“What Are The Best SEO Tips For New Bloggers” is a constant question asked by bloggers who want their blogs to rank higher on search engines. I have been doing SEO professionally for 7+ years and see a ton of opportunities for bloggers to easily increase their free organic website traffic. On NotJustOnline.com, I have used a bunch of these strategies and increased my own blog traffic over 100% over the past 1 month!
SEO is both an art and a science. Small changes that are mostly free and easy to implement can have a huge impact on your Google organic traffic over time! Seriously, I encourage just spending 30 minutes a week on SEO for your blog.
The key is you need to spend time optimizing the elements of your website that are going to have the most positive impact on your traffic. The SEO tips in this post are the most essential elements you need to focus on.
SEO Guidelines for bloggers?
Even though Google doesn’t release the factors that impact their ranking algorithm, I have been participating in members only SEO forums where the world’s best SEO experts conduct rigorous tests to determine the factors that mostly like influence AND INCREASE a websites Google rankings. I have compiled over 1,000+ variables into a list of over 500 tips for the essential SEO guidelines for bloggers.
This is advice that I have charged upwards of $10,000+ for, but I want to give it away for free to the blogger community . However while I have focused on easy to implement recommendations, SEO can get complicated. Feel free to post your questions in the comments and I will do my best to respond.
I also personally work with 3 bloggers per month to create long term sustainable traffic growth. If you are interested contact me. You can also join the new Not Just Online SEO and TRAFFIC newsletter where I will periodically share SEO recommendations and articles.
I will send high quality SEO tips that I know will grow your blog traffic. There is no set schedule, I will just pass along tips when I find good ones.
Here are the tips and I am starting with the foundational tips to getting running fasting on this all important tips. Take and implement them one after the other.
Choose A Good Hosting Company:
Choosing a good host will help with page speed and server response time – both important SEO ranking factors. I have used Bluehost on all my client web projects for over 7 years. I highly recommend them.
Always Host Your Own Blog:
While services like Squarespace, blogspot and WP.com are make it easy to start your blog, because you aren’t hosting your own website your Google ranking and organic website traffic will be limited. With companies like Bluehost it’s super easy to set up your domain, hosting, and templates using Self-Hosted WordPress Software From www.wordpress.org. You can also get free domain from Bluehost.
Focus On One Niche:
I recommend focusing on 1 niche on your blog, but no more than 2. If you write about too many things then your SEO potential will be limited. Google likes to establish themes around your blog and then you can rank for a bunch of topics around that theme. (Ex. Health and Fitness). If you want your blog to be about all areas of your life, that’s awesome, but your posts likely won’t rank as high as blog focused on 1topics.
Choose A Keyword Rich Domain:
Choose a keyword rich domain name for your blog niche. Typically the shorter the domain the better. Not only are shorter domains easier to brand, they are often more memorable and lead to higher direct traffic (users typing into browser bars like Google Chrome). Also, always try to buy the .com domain – which has the greatest global ranking potential. It’s worth paying extra for the .com and even buying it on the off market. A high quality domain is a great investment.
Invest In Your Website Domain:
Most domains at companies like Bluehost start at $12, but investing in website domains has gotten a lot more popular over the past few years. Many high quality domains will cost you between $500 – $2,500 and are always a good investment in your blog. It’s important to invest in your brand and if you put down money you are also more likely to stick with blogging.
Choose WordPress As Your CMS:
While a lot of content management systems (CMS)’s have SEO ranking potential, I consistently see blogs on WordPress rank higher. WordPress is highly recommended over other CMS. They also have the best plugins. The primary reason is that the open source code bases are updated consistently to support higher ranking blogs and better security.
Sub-domain (new.notjustonline.com) vs. Sub-Directory (notjustonline.com/new):
Which has the best SEO potential? If you are launching a new area of your website you should launch it on a sub-domain if you want Google to view it as it’s own website (with it’s own XML sitemap) and on a sub-directory if you want it to increase the search rankings of your core website. Both have unique SEO potential based on your specific blog ranking goals.
HTTP vs. HTTPs:
Google rewards secure websites and HTTPS is a positive ranking factor. I consistently see HTTPS sites ranking higher. You need to buy an SSL certificate from your hosting provider to make this happen. I am in the process of making all of my websites HTTPS. If you do change your website to HTTPS make sure you 301 re-direct all of the old HTTP domains to the new ones (kind of a pain, but very important). Here’s a great switching to HTTPS guide.
