SEO Tips for Bloggers: The Ultimate Guide

June 9, 2017

Your blog is a powerful marketing tool that has the ability to earn you some legit income. But if you want to make money from your blog, people need to find your blog.

If you currently get the majority of your traffic from social media, you might think that SEO isn’t important for your blog.

Think again.

Your blog posts have a short life on social media. After all, the average life span of a tweet is only 18 minutes. If you want your blog posts to live forever, you need to make sure they are ranking in search engines.

This is where SEO comes into play.

In this “SEO Tips for Bloggers Guide”, I will show you how to use keywords, generate organic search traffic and ensure all of your blog posts are search engine optimized.

It should go without saying that if you want your posts to rank highly, you need to be writing good content.

If you want to learn the secrets behind writing good content, read this guide I wrote, which covers all essential blogging tips.

If you’re new to blogging altogether, you might want to read my post on how to start a successful blog or jump right into it and sign up for hosting. Spoiler alert: it’s only $3.95 a month. Say what?!

If you’re in a rush, pin this guide for later!

The Ultimate “SEO for Bloggers” Guide

girl learning how to use seo for blog

This post contains affiliate links, to find out more information, read my disclaimer. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me.

1. Install an SEO Plugin

Yes, it is possible to create a search engine optimized blog post without using a plugin, but honestly, the plugin makes things a lot easier.

As per the recommendation of many bloggers, I use the Yoast SEO plugin and quite frankly, I love it.

The Yoast SEO plugin is totally free, as is everything I mention throughout this post! That just goes to show you that generating organic search traffic for your blog won’t cost you a penny!

An SEO plugin allows you to:

  • Edit and modify meta description and titles
  • Easily create your own sitemap
  • Have crawlable categories and tags
  • Verify your different social media accounts
  • Keep an eye on general SEO factors

If you’re anything like most people, you might not understand what any of that means. But the good news is that you don’t really need to understand it because Yoast does it all for you.

To install the plugin on WordPress, go to your Plugins, click Add New, search for Yoast SEO, install it and then activate. For more information on how to set up the plugin, I definitely recommend checking out this post from WPBeginner that goes into much further detail.

how to download Yoast on WordPress

2. Determine & Use Your Keywords

Before you even begin writing your blog post, you need to determine your keywords. This is how people will find you in search engine results.

Think of every blog post you write as an opportunity for potential readers to find you on a search engine.

To get the most in-depth keyword research results, you might want to try using Google Adwords or SEMrush, which are both paid services.

The free option is to simply search for keywords yourself. Use a search engine and test out various phrases and keywords that are related to what you’re writing about. Try to use as many long tail keywords as possible.



What is a long tail keyword?
A long tail keyword is a 3+ word phrase that is specific to your blog post. There is less competition for long tail keywords because they are searched for less.

For example, when I wrote my How to Make Money Blogging post, I used the long tail keyword “how to make money blogging” rather than a short keyword like “make money.” That’s because there are so many other websites already ranking for “make money” and my blog would most likely never rank for it.

If you think no one is searching for your long tail keyword, think again. According to Google, 15% of all Google searches are completely unique!

Once you’ve determined your keywords, put them to good use! 

I like to use my keywords once per every 250 words and/or where it sounds the most natural. An SEO plugin will also let you know if you’re using a keyword too often or not enough.

3. Utilize Your Headings

Headings, like the one seen above, not only make your content easier to read but they also tell search engines what your post is about.

There are six different headings to choose from in WordPress. And it’s a good idea to use a few different ones in your post (I usually use the H2, H3, and H4 headings for my content).

how to use headings for SEO

Heading 1 is your blog post title. You should not use this heading anywhere else in the post. If you’re using WordPress you only need to include it once in the post title box at the top of the page.

Heading 2 is your sub-heading. Search engines will look for keywords in your sub-heading to get a better idea of what your content is about. Use the H2 heading as the main heading for separate areas of ideas in your posts.

Headings 3, 4, 5, etc are also sub-headings, but they aren’t as prominent as the H2. Use these headings to break up your content into different parts so that your blog posts are easier to read for your visitors.

It’s a good idea to take advantage of as many headings as you feel comfortable with using. It helps search engines to determine the key points in your content. It also makes it easier for people to skim through and find exactly what they’re looking for.

4. Update the Meta Titles and Descriptions

One of the reasons I love using Yoast is that I can actually change my meta title and description.

If you don’t know what those are, let me explain.

The meta title and description are what shows up in a search engine result. By default, search engines will grab your blog post title and the first bit of text in the post.

In some cases, this might work out perfectly. But most of the time, this results in truncated titles and descriptions that aren’t relevant or SEO-friendly.

With Yoast, you can easily change and optimize the meta titles and descriptions yourself, by using the plugin at the bottom of every post.

This also means that your blog post title and the title that shows up in search engines don’t have to be the same. You can use a “catchy” title on your blog to intrigue your readers and then an optimized meta title for search engines.

how to edit meta data on blog post

And as you can see from the screenshot above, along with being able to change the meta titles and descriptions, you can also change the URL.

