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Bloggin’ ain’t easy. Every blogger knows that search engine optimization (affectionately known as SEO) is the key to getting blog posts to rank in search engines like Google.
The challenge is how to SEO a blog without hiring an expert that costs the big bucks or that you find the process of optimizing a blog post so complex that you give up before you even start.
I’ve been blogging full-time since 2008 + I have searched for an SEO expert for almost as long. I knew all that time how important SEO is to a blog + I taught myself some things here + there.
Just this year, I FINALLY found an SEO expert that is an SEO GENIUS, Mike Pearson of Stupid Simple SEO.
I took his free course + loved it so much that I immediately enrolled in his paid course. I lucked out that it was open for enrollment because it’s only open a few times per year. If you miss it or just want to test Mike out first, you can also register for his free Masterclass.
I am not going to go over all of the steps Mike covers on how to SEO a blog but I am going to share how to SEO a blog so you can rank your blog posts the easiest way possible.
How to Learn SEO for Bloggers
The first step in how to SEO a blog is to figure out the keyword (or at least the blog idea you’re going to write about). This post focuses on the SEO part of writing a blog post. If you are looking for a course on SEO to do keyword research, check out Stupid Simple SEO. His approach to finding keywords is so simple + it is far less complex than any other “expert” I have turned to in the past to learn SEO.
Once you have the keyword you want to target, here’s how you set up the post SEO on WordPress.
First, install the WordPress plugin WordPress SEO by Team Yoast.
Once you have the plugin installed, the SEO information you need to fill in each time automatically shows on each page + post of your blog.
You’re going to want to complete these steps for each page or post on your blog. When you’re on the post or page you’re SEOing, scroll down to the bottom to the section that says Yoast SEO.
Start by filling in the keyword in the Focus Keyword box. You can edit the title of the post + the meta description by clicking on the Edit Snippet button. The title + meta description should include the keyword.
In reality, the meta description doesn’t really have anything to do with SEO for search engines but it is the description that people searching for the keyword see (+ presumably read) in the search engine rankings. It is more likely these searches are going to click on your link if the meta description contains the keyword they were using to search.
You also want to include the keyword in the main body copy of the post a few times, in the permalink of the post (this is the URL of the post) + at least one sub-header (h2) in the post.
You can give your EO a boost by using the keyword in the graphics or pictures you include in the post.
Check SEO for a Blog
Once you save the draft of the post or update it, check on the analysis section. You do not need a green light for all of the lines + you do not need the SEO check to be green in order for you to be good to go.
Your goal is to have a green light for:
- Not previously using this keyword (You don’t want to compete with yourself for Google ranking)
- That the keyphrase is in the meta description
- Text length (how many words is in the post)
- Keyphrase is in the slug (URL)
- The post includes outbound + inbound links
All of these are important for SEO. Check each of these lines to see what color light you have. If it is anything but green, make changes one thing at a time until you get a green dot. Then, move on to the next line. You do not need a green light for every single item in Yoast for your SEO to be good.
Do Your Homework on How to SEO a Blog
Before you start batch writing blog posts + before you start updating old posts to SEO them, make sure you fully understand the types of readers you’re trying to attract to your blog. Think about it. How can you write blog posts they are searching for if you don’t know who you’re writing for in the first place.
SEO Tools for Bloggers
You can use free tools like Keyword Planner from Google (you have to have a Google account to use this free tool) or paid options like SEMRush or Ahrefs to help you find the keywords people are using to search for the information you’re providing. This is the foundation for creating content your visitors want to read + that they can find because you’re using keywords that helps it rank higher in the search engines. It’s a win-win.
How to SEO a Blog Using Long Tail Keywords
Simply put, a long tail keyword is a more specific keyword. For example, the term “mom blogger” is a highly competitive keyword. In the Google search below, you can see that 14,800 searches a month are for mom blogs. A longtail keyword that is less competitive, but still competitive is “working mom blogs” or “mom lifestyle blogs.” You can see that 880 searches a month are for “working mom blogs” + 320 searches a month are for “mom lifestyle blogs.”
Place Keywords Carefully
Formatting + SEO go hand in hand. When you’re formatting website copy or a blog post, make sure you use your keyword in the headline (H1) + in a sub-headline (H2).
For example, if you’re trying to rank for “best wedding planner in New York City,” then include this keyword phrase in your h1 (Headline) + at least one h2 (sub-headline). This way, you spread out the SEO juice across the page in all the right places.
Include it at least 3 times in the body copy of the post. You can include it more times in longer posts but there is no need to go overboard. You can leverage SEO to make it easier to rank a blog in search engines. If you want all of the details laid out as simply as possible, check out Stupid Simple SEO.