This post is for any new blogger who wants a faster way to learn search engine optimization.
The word online is that most bloggers completely ignore SEO because at first, it’s extremely complicated when you’ve never done it before.
Learning the basics gives you more of an advantage than you realize, but how do you know you’ve checked all the boxes?
Creating a basic SEO strategy for the first time is overwhelming.
You start to feel like your drowning as soon as you jump in.
At first, it made my head spin, I’m sure it’s worse if you have no desire to learn it at all.
I wasted all this time and learned all this stuff, and two years later I realized I was still way behind.
There’s a checklist of things you have to do for every single blog post and if you don’t do it from the beginning your blog will struggle to rank in Google search.
What if you don’t use keywords?
If you don’t optimize your blog posts, search engines won’t have any idea where to distribute your content, and all your hard work ends up in internet space.
Everything you type into the Google search bar is directed to a specific keyword.
If you don’t have the right keywords you get connected with the wrong audience.
The purpose of SEO is to help you find people who are interested in what you’re doing online.
You don’t want just any traffic you want targeted traffic.
What are the different kinds of keywords?
Anything you have ever typed into a search bar is usually a key phrase that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and all search engines use to decipher what it is you’re trying to find.
- red shoes
- black shoes
- white shoes
Search engines have one ultimate goal, and that is to provide the best user experience.
- Type in shoes you get everything
- Type in red shoes you only get red options.
There’s thousands of way to look up one question, and Google is always trying to calculate what result will please the user most.
So, if someone wants shoes, that’s too broad of a search.
If you only sell white shoes you don’t want someone looking for black shoes to come to your site.
Maybe you sell white slip-on or white tennis shoes or white strappy sandals.
There are millions of ways to look for a shoe, so focus on longer more specific language.
When you write a post, it needs variations of the different phrases all in the same keyword cluster so Google can bring up relevant content to the right audience.
That’s targeted traffic.
That’s how you make money with very little traffic.
These are one-word keywords like shoes, and you are not going to be able to rank for these until you’re more advanced.
It’s important to try and rank for keywords that are long-tail and look like short sentences.
If you use an ultra-popular keyword like, shoe, no one will ever see your post because you’re new and there are only ten spots at the top.
With two or more words, these are also high competition and out of reach for new blogs.
If you’re trying to sell your white shoes, those two words are still too broad of a term.
Now, we’ve eliminated all the top keywords in your niche, the only option is to go longer.
At three or more words, these are the kind of keywords you’re concentrating on as a beginner to get targeted traffic.
It makes more sense to call these keywords ‘phrases’ because that’s what they are.
Your keyword for SEO is a phrase, not just one word.
- where to find strappy white saddles
- comfortable white running shoes
- affordable white tennis shoes for walking
- best white running shoe for women
You take these ideas and do a Google search to see what comes up.
You want to find the exact language or phrase people are typing into the search bar and use them in your blog posts.
For example, if you what to help people start a blog you would use:
- how to start a blog
- how to build a blog
- create a website
- make money blogging
All in the same blog post.
Advanced bloggers have an audience.
They know specific search terms their readers are using.
As a new blogger, you don’t have this information.
You’re researching every blog post in America trying to get the answers and put it all together.
But, you keep seeing holes and website issues that you never knew existed.
I completely understand because I’ve been there, and I needed a way to stop the madness.
When I started blogging, I got totally sucked into the keyword research mind field.
I decided to tackle this beast, and I spent the next six months worrying and fussing and stressing.
Unfortunately, most of it was a complete waste of time.
The problem is you have no idea what the next step is, and it was so confusing I almost gave up.
I needed an easier way to do this without spending a fortune or hiring someone else to do it for me.
It takes 35 weeks for a new blog post to rank on Google.
There are millions of blogs out there like yours, and you have to figure out a way to stand out.
A new blog should only focus on ranking for long-tail keywords, but you still don’t know which ones to use.
You can’t just randomly pick any keyword or phrase and expect it to work.
If you do, you’ll end up optimizing for keywords that no one ever uses.
Thirty-five weeks later, your blog post still isn’t ranking because the keyword you’re using doesn’t exist.
Now you have to start over and wait another nine months.
It’s brutally frustrating, and that’s how blogs fail every day, or they keep going optimizing everything wrong until they give up on SEO altogether.
I don’t blame them one bit, I almost did too.
You need basic SEO from the beginning.
There’s an easy way to learn and keep track of your SEO strategy but first, let’s go through the super bare essentials you need to know.
1. The Headline.
The headline is the single most crucial part of your blog post.
Insert your keyword for the best results.
Your headline is the first thing the reader sees, that split second is when they decide to read the first line of your post or click away.
It needs to be direct and well thought out, and exactly what they’re looking for.
2. The first paragraph.
This is where you need to add your keyword phrase and make the topic of your blog post crystal clear.
If your readers understand what the topic is from the first paragraph, so will Google.
You only need to add it one time, that’s all your reader wants, and that’s all that Google needs.
Another tip is to bold that first main keyword, that signals to Google the topic of your blog post.
3. Alternative text for images.
This is a big deal.
All websites need to be optimized for the blind and hearing impaired.
The FTC starting suing websites in 2019 for not having the alternative text section filled out.
Write a description of your post in the alternative text section of your images that explains what the image is about.
Use one of your key phrases here to give Google another hint.
