So what is SEO and why should it be a blogger's best friend?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. You know, search engines, these things you normally just call "Google" even though there are plenty of them in the world wide web? And we want to optimise how they find our blog content. You may think that Google and co. are just stupidly and randomly working machines but in fact search engines are quite clever and really well programmed. That's why they'll notice what posts are relevant for a seacher but they still need a little help after all. So our goal is to make our content look as relevant as possible so it ranks on the first pages of any search engine (because whether you're using Google, Bing or Yahoo, you will probably not click on the first 10 pages shown but rather only just on the first 2 or 3).
What can I do to boost my traffic with the help of SEO?
1. Post Titel
If you want your blogpost to be found it's all about the keywords. What do you think people will enter in their search engine to find this post? I guess whatever they type it will contain the words blogger and either SEO and/or hacks and/or optimisation and/or traffic. That's why I put three of them right in the title: bloggers, SEO and hacks.
2. Post Description
The same goes for the description of this post which I can change right in the sidebar while writing this post. Here at Blogger it's called "Search Description". You'll be able to see the description when you look for this post in a search engine. It says: "10 quick and easy SEO tricks for bloggers to optimise your traffic". Like this I added 3 more potential keywords namely tricks, optimise and traffic. Not only will people be able to find this post more quickly, they'll also be more likely to click on the post as they can immediately see that it will indeed be about the matter they've been searching for.
Including links into a blogpost doesn't just need to be to external pages. You can also link to your own content if it's relevant for the current post. For example I have never written about SEO but I have some posts about optimising your blog which are all gathered under the tag "Blogger's Secret". After all people who read this post are pretty likely to be interested in other blogger hacks as well. The important thing is not to name a link "here" or "click" as search engines will not be able to see in how far the link is relevant for your current post. Only if Google sees the link as relevant it will somehow see you as a pro of the linked and treated matter and thus rank you higher when it comes to that topic.
4. Broken Links
If you love links as much as I do chances are you have a few broken links haunting your blog. A broken link is a link that leads you to an Error 404 page and these links downgrade the value of our blogs. I know I have a lot of them as I've done a lot of links leading to products I liked, which are not being sold anymore. In order to find out about these links so you can remove them you can simply use a free broken link checker which you'll find, guess where?, on Google, haha!
With backlinks it's just as with VIPs. The more people talk about you, the more famous you are. So the more links are leading back to your blog, the more relevant it is to Google and co. However it does play a role who talks about you, i.e. who posted a link to your blog. So if Madonna talks about a new singer that's a clearer sign of her importance than when your neighbour talks about this new singer. Same goes with blogs: if an influential blog links to your blog that will help you more than when a blog with less followers than yours links back to you. Nevertheless every link is a good one so why not take part in blog presentations or leave thoughtful comments with your link in Internet forums and on other blogs?
6. Customized URL
Also the URL of your posts should contain the important keywords and customising your URL is a great way to make up for a not so keyword orientated or too long post title. For example if I would have called this post "I'm sharing my secrets with you" just because it sounds less nerdy and more mysterious, I could still have changed the URL into "http://www.clothesandcamera.com/2014/10/blogger-seo-optimization.html" which I did in the end. Again if you have a Blogger blog it's super easy: check your right sidebar while writing your post, look out for "Permalink" and create your "Custom Permalink".
7. Image Names & Alt Text
Yeah, we're still talking keywords here. DSC_1682. Does that sound familiar to you? This or something similar could be the name of your pictures when you transfer them from your camera to your laptop. However how are people supposed to find the picture of your new Zara skirt if it isn't called "Zara-skirt"? Because Google can do a lot of things (maybe more than we want it to do) but it can not look at pictures yet. So in order to categorise a picture it must be able to "read" it. So rename your pictures and if you want to play it safe you can even add some important keywords as an alternative text. In our example maybe Zara, skirt, new, haul, blue, striped,... How to add this alt text you're asking? Again for Blogger: upload a picture, click on the picture, click on properties and fill in your keywords.
This is an aspect I have been and I am still neglecting in 99% of my posts. Dividing your text with the help of headlines will not only make it easier for your readers to read a long text, but these headlines will also be understood by search engines so again if they contain the relevant keywords you're on the right track. As you can see I tried to really apply this hack in the current post but if you want an even better example of working with headlines just check how Wikipedia articles are built up.
Tags, also called labels, are great to find a similar post one somebody's blog but again also search engines track them. However you should make sure not to abuse them and to keep them relevant. In terms of SEO it's better to have few labels in lots of blogposts that really have to do with this subject, than 100 labels all just marked in one or two posts.
10. User Friendliness
And the last and also least nerdy point: with all these hacks don't forget that after all you're not (only) writing your posts for Google but first and foremost for your readers. So if you think your readers will enjoy a keyword-poor title or if headlines will look strange between all of your pictures then just do what looks best for your readers and not what works best for Google.
Another point that goes under user friendliness: if you want people to like, share and follow you page then why the heck would you hide your social media buttons at the bottom of your blog? (Maybe in this context you also want to ready about my 10 Blog Must Haves?)
What are your experiences with SEO so far? Have you been applying most of these hacks or is this new ground for you? Do you know other hacks to add to this list?