SEO: What is it? How do I use it?

If you are a blogger and spend a lot of time chatting with other bloggers about how to grow your traffic and subscribers, you will probably have come across the term SEO and will have heard how important it can be. But a surprising amount of people don’t really understand what it is and how to use it, so hopefully this post will help you understand the basics and how you can start using it today to improve traffic to your website.

So what exactly is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it basically means how easy your website is to find in search engines. The better your SEO the nearer the top of the Google search you will be. Ads are not included in SEO, they pay to be at the top.

How do new people find me in search engines?

New people can find you on search engines if you have the information they are looking for and if you have a good SEO.

How do you know how good your SEO is?

There are lots of high tech and complicated ways to test your SEO including hiring people to do it for you. However, for blogging, these methods aren’t really needed. A good test you can do is look at your blog stats and see what is your most popular blog post. Think about what people might search in Google to find this post and type it in and search.

Example: 
I have a post titled “When should you move up a level in dressage?” If I wanted to find out how good SEO this post has I would create a list of possible searches people would make.
– should I move up a level in dressage? (2nd)
– when to move up a level in dressage (3rd)
– dressage when to level up (3rd)

I would then type each of these into Google and look at where my post appears in the search list. In the brackets above is where my post ranked for each of these phrases. I would repeat this for several different blog posts to get a good idea of your website as a whole.

Why do different search terms rank differently?

Different search terms rank differently because of how search engines search for webpages. If your webpage/blog post has all of the search term words in the title, then in theory, the webpage should rank higher up. The same works for tags and words used throughout the webpage.

What do Search Engines look for in webpages when ranking them?

There are lots of things a search engine looks at when ranking webpages. These things can be broken down into two main categories; Authority and Keywords.

Keywords is the easiest to understand. The key words are usually what you would expect your target audience to be searching to find your blog post. Using these keywords in your blog title, tags, url and throughout the webpage will help the search engine match your page to the search.

The other thing the search engine looks at is the authority of your webpage. By this I mean how good a source of information your website is, is it trustworthy? Search engines look at lots of things to determine a websites authority including links and back links. It all gets very complicated and you don’t really need to understand it all. But there are plenty of articles out there to help explain a bit more about it, such as this one.

How can I improve my SEO?

If you want to improve your SEO, there a few easy steps to take.

  1. Make sure your posts are easy to read and understand and most importantly that they are interesting! If they are something people will share or link back to in their own posts then even better!
  2. A good title! Your title should let the reader (and the search engine) know what the post is about. There are plenty of articles online about how to choose a title such as this one.
  3. Tags! Most blog platforms allow you to add tags, these help search engines identify what your post is about.
  4. Back Links. This is where other sites link back to your website and specific posts. This can strengthen your SEO as it shows you to be a reliable an trusted source of information. *Guest Blogs can be great for this
  5. Links. As above, including links to other relevant sources can also improve your SEO. *Guest Blogs can be great for this
  6. Research and Trial and Error. Play about with different search terms and see which ones you rank best for and adapt your tags/keywords to reflect this.

Hopefully this has made things a bit clearer for you and will help you begin to see more people finding you via search engines. I am by no means an SEO expert, but I am always happy to answer any questions you have or point you somewhere to help.

 

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