Do the letters SEO fill you with dread?
You know it’s something you probably should be doing to your website but, truth is, you’ve read a few blogs and it all seems a bit complicated?
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Even gaining a little bit of SEO knowledge can be worthwhile.
In this blog I’m going to cut through the jargon and share some of my favourite tips, tools and resources to get you started.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Or – in plain English – how to get Google to love your stuff.
Google currently uses around 200 factors to decide what – and what not – to show its users. The higher you score, the better your website will rank on the serps (search engine results pages).
There are lots of technical SEO factors to take into account – such as site speed and domain authority – but we’re not going to worry about those today.
Here’s what you need to know.
Optimise your blogs for SEO
Google loves fresh content, so blogging is a great way to keep your website active and please the Google gods.
The more original, relevant, timely and comprehensive your blog is, the better it will rank.
Let’s start with keywords.
What are keywords and why do we need them?
Keywords are the words or phrases people type into Google (other search engines are available) when they’re looking for information.
Now that Google is better at understanding ‘searcher intent’ some people believe keywords aren’t as important as they used to be but, let’s not forget, every internet search starts with keywords.
When you optimise your website copy and blogs with the right keywords it helps Google understand whether your content gives searchers the information they’re looking for.
How to find keywords
There are hundreds of ways to research keywords – the most obvious one being to pop your keywords into Google (in incognito mode) to see what comes up – but there’s also plenty of tools you can use. I use two tools.
The first is KWFinder * which is a mid-price option (£280 per year) and the second is Ubersuggest which has a lifetime plan for just £299. There’s even a way to get it cheaper. Message me if you’d like to know how.
Both tools offer free trials and Ubersuggest also gives you limited free daily searches without signing up.
I like both tools for different reasons but would suggest you start with Ubersuggest – it’s super easy to use and I’ve found it returns better UK-based search info.
When looking for keywords for your blog, focus on long-tail keywords – these are phrases that are four or more words long. E.g. How to optimise a blog.
Long-tail keywords have less search volume but they have a greater searcher intent and bring you better traffic.
When you type your keywords into the tools they will show approximate searches per month and give a score telling you how easy or difficult those words are to rank for.
It’s worth remembering that’s no such thing as a ‘perfect keyword’. You’re unlikely to find words or phrases that have a high volume and are easy to rank for. You just have to make that judgement call when you come to it.
Where to put your keywords to optimise your blog
Once you’ve decided on the keywords for your blog you need to put them in a number of specific places to get the best results. If you can’t manage them all, don’t worry.
- The URL (you can remove stop words like and, a and the)
- Your blog headline
- The first 100 words
- A subheading further down the blog
- In the image-file names
- In your image alt-tags
- A few times in your body copy – but only if it happens naturally. Don’t force it
- The last line of your blog (see below for an example)
- Your meta title and meta description (don’t worry I’m coming to that bit soon)
Never use the same keywords on different pages as they’ll end up competing with each other.
How long should a blog post be?
Back in the day the answer to this question was somewhere between 350-500 words.
But I’m afraid those quick-fix blogs no longer cut the mustard.
To really get noticed by Google your blogs should be around the 1000 words mark and anywhere up to 3000 words.
Remember Google rewards good quality, comprehensive content.
If you have the time it’s great to blog once a week but, if once a month is all you can manage, that’s fine, just try to be consistent.
How to write better meta
The meta title and meta description are the words that appear under your URL on the search pages and your goal is to entice people to click on it.
In the example below the meta title is Kirstin Chaplin Copywriter, and the meta description is paragraph underneath.
Here are some tips for writing your meta tags:
- As your URL sits directly above your results on the search page you don’t need to waste valuable space repeating it in the meta title
- Front-load your meta title with your page keywords
- The words in your meta description (the bit of text under the clickable link) aren’t used to rank content. Think of them as your opportunity to sell your copy. What you write here should entice your reader to click
- Just like keywords, the meta title and description of each page should be unique to that page
Annoyingly, even if you go to the trouble of writing great meta titles and descriptions, Google doesn’t always show them. Sometimes it shows whatever it wants and there’s nothing you can do about it!
The image below shows the meta title and description I wrote for my website. As you can see it’s different from the information Google has chosen to display above. (I use a Chrome extension called SEO META in 1 Click to see this information).
Where to get more help
SEO Nibbles by Kate Toon is a fab, free, entry-level three-day SEO course.
Each lesson lasts between 20 to 25 mins and the course comes complete with checklists (that I use every time I write a client webpage) and loads of links to SEO tools.
If you just want a little bit more knowledge it’s a great place to start.