Search engine optimization. The mere mention of SEO sends many a new blogger into a sweat! But it doesn’t have to be so daunting. You CAN easily SEO your posts!
If you’ve started researching how to effectively use SEO at all, and if you’re like me, then you’ve probably found lots of talk about on-page SEO, off-page SEO, keyword research, how to rank, etc. And much of it is written in a way that can make your head spin. I’ve not found one SEO for dummies yet. So here it is!
This post is for you if you are sent into a panic at the mention of SEO, if there is a wall between you and SEO, or if your SEO strategy is avoidance. It’s not for you if you are already ranking on Google or if you already know how to use Yoast.
Although there is lots to learn about SEO, the information in this post is a starting point. You will learn how to effectively use Yoast for better search engine optimization and how to easily SEO your posts.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
WHY YOU NEED SEO
You need to optimize your posts for search engines to be able to find you and recommend you to people searching the internet. When someone searches for, say, “apple pie recipes,” you want your post to pop up in a top result. Free traffic baby!
That being said, you cannot expect overnight results when working on your seo. Be steady and consistent and you will see an increase in your organic traffic over the weeks and months to come.
WHAT IS YOAST?
Yoast SEO is a fantastic little plug in that helps keep you on target with your search engine optimization. It analyzes your post for keyword usage and readability. Once installed, you will see a box underneath your post with prompts and suggestions to keep you thinking about your SEO. You want to get a green light for as many prompts as possible.
If you don’t already have it, go install Yoast SEO now.
(Simply go to Add New Plugin on your WordPress dashboard.)
Decide on a focus keyword for your post. This should be something rather specific, and it should also be found in your title. So, for example, instead of your keyword being “apple pie,” which millions of others are also writing about, you could make your keyword, “simple apple pie recipes.”
By using a long tail keyword like in this example, you increase your odds of being seen and included in search results.
Enter your keyword in the designated box in Yoast.
Edit your snippet. Your snippet is the portion of text that the reader will see underneath the title of your post in the search engine results. If you do not specify what you want it to say, it will pull the first couple sentences of your post.
You want to customize here and make it something compelling. You also want to include your keyword here.
Customize your snippet now.
Make sure that your keyword is found in the first paragraph of your post. This can be tricky, as you don’t want it to sound out of place. Try to include it as naturally as possible.
Example: “Are you tired of searching through hundreds of simple apple pie recipes only to find they are all the same?”
In this step of the process, you want to ensure that you sprinkle your keyword throughout the post as naturally as possible. PLEASE do not include your keyword so many times that it is difficult to read or looks spammy. Just don’t do it. A few strategic placements of your keyword in your text is sufficient.
You always want to link internally to more of your own content. Make sure the links are relevant to your material and will add value to your post.
You can also link to external sites. Make sure that if you are linking to an affiliate that you use no-follow links. If it’s not an affiliate and you are just linking to someone else’s post that expands on your topic, make it a do-follow link. It’s always nice to give people some good Google juice.
In this step, you will add alt text attributes with your keyword for all your images. To do this, just click on the image, edit, then add your alt text in the designated box.
Use your keyword in at least one subheading. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but in case you don’t know, you can use the heading tags in your toolbar.
EXTRA CREDIT 1
Go into your images and add a keyword rich description for each one. This is an added step you can take to maximize your SEO efforts.
EXTRA CREDIT 2
Take the time to go through your top 10 posts and implement the steps above for a green Yoast light on each one.
Boom! There it is. the steps above, you will be on your way to being recognized on Google, which means free traffic to your site! You can now feel confident that you are making an effort at SEO. It’s not scary anymore!
Follow the steps above and you will be on your way to being recognized on Google, which means free traffic to your site! You can now feel confident that you are making an effort at SEO. It’s not scary anymore!
There is a lot more to SEO mastery and success, but this is a great place to start. Are you currently using SEO for your posts? Let me know in the comments.
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