it’s apropos: you don’t get up one day and expect to run a marathon with ease (you can just get up one day and run a marathon; I’ve done it – I could barely walk after it for the next three days, and I cried the last 5 kilometers as I ran, but hey, that’s a story for a different day). In order to perform SEO with ease for your website, you need to train, and discipline yourself daily to do those small actions that yield big results.
Learning more and more about SEO was one of my biggest blogging takeaways in 2018, and I am so excited to bring you this series and help you not be intimidated by the technical nature of SEO and be able to embrace SEO so that you can find your new internet besties and make Google search engines fall in love with you. Make sure that you tune in to read more posts in this series, and sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a single post.
So tell me in the comments – what scares you about SEO? What are you excited to learn from this series?