SEO Made Simple with WordPress
I always feel like a “bad” blogger when I start trying to figure out SEO. Once I begin reading how to improve it, it’s like a headache begins to climb higher and higher with each new piece of information. So, I usually quit half way through my SEO research. I eventually decided that I will come back to it.
Well, I finally started working on my SEO and being more proactive with it, because I noticed that you don’t have to dive in and swim in big ass waters to understand and succeed with it. SEO can actually be utilized in simple ways, but with all of the daunting information out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
It’s time to share my SEO tips made simple, because doing these small tasks every week has almost doubled my views on posting days. Now, I’m still working on my strategies, but I do want to share what I have learned and how to approach SEO without feeling like you’re in over your head.
SEO Made Simple
Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or a newbie, let’s start with breaking down SEO, what it means, and why it’s important for bloggers. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a set of rules for optimizing your website. These rules are basically the framework of websites so they can achieve higher rankings in search engines’ organic results.
Readers trust search engines, so ranking well and have an SEO friendly blog will help you with growth, success, and overall readability. When it comes down to it, you could have a stunning website, but if it isn’t optimized for search engines, it won’t succeed to the same degree.
As a WordPress blogger, I take full advantage of SEO plugins and tools offered, because SEO can get overwhelming very quickly. Keep in mind, I’m a fairly cheap momma, so I don’t typically use premium versions of plugins. I have learned that the basic plugins work pretty well. Also, you can check out the Top Free Plugins for WordPress Bloggers here, and I will be mentioning the ones that help with SEO today as well.
Simple SEO Tips
These are the tips and strategies that I have been using and finding successful. Understanding SEO doesn’t mean you need to become an expert and write an ebook on how to master search engines. You can make small and simple changes to your blog that genuinely do help your ranking climb with search engines.
Starting small is sometimes the best route to begin learning and understanding the process for these types of concepts. With these SEO made simple tips, you can learn as you go and grow.
1. Refresh Old Content:
Slowly, I have been going through old posts and refreshing my old content. This is a process, and it’s bigger than just looking for spelling errors or broken links. It’s about optimizing the content.
With the Yoast Plugin on WordPress, your SEO and readability are displayed at the bottom on your posts. There are usually tips given by the plugin that help optimize your SEO. Readability is another factor, but I will say that you shouldn’t compromise your entire writing style just to get the green happy faces that Yoast uses for readability.
For me, it often suggests changing things like passive voice, or if I have consecutive sentences starting with the same word. Sometimes, I make just a few of the suggested changes, because I don’t want to risk changing my personal voice and writing style. Finding a happy medium has still shown an increase rather than completely changing everything suggested.
When you go through old content, check your links, graphics, categories, and snippets. All of the other tips I will be sharing are also things you should be doing with old posts if you haven’t done so before this. Let’s get to the other tips so you know exactly what to refresh and update for a higher ranking.
2. Graphics Matter:
I make all of my own graphics on Canva, but I make sure that the title is clearly visible and completely matches the title of my post. Images are apart of SEO too, so I have been also going back and making sure they look good for not just Pinterest, but for my blog style as well.
With graphics, alt text matters. Alt text is used to describe graphics for the visually impaired, but a lot of bloggers just use the alt text for keyword placement. Don’t do that, please. You can describe the image and use keywords all at the same time, AND in doing so, your SEO will be positively affected.
As a legally blind blogger, alt text is important for other reasons than SEO, but it is very possible to include a description while also plugging in some keywords (don’t worry, the importance of keywords is next on the list). Make sure you don’t just add the alt text to the main graphic involving the title. Take the opportunity to use alt text with every image and graphic on your blog. It will help the visually impaired and increase your ranking.
3. Do Keyword Research:
Keywords are phrases that describe your content. I honestly had no clue what the big deal with keywords was until these last few months. Since I’ve done my research and figured out where to add them to better my SEO, my numbers are slowly climbing.
As important as keywords are, keep in mind that “keyword stuffing” can hinder more than help. Don’t try to over do it with your keywords. Use them as you write naturally, and place them in descriptions without repeating them every sentence to avoid stuffing.
Building posts around keywords is what I do with pretty much every post. For example, I wanted to write a post about SEO made simple for WordPress, so that became the long-tail keyword and title. It’s also important to use that phrasing and keywords in headings throughout the post. Those keywords will be in my alt text for my featured image as well as in my SEO snippet where I use a few sentences to summarize my post.
Choose keywords for every page and post and do your research. You can type your keywords into Google and see what shows up, and you can also use keyword search tools. I do a bit of both and write down notes from my research in a notebook. Soon, I will be sharing some of my favorite keyword search tools, so stay tuned.
