What is SEO?
SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization and it is the method that is used to attract visitors to your site via the search engines.
When someone does a search using Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc…they enter a search term and are provided with a list of websites that use that search term as part of their SEO.
This is often referred to as ‘free’, ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ traffic and as blog owners…we want as much free traffic as possible.
Why Is SEO Important?
Making an income via your blog is a numbers game. The more free visitors you get via the search engines, the more conversions and sales you receive.
For instance, let’s say you have a banner on your site for an affiliate product and each time someone buys the product via your affiliate link, you make $50 in commission.
Do you know what percentage of your visitors click on your banners?
It’s most probably less than 1%.
But for this example, let’s say it’s 1%.
So…one in every hundred of your visitors clicks on the banner.
Now…do you know what percentage of the 1% who clicked on the banner, go ahead and buy the product?
Again…most probably less than 1%.
So that’s 1% of the 1% who clicked on the banner in the first place.
To make one affiliate sale and earn $50 in commission…you need 10,000 visitors!
If you get 500 unique visitors a day, that’s one sale every 20 days.
And that’s with me using a generous 1% conversion rate. In reality it is most probably more like 0.25% (and 160,000 visitors!).
Of course that is just banner ads. You may have your own services that you sell or product reviews etc…but hopefully, you agree with me…the more free traffic you get…the more income you can make.
And good, targeted SEO will increase your visitor numbers.
But conversion is not just about SEO.
The design of your blog is the first thing that people see and it has a major influence on how a visitor behaves. You want your visitors to stay on the page, read your content, click through to other content etc.
Without good design and content your visitors will be “clicking away” pretty quickly.
Good SEO Habits
At the mention of SEO many people get scared, but it isn’t difficult.
Start out right and all will be well.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I do believe in the 80/20 rule. The following covers 80% of what you need to have good SEO habits. You can delve a lot deeper into SEO but I like to keep things simple.
Ignore the following points and you may find yourself with a blog no-one visits.
Get a premium theme. Premium themes have much better SEO built into them.
What’s the best theme on the market today?
Headway and it has oodles of SEO built in.
Check it out yourself by clicking here: Headway
This is important. Get it wrong and you’ll never have a successful blog.
Read my keyword research post in the ‘how to make a blog’ series by clicking here:
Finding The Best Keywords For Your Chosen Niche
A few simple one-off SEO tasks to check:
1. Add a blog title and tagline that includes your primary keyword phrase in the ‘General’ settings.
2. Change the ‘permalinks’ (‘permalinks’ under ‘settings’) structure to a custom structure: /%post_id%/%postname%/ or /%category%/%postname%/
3. Set up your categories using your keyword phrases. Again this helps with SEO.
4. Verifying ownership of your Blog via the Google Webmaster Tools.
6. Install the Google XML Sitemap plugin and manually build your sitemap. It helps get your site indexed.
There are certain SEO plugins that really help improve the SEO of your blog. I recommend these 2:
1. Install the All-In-One-SEO plugin and include your primary keyword phrase in the ‘Home Title, ‘Home Description’ and ‘Home Keywords’. Check out my video on this:
2. ScribeSEO. This is a premium plugin that helps improve the SEO of each blog post. More of this later in the series. Meanwhile check out my review of SEOScribe in this video:
Search Engine Optimization Made Easy
Search engines cannot ‘read’ images and therefore cannot rank for them.
That’s why using ALT text in images is important. The image ALT text can be read by the search engines so they understand what it’s about.
The easiest way to do this is by installing the plugin: SEO Friendly Images
Similar to images, when you use video on a page there is nothing that the search engine crawler can “read”.
You can add a keyword rich transcription below the video and you’ve solved the problem.
And you can add a Video Sitemap plugin that creates a sitemap specifically for your videos.
I use the free version of this: Video SEO
Remember to add the video sitemap to your Google Webmaster tools.
Internal Links and Navigation
One hard thing about blogging is remembering posts you wrote months ago. If you’re in the habit of writing exceptional content you don’t want those posts to be forgotten.
Internal linking is one way of keeping older archived posts alive and internal linking improves your site’s SEO. A couple of relevant links on a page is sufficient; you shouldn’t include a link in every sentence! Internal links contained in the body of an article hold the most weight with search engines.
