This post may contain affiliate links.
This post is about the simple principles of understanding SEO for the new blogger or internet marketer who wants to rank high in Google and other search engines.
Most bloggers I know want their blog posts to be ranked high in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The thing is, many people still do not understand what it takes to be ranked in Google. Actually, many people think it’s hard to rank in search engines like Google and Bing.
But, what if I told you that there is a simple, proven system of rules to follow that can have most, if not all your blog posts ranking high in search engines.
Would you believe me?
Well, in this post, I will take you through the process of understanding SEO for the newbie! This should help you get a better idea of steps to take to help your posts rank higher, faster!
The benefits of ranking high in search engines include:
- An increase in your organic traffic.
- An increase in the amount of money you make from your blog.
Here are the basic steps to understanding SEO for the Newbie
Step #1: Install Yoast SEO plugin
You can create a search engine optimized post without an SEO plugin. However, having this plugin makes understanding everything to do with ‘On Page SEO’ so much more easier. An SEO plugin is what helped me to understand where my posts were falling short in terms of being properly search engine optimized. Therefore, I highly recommend that you install one. I use and love the free version of Yoast SEO plugin for my search engine optimization.
Step #2: Determine your keyword
A keyword or as I like to say ‘Keyphrase’ is the word or phrase that someone will type into Google, Bing or Yahoo to find information on a certain topic of interest.
For instance, the ‘keyword/phrase for this post is ‘Understanding SEO For The’
Everytime someone searches for this phrase in Google, my post can possibly be pulled up on the first few pages of Google. (This is only made possible if I use good SEO practices in this post)
Therefore, before you start to write up your blog post, you need to find a keyword for that post.
I use Jaxxy to find the best keywords to rank for.
It is a paid keyword research tool that costs $19 monthly, but it is worth every single penny. This is the most comprehensive keyword research tool I have used thus far. This tool tells me how many people are searching for a keyword monthly, how much traffic I will get from the keyword if I rank high, and how many other websites or blogs are ranking high for that Keyword. All this information helps me to understand which keywords are worth writing about and which ones are not.
I have a detailed review and why I use Jaxxy instead of Google Keywords Planner and how to use it. You should have a look at this post here.
The main criteria for deciding to use a keyword in a blog post:
1. It has great search volume
I typically like to write my content around keywords with 500 or more searches a month
This helps to set me up for some good traffic if I rank high (Page 1 -3) on Google, Bing or Yahoo.
2. As recommended by Jaxxy, I like to write my content around keywords that have lower competition
This means that my post has less competing websites to battle with for page one, two or three rank.
Here is an example of a high traffic and low competition or ‘QSR’ keyword according to Jaxxy.
3. I like to write my content around Long Tail Keywords. Those are keywords with 3 or more words. They’re basically a key phrase.
A keyword or phrase with more than two words is usually more specific.
This helps in two ways.
- It helps to narrow down the focus of a post (Google and other search engines like that a lot)
- It also gives a post a fairer chance of ranking high.
Let me explain
Many of the short tail keywords (keywords with one or two words) are saturated. This means that tons and tons of people with websites or blogs who started blogging years ago wrote their content around those keywords. Their posts, blog or websites have been ranking for those short tail keywords for months, if not years. This keyword is thus saturated.
It will be super duper difficult for you as a blogger just starting with SEO, to rank past those websites. In cases like these, your best shot is being stuck on page 15 of Google search. Therefore, the best solution is to find long term keywords for your blog posts.
This is an example of a long term keyword (Those are the types of keywords you should pick!)
This is an example of the short tail keyword (run away from those!). Although this keyword has great searches and traffic, there are also lots of other websites already ranking for it, as indicated by the ‘QSR’ of 257. This means you have a very slim chance of ranking for this keyword.
Step #3: Use keywords within your post
It is worth noting that Yoast SEO, has indications of where you should be applying keywords for best SEO results. However, I have encountered a few bloggers who still have a hard time understanding this so I will elaborate here:
As per Yoast’s and many other SEO gurus recommendations:
1. Add your keywords to your post title.
Always make it a point to add your keywords in your post title. For instance, if your keyword is ‘ Holiday Gift Guide For 2 Year Olds. Then your title should look something like this:
‘The Best Holiday Gift Guides For Two Year Olds’
As an example. My keyword for this post is ‘Understanding SEO For The’. Therefore, my post title is ‘The Basics Of Understanding SEO For The Newbie Blogger’
2. Meta Description
This is a short description of what your blog post is about. It is displayed directly under your post title in search engines.
