Ahhhh SEO. Most people either love it or are confused by it. And, yes, while SEO is a massive topic and there are many differing opinions taught by many different gurus and industry leaders, there are some standard best practices that can and ought to be applied to every website or blog which is what I’m going to cover in this blog post.

What is SEO

SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is a process you follow to help ensure your content ranks higher on search engines like Google. Think about it; when you are researching information online, you likely click on the first 1-3 articles that come up on the page. And if you’re really looking for information, you might even click on the next few links, but very rarely are you likely to click on page 5 or 6 of Google to find the information you are looking for.

That is why SEO is so valuable. By improving your strategy and making sure your blog posts adhere to SEO best practices, your website can start to rank higher and higher on search engines allowing it to be seen by more people.

One big thing to note about SEO is that it is not a quick fix. You cannot jump to page one overnight. Rather, it takes time and consistency for your page to move up in the rankings so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It can take anywhere from 4-12 months for you to start seeing a measurable difference in website traffic and leads, but be consistent and continue creating high-value content that follows SEO best practices and the results will pay off and continue to grow.

SEO TIPs For Blog Posts

Start with keyword research

Before you start writing about your topic you need to understand what your audience is searching for and why. What is the problem they are trying to solve or what pain point do they have? Or, are they coming to your blog for entertainment or inspiration? No matter what the reason, you must first understand this important piece in order to create the foundation for your blog or website.

After you understand what your audience needs, you can begin to conduct keyword research. Keyword research is the process of finding and researching popular search terms users input into search engines like Google. The goal of keyword research is to find commonly searched terms that you can include in your content to allow it to rank higher on search engines.

If you’re not sure where to start or what keywords to look for, a great place to start is on Google itself. Try searching for terms you want to rank for and as you start typing in the search bar, Google will auto-populate other search queries in the drop-down list below. These terms are what users are currently searching for and are great keywords to start with.

Google is a great tool to use for your SEO keyword research

Once you’ve gathered your list of keywords you can check their strength or popularity using SEO keyword research tools. There are both free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and paid tools with more in-depth features like Semrush, Ahrefs, or Yoast SEO. The goal when choosing keywords is always quality over quantity. By choosing high-quality keywords that your customers are actually searching for, the much better chance your content will be found.

The foundation for your blog or website page will be your keywords so it’s best to spend time on this step to ensure you are creating content that people need and will be able to find.

Photo Optimization Is Key

Search engines don’t just scan your written content to see how well you are using SEO keywords, they also look at your photos and other page data to see how well your content ranks. This is why it’s so important to make sure your images are also optimized for SEO.

Rename Your Photos To Include Keywords

Optimizing your photos for SEO begins before your photos are even uploaded to your site. The first step is to rename your photos with your focus keyphrase. “DSC9821.jpg” is not an SEO-friendly file name, whereas seattle-wedding-florist.jpg is much more likely to help Google know what your image is about and improve your keyword ranking.

Utilize Keyworded Captions

Utilizing captions is also very important when optimizing your photos. People tend to scan headings and captions when they read and, according to SEO expert Neil Patel, “Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself, so not using them, or not using them correctly, means missing out on an opportunity to engage a huge number of potential readers.” While it is important to include captions, there is such a thing as over-optimizing so only add captions where it will be valuable to the reader.

Add Alt-Text Keyword Descriptions

Alt-text is the text that is added to an image in the event that the image cannot be displayed or that the user has turned off images or is using a screen reader, which is often the case with those with visual impairments. As opposed to captions, alt-text should be added to every single image on your webpage and should include your SEO keyword(s) as well as a brief but detailed description of what is in the image so both search engines and people can understand what the image contains.

The more detailed and relevant your photo information is, the more search engines will deem it important and rank it higher allowing more people to be able to see your content.