Watch my video on using this free plugin to make internal linking simple:
Internal Links: Make It Easy With This WordPress Plugin
Other Things That Impact Your Search Ranking
Above the Fold
Add as much of your content “above the fold” as you can.
This means the visitor will see your content rather than being confronted with a page full of advertising.
Matt Cutts recently said that Google is penalizing sites that have too much advertising above the fold.
You can read more here:
Page layout algorithm improvement
Making Content Attractive
The use of subheadings, bulleted and numbered points makes content easier for people to read. There should be plenty of white space.
Don’t be afraid to use bold and some italicization to emphasize important points. People tend to scan written content for what they’re looking for so if you can make the most important points stand out they’ll be able to find it easier.
We delve into this subject a lot more in the next post in the ‘How to make a blog’ series.
As mentioned above in the Above the Fold section, don’t clutter up the top of your blog with advertising. Visitors will get the impression that it only exists to make money and they’ll leave if they don’t immediately see the content they’re looking for.
If you write content well, leading the reader down to your concluding sentence, you’ll want to encourage visitors to leave comments or share your content with their friends on social media, so use a call to action. Please leave a comment.
Comments can be valuable content and are indexed and will help you rank for long tail keywords. Active blogs that encourage interaction from visitors rank better with search engines. Ten percent of all internet traffic is now generated via social media so you will understand how important it is to receive comments and encourage sharing as well.
You will have to experiment with placement of sharing buttons; some blogs have them next to the comment box, in the sidebar or at the beginning or end of content.
Blog Loading Speed
Many people get so excited about the number of free plug-ins there are with WordPress they download too many. Only download those that you absolutely need, too many plug-ins will affect the loading speed of your blog.
If you have too many large graphics this will also affect loading time. Include Google Adsense, and a dozen different affiliate banners and your blog may slow to a crawl because each ad must be loaded from a different location.
People hate slow loading sites!
The average page takes a little under 10 seconds to load, so try to keep your pages optimized so they load quickly. Google also takes load time into account, slow sites may be penalized.
Check out my ‘improve your site loading speed’ series by clicking here:
Speeding Up Your Blog: The Only Guide You Need
Making a successful blog should start with these points in mind and you’ll quickly develop good habits.
What are your good SEO habits?
Please share your views in the comments below.
In the next post on the series, “How to make a Blog” we shall cover the topic of “Good SEO Habits when publishing your posts”
The previous blog posts in the ‘how to make a blog’ series:
Part One: How To Make A Blog: Getting Your Niche Right Is Crucial
Part Two: How To Make A Blog: Finding The Best Keywords For Your Chosen Niche
Part Three: How To Make A Blog: Monetizing with Affiliate Products
Part Four: How To Make A Blog: Monetizing with Digital Products
Part Five: How To Make A Blog: Choosing a Domain Name and Hosting
Part Six: How To Make A Blog: The Tools I Use To Make A Full-Time Income
Part Seven: How To Make A Blog: Are you Content with Your Written Content?
Well, I did not know you had joined the Priesthood, Andrew.
But this series is the Bible of Blogging.
I was trying to find an image of a ‘habit’!
Yes, some of the tips are really great and very helpful, i totally agree that SEO is important part.
Great image at the beginning 😉
What a great series of articles. So many great tips. People think only about backlinks but you showed that there is so much more to do.
I have to start from the first article and make some notes!
…and there is a lot more to come!
firstly LOL at the picture of a priest as an image for this post and your reply back to it.Am sure by now if you read a comment that says,” i am book marking so that i shall read your site later and will twitter it to my friends ” your mind automatically says spammer or even befroe you think your hand press the spam button. But Just by the series alone i am fascinated to this site and am making a document out from all the content that you have posted.Seriously to keep it as a booklet and read it whenever i read ( it is very hard to even covey the truth ) because of the spammers.Am very eager to see what more is gonna come from you in the Future.
This post here details all the topics I shall be covering:
I can’t say I follow you on premium themes being better on SEO.
I don’t see how they should be better than the 2012 default theme for instance.
Yes they look better, but if you install the WordPress seo plugin by Yoast there is no reason why premium theme should have better SEO.
If you use the Yoast plugin, you also get the Google XML Sitemap plugin included.
The SEO Friendly Images plugin is great. I use it to include the post title in the image name and “alt” properties.
In my experience some free themes are not as good as premium ones, from an SEO point of view.
