If you would have told me back in the early 2000s that it would be possible to earn a living by blogging, I would have thought you were crazy—not only because I would have been a teenager at the time and more concerned with playing sports than getting a job, but also because blogging wasn’t really a “thing.” Blogs were more like online diaries (www.livejournal.com, anyone?), and the idea that writing in a journal could be a way of making money was far-fetched, to say the least.
But here we are today in a world where blogs have evolved into legitimate sources of information, and countless people are getting paid to write them. They blog about cooking, sports, traveling, fashion, and anything else you can imagine, no niche too small and no detail too personal.
If you would like to join the ranks of those whose bank accounts are bolstered by blogs, the first step is to get people to go to your site. Here are 5 SEO tips to help get you started.
1. Make sure your content is well-written, interesting, and organized.
This technically isn’t an SEO technique, but I’m putting it first anyway because all the tips, tricks, and hacks in the