Use Blog Headings correctly

You’ve now reached the point where it’s time to start writing your written page content and a very important aspect of that content will be your page headings. Headings create the framework or structure for your blog post, allowing readers to easily be able to scan and understand what your article is about. Long paragraphs or lines of text can be intimidating or overwhelming and if your reader can’t understand what your article is about early on they are more likely to leave your site which does not help your overall ranking. The goal of headings is to help you lay out your content in a way that is clear and guides your reader through the information in an orderly way.

So, what should you include in your headings? First and foremost your headings should be informative and include some of your keywords…no surprise there! 🙂 Your headings should explain what the following paragraphs are about and include your keywords to stress the importance of them and allow you to rank higher for that particular phrase(s).

How you structure your headings is also very important. There are several levels of headings, H1, H2, H3, H4, and so on. Each heading is considered a subheading of the previous one. Think of your headings like you would a book. Each webpage should only have one H1 which serves as your title. Your title should be specific and explain what readers can expect to read about in your post while also including the primary keyword you wish to rank for. Your H2s are very similar to chapters in a book. They separate out the main topics while H3s are subheadings within those chapters that dive deeper into what the “chapter” topic is about.

Use Both Internal and External Links

When it comes to linking on your website, there are two types of links; internal and external. Both are extremely important and can help your page rank higher on Google.

What Are Internal Links?

Internal linking is creating links in your content to other pages within your website. These can be something as simple as the main page links on your home page or specific links within a blog post directing your readers to another blog post. For instance, if you are writing a blog post about a wedding/elopement at a particular venue/location, consider linking to another blog post you have from the same location. This is a great way to keep customers on your website and encourage them to click around which helps boost your SEO.

According to Yoast SEO “Internal links also connect your content and give Google an idea of the structure of your website. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, allowing you to give the most important pages and posts more link value than other, less valuable, pages. So using the right internal linking strategy can boost your SEO!”

What Are External Links?

External links are hyperlinks that link to any other webpage outside of your website or domain. The link to Yoast SEO in the paragraph above is considered an external link. External links are one of the most valuable forms of ranking because external links are essentially third-party votes that the content is worth reading. It may seem counterintuitive to include links on your website that lead your audience away from your site, but by including links to quality, trustworthy material, Google will start to see you as an authority on the topic as well and know how to categorize your content for SEO purposes.

Create unique, strong meta descriptions for every page

Going back to our book analogy, your webpage meta description is a summary of what your page is about. Typically around 155 words, this description is created on the back end of your website and should be created for every single page. The meta description should contain your primary keyword or phrase and should tell people what your page is about. This description will appear in search results below your page title and is a great opportunity to inform your readers what the page is about as well as encourage them to click on the link with a CTA (call-to-action.)

Meta descriptions help readers know what your page is about

Rename URL slugS to something readable

Your URL slug is the part of your URL that comes after the last backslash. URL slugs are auto-populated whenever you create a new blog or webpage, but they should always be updated to something custom before publishing your blog or webpage. For instance, this blog post’s URL slug is “seo-tips-for-wedding-websites” but originally the auto-populated slug was “2rw73v0mxoc7uikvhpmhu19erv3nuk.” As you can see the first slug is much easier to read than the second one and matches the content within this blog post. The second slug is not readable and won’t help Google or other search engines know how to find this page so making this simple swap will be so powerful in helping your content be found.

Create valuable content

All of the above steps won’t mean anything if your website isn’t providing valuable content to your readers. You need to create content that people are searching for and something that they WANT to read. But creating valuable content doesn’t stop there. Once you have readers on your site, you want to keep them there by creating entertaining, educational, or inspirational content and encouraging them to click around by including links within your post.

SEO is a long game and you won’t see results overnight, but by being consistent and creating valuable content that follows SEO best practices, your content will begin to rank and be seen by more of your ideal customers.

If these SEO tips sound like they will require more time than you are able to give, I offer blogging services that incorporate all the steps above for you. Don’t push off starting or maintaining your blog, reach out and contact me so we can create a plan for you.

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