Search Engine Optimisation is the thing. Half of bloggers seem to think they are SEO experts and the other half want to be better with it. Since before googling became something we do when we search for things online we were already playing the game of trying to get our sites on the top of certain searches. Then it was easy. Only using a word or expression on your site was close to sure way to get it to the top of the searches. But things have changed.
Now there are multitudes of websites and they have tons of articles and pages on them. The search engines are now "smarter" and they use complicated algorithms to analyse and rate sites. Additionally all the searches are more and more personified, depending on other things the person doing the search has done online recently and many other things. My search results aren't the same as yours. Last spring a shared with you an email I wrote to a client: She asked how she could get her site on top three of search results. In this post I decided to revisit the subject once again, but from another point of view. Because I know that there's no real answer to that question I will give you a couple of tips on how you can enhance you chances of getting found.
Don't concentrate on SEO
Due to SEO being such a difficult subject and in many ways out of your hands, I recommend not to concentrate on it. I don't mean to tell you not to take any notice to the subject, I just mean you are better off concentrating on other things than SEO itself. Actually even Google folks have told that best way to help your SEO is to optimise your website to humans, not search engine bots. When your site is easy and informal for your living and breathing visitors the search engines will also like it more. On a blog this is easy: You just need to keep writing blog posts for your blog readers. Concentrate on making your blog great for them rather than for the search engines. This means writing posts that have (pretty) good grammar, using images which are relevant to the content and making sure your blog is as usable as possible. As an example fonts must be in legible sizes as smaller fonts might be pretty, but really difficult for the readers.
Using web with mobile devices is quite common and search engines are taking this into account. Actually Google tests how your website works on mobile devices and this affects your ranking. If your website isn't optimised for mobile devices it will affect your ranking in a bad way. Google has a nice little mobile SEO guide too. The interesting thing is Google emphasises the use of responsive web design over other techniques. A responsive website serves the same site and pages with the same content to all the devices, but the rendering of the pages is altered for different screen sizes. For instance my site is responsive and its layout widths and content positioning changes depending on the window size. Making your site mobile-friendly and preferably responsive can improve your search engine visibility. In case you aren't sure if your site is mobile-friendly, Google has also a tool for testing it.
Fix your photos
In addition to optimising them for speed, there are other things you need to take in account when you use images on your blog. Always use as descriptive image file names as possible for images you upload on your blog. If you want to be really smart you could name your image files using the main keywords of your blog posts. If you do, try and do it in a descriptive manner, not just listing keywords. Listing (random) words is keyword stuffing and that's something for which you will be punished by the search engines. Additionally add alt-texts (alternative text) to your images. This text is shown if in for some reason the image is not rendered and screen readers, used by people who cannot see or cannot see very well, read this text too. Search engine bots don't exactly see your images either, but they can read this text. As an alt-text you can use a short description of what is in the image or if the image is there generally for decorative reasons, you could use the blog post title or a description including the main keywords of your post. Again beware of keyword stuffing and concentrate on being descriptive. Also make sure you use the words, not images, because a thousand words tells more than an image. Yes, I know that's not how the saying goes, but it's a really silly saying.
Don't be clicky-baity
We are way too indulged in titles. Click bait titles have been a great way to, well, bait clicks. But people are getting more suspicious and starting to be more critical about which titles they will click and which they will leave to be. It would be stupid to say click bait titling wouldn't be a great way to gain traffic and even shares. However the click bait titles aren't usually very descriptive and they don't necessarily tell really about the article itself. Unless you are running a cheap gossip blog you need not to get involved with their methods of gaining attention. You may get the clicks at least for a while, but nobody will stick around to read even that one post through. Not to mention they won't stick around to read more of your posts. And they will make sure not to click your baits again. Search engines also don't like if your titles don't match the content. So if you really feel like using snazzy, flashy and provoking titles, at least make sure they fit the content of your blog post.
Read also: Blog post SEO series
- Targeting long tail keywords
- External and internal links
- Optimising images
- Page speed
- Content matters
- Meta tags
See all the articles in Blog post SEO.