Writers are beginning to find more and more jobs in the blogging industry because of SEO. Although blogging has many other advantages—helping to educate consumers, improve a personal brand, increase online visibility, entertainment, etc.—SEO is one of the biggest reasons that writers are able to make a living blogging. Whether it by working for a company or working for your own website, SEO will no doubt help you earn more in the long run doing what you love. We talk a lot here about SEO from a business standpoint, but bloggers are crucial to the workings of most businesses.
Fortunately from a blogger’s perspective, the SEO aspect is actually quite easy once you have a little bit of background information. If you understand that SEO and blogging can fit together, you can learn a few basic “must-know” SEO strategies and be on your way.
The Basics: How Blogging and SEO Work Together
The first step when it comes to blogging for SEO reasons is understanding how it all works in the first place. The general gist is this:
First, you will likely either be working for a company or working for your own website. The goal is to improve your company or your own website’s ranking on a Google search engine results page (SERP). This is done by writing quality content for readers and establishing relationships. Only after you do that can you start to think about utilizing your relevant website links to help build up the piece and give readers a place to click for more information.
Next comes time to complete this linking. The job of the blogger is to submit a guest article to different blogs across the web, and then link back to his/her website in an author bio or in the copy of the text. Take the following screenshot as an example. As you can see, our guest blogger Nick Stamoulis offered us a guest article and we gave him a link back to his site. Our site gets a great (and free) article and his site gets the SEO benefit.
Lastly, Google bots will notice all of these links and start building a portfolio of all the backlinks a site has earned. The idea here is that if a lot of good, reputable sites are referring back to your site, you must be offering valuable information to Google users; thus your website should be moved to the top of a search engine results page. This then means more clicks and more traffic, which means better advertising opportunities and potential conversions.
There are quite a few other aspects and benefits of SEO to understand, but this is how the system typically works for bloggers. It is a pretty straightforward concept, but actually making it happen can be a bit more complicated. Believe it or not, where, when, what, and how you earn these links is incredibly important. If you use too many links, are associated with spammy websites, or are inserting non-relevant links, you’re going to get penalized by Google instead of praised.
Top 5 SEO Tips No Blogger Should Live Without
Whether you’re working to improve your SERP ranking for your own site or a site that hired you, contributing articles will now mean optimizing. Below are a few SEO tips that every blogger should understand in order to be successful:
Choose a good long-tail keyword without much competition.
Keyword research is actually a fairly complicated topic, but in general a blogger should try to focus on a long-tail keyword without much competition (as opposed to one very broad term). You can use the free Google AdWords Keyword Planner to do some analysis about what keywords and keyword phrases work best. You will want to look at the number of global searches per month as well as the competition. You can learn more about keyword research here.
Try to earn links within the copy of your article as opposed to an author bio.
This is one SEO tip that many bloggers seem to miss. When you guest post on other blogs, most editors will allow you to link back to your website in an author bio box. While this is great, try to get a link back to your website in the copy of your article if it is relevant. Many editors will let you do this if the link makes sense, and Google actually puts more weight on the links that are not in an author bio because they are more natural. In fact, the goal is to earn natural links from others who are writing and referencing your writings in their pieces—these are known as natural links as opposed to links you’ve purposely built.
Don’t forget to optimize your photos.
Bloggers are usually writers first, so optimizing photos isn’t always number one on someone’s mind. However, optimizing photos on your blog posts is a great way to help rank for your particular keyword term. Consider creating a caption that a blog owner can use for your post, or label your post with your keyword in the back-end of the site (known as Meta Data). Below is a screenshot that shows how this works in WordPress:
Try to contribute to a few authoritative blogs as opposed to many.
Many bloggers forget the importance of writing for only very authoritative blogs with a high PR but this didn’t use to be a best practice for SEO. In the past you wanted to have a variety because the more sites that are linking back to your site, the better. Today, it’s best to really focus on creating those relationships and getting your name out there on websites that are putting out quality content. No need to run around trying to work with every little website you can.
Understand where to place your keywords.
Stuffing keywords into your content is considered a black hat tactic, so you want to be natural with keywords in that situation; however putting them in your title tags, description tags, sub-heading tags, and image tags is a great way to give your article that extra something that it needs to rank well on a Google SERP. Consider downloading SEO Yoast for your blog to help you understand what aspects of SEO you’re missing. This should help you improve your guest posts as well.
Do you have any “must-know” tips for bloggers looking to get SEO right? Let us know your ideas in the comments below.