Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) - the big, scary, internet monster that no one really explains in plain english.
Settle in, this is a big one!
When I started my blog, I had no idea what SEO was or how to use it to my advantage. I always knew that SEO was something that fancy web developers used to boost a website's reach on Google but I didn't think it applied to me.
BOY was I wrong!
SEO is a way of optimizing blog posts to show up sooner in search results.
*Note: We're doing a deep dive here so if you feel this chapter is a bit premature for your current status as a blogger, feel free to skim it or file it for later. I wanted to place it here during Lesson 2: the Setup because I feel it's an important step to cover early on. I waited to implement SEO strategy and wished I had done it sooner.
Let's think about an example that's applicable to us - a crochet baby hat pattern.
When we write a crochet baby hat pattern, wouldn't it be great if when someone searched Google for a crochet baby hat pattern, our post came up? Search Engine Optimization is what aids us in making that possible! The most SEO optimized posts will appear at the top of the endless list of posts pertaining to those keywords.
We could just write our post, publish, and call it a day. Using our other social media methods of directing traffic, we could do fairly well that way. In fact, that's the only way I built blog traffic until just about six months ago.
|Now, keep in mind that I am no SEO expert. Like everything else, I'm totally self taught and I'm just sharing the few tips and tricks I've been using to gain real results! There are tons of resources online to dive even deeper into SEO optimization (in fact, check out this youtube channel if you wanna learn TONS about SEO) but I hope this chapter helps you make some small improvements that may lead to more pageviews!|
Install YOAST on your Wordpress site
Yoast is a plugin that's membership based and it's functionality is primarily to asses every post on a blog and review it in terms of SEO optimization.
Some things Yoast will do:
- Score your post in terms of readability
- Score your post in terms of content optimization
- Suggest items to adjust / improve in order to boost those scores
- Allow you to edit your search engine snippets including SEO title, slug, and meta description (I'll go through what I do for all of this below!)
- Choose a focus keyword (with multiple keyword functionality)
- Determine whether or not this is cornerstone content
- Suggest internal linking options in the editor sidebar
Yoast is simple to install - you can find it by signing into your Wordpress site, accessing Plugins (in the lefthand menu) > Add New > Search Plugins > "Yoast SEO" > Install Now
It should look like the button below (mine just says "update" because it's already installed)
Now it's worth noting that there is a free version and a premium version for $89 per year. I used the free version until just recently but now I use the premium version that has more features. You can view a table of the differences between the plans and download what you'd like here as well.
Once you've installed that plugin your blog posts should update with a Yoast SEO or Yoast SEO Premium box right below the body editor of your blog posts.
This is where you can go in and see all of those items I outlined above.
This blog post has "green lights" everywhere which means it's just about as optimized as it can be - yay! Since I've learned everything I'll outline below, all my posts have all green lights. I've been slowly trying to go into all my old posts that were not written in an optimized way and adjust them to be SEO friendly. It takes a bit of overhauling but I've seen those adjusted posts move up in their search ranking because of these adjustments!
Let's look at an older post that needs some SEO work and I'll show you how to overhaul it to rank in search results!