This post is for any new blogger/online business owner who wants a faster way to learn search engine optimization. The word online is that most people building businesses online 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 blog post, and if you don’t do it from the beginning, your blog will struggle until you get it right.
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 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 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 something online, but you don’t have to guess and hope you get it right. There are free and paid ways to find out what phrases people are entering into the search bar.
When you write a post, you can add the phrases that match your content in place of your original keyword. Better yet, I use both my main keyword and keyword phrases to create a keyword cluster. This sends multiple singles to search engines, so it knows exactly what your blog post is about and shows it 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 will not 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 a single keyword like shoe, no one will ever see your post. Longer keyword phrases will work better and especially full questions. People type the full question into the search bar all the time, and you want to take advantage of that phrase when you can.
Body keywords are two and three work main keywords, and you do want to have these in your post even if you can’t rank for them yet. In three to six very short months from the day you publish, your post could start ranking for a two or three-word body keyword.
It also possible you wrote a great post, and it will rank for higher one-word keywords, so sprinkle it all in there when you can. You want a good balance, so not too much, but I have a solution, so you don’t have to keep guessing about that too.
Long-tail keywords are considered four or more words, including using the entire question as a keyword phrase I mentioned earlier. Now you understand what all these technical words mean; you see the keyword for SEO is a phrase, not just one or two words.
- where to find strappy white saddles
- comfortable white running shoes
- affordable white tennis shoes for walking
- best white running shoe for women
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 mental health blog
- how to build a mental health blog
- create a website for your mental health blog
- you don’t need to be an expert to start a mental health blog
All in the same blog post.
Advanced websites/blogs have an audience.
As a new blogger/writer/SEO expert/editor/creator/designer/problem solver, you don’t have as much information about your audience, but… the keyword research you’re doing is temporary. As a new online business owner/entrepreneur, you’ve already been warned that all the work is upfront. This is part of that, and if you don’t give up, you will succeed.
I’m sure you’re already researching every blog post in America trying to get the answers and put it all together. You keep seeing holes, finding new information, and having website issues you never knew existed. It’s lots of fun somedays, isn’t it?
The madness and frustration of creating your first blog will pass, and then you’ll be an expert. You’ll know when you’ve arrived because you’ll realize it when you get there.
Unfortunately for me, I like doing things the hard way.
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.
New websites/blogs need basic SEO from the very beginning because…
It takes 35 weeks for a new blog post to rank on Google. 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.
Don’t be too much of a click-baiter with your headlines. That’s moving out of style very fast because it pisses people off. I try to be clever, though, and don’t be afraid to go back and improve your headline if you think you can do better. I do that a lot to refresh posts, but sometimes you have a great title and should leave it alone.
A great headline title tells exactly what your post is about, and if you can do that, then you don’t need to be clever. You can always go back and upgrade the entire post with a new title and upgraded keywords. In the beginning, done is better than perfect.
2. The first paragraph.
Adding your keyword into the first paragraph is like an introduction to the topic and perfect basic SEO. If your readers understand what the topic is from the first paragraph, so will search engines. You only need to add it one time, that’s all your reader wants, and that’s all that search engines needs.
Another tip is to bold the main keyword or the whole phrase in your post if you can.
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, so whatever your long-tail keyword phrase is, you want to add to the featured image and only the feature image.
The featured image “alternative text” field is one of the most important places to put your keyword on every single blog post you create. You don’t want to be like me and have to go back and add this in later, so it’s better to do it as you go.
4. Your permalink should be the shortest version of your keyword or phrase.
If your keyword is the entire question, then I would leave that as your permalink. Other experts will tell you to break it down and take out the stop words to make it shorter, but you don’t need to get that complicated all you need is the whole keyword in there. You don’t want the permalink to be the whole title unless it is the keyword like asking a question.
I mention this because if you push publish before you edit the permalink, it will automatically make the entire title the permalink for your blog.
Metadata is the description of your post, and after the headline, it’s your second chance to get someone to click and read your post. This example has one keyword highlighted in purple. If you have more than one keyword or phrase, they all need to be in the snippet.
Use each keyword phrase at least once when describing your blog post located under ‘Edit snippet’ in Squirrly SEO.
If you can win the best snippet, you’ll rank higher. You have 320 letters to use here, so be direct and say exactly what your blog post is about. Some people add a paragraph from the blog post that already has your keywords in it, which works great.
How to keep all this straight and organized so you know it’s done right.
I had a very general SEO plugin to help me with this, 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’s now the only SEO resource I have or need for my blog. It comes with a tool called Focus Pages, and 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 each post on a blog ranks separately. Every post has a different path to take to get on the coveted first page.
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 was completely lost until I started using this plugin.
Take the frustration out of SEO and move on with creating your blog.
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 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 to.
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 that’s how you build and create 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 for your post to take off, but if you’re using the wrong keywords, it will never happen.
Another free 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.
The first image is my first keyword phrase.
Next, I’m going to add another phrase 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.
This Squirrly SEO plugin will eliminate all your worry, pressure, and sense of overwhelm when 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.
The Squirrly team understands the challenges of a new blog. They know precisely what new bloggers need for SEO in their inbox too, so read the information they send out, and you’ll learn faster.