SEO

A guide to SEO and Blogging

I frequently see SEO and blogging questions shared through Twitter and the Facebook blogger groups I am a member of, so I thought it would be great to answer some of those questions you might have – and perhaps those you hadn’t yet thought of too!

Hopefully the below will help you in working towards growing your blog, SEO and social media following – of course this isn’t the primary reason people blog but it’s always great to reach a wider audience, and SEO can help you do that.

Domain Authority

What is DA & how do I improve it?

I wrote a post a short while ago about what Domain Authority (DA) actually is, and also a few tips on how to improve it. To avoid duplicating content and repeating myself please take a look at this post to find out more.

Do I have a DA if I am using Blogger or WordPress?

The basic answer to this question is that without a custom URL/domain you do not have a DA. Therefore if your blog is something.blogspot.com or the same for WordPress you do not have a DA score. Some people will look and see their DA is 98 or similar; this is the DA of Blogger or WordPress itself – even the biggest bloggers don’t have this level of DA on their domain!

How do I actually gain backlinks?

It’s easy enough to say – improve your DA by gaining links. But how do you actually do this? One of the most common ways I would recommend is to get involved in guest blogging on other blogs. Ask them politely if you can include a follow link back to your website, most won’t have a problem with this, and create an informative and useful piece for them to share on their blog.

There are other benefits to this too – you are reaching a new audience and if they share through their social platforms you might gain a few new followers too!

Similarly leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to gain backlinks – although some comment platforms will make these no follow automatically, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Don’t be spammy with your comments though – actually take the time to read the post and leave a comment that is worthwhile and looks natural too.

Social Media

How do I promote my blog posts on Twitter?

This might seem like a basic question – simply post the link on your Twitter and share – but there is a lot more to it than that.

One way I publish blog posts, and gain traffic to old posts, is to install a plug-in on WordPress called “Tweet Old Posts” – this automatically publishes a link to my archive posts at a set interval, and I can add any hashtags to these tweets to expand their reach.

Get involved in Twitter chats too – these are a great place to share your links and if you hit them at the right time you will be sure to gain some traffic from it. Just don’t try sharing a post on your favourite lipstick during the food blogger chat – make it relevant and interesting.

I also find that conversing with other bloggers on Twitter is a both great way to meet people, and to share links to relevant posts. If somebody is asking about what to do in London and you have a post detailing some great attractions then share it! They will no doubt be greatful to hear your recommendations and potentially they may RT or share the post themselves too.

On-page Optimisation

What is the difference between “follow” and “no follow” on links?

Just this year the whole follow/no follow debacle has been huge but there are still numbers of people that are confused by the issue – and I can fully understand why! Google’s changing guidelines and requests by PRs and SEO outreach companies means that you are often left confused by exactly what you need to do.

A simple summary is:

If you want to recommend a website within your content, you aren’t being paid for the article and you think it will be valuable for your readers – leave the link as a follow link.

If you are being paid for an article – whether that be in cash, vouchers or for a product – or the website is relevant to your post but not something you want to recommend (for example, if you are discussing a feed on Reddit in a negative light so don’t want to share your equity with it) – then make the link a no-follow.

To create a no follow link your HTML will look like this:

No-Follow-Link

What is Meta Data?

Meta Data is basically a 160 character (the ideal length) summary of a page on your website that is used by search engines. With Meta Data you want to try and mention the main keywords from your post, but you need it to appear naturally as when people Google and your result appears – the meta data is what appears below your page title.

Therefore you need to ensure that is captures the reader’s attention, clearly states what your blog post is about and engages them in clicking to read more.

How do I use Meta Data?

On each post you will be able to create a Meta Description. This is where you need to create your 160 character summary of your post. As mentioned previously this needs to appear naturally and not be full of keywords – this won’t work. Try ending it with something like “Read more” or “Find out more” to really try to drive traffic through to your post.

How do I use SEO on my images?

Similarly when you upload an image you need to be giving it a description. Uploading images from your camera and leaving them as DSC1004 may be easier but Google won’t pick this up as relevant and therefore you may be losing potential traffic. By naming them, for example as “Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick”, you are capturing any users that Google Image search for this item. Your image will appear and allow the user to visit your blog post via the Google link.

It also makes it much easier for you to organise your blog photo album!

What are H1 and H2 tags?

Sometimes you have to look at a blog post a little bit like a book. You have the name/title of it, which sits as your primary H1 tag, and then you have your sub categories, which sit as your H2 tags.

By having the difference between these two titles it is clear to see firstly what the overriding concept of your post is, and then secondly what each section of the post is about. Not only is this important for SEO, but it also makes it far easier for users to navigate your posts and understand what they are reading.

One thing I think that is particularly important with your H1 tag, and blog titles overall, is to make it relevant. Whilst having a song lyric or something cute as your title it may look very nice, but this isn’t great for SEO as Google will look at your H1 tag and think – what is this? How do I categorise it? It just simply won’t be found as well as if you were to write something logical as your title. Put your primary keywords in your title; try using Google Keyword Planner to see which keywords relating to your post get the most search results and make use of these.

Google Products

What is Google AdSense?

Google AdSense is an advertising platform run by Google that allows you to make money based on your blog visitors clicking through. To put it bluntly, unless your blog is getting thousands upon thousands of visitors you aren’t going to be making millions anytime soon – but if you are looking for a few more pounds to tide you over each month then AdSense is a good platform to add on to your blog.

When setting it up just ensure that you are selecting categories that are of relevance to your blog and readers, and also be sure to exclude anything that may introduce questionable content on to your blog.

What are the key uses of Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (GA) is a fantastic, free tool from Google – however for your personal blog there is a lot of it that you won’t use and don’t really need to pay attention to.

I always find that the best way to learn to use tools like this is just through playing about really – clicking in to a section and seeing what it tells you. GA is a reporting tool essentially so you cannot break your website through pressing various buttons and options.

However, the key areas I would say that you need to focus on are as follows:

Audience – Overview

Here you find information about how many visitors you have, your bounce rate, time spent on site, etc. This is the basic information that PR companies will ask for when working with you, and generally this is the information you need to see how you need to improve.

Your bounce rate shows how quickly visitors are coming to your blog and then clicking to exit – the lower the better!

There are also two numbers to define visitors to your blog: Sessions and Users. Sessions is every single visit to your blog, whereas Users is individual users to your blog – so basically, if a single user visits your site 3 times this will record as 3 visits in Sessions but only 1 in users.

Acquisition – All Traffic – Referrals

It’s always important, and interesting, to see where you are gaining traffic from. Usually this will be your social media platforms; but will also be any blogs that you have guest posted on/have featured you, any websites you are linked from, etc alongside any spam referral sites that may be sending traffic your way.

Also, you may have been featured on a website but not know about it so this is a great way to find out who is talking about your blog – no doubt in a positive light!

I have tried to cover all the questions that were asked over on  the UK bloggers group, and those I have seen frequently asked on Twitter too, but if you have any further questions please leave them in the comments section below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Comments

  1. says

    Really useful post. I was having a conversation this morning with a brand who wanted me to use follow links in return for free product. This gives me more ammunition to stick to my no-follow policy. Vx

  2. says

    What an excellent article. This is so helpful thank you so much for explaining all these things in language a non-techy person can understand! Becky x

  3. Jo Carroll says

    Really interesting post. I’ve always been curious to how all this blogging malarky actually works? 😉

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