5. Improve Your URL

Having an SEO-friendly URL is essential for your search engine visibility and social shares.

Your URL should be easy to read, include your keywords and be free of any stop words.

Never keep your Permalink settings on default.

changing permalink settings wordpress

If you’ve never changed your Permalink settings in WordPress, then perhaps your URL slug ends with something like /p=123. This is not doing you any favors. Head into your Permalink settings and tick off “Post Name” instead of “Default.”

You can take this post as an example of a good URL slug. I am using “/seo-for-bloggers” – which looks simple and contains one of my keywords.

If I used something like “/the-best-seo-tips-for-bloggers-the-ultimate-guide”, it would be truncated by search engines and I would miss out on my getting my keyword noticed. Plus, it doesn’t look very nice to share on social media!

Never change the URL on a post that you’ve already published.

If you change the URL on a published post, anyone who clicks on the link through a search engine will be sent to a 404 error page. You definitely don’t want that to happen! So try to get it right the first time.

If you must change the URL, then read this article from Shout Me Loud to make sure you do it correctly.

6. Optimize Your Images

If you like using images in your blog posts, you need to make sure that you are using SEO-friendly file names, titles, and alt text.

Search engines don’t know what your image is about, so you have to describe it to them through these titles.

Before you even upload the image to WordPress, save it to your computer with a descriptive name. Adding images with titles like “IMG_123” are definitely not helping your SEO.

Once you’ve uploaded your image to WordPress, add a title and alt text. Try to include your keywords where possible.

The alt text is often overlooked but this is a crucial component of optimizing your images for SEO. This is where Google likes to take its information from. Describe your picture in a few words or a sentence.

I’ll use my Pinterest image above as an example. I saved it to my computer as “seo-for-beginners.jpg”, uploaded it to WordPress and used “SEO Guide For Bloggers” as the title and then “girl learning how to use SEO for blog posts” as the alt text.

changing alt text on image in wordpress

This might add a minute of extra work every time you upload an image, but it’s definitely worth it. This will help you rank higher AND drive traffic from Google Image searches.

For more information on optimizing your images for SEO, I totally recommend checking out this post by Tiffany Griffin over at Beautiful Dawn.

7. Add More Links

When writing a blog post, you should try to add as many relevant links as you can. If any of your past blog posts are relevant to your new content, add them. If there are any high-quality external websites that are relevant to your post, add them too.

These links are beneficial to your readers and are a good way to increase your rankings.

Before Google decides where it will rank you in search results, it needs to decide if your blog is trustworthy.

Adding frequent links to your own posts and links to other trustworthy websites will help prove to Google that you are a great resource, thus increasing your search rankings.

So, the next time you see a blog post that is full of anchor text links, you’ll know that the blogger behind it has some SEO knowledge.

The moment you realize this whole post has been full of links and you barely noticed… 

SEO IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK!

using SEO in your blog

In Summary:

1. Installing an SEO Plugin

2. Finding & Using Keywords

3. Using Headings for SEO

4. Changing Meta Titles & Descriptions

5. Improving Your URL

6. Optimizing Your Images

7. Utilizing Links

You can achieve all of this in under an hour and your blog will be well on its way to the top of those rankings!

If you have any questions or suggestions, shoot me a message. And be sure to let me know your thoughts on SEO in the comments!

What SEO steps do you need to take with your blog?

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46 Comments

  • Amália

    Absolutely love this article! Thank you so much for sharing, specially the part of putting the ALT on images.

    June 10, 2017 at 09:24 Reply
    • Maya

      So glad you liked the guide Amalia! All the little things really add up when it comes to SEO!

      June 11, 2017 at 10:15 Reply
  • Dippalli Naik

    Omg this is so helpful! I really need to implement these changes to my blog, thank you for explaining everything so well!! X

    June 11, 2017 at 10:57 Reply
    • Maya

      Glad I could help Dippalli! If you ever have any SEO questions, just ask!

      June 11, 2017 at 15:14 Reply
  • Jessica

    Wow! Very informative and helpful! Thanks!!

    June 11, 2017 at 11:29 Reply
  • Helen

    This is a great post and thanks fir sharing it. Now i know what to do. I really needed the part for image titles and alt text. Thanks again kisses

    June 11, 2017 at 12:30 Reply
    • Maya

      You are welcome Helen! Yes, never forget the alt text! 🙂

      June 11, 2017 at 15:17 Reply
  • Shola

    This was a great post, thanks for writing it!

    June 11, 2017 at 13:39 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Shola!

      June 11, 2017 at 15:17 Reply
  • shannon

    so many great SEO tips! I’m always going through and trying to optimize SEO!!

    June 11, 2017 at 13:50 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Shannon! It definitely adds some extra time to each blog post but it’s (hopefully) worth it in the end!

      June 11, 2017 at 15:18 Reply
  • Victoria with one sharp mama

    I need all the SEO help that I can get. I’m so thankful for this post and I’m putting it in so I can refer to it when it’s time to work on the blog.

