First impressions matter a lot to Google. So, how do you make sure your blog post includes all the “right stuff” to be considered properly optimized? Answer: Make is easy on yourself and get an SEO Plugin!
The Basics Of How To Use Yoast SEO Plugin For Your Blog
I like using Yoast because it has easy-to-understand little indicator lights that let you know how good your on-page SEO is. The main SEO touch points you want to make sure you do a stellar job writing include:
- Title Tags
- Focus Keyword
- Meta Descriptions
Here’s what the Yoast plugin looks like when you’re optimizing a blog:
(click on the image to enlarge it)
What Is A Title Tag In Yoast?
A title tag is a clear, concise, and accurate description of what Google and viewers can expect to find on the specific web page in question. In this case, it would be your blog. Title tags are displayed as the bolded blue link on SERPs (ie. search engine results pages) and, in combination with the meta description, provide a preview or “snippet” description for the web page it’s linking to. And, always be sure to include a keyword in your title tag. As always, this keyword should accurately describe what the page is all about.
Besides your amazing content, title tags are viewed as one of the most important on-page SEO elements on a web page and actually show up in 3 main places:
1. Browser Tabs
2. Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
3. External Websites
As you can see, the title tag shows up in a lot of very important places and serves as a point of reference for relevancy in the minds of your viewers and for search engine rankings. The optimal length of a title tag should be anywhere from 50-60 characters. I normally try to keep the length under 55 characters just to make sure Google actually displays the data I want them to without cutting anything off.
What Is A Meta Description In Yoast?
A meta description works in a similar way to title tags except they’re longer (anywhere between 150-160 characters) and hold less importance to search engine rankings. BUT…meta descriptions are incredibly important in encouraging click-throughs in a SERP. In other words, I want you to think of the meta description as a kick-arse, one-line sales pitch that’s both related to the page’s content AND will get people to click on your link to take them to your website. Advertise, sell, and promote specific content you’ve generated or benefits you can provide to your ideal target client – let them know right away whether the given page has all the information they’re looking for in spades!
What Is A Focus Keyword In Yoast?
A lot of people think they need to be optimizing a post for more than one keyword. Au contraire.
I want you to think of the focus keyword as the MAIN topic of your blog post. When you write a blog post, that post will only explore ONE topic in detail, correct? HINT: The answer is Yes! Yoast will then take this focus keyword and use it to analyze the overall SEO “quality” and relevancy of the post.
The cool thing about the Yoast keyword input field is that it will actually HELP you figure out a good choice for your chosen keyword. Visualize this and see the below screen capture: If you start typing in a keyword, Yoast will immediately open a drop down menu with suggestions. Where did these suggestions come from, you ask? They’re actually loaded from Google Suggest and has the ability to “predict” what your ideal target client would see if they also enter the search term into their Google search bar. See the comparison here:
Title tags and meta description work in tandem to create something called a snippet preview. The big blue link in a SERP is usually the title of your post. The short description that appears below it is the meta description. Does the meta description impact your rankings? Maybe. But, like I said earlier, what it really does is increase your chances of click-throughs. So, be sure to do a good job writing out a short and succinct meta description that accurately describes the solution to the problem your ideal target client is looking to solve. It’s all about the sales pitch and perceived value.
Now that you’ve figured out how to use the Yoast plugin to search engine optimize your blog, let’s learn about where the best places are to publish your content for MAXIMUM SEO Benefit. See you at my next blog!
So, let’s go over some of my favourite quick tips for how you newly defined Bloggers can make some waves in a good way with search engines and your target markets:
1. How To Pick A Hot Topic For Your Blog: So, what the heck are you going to write about?
Write about stuff that’s actually going to matter to your target market. Go to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and find out what your market is interested in. Go to where your prospects hang out and see what they’re talking about. Are they asking questions about a certain topic? Or, is there a heated discussion around specific issues? If so AND it’s relevant to your business niche, then write about it!
And, not to be Captain Obvious here, but you could always look at the comments left in your blogs to see what kind of additional discussion and questions your content has generated. Make those your next topic and run with it!
2. How To Use Keywords In Your Blog: Let’s talk about structure and keywords now:
This is the mechanical stuff on how you can structure your blog for optimal indexing. Your topic and prose and overall paper personality is the fun, creative part of blogging. How you lay things out on your blog, however, is the tedious, technical stuff. Let’s get into it, shall we:
First things first — Gather some keywords around the topic that you’d like to get ranked for and run a check on them through the Google Keyword Planner. In case you don’t know what the Keyword Planner is, it’s a keyword search tool offered by the mighty Google.