4. Links Matter Too:
Permalinks are the permanent links that lead to your site’s posts and pages. You have the option to change them to make them “prettier” and easy to read. Doing this will help not just search engines but readers as well. WordPress offers a few different linking options. Names and titles tend to rank higher than links that are number based, because search engines and readers get a better understanding of the content.
Other links are important too. Adding backlinks in your posts to other posts that are related can also help increase your SEO. Also, featuring bloggers and having them share your links can improve your ranking too. Collaborate and get to link sharing, because we are all trying to move on up with our SEO ranking.
5. Themes Can Be SEO Friendly:
I honestly had no clue that themes would help or hinder your ranking until I did research and posted the Top Free WordPress Themes. When I focused on themes that were optimized for SEO, my numbers went up all around, so it’s definitely something to consider. Turns out SEO is everywhere if you’re a blogger.
SEO friendly themes are created and optimized to help you’re ranking. They are usually smaller, faster, and more organized. When you are looking to mix it up with your blog’s appearance, look to see if “SEO friendly” is in the description of the theme.
6. Responsive Websites Rank Higher:
Make sure that SEO friendly theme you just found is true to it’s word and that also includes being responsive. Responsive themes adapts to different devices. Believe or not, having a responsive theme also lends a hand in increasing your SEO ranking.
Honestly, I blog from my phone about 80% of the time, so making sure my website looks and functions well on all devices is important not just for SEO but for me and my readers as well. This will also help with speed, and Google isn’t fond of slow websites, so find a SEO friendly and responsive theme.
7. Use A Plugin:
Using a dedicated plugin for SEO has not only helped me improve my ranking, it has also helped me to understand it a bit better. If it wasn’t for the Yoast Plugin that I discussed earlier, my own research, and changes to my blog, this post probably wouldn’t even happen. Point is- plugins can do wonders for you AND your SEO.
I stick to the free version, because I’m cheap. Other bloggers have also weighed in and said that Yoast Premium is nice, but you get what you need out of the free version. I love that it helps me with readability and formatting, because sometimes I get a bit ranty. SEO plugins work from within to help you deliver the best optimized content, but make sure you don’t lose your blogging voice and style.
8. Use Headings, Categories, and Tags:
I didn’t use headings when I started. I used to just used bold font, because I had no idea what I was doing with formatting. Headings can help break up long sections of body, which help the readers and search engines. Headings help your SEO, and they are a great way to add your keywords.
Categories are like umbrellas for your posts. They are larger than tags and separate your posts into larger descriptive groups. Categories are things like style and beauty. Tags are more specific and would be things like dresses and blush. Take advantage of adding these, because they help your ranking. Keep in mind Google and other search engines don’t have time for disorganized content.
9. Long Content With High Quality Does Better:
There have been days where I struggle to get 600 words in a post, because I don’t want to sound too redundant. Truth is, longer content tends to rank higher. Search engines look at longer content as being more useful.
If you write with the idea of quality instead of quantity, your SEO will also improve. Have a goal for each post if that’s what it takes. Planning it out will help with it being longer and more structured as well as being quality over quantity. Keep in mind “content is king” isn’t just an old phrase with no merit, which is why I aim for 2,000 words per post. I don’t always get there, but the attempt is a start.
Sure, there are days where I don’t have a ton to say about something, but I make sure to have key points and what I say has some type of takeaway. If you struggle with this, you can also consider building off of older content. The more comprehensive the content, the better it will do all around, and that includes SEO.
10. Don’t Forget Social Media:
Many have argued that social media and SEO don’t directly have anything to do with each other, but in all of my research and experience, social media does influence SEO and your ranking. While your number of shares and likes might not affect your ranking, having a social account linking to your content can help.
Social media profiles and links in those profiles are all indexed on search engines. Having a presence on social media might not directly boost your SEO, but it can’t hurt it either. I always see debates on this topic, but I will say that my ranking and numbers improved when I became more present on social media.
Once I started sharing more of my links, my numbers improved, and I don’t just mean my number of links clicked. Content and links will always be the biggest factors for search engines, so sharing your links and content on social media can help with your SEO ranking overall.
SEO is still daunting to me, but I have been using these tips. Slowly, my numbers are climbing. I made sure to list refreshing old content first, because you can refresh it by checking everything that is listed after that. Go through each of your old posts with an SEO checklist of tags, categories, headings, keywords, links, and so on.
I’m still in the process of all of this, and the posts that I have updated and refreshed are doing much better than before. As a busy mom, it’s not always easy to stop everything and make sure my posts and pages are perfectly suited for SEO, so working at a slower pace is how I do it.
Don’t beat yourself up if optimizing your site for search engines takes time, because it’s not an easy feat. Go back, little by little, and make the improvements necessary to better your SEO. When making a new post, go through the checklist before hitting publish.
I hope I was able to help you figure out some simple ways to increase your SEO. As a blogger, remember there is always room to grow and improve. Have a great day.