Before you continue this part 2 in the series of What Are The Best SEO Tips For New Bloggers you may want to go through part1 first
#24: 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.
#25: 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.
#26: Keyword Research:
Use Google Keyword planner (you have to set up an Adwords account, but can use the tool for free). Google crawls keywords and links, so it’s especially important to write keyword rich content. To do this well, use Google Keyword planner to research how many people are searching for keywords related to the topic you are blogging about. Here is an awesome guide to keyword research.
#27: Short Tail vs. Long Tail Keywords:
It is always easier to rank for longer tail (3+ keywords) phrases than shorter phrases. A lot of bloggers pick keywords that are too short, too competitive, and too general. It is often easiest to rank for keywords with between 500 – 3,000 keyword searches per month. Over time as your blog gets traction you will have a better shot at ranking for the shorter more competitive keywords. Here is a great article on why a long tail SEO keyword strategy is valuable.
#28: Competitor Research:
The best way to get more traffic is to analyze how the top ranking blogs in your niche are getting traffic and copy their strategies. In order to conduct competitor research you really need to pay for a tool. These are the best SEO tools on the market and once you have mastered the fundamentals you should check them out: SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Moz. I personally use all four tools frequently, but SEMRush is the best SEO tool available. You can try out SEMRush for free by typing in your own domain or a competitor domain you are interested in analyzing.
#29: Main Navigation Menu:
It’s important to have keyword rich menu tabs and they should be representative of the primary focus keywords of your entire blog. Google can easily crawl your menu, so you should link to the main topics that you cover on your blog. Always include BOTH an About and Contact page in your menu, as well as 3-6 other keyword topically rich menu items. Don’t overstuff your menu.
#30: Secondary Navigation Menu:
If your theme has a secondary menu then you should start using it once you have enough content. Google can crawl both menus and it’s shown that blogs with two navigation menus get higher keyword rankings. For your secondary navigation menu (also known as the top menu), you ideally should highlight your most valuable post content OR posts on a secondary topic.
Your FOOTER is your secret SEO weapon and most bloggers don’t use it to their full advantage. This is an opportunity to place content and internal links that will be shown on every page of your website. Always include a 100-250 word description of your website in one of the widget areas. Take advantage of your footer widget areas that your theme should have. Take a look at how my footer is built below.
#32: RSS Feed:
Google can crawl RSS feeds and own Feedburner, so it is strongly recommended that you set up a Feedburner feed for your blog. While other services like Feedly are growing in popularity (it’s what I use), Feedburner is crawlable and allows readers to subscribe to your blog with their own RSS reader. Sign up for you own RSS Feeedburner account.
#33: Links on Your Homepage:
A lot of blogs have way too many links on their homepage. This can appear spammy to Google. You should have less than 75 links on your homepage – which includes counting all links. So your menu, links to posts, links to categories, links to tags, links to advertisers, links to pages, and links to your social accounts. You can use Screaming Frog to crawl your blog to determine how many external links are on your homepage or use the Free HREF Google Chrome Link checker extension.
#34: Display and Text Ads:
Having ads on your website won’t help you with SEO, but they can really hurt you. A lot of blogs that I analyze have too many display and/or text ads on their pages and posts. If you have too many ads on your post then Google might view them as spammy or at the very least a poor experience for the visitors. User experience and SEO are so intimately related, so take a fresh look at your website and think “Is this too many ads?” Ask a few friends, if they say it’s too much it probably is too much. In-line text ads are particularly annoying and I recommend against them generally. Best practice is to include no more than 3 ads on your sidebar, and no more than 2 ads in your posts. Try to avoid pop up ads at all times if possible.
While it’s generally fine for SEO to include a pop-up to get newsletter subscribers, Google recently announced that they are going to start penalizing some websites with mobile pop-ups and generally dislike all mobile pop-ups. If your website has a lot of pop-ups then remove them and make all pop-ups easy and quick to click away from. One thing to keep a close eye on are your bounce-rates in Google Analytics (the number of people who leave your website after visiting just 1 page). If your bounce rates increase on your pop-up pages then you should should probably remove them. If you want to be super safe, then I would recommend staying away from pop-ups completely to maximize your SEO potential.
