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SEO Search Engine Optimization: Does It Really Matter?

When it comes to getting traffic to your blog there are quite a few options but there is one that is considered the mother of all traffic methods and absolutely unmissable, namely, sweet juicy, free, Google traffic which often is referred to a organic traffic. But how to tap into this golden stream of web visitors?

Why would you need SEO for your blog?

As I may have mentioned in other blogposts the purpose of my blog is to document my online marketing journey, how I make money online, the tools I use, what works and what doesn’t work for me and also review products that can hopefully help beginners and newbies that want to perhaps start their own blog.

As I want my blog to make money (who doesn’t?) I need to get traffic to it and one way of doing that is to write blog posts or articles (content marketing) that target certain search terms or “keywords” that people put into Google. This is something that is called Search Engine Optimization. You are setting up your blogpost in a way so it looks good for Google and other search engines and hopefully rank them high in the search engine results pages (SERP).

People who use search engines are looking for answers for their questions or problems and it’s the job of the search engines to find the most relevant answer in order to help the searchers.

Google wants the best answer for the searched keyword and your job is to try to make the best answer.

As the purpose of your blog should be to educate people and bring them value as well as trying to be entertaining and hopefully sell them products down the line you really begin to see why you need to optimize your blogposts for search engines. The conversion rate (prospects that turn into customers) of leads is also about 14 times higher when they come from SEO versus print ads and direct mail. So you can see the power of SEO right there.

Here you can see the search result page for the keyword “Canon”. First there are two paid results and then the third one is ranked organically first by Google as it has the most authority on that keyword.

SEO Search Engine Optimization

How do you make your blog SEO friendly in the eyes of Google and the other search engines?

The best way to rank high in the search engines and get organic traffic is to think long term with your content. Forget about stuffing your articles with keywords and rather focus on creating quality content that is relevant to they keyword search term you want to rank for. Your blogpost should do it’s best to answer the question searchers have on their mind.

Also try to put a bit of a personal twist in your writing and differentiate yourself or your brand from all the other content out there. It’s ok to have your personal opinion also as long as it ties into the thing you are writing about. People in general like when they read a bit of content that has some spunk and edgyness so that they feel that they are reading a text written by a person with opinions and experience. The Google algorithm is getting good at analyzing text like that and will rank it higher when it noticed genuine content like it.

But above all, focus on quality. If it takes 500 words to explain the concept then that is ok. But it might also take 5000 words. Quantity should not be the main issue. Short blogpost can also do good in the search engine results.

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Easy navigation

Make sure your blog is easy on the eyes and that it’s not difficult for visitors to find their ways around. Confusing navigation can result in the user leaving the blog under 10 seconds and that will register as a bounce which is really bad in the eyes of Google. You want to keep your bounce rate low and you should constantly be monitoring it in Google Analytics for your site.

The main reason people get high bounce rate though is if you don’t update your blog regularly as your audience will be on the lookout for new and fresh content from you at least weekly. If they see that you haven’t updated the site they will just leave as they will probably have consumed your newest updates already. So make sure that you are frequently delivering more value to your audience and make sure to have your blog clean and tidy. No pop-ups! And don’t over-do it on ads either. I would say that you should have maximum 4 Google ads on your blog tops.

Install Yoast SEO

The best way to optimize your WordPress blog for search engine traffic is to install the plugin Yoast SEO. You can do that by going into the “Plugins” tab in the sidebar on the left in your WordPress dashboard (seen below). Type Yoast SEO in the search field in the top right corner. Click the “Install Now” button and afterwards click the button when it says “Activate”. That’s it!

Yoast SEO

Meta Description and title tags

Under the blog post window where you write your article is a so-called snippet where you can optimize your post for SEO and put in your meta description and title. There is even a preview that will show you how your search result will show in Google. The snippets also shows you the right amount of words you should put in the meta description to please Google the most. Make sure to use the keyword you are trying to rank for in this description preferably at the beginning. You can also put in a focus keyword that you want to stand out (bolded) in the search result.

Yoast SEO Meta description
Yoast SEO Snippet

Besides being able to edit individual blog posts you can also set up templates for titles and meta descriptions  in the Search Appearance section of Yoast SEO that you can apply for all of your posts and pages.

Yoast SEO template
Yoast SEO template

Tagged images

If you are using images in your blog posts or articles (and you really should) they should also be optimized for SEO.

An image that is surrounded by text that it’s related to ranks higher in the search engines for the keyword it’s being optimized for.

So what is it that you have to do in order to optimize your images for SEO?

Firstly you should enter the “alt tag” information for the image you are using. An alt tag simply describes what it is that’s in the image you are using.

This is especially useful for example blind and visually impaired users that have their computers read out the text for them.

This is an example of a complete HTML image tag:

<img src=“yourimage.jpg” alt=“your image description” title=“your image title”>

Even though they are not actually tags the alt and title attributes are usually named alt tags and title tags.

The alt tag should describe the purpose of the image. For example if you have an image of an Add To Card your alt tag should be something like this: “button to Add to Cart”. Remember, alt tags are mainly for screen readers and also SEO.

Title tags are not as important and are not required for successfully optimize your site for SEO but I would recommend using them anyways. See below where to the information for alt tags and titles in WordPress.

Image of alt tags and titles

Engaging users

One of the factors that Google takes into account these days when it comes to SEO is how users engage with your site. The longer they stay on your site the more Goggle notices that your blog seems to have quality content and thus ranks your page higher in the search result pages.

One thing your blog should absolutely have is a comment system. A lot of bloggers don’t realise that the comments on an article post are considered a part of the post’s content. A long and detailed comment can actually add value to your post. Why does that matter? Because blog post that are longer then let’s say 1000 words seem to do better when it comes to search engine traffic. Also longer posts also attracts more organic backlinks and shares.

A point to have in mind is that a irrelevant comment can also harm your blog posts ranking so make sure to monitor your commenting system.

What you should not do

Never ever steal or duplicate content from other webpages. Google will only index one of the pages and they can punish you for putting content on your site that isn’t yours.

Don’t use pop-up ads that can be very annoying when mobile-users are browsing your ad. Google will notice this.

Scattering your keyword all over your article or blogpost will not work either. Google is getting very smart and you should avoid this. Use your keyword that your are trying to rank for were it’s relevant in your article and so it is in sync with your content.

If you found this article helpful please let other people know.

Cheers, Hafsteinn.