This used to be especially helpful for Pinterest users, however, after the most recent update, Pinterest stopped pulling the description from alt tags.
We all screamed, panicked, and cried until we found an easy fix called WP Tasty.
It’s usually marketed to food bloggers, but it’s not only for them.
It’s the perfect solution to Pinterest descriptions and comes with an option to disable pinning.
For example, if someone what’s to save your post to Pinterest they can use any image from that post, but you don’t want that.
You want them to use your Pinterest image that you’ve specifically created for that post, not the pretty pictures you’re using to break up space.
4. Keep your permalinks short.
To accommodate Google and it’s preferences, keep your permalink short, the shorter, the better.
Shorter permalinks will make you look like you know what you’re doing and I know you want to look like you know what you’re doing, this will help.
I didn’t know that at first, so some of mine are really long and have the entire title in them:(
Metadata is the description of your post.
Use your phrase at least once when describing your blog post located under ‘Edit snippet’ in Squirrly SEO.
This section is what Google shows in the feed under your posts.
If you can win the best snippet, you’ll rank higher.
Notice the circled keywords in this snippet?
Get your main keyword in there and another phrase from your cluster.
Try to be personable in this section and give potential readers a reason to click on your link instead of someone else’s.
6. Using keywords in the main content.
It needs to happen as organically as possible when you write your post.
Search engines like Google are smart enough now to recognize keyword stuffing.
Stuffing is when you overuse your keyword or phrase to the point that your post is not fun to read.
If your post is 100 words, and you use your keywords 10 times, the keyword density is 10%, which is way too high.
Google didn’t use to be that smart and people used to stuff in words like crazy trying to get attention.
In the last few updates, Google has put the smackdown on these old SEO tactics and is now penalizing blogs for over-optimization.
After these steps, there are about three hundred more things you need to know.
I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money learning how to optimize or pay someone to do it so I decided to try something new.
Optimize your blog posts like a Pro.
I thought I was thrilled with a more generic SEO plugin in the beginning, but after a few months of using it, I knew that this was as basic as it gets.
I started to become skeptical, and I wasn’t sure if it was enough.
You hear how complicated optimizing can be, and there was no way this plugin was giving me all the advantages a new blog needs to survive.
Here’s a list of problems with basic SEO plugins:
- No keyword research tool
- No way to improve my ranking
- No way check your rank on Google
- Can’t collect and sort keywords
- No ongoing support for site speed optimization
- No Focus Pages tool
- Only generic information for all posts
What is the solution?
Install the free Squirrly SEO plugin that has everything you need all-in-one.
It has one of the best SEO resources for any blog.
It comes with a tool called Focus Pages.
It’s like having an assistant who tells you exactly what you need to do to improve each individual blog post.
The reason Focus Pages are important is that Google ranks each post on a blog separately.
Every post has a different path to take to get on the coveted first page of Google search.
You won’t find a tool like Focus Pages anywhere else.
There’s nothing else on the market like this tool.
Optimizing is a puzzle with many moving parts.
There are over 200 SEO ranking factors, and there is no way you can find a way through the maze without help.
I know because I was completely lost until I started using this plugin.
Take the frustration out of SEO.
With the Focus Pages tool, I have a step by step strategy for each post.
Usually, all you get is some generic advice like find a keyword and write your blog post around it.
Ok, well, I did, and that didn’t work.
- Get simple instructions to customize every single blog post and help you find appropriate keywords that will provide you with a real shot at ranking in the top ten.
- Find long-tail keywords with legitimate ranking opportunities for your blog, not just a shot in the dark but a solid target audience to market your blog too.
After the first week of using this new tool, it completely transformed my blog from ‘newbie without a clue’ to ‘I got this.’
I did what the plugin told me to do, one step at a time, and then you start creating a keyword strategy.
I’ve got a pretty good game plan right now, and I would never have gotten this far without it.
It’s one thing to have to wait six to nine months to even start ranking on Google, but if you’re using the wrong keywords, you’re never going to rank.
Another fun keyword research method is Google Trends.
Google Trends is the only keyword research method I had when I started my blog.
It served me well and still does.
Many bloggers also recommend the Google Keyword Planner, but Google Trends is much more fun.
I punched in my keyphrase, and it shows a pretty steady search volume.
Next, I’m going to add another phrase from my cluster and see how it compares.
As you can see ‘how to start a blog for beginners’ is trending even better than my first choice.
Both of these phrases are viable and exist. If it doesn’t exist, you’ll get nothing, and you’ll know not to use it as a keyword.
No more struggling to put all the pieces together.
When you’re at the very beginning of SEO, you feel completely overwhelmed.
I felt like I was drowning under the pressure to figure it out.
You don’t have to feel like that.
This Squirrly SEO plugin will eliminate all your worry, pressure, and sense of overwhelm when it comes to optimizing your blog.
It has everything organized for you and will show you new tips to help you improve your blog’s domain authority over time.
They understand your blog is new, and they know precisely what new blogs need for SEO.
I’m in love with this plugin, and I know you will be too.
You don’t have to struggle to learn basic SEO; you just need to know what the next step is and then do it.
Finally, there’s a simple way to optimize as you build your blog.
You deserve an SEO plugin that works as hard for your blog as you do, and this one won’t disappoint.
Start with the free version and check out the details of what the Focus Pages tool can do for you.