#36: High Quality Content:
Think about the reader you want on your website. Why they would want to read your post? Most Google queries are questions – so answer the readers question the best you can. For example you write a post titled “How to save $1,000”, you need to give the reader AS MUCH value as possible. The more value and answers you give the more traffic you will get. Google rewards relevancy and people who answer questions better than someone else. This is how you pick your target keywords.
Keep your URLS short and keyword rich. A lot of blogs I see have URLs that are too long. Matt Cutts who is THE SEO guru at Google recommends using a maximum of 3-5 words in your URLs. I also recommend keeping them between 30-50 characters. Here’s an awesome guide on the correlation between URL lengths and rankings from Neil Patel.
#38. Post and Page Titles:
Your post titles impact your click through rates (CTR) and your CTRs impact your search rankings. Try to make your post titles more each catchy. Post titles should be between 30-65 characters and also include your target keyword. A lot of blogs that I analyze have post titles that are too long. Using Screaming Frog will help you analyze all of your post title lengths. Here’s a great video on crafting high ranking post titles.
#39. Meta Descriptions:
While not a ranking factor on Google, meta-descriptions do impact click through rates. All of your posts should have custom meta-descriptions. If you use Yoast then you should customize them below each post. Don’t just let Google pick your meta-description for you. Write a clear description of what the post is about and the key takeaways. Well written meta-descriptions have been statistically proven to increase click through rates and traffic. Check out this guide on writing effective meta descriptions.
#40. Meta Keywords:
While no longer a Google ranking factor due to the high prevalence of spam, other global search engines still take meta-keywords into account. Meta keywords should align with your target keywords and is particularly important for bloggers outside the United States. You can turn on meta keywords in the Yoast plugin and I recommend you use them.
#41. Post Length:
Write at least one 2,000+ post per month, then all other posts in the 500-1,200 word range. Longer posts typically rank better if the content is high quality and really relevant to a users search query. According to Backlinko the average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.
#42. Post Frequency:
Write posts as often as you can, but try to write a minimum of one post per week. There is a lot of debate on this topic and the general theory is that you should write as many posts as you can keep up writing consistently. Consistent posting and “fresh content” have been shown to have a positive impact on SEO rankings.
#43. Table of Contents:
In long posts always include a table of contents like I do in this post. Including a table of contents will not only help readers find the content that is most relevant to them, it’s also valuable for Google indexing the content on your longer posts. I personally use the following Table of Contents WordPress plugin.
Posts with images rank better than posts without. Although Google can’t crawl images they can see where images are and like to see them in posts. Typically it is recommended that you include at least 1-3 images per post depending on the length.
#45. Image Sizes:
One of the biggest reasons for a slow website is images that are too large and take too long to load. Resize your images before uploading and make sure the file sizes are ideally under 1.5 MB.
#46. Image Alt Tags:
Even though Google can’t crawl images they can crawl image alt tags. Always include your target keyword from your post in the image name and Alt Tag. Don’t upload any images without including this information.
#47. Image Descriptions:
Google in fact can crawl image descriptions so be clear what the images is of and this will not only help your posts, but get your images ranked in Google images.
Adding video to a post will only helps its ranking potential. Google are continually rewarding websites that have dynamic content that is relevant. You don’t have to create you own video to embed, you can easily go on YouTube (owned by Google) and find a video to embed on your topic. A lot of bloggers don’t embed video and it’s a missed opportunity to engage visitors and impact you page rankings.
#49. Video Sitemap:
If you are adding videos to your website from YouTube then you should include a video sitemap in addition to your regular .XML sitemap. If video is a key component your blog and blog strategy then I recommend that you buy the premium Yoast Video Sitemap plugin.
#50. Video Transcriptions:
For your own videos, a great way to get your videos to rank is to write out full transcriptions of them as their own separate posts on your blog. When you upload the video to YouTube you can actually get the video transcribed for free and then edit the file for accuracy. Then you can cut and past the transcript from the Youtube video into it’s own post. Checkout this Lifehacker post on YouTube transcriptions.
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.
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