Always build a list of high quality keyword categories to your blog. These should be the topics that you plan on writing about most often. It is typically a best practice to have at least 10-25 categories on your blog. But not more than 30. If you have too many categories it actually will end up confusing Google. (Category examples: Investing, Retirement, Student Loans)
#52. List of Categories:
Add a list of your categories to your sidebar AND your footer if possible. These are important internal links and you want to make sure both user and Google can find them easily.
Tags are different than categories and you should use them to tag very specific ideas, companies, or products that you write about. Do not repeat your categories as tags on any posts! Use this opportunity to highlight something more specific. (Tag examples: Motif Investing, Vanguard IRA, Domain Auctions)
#54. Most Popular Tag Lists:
Every theme doesn’t have this option, but it’s a great one for SEO. If you can show your top 20 tags in your footer and/or sidebar than this creates another entry point for Google when crawling your content.
#55. H1 Tags:
Every post should have a unique H1. This tells Google this is the most important topic on the page. Use it wisely. You only want one H1 on a page. I see themes that have H1s coded incorrectly as the page title or blog title. Check your code to make sure your H1 is in your post. If not, higher someone to fix it.
#56. H2 Tags:
Every post should have at least one H2 tag, but you can have more than one. These are the second most important topics on your post.
#57. H3, H4, H5 Tags:
While not as important as H1 and H2, the other header tags are crawled differently (given ranking priority) over paragraph text, so I recommend you use them whenever you can. They also make your posts easier to read.
#58. Internal Links:
All of your posts should have at least 2-3 links to other posts you have written. But make them natural and don’t overdue it. Except on your about page, where it’s natural to link through to a bunch of your posts. Always try to use keyword rich anchor text (the words you hyperlink). Linking between your posts creates more ways for readers and Google to engage with your website. Here’s some more detailed advice on internal link strategies and best practices. You can also use SEMRush to analyze your internal links for free.
#59. External Links:
Google establishes relevancy through links, so you also should link to other websites and blog posts about your topic. Don’t be afraid to even link to your competitors – because linking to them actually associates you with them and their topics to Google. It’s a best practice to include between 1-4 links per typically blog post. Obviously for longer posts (like this one!) you should use as many external links as help support your post and topic. Other blogs and websites can actually see when you link to them and might even return the favor. Learn more about how external links approve your ranking authority.
#60. Sidebar Links:
Don’t overkill the links in your side bar. I typically recommend no more than 30 external and internal links in any sidebar. Some blogs have 100+ and to Google this can look spammy. Only link to the most relevant content to a website visitor. Keep an eye on what visitors click on using Google Analytics in-page analytics feature.
#61. Affiliate Links:
A lot of bloggers, including me, use affiliate links to monetize their blogs. Google doesn’t frown on affiliate links – except when you have either way too many on a page or they are un-natural. For example I recently analyzed a blog that had 20+ affiliate links in a list on their sidebar. That will be viewed as spam by Google. As long as you naturally use affiliate links in your content they shouldn’t have a negative impact on your SEO. To learn more check out what Google says about affiliate links and SEO.
#62. Affiliate Link Cloaking:
Link cloaking is fine for SEO. A lot of affiliates cloak their links, which technically creates a URL on your own domain that then 301 re-directs to your affiliate link. This is telling Google that your link has permanently moved to another link, which is a best practice. I also recommend that you no-follow all of your affiliate links, so they don’t get indexed with your website. I use the free Easy Affiliate Links plugin to manage my affiliate links and it works well.
#63. Backlink Building:
Google passes authority through the links to your website. Because of this some bloggers try to game the system. Never buy backlinks from anyone. I have seen too many bloggers that have gone to Fiverr or other websites and purchased backlinks or backlink building services. In 99% of the cases it doesn’t work and when it does, the blog ends up getting penalized for link building from low quality websites. Once your website gets penalized by Google it will take a long time to recover, if your organic rankings even recover at all. Buying links is not worth the risk. Some services allow you to rent links, but I don’t recommend this either. Build links naturally. As long as you are creating high quality high value content and reaching out to other bloggers your backlinks will grow naturally. Google’s algorithm is insanely sophisticated – you can’t game it.
#64. Social Sharing Plugins:
Social proof is important for SEO, but a lot of social sharing plugins are way too slow for your blog and will cause too many errors. I recommend that you use the Google page speed tool and if your website gets below an 80/100 then you should take a hard look at your social sharing plugins. The social sharing plugin I use and recommend (and is the fastest I have tested) is Easy Social Share Buttons. It’s worth paying for a high quality social plugin – most are inexpensive.
#65. Google Plus Integration:
Very few people use Google plus (but evidently it’s popular in Nigeria?), but it’s a powerful SEO tool. The biggest two reasons – sharing a link on Google plus creates a backlink from Google to the post and I personally find that my posts get indexed by Google faster when I share them on Google plus. So sign up for a free Google + business account (different than personal) for your blog and start sharing. Then follow Not Just Online on Google + 🙂
#66. Contact Page:
The content on your contact page is a SEO secret that most bloggers don’t take advantage of when they should. It is always best to have an address on your contact page, even if it’s a P.O. Box that you set up at your local post office. If you can include a phone number, then even better. Google wants to verify that there is a physical location behind your blog. If you have a physical address take the next step and embed a Google map on your contact page. This will help with your local search rankings.
#67. Share every post on Twitter:
Google has an indexing relationship with Twitter, so Google actually crawls Tweets and the links within those tweets. There have been studies done that show how links that get tweeted more end up ranking higher. So share every post you have on Twitter and encourage others to share your posts as well.
Congratulations if you made it to the end of this Part 2 post! I will continue to add to this over time. Watch out for part 3 of this series
If you have any questions let me know below in the comments and I will do my best to help answer your question or point you in the right direction. All SEO questions are welcome. Oh yeah, and sign up for my latest blog post newsletter below where I will continue to share high quality blogging tips, strategies, advice and in-depth successful blogging ideas. There’s no real schedule to my emails – but I can assure you that they will help you with your blog.
If you are interested in working with me personally then reach out to me. I am always happy to chat. Unfortunately I get a lot of requests for blog help so I can’t work personally with everyone, but I do pick 3-4 new bloggers to work with each month. So hit me up and let’s talk.
Watch out for What Are The Best SEO Tips For New Bloggers – Part 4. Sign up for my blog post newsletter below to get notified when What Are The Best SEO Tips For New Bloggers – Part 4 and other great posts are published.