For instance, some free themes may only have the main blog post title coded as a H2 or H3 tag rather than an H1.
And the Yoast plugin does not make that sort of change (well I don’t believe it does).
Many people who own the free themes are unaware of such differences and having your blog post title as a H1 tag is crucial.
Yes, H1 on post title is a SEO benefit, and it is nobrainer for theme developers.
There are probably some that dont have the basic SEO right, but themes based on 2010-2012 have this included. And SEO plugin will not fix error done in the theme designs, like you say.
The problem I see is that blog owners who use certain free themes will not know if the H1 tag is used for titles.
Hence my recommendation for a premium theme. Although I bet there are some premium themes that don’t use a H1 tag!
P.S. Btw, I left a comment on one of your recent posts – not sure if it went into your spam.
Great tips! I’ll have to check out scribeSEO – I currently use SEOpressor on my blog and recommend that tool – thanks for sharing!
I’ve heard lots of good things about SEOpressor – I think I need to check it out.
This is the third article I am reading in a row. I considered this post as a check list and did a self checking. SEO plugins, Image Optimization, Internal Linking etc. was okay. But the loading time of my blog is very poor, and I am planning to switch to swift theme. 🙂
If you are only thinking of switching themes due to poor loading time, you may want to check out my series of blog posts on speeding up your blog site.
The link is within the post above.
Wow…you are the great SEO master, i like your post, waiting for the next post. Thansk
Wow…you are the great SEO master, Many individuals get so energized about the variety of no cost plug-ins there are with WordPress like your post, waiting for the next post. Thanks
Another great post Andrew. I’m using some of those plugins but probably I’ve too much of them. As you said there are so many of them and they do so many good things for a blog that sometimes you just can’t resist adding just another plugin, and another, and another. 🙂
I used to be like that…have another plugin and another and another.
I still have a lot but I find it hard to remove some of them!
Everyone wants to be on page one. Thus, every minor improvement is a step towards that goal. My competitor is aiming at page one. If I make the improvements and he doesn’t, I might win! Thanks for the ideas.
I hope the ideas work. You may want to look at the next few posts in the series as well.
you right . For instance, some chargeless capacity may alone accept the capital blog column appellation coded as a H2 or H3 tag rather than an H1.
And the Yoast plugin does not accomplish that array of change (well I don’t accept it does).
Many humans who own the chargeless capacity are blind of such differences and accepting your blog column appellation as a H1 tag is crucial.
Along with SEO and SEM productive reviews can also increase income of each blogger.
SEO is very much important for online earning through blog. Building links, using keywords and many techniques are quite helpful to increase the traffic. The above post gives us a detail note on SEO.. 🙂
You’ve got some good solid advice here. SEO has been sort of a hot topic lately. Seems Google has gone off the deep end. Again.
Suddenly we have to worry about “over doing” our SEO. But as long as we stick to natural link building and we keep our on page SEO simple, like what you’ve just shown us, I think we’ll do ok 🙂
You are right. Keep it simple. Far too many try and get quick returns and get sucked into ‘black hat’ seo techniques. Eventually you get caught!
Seo is not very easy thing but I feel it depends upon you that how much you will make it complex it will become more complex.So make a simple rules of seo and rely on link building great will happen soon
I believe SEO can be easy if you stick to the simple rules I outline. It’s just some people think there are better ways and are always tweaking and looking for that next ‘silver bullet’.
yes, i think so.. SEO is one of important traffic generation for blog. I always use that too, On page and off page of course 🙂
Thanks for this post. I am a newbie and just started my blog these tips help me make my blog SEO optimise.
Your site gives me inspiration to move on my website also. It gives me a lot of information about Seo strategies.
That’s great Paul.
I’m glad it helps.
Great advice Andrew, some pretty solid advice on how to best build a blog with SEO in mined there!
Thanks, Malcolm – your input means a lot!
The internal linking aspect is something I am keen to use but I would be interested to know how this works on product pages? Obviously you want product sales pages to be well optimized but also don’t want to risk people seeing a relevant internal link and leaving the page. It is a fine balance and I haven’t quite decided if the SEO benefits outweigh the risk of diverting people away from the product you are trying to sell….any thoughts?
Personally I would not link ‘from’ a product page. You want minimal distractions on a product/sales page.