In the Google Keyword Planner, you’ll see how many people are searching for your desired keywords and phrases, and it will even suggest related keywords and phrases that could provide better writing opportunities for marketing and generating organic interest. It also shows you how competitive a certain keyword is. It’s simple: The more competitive a keyword is, the harder it will be to rank on page 1 for it.
Some bloggers feel that the technical side of writing kills their creativity. Well…my only rebuttal to that is to pull up your big boy or big girl pants and do it anyways. Like anything in life and business, there are certain best practices and rules that you want to adhere to in order to get the most benefit for the least amount of work. Don’t be lazy when it comes to the important stuff. You can cut corners anywhere else, but not when it comes to keywords and topics.
3. The Importance Of Keywords In Your Blog Title: Don’t be vague!
A lot of people don’t realize this, but in the world of blogging, the title of your post becomes the title of the web page that it lives on. This means that each individual blog acts as a standalone page that needs to be optimized correctly in order for it to make any kind of positive impact online. And, this is why search engines like Google give more weight to your page title than other SEO variables like the meta descriptions, image captions, and the like.
I understand the dilemma: You want your post to be interesting enough to capture the attention of your target market BUT you want the post to get picked up by Google too. And, there we go again with the balancing of the creative and the technical.
Vague, yet creative blog post titles like, “Discover Your Sweet Escape” or “Dining In Style” are nice… But, is your ideal customer searching for these phrases? Probably not.
They’re likely searching for “Best Italian Restaurants In Vancouver” or “Best Place For Seafood In Richmond.” What you think your keywords are may be different from what people are actually searching for. The more niche your products or services are, the more careful you need to be with your keywords.
Your goal is to put yourself in your target viewer’s head 2 seconds before he or she types something into the search bar. You have to know what your viewer’s wants, how they want to be spoken to, and what’s going to make them commit to the action that you want them to commit to.
4. Frontload Your Keywords In Your Blog And Use Colons
Search engines give more weight to the first few words in a title and the first few sentences in the first paragraph. I’m not saying you should SPAM the whole blog – keep it classy, professional, and ALWAYS RELEVANT. You want to support your post and your blog in general, not spam your readers.
These are some of my favorite tips for how you can use keywords and SEO tactics to boost your blog’s rankings. And, I’ve got another 4 tips for you in my next blog. Until next time…
SEO is all about achieving a balance between the technical and the creative.
The Technical is all the online stuff that you use to appeal to Google and other search engines. This would include keywords, meta descriptions, titles, keyword density, website structure, and the like.
The Creative, however, is all the strategy, design, marketing and sales that goes into making a viewer convert from a casual reader into a committed buyer. You want your viewer to commit to the action that you want them commit to whether it’s to sign up for your newsletter, call you directly to set up an appointment, or submit a contact request form for a quote, and more.
So, let’s talk about how you can get some eye balls on your blog first since high quality traffic is the first step in attracting high quality ad networks that pay you well!
How Bloggers Can Use SEO To Generate Traffic To Their Blog
A lot of bloggers want to know how to attract adv networks to their blog. Why? Well, for starters, ad networks are willing pay you to post their ads on your site. They may even pay you to review their products or feature one of their products in your blog. For example, Adidas might have a popular Canadian Asian fitness blogger demonstrate a special workout and then feature this workout in a written blog and video — all the while wearing their latest line of women’s workout clothing. Now, that’s a pretty sweet gig: Getting paid to work out. What fitness blogger – or normal person in general – wouldn’t want that?
In this example, Adidas would benefit from a more grassroots marketing campaign designed to reach a specific demographic in a more creative and potentially more influential way. On the flipside, the fitness blogger would get paid to write and record her workout into a blog/video post while getting free clothing and additional notoriety and celebrity status from associating herself with Adidas. This is the ultimate Win-Win situation.
What Does An Ad Network Look For In A Blogger:
In order for a blogger to attract ad networks, they must meet certain basic requirements:
1. Volume of Visitor Traffic:
A blog site would need to be bringing in a certain volume of visitors every month. We’re not talking about 500 or a 1000 visits a month. We’re talking in 10,000 to 20,000 range. Perhaps even more.