Use A Theme Set-Up Well For SEO:
This means that the code is technically sound, it has all of the elements (footer, categories etc.) for strong building a strong SEO foundation, and the core elements load fast. A lot of themes that I see bloggers using aren’t coded well for SEO. This is why it is a good idea to buy a premium theme and analyze it’s SEO components (which most good themes will highlight). Some of my favorite SEO WordPress themes are from themeforest
Premium Themes Are Better:
A lot of bloggers use free themes, but it is almost always better to pay for a premium theme. They are also easy to upload to almost any hosting company. The long term traffic ROI on your $50-$60 for the theme will be worth it. A premium theme is one of the best investments you can make. Not only do most premium themes have more SEO potential, they also get updated frequently. Checkout the world’s largest theme website Themeforest.
User Experience Should Be Your Focus:
Google is getting better at reading blogs like people do and the better the experience the higher your ranking potential. A beautiful easy to use and navigate website will always rank better than a poorly designed website. This is another case for getting a premium theme. Checkout all of the awesome user experience themes on Themeforest.
Ensure You Blog Is Mobile/Responsive:
Google announced they will be adjusting their index to be “Mobile First,” which means that they will rank your blog based on the mobile experience (not the desktop one!). This is a huge development given that approximately 50%+ of all global searches are now done on mobile devices. Your website needs to be optimized and fast on mobile devices. Only use high quality responsive themes that have a great built in user experience. Keep an eye on your mobile specific traffic in Google Analytics, as well as your mobile index in Google Search Console. Evaluate your mobile user experience using the new Google Mobile Experience tool.
Mobile Friendly Google Test – Run this for your blog.
Use The Best Permalink Structure:
The best structure for you blog links is domain.com/post-title and can be changed in most themes. Don’t use the date or categories in your URL. A simpler structure will almost always rank better. If you have already started your blog with a different permalink structure, it might be worth changing and 301 re-directing all of your old posts to a simpler structure.
Utilize Google Analytics:
It’s free to use. You should always have Google Analytics on your website, in fact Google likely uses your Google Analytics data to rank you website (even though they say they don’t). A vast majority of the top ranked websites use Google Analytics. Here is a great Google Analytics set-up guide.
Set Up Google Search Console:
Set up a Google Search Console Account. It’s free and will help you track the impact of your SEO efforts. It will also show you backlinks to your website, as well as if Google are having any problems crawling your website. Once you set it up then connect Google Search console to Google Analytics. Here is a great Google Search Console set-up guide.
Check How Your Blog Is Indexed In Google:
It’s super easy to see which pages from your blog Google has indexed. Just go to Google and type in site: yourdomainname in the search box. It will show you all of the pages that Google has for you in their search engine. You can also do this for your competitors to see which pages are ranking.
Don’t Forget Bing Webmaster Tools:
Bing is growing its market share and webmaster tools offers similar insights to Google Search Console, but for Bing. It has a lot of cool features and shows you the keywords that you are ranking for. Sign up for a free Bing Webmaster Tools account. Here’s a great guide on setting up Bing Webmaster Tools.
Use Best SEO Plugin:
If you use WordPress or Drupal use the free Yoast SEO plugin. It’s by far the best. In my opinion the premium Yoast plugin isn’t worth it. All you need is the free version. Here is the Yoast WordPress set-up guide.
Use Best WordPress Security Plugin:
If your website gets hacked most hackers put malicious links somewhere on your website in a directory that will probably be hard to find. If you use WordPress then I strongly recommend using the free version of Wordfence. It’s the best security plugin out there and will help you from getting hacked and your SEO destroyed. Here is a great Wordfence set-up guide.
Page Speed Of Your Blog A Major Factor:
The speed of your website is a highly weighted ranking factor. Google wants to show fast loading blogs because they create a better experience for the user/searchers. I always recommend working until your blog pages load less than 1 second. The faster the better. Check you page speed using Googles free page speed insights tool.
Use Browser Caching Plugin:
One of the best ways to increase the speed of your website is to use a browser caching plugin. It pre-loads certain elements of your blog pages, so they don’t have to reload every time. The best free plugin is W3 Total Cache. Here is a great W3 Total Cache set-up guide.
Submit To Global Search Engines:
There are many more search engines than Google and Bing around the world. Manually submit your website to them so they know you exist and start crawling your website. Here is a list of global search engines where you can submit you blog. Watch out for next post on this series.