Here is a screenshot of my Meta Description for this post
If you use Yoast SEO, you will be alerted of how SEO friendly your meta description is
Key points to note for meta description.
1. Keep it under 150 characters
2. Make sure to include your keyword
3. Make sure it describes the gist of your post well.
3. Understanding SEO for the newbie! ADD KEYWORDS TO Image ALT
Add your keyword to your image ALT. This is super important since some searchers use Google images. If the images within your posts are optimized with keywords, they have a chance of driving additional traffic to your website or blog.
Here is a screenshot of one of my images with my keyword inserted in my image ALT
4. Throughout your post/content
I’m unable to tell you exactly how many times you should add keywords]in your post, since post lengths vary throughout the blogosphere. However, Yoast SEO recommends that 0.6% of your text should be keywords
Tip: Try your best to add your keyword in the first line of your post.
5. In your permalink
Always pay attention to them and ensure that you are adding your keywords to your permalinks.
P.S Yoast SEO automatically generates a permalink for your post based on your post title.
Yoast recommends removing stop words such as ‘a’ ‘for’ and so on. Read more here. I personally do not go out of my way to remove stop words since I try to add my keywords just like they are being searched. For instance, If people are searching for how to make bread, I do not try to make my permalink ‘how make bread‘. Therefore, this is one of the things that Yoast SEO hasn’t completely convinced me of yet, and so I will stick to using stop words until I become convinced to do otherwise. Nevertheless, make sure you are adding keywords to your permalinks.
Here is my permalink for this post
6. Add keywords to your H2 [Heading 2] tags
Ensure you’re using headings in your post as a way to make reading easier.
Plus, it’s another way to use your keywords and google uses this as a factor to rank your blog. Yoast SEO explains why you should use H2 tags in this post.
Here is an example of my keyword in my H2 Tag
Step #4: Interlink
Link other older posts within new posts. This is an awesome SEO trick since interlinking allows Google bots to crawl more of your posts. The more Google crawls your blog posts the better for you because this increases your chances of getting indexed in search engines faster.
Interlinking also helps to get more eyes on your older posts.
Here are a few more things you can do to improve your SEO
- Improve the speed of your website or blog. This can involve working with code. If you’re up for it, have a look at this guide. P.S be careful not to break anything on your blog. If you would rather not play with your blog or website and risk breaking anything, I recommend having someone of Fiverr tackle this task for you. It’s cheap and you save yourself tons of headaches if you’re not too tech-savvy! Type in ‘speed up my website’ in Fiverr and make sure to hire someone with really good ratings.
- Make sure that all URLs on you blog or website are linking to content and not 404 pages. Recently I visited my Google Search Console dashboard and noticed that many of my links were broken, due to me changing URLs and or deleting pages or posts that were already indexed in Google. Many SEO gurus, as well as Google, recommend that you fix broken links as soon as possible because this can hurt your SEO. Google bots focus more on broken links when crawling your website and this leaves your good links for last priority. This can affect how quickly you unbroken links get crawled, indexed and thus ranked in Google. Here is a video that shows you how to fix broken links by using 301 redirects.
- Guest post! This will help with your backlinks. Here is a post that explains how backlinks help with SEO.
Many bloggers will outline different SEO practices for getting ranked high and receiving search engine traffic. Those practices for understanding SEO for the newbie, as outlined within my post, are practices that I have studied and am currently implementing with success.
Here is an example of the success I am alluding too:
I published this post on the 21st of November 2016. As of today, December 8th 2016 ( less than 3 weeks after publishing the post), it ranks at the very top of Page 3 in Google search.
I expect this post to be ranked on page 1 by the end of December 2016.
Update! As of December 11th, 2016 my post is now on Page 2 of Google search!
If you think my results are worth it, then follow the steps that I outline in this post called ‘The basics of understanding SEO for the newbie blogger’. Also, read my review of Jaxxy to see why and how I use this awesome tool for my keyword research. This tool will help you find the best quality keywords that you can rank for easily and quickly, as I have shown you in the screenshots above.
Has this post helped you with understanding SEO for better page rank and thus more organic traffic?
Let me know what you think about my tips and what other tips you think I missed!