Lesson 7: General tips for blogging
We’ve covered just about everything when it comes to SEO for blogging, but there are just a few last tips and best practices we’d like to talk about that will help take your efforts to the next level.
In this lesson we are going to discuss:
Giving readers an opportunity to engage
Writing on the regular
Using social media to broaden your reach
Optimizing your website
Step 1: Giving Readers an Opportunity to Engage
You don’t want your user to come on your blog post, read down to the bottom, and leave do you? You want to get some value out of their visit. Whether that is a button that offers them the ability to subscribe, an area where you ask them to sign up for your newsletter for more awesome content like this, or internal links to the rest of your website - don’t forget to have something to give them an option that allows them to keep getting to know you.
Step 2: Writing on the Regular
Google crawls websites regularly, and content that is updated on a schedule is easy to predict both for the search engines and more importantly, for your readers. Have a schedule to your blog, and stick to it. It doesn’t mean you have to be writing three times a week, but if you decide that’s what you are going to do, then keep doing it. It will only help your engagement and therefore, your SEO.
You need a plan for what happens after you hit publish. When considering how you are going to spread word about your post, think about who you want to reach, where they are located, and how you will target them.
Promoting your blog on social media makes it easier for people to find you with only a couple of clicks. There are plenty of social media posting sites that will allow you (with the exception of Instagram) to schedule and automatically post your content. Sprout Social, CoSchedule, and Later are our personal favourites but there are many out there.
Step 4: Optimizing Your Website
If your site isn’t optimized it doesn’t matter what you do.
Basic SEO is still important regardless of how optimized your posts are. If your site doesn’t function properly, you could write the absolute most valuable blog post ever that solves an insanely difficult problem for your readers and Google still won’t show you in the search results.
Here are some must haves for ensuring you get your place in the search engine results.
MAKE YOUR SITE RESPONSIVE (FOR MOBILE IN PARTICULAR)
Google revealed a while ago that more people are using Google on phones than on desktop, and it is going to be only a short time before Google displays mobile-friendly results before any other results. Google favours good user experience, and being able to read a post on a mobile device is a good experience!
MAKE SURE THE PAGES LOAD QUICKLY
Over half of the people who come to your website will leave if it doesn’t load in three seconds or less. While image heavy sites are the norm right now, you have to ensure that those images are compressed and that you aren’t trying to load a massive page onto someone’s tiny mobile device.
You can test the page speed of your website and get a ranking using this Google page speed insights tool, and a developer will be able to help you optimize.
One of the key things that you can do to improve page loading speed, is to ensure that your images are optimized for web. You don’t want massive files that take forever load, and someone will leave your site in under 20 seconds if they have to wait for images or text to load, so reduce the size of your images before uploading them to your website, by exporting them at a smaller size from Photoshop, Lightroom, or even something like Preview or iPhoto.
PRO TIP: Use this handy mobile friendly test from Google to get a concrete answer from the search engine giant itself.
FINALLY, SUBMIT YOUR SITE MAP TO GOOGLE
Your site-map is the roadmap of your website’s content which is designed to help search engines navigate a site. Search engines crawl your site-map, and if you don’t have one - they have no idea where they’re going. And they assume that your users won’t know either.
If your post isn’t on a submitted site-map, the crawlers may not be able to find it, and it can prevent you from coming up on a search engine. You can submit your site-map using Google Webmaster Tools - a free tool that also helps you figure out what people are searching to get to your site, and is definitely worth installing.
Google sends little crawler bots out to index the entire internet, they see every page and report back with the information that they’ve found. But they don’t read like you and me, so having a submitted site-map means they can find their way around a lot better.
That’s it! Now you’re ready to get to work creating blog posts that will boost your SEO and help your business growth strategically.
Allow 20 minutes for this lesson.