    June 11, 2017 at 14:38 Reply
    • Maya

      So glad you found it helpful Victoria!

      June 11, 2017 at 15:18 Reply
  • Renita

    Wow! This was helpful and has been added to my “TO DO NOW” list. I did not know the difference between heading and adding descriptions in my photos. Thanks so much for this!

    June 11, 2017 at 15:02 Reply
    • Maya

      That’s awesome Renita. Glad you learned something new 🙂

      June 11, 2017 at 15:19 Reply
  • hemendra

    This is a nice guide. Learnt new things, thank you.

    June 11, 2017 at 16:17 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Hemendra!

      June 12, 2017 at 05:23 Reply
  • Ell

    Thank you for this ! I struggle with SEO so this is so helpful! Pinning !!!

    June 11, 2017 at 16:57 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks girl! 🙂

      June 12, 2017 at 05:24 Reply
  • Frida

    Great tips, thank you!

    June 11, 2017 at 17:38 Reply
    • Maya

      You are very welcome Frida!

      June 12, 2017 at 05:24 Reply
  • Helene

    So helpful and so easy to understand guide! You did a great work and thank you for sharing your tips! I always have issues when it comes to choose the right keywords.

    June 11, 2017 at 17:58 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Helene! Glad you found it helpful!

      June 12, 2017 at 05:26 Reply
  • Cory @ Growing Dollars From Cents

    I agree with everything in this post.

    Yoast is an amazing plugin to use. I’m not sure what I would do without it. I still need to up my SEO game though but these tips should help.

    Thanks!

    June 11, 2017 at 20:04 Reply
    • Maya

      Yoast is a lifesaver, that’s for sure! Thanks Cory!

      June 12, 2017 at 05:27 Reply
  • Prerna Garg

    Those are some great tips. So helpful. I liked that idea of adding more links, never realized it was so important.

    June 12, 2017 at 02:14 Reply
    • Maya

      Yes Prerna, it’s really important for SEO. And adding more links to your other posts will help readers stay on the blog!

      June 12, 2017 at 05:27 Reply
  • Stefanie

    Love this!!! so many helpful tips! Thank you for sharing!

    June 12, 2017 at 07:28 Reply
  • Kaitlyn

    Great tips, thanks for sharing!! I have been using Yoast for a little while now and I find it to be very helpful 🙂

    June 13, 2017 at 03:23 Reply
  • Kendel

    Great post! I definitely want to start using Yoast SEO, but I’m still using WordPress.com. Gutted that I can’t utilise it! I will definitely be coming back to this post when I go self-hosted!

    June 13, 2017 at 06:21 Reply
  • Amanda Dyer

    Great advice. Yoast SEO is my personal lifesaver.

    June 14, 2017 at 19:00 Reply
  • Schona

    Thank you! I read elsewhere that you should copy your post title and use that for your photos alt tags?

    June 14, 2017 at 20:18 Reply
  • Closet Confections

    great tips. i love the yoast seo plugin.

    June 14, 2017 at 20:58 Reply
  • Pammy

    I’m bookmarking this! Amazing-useful tips!

    June 15, 2017 at 22:43 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks so much Pammy!

      June 16, 2017 at 19:27 Reply
  • Denise

    This article explained SEO so that I finally get it! Thanks!

    June 18, 2017 at 17:37 Reply
    • Maya

      Denise, that makes me so happy! If you ever have any questions about SEO, feel free to send me a message!

      June 20, 2017 at 23:41 Reply
  • Joe @ Average Joe Finance

    These are great tips! I love the Yoast plugin. I’ve been working to incorporate more key words to try and improve my results in Google. Hopefully I see some good results!

    July 4, 2017 at 02:21 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Joe! Yoast is a life-saver for sure.

      July 4, 2017 at 17:46 Reply
  • siful moni

    Thank you so much to recommend this post. I have got my all answers perfectly.

    July 5, 2017 at 21:14 Reply
  • Sophia Inza

    I was scrolling through your blog and came across this post. SO USEFUL! I’ve been working on improving in the SEO area. Thank you 🙂

    August 14, 2017 at 00:42 Reply
  • Mary

    SEO has always been hard for me to wrap my brain around. This article really breaks it down. Thank you! 🙂

    August 21, 2017 at 00:41 Reply
  • Ellen

    Really needed help with SEO. Thank you for the tips! 🙂

    October 23, 2017 at 22:02 Reply
    • Maya

      You are very welcome Ellen! I hope this post helped you out. If you have any questions about, feel free to ask! 🙂

      October 23, 2017 at 22:08 Reply
  • Janiel

    super useful thank you – my yoast seo isn’t working and I can’t figure out why – think I need to talk to someone about that as it won’t save my SEO description

    October 24, 2017 at 14:18 Reply
    • Maya

      Hmm.. I’m not sure why it would be giving you a hard time. Do a quick Google search to see if anyone else with your particular theme is having trouble with Yoast! There might be a solution out there for you.

      October 24, 2017 at 15:50 Reply

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