2. Demographic and Psychographic Profiles Of Your Followers:
These visitors must also have a specific demographic and psychographic profile. In the case of a mommy and family blogger, important visitor demographics that an ad network would be interested in seeing would be basic things like gender (how many women versus men visit the site), ethnicity, age, interests, and more.
Psychographics take this concept a step further by examining your target market’s psychology, lifestyle, and behaviour. These hard-to-measure elements make psychographics difficult to categorize into finite numbers. Hobbies and interests as well as values and opinions usually have to extrapolated from your Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Hootsuite Analytics, and Facebook Insights to name a few sources. It’s not easy…but, it’s definitely possible if you know how to use all the analytics tools at your disposal. Perhaps, I’ll save that for another blog series. Let me know and I’ll create a full series around analytics, my favorite tools that I use, and how to adjust your marketing and content strategy in real time based on your data findings.
As you can see, demographics help you understand WHO visits your site and buys your products or services, while psychographics helps you understand WHY they visit and WHY they buy.
The simplest example I can give you is how a baby brand like Pampers is going to want to associate themselves with a mommy blogger who has 15,000 females between the ages of 25-45 people following and visiting her on her social media and blog over a male fitness blogger who’s following consists of 18-30 year male gym rats. Make sense?
3. AWESOME Content That Generates A Large Amount of Engagement:
And, obviously, you need to be putting out the kind of great content that the ad network wants to associate themselves with. Posting on a regular basis, proving you can generate traffic with every post, and creating interest from all your online communities – these are all things that you as a blogger should want. And, these are also the same things that an ad network wants to see from a prospective blogger that they want to work with.
Now that you’ve shifted your perspective from simply being a blogger to a business person, let’s examine some of my favorite tips for how you can get noticed by these lucrative networks and boost your blog’s rankings online in my next blog. Stay tuned!
*Blogging For SEO
Bloggers. They’re everywhere. Blogging about pretty much everything. Bloggers blogging about family and fashion. Bloggers blogging about business. Bloggers blogging about…well…other bloggers. You might even be one: A blogger.
Well, bloggers, I’ve got a few questions for you:
Why do you call yourself a blogger?
What does “being a blogger” even mean?
What do you write about on your blog?
Do you write for fun? Or, are you writing for a bigger purpose?
Are you selling anything on your blog? Products? Services?
Are you a blogger who’s looking to make money through affiliate marketing? This is a big one for my larger blogging clients.
So, let’s dig a little deeper and see what answers come up when I ask you this:
What are the goals for your blog? Is the goal of your blog:
To make money?
To build your brand equity?
To leverage your network to drive traffic to paid events, products, services?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re not just a blogger. You’re a business person. A person who is looking to carve out a piece of the online pie by generating quality content that means something to you, provides value to others, and where you can benefit either financially, personally or both. Sounds about right to me, don’t you think?
And, if you’re a business person, your perspectives and methods and tactics need to follow a certain kind of business model and process for you to achieve your goals.
So, what does this have to do with SEO? Well, SEO is an all-encompassing concept that revolves around traffic, lead generation, online rankings, keywords, content and structure, and design – just to name a few.
I want you to think of SEO as all the tools, tactics, and concepts you’re going to use to prove to Google and your ideal target market that you’re worthy of A) Getting Ranked and B) Investing into whether it be as a potential client, affiliate, customer, and more. Think beyond just the simple keyword or meta description. Yes, these both have to do with SEO, but that’s only a small piece of the entire picture.
SEO is all about Buy-In. If you want to get to your ideal customer, you have to get through Google and other search engines first. This means you need to be technically sound enough online to prove your worthiness of getting ranked so that you can get onto that illustrious Page 1. And, it doesn’t just end there: Once you get ranked, you need to prove to your customer that you’re worthy of their interest and their business. This means you need to LOOK good. The way your site is designed, how it’s structured, the overall aesthetic appeal, AND the messaging on it has to be SPOT ON!
Now, do you understand what I’m saying about SEO? I’ll mention it again: SEO is all about Buy-In. Buy-In from Google and Buy-In from your ideal customer. SEO is about CONVERSIONS and all the little things you have to do to get your ideal target market to take notice and make an investment in you.
In this blog series, I’ll also show you how to choose keywords, how to structure your post, where to publish your content, how to use an SEO plugin, how to write a meta description, and a couple of other little SEO secrets that your competition probably has no idea about.
Stay tuned for my next blog and I’ll teach you how you can not only blog effectively for SEO, but also how to structure and write blog posts that rank well on Google and other major search engines. See you in a few days!