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10 Essential Tips For SEO Beginners in 2018

By on in Internet

1,304 words, estimated reading time 6 minutes.

If you want your blog posts to be ranked higher in search engines it’s important they are properly optimized. In this SEO for beginners tutorial, I’ll show you the steps you can take to ensure your blog pages are correctly search engine optimized.

What is SEO and Why is it Important?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine results.

Correct search engine optimization for blog posts give them a higher chance of being ranked higher in the search engine results, which means a higher potential for more traffic to your blog. If you make money from your blog from AdSense or similar programs, it can also mean an increase in your income.

By following these pro blogging tips, you will increase your chances of being ranked higher in search engines.

Install a SEO plugin.

I've talked about various SEO plugins in a previous post, and again in my WordPress SEO plugins for 2018 article. In the 10 years between posts, not a lot has changed. Yoast SEO plugin has remained consistently the best solution for WordPress users, as has a few others.

Determine your keywords.

It used to be popular to try and rank well for single keywords, however, there is now so much competition on the web and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get good ranking for singular keywords such as "photography" or "astronomy". Instead, webmasters are focussing on niche markets and long-tail keywords such as "urban wildlife photography" or "amateur astronomy in Scotland" which are more specific to your content, thus driving more targeted, quality visitors. You can still use keywords; just don't rely on them to bring in quality traffic.

When deciding on keywords and phrases, avoid using any industry-specific jargon. Stick to simple and clear, "natural language" instead.

The keywords meta tag is pretty much dead now, so you don't need to stuff keywords into the header, just select one word or phrase and optimize your content for it. This includes setting title tags, image alt tags, links and of course quality content.

Post length

SEO and content marketers are always trying to figure out what it takes to drive their content to the top of search results. One frequently talked about characteristic of content is word count, specifically what length gives their content the best odds of reaching the top of the search results.

Unfortunately, there is no set rule here, the ideal length of the content is going to vary by industry and region. Just remember to always focus on quality over quantity, a long post full of garbage will not rank as well as a shorter post of quality content.

Use H1 and H2 Heading Tags for SEO

The purpose of heading tags is to split content into a reader-friendly format. Splitting content by using headings enables the reader to follow the flow of the article and understand it better.

There are 6 heading styles to use, and they should be used in a hierarchy.

The H1 and H2 heading tags will be your webpage’s main points of focus. They are the first things that users will notice about your page and hence have to be appropriate.

There should only one H1 tag on the page, this is recommended to contain the article or page title.

The content is split into sections using H2 tags, and each section further split using H3 tags if required. H4 can also be used in an H3, however, you may wish to look at how your article is structured if you need more than 3 headings.

You shouldn't use an H4 tag after an H2 tag without an H3 as this breaks the hierarchy structure.

Give your Images a Title and Alt Text

The alt and title attributes of an image are used to describe the image in a text format. The title attribute is shown in a popup when the mouse hovers over an image, and the alt text is used when the image is not available, in screen readers, text-only browsers and some search engine crawlers.

Every image should have an alt text. This is not just for SEO purposes but also to make the page accessible to blind and visually impaired people. A title attribute is not required. It can be useful but in most cases, leaving it out shouldn’t be much of an issue. These attributes can be used to add keyphrases to your page, but don't stuff keywords in. The goal is to describe the image.

Interlink your Content

Internal linking is vital for your website structure, not only for SEO purposes but also to help your readers find related content.

An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page on the same website.

Within your content, you should link to relevant content in a way that is natural to the reader. Using natural links that match the context of the content, your readers will be more likely to click on that link.

Good internal linking provides a boost to visitor engagement and SEO so it's win-win. Just don't go overboard and link every other sentence. Only link when it is natural to do so.

Check your Permalink

Permalink is a term used to identify the URL of a web page. While a URL can change, it is recommended that a permalink does not chance, hence the name permanent link.

Permalinks should be structured in a way which can include keywords and information about the content, but also not too long. Many CMS utilise "ugly" permalinks by default, for example mydomain.com/?id=3345.

This is considered ugly and bad practice for a number of reasons.

  1. It gives away information about the potential back-end system (internal information disclosure) as well as opening up the door to parameter tampering.
  2. The link means nothing to anyone by itself, it gives no indication about the type of page or the page content.
  3. Search Engines rank keywords in the URL fairly highly, so there is a missed opportunity for SEO points.

A good permalink structure would contain the keywords from the post title. You should exclude common words such as "a", "and", "the" etc. Most CMS systems have the ability to generate "clean" URLs or have an extension.

An example of a clean URL would be mydomain.com/fantastic-seo-ideas-blogs/ which immediately shows that the page is about SEO for blogs and contains some all-important SEO points.

Pick your permalink structure wisely. Don’t change your permalink structure for the sake of it.

Page Speed and Performance

Website performance and individual page speed are becoming an increasingly important SEO ranking factor. Pages should be coded in such a way that they display as quickly as possible.

Research by Google showed that on average, visitors will leave a website if it does not load within 3 seconds. For this reason, Google gives preferential treatment to websites that load quickly.

There are many reasons why websites load slowly, from low-cost servers, poor web programming, unoptimised images and overuse of embedded media.

You can check your web pages load speed using the Google Page Speed Analysis tool or the excellent GTmetrix page speed tool.

Build Your Site for Readers, NOT Search Engines

The most important SEO advice I can offer is that your site should be designed and built and content is written for your visitors and readers, NOT search engines. If a website looks over-optimised or is stuffed with unnatural links and packed full of keywords with little real content then you will likely attract a penalty from the search engines. This holds equally true for plagiarism, which can get your site blocked in Google results. Copy and Pasting other articles from the web without permission is theft and will be dealt with harshly.

Last updated on: Friday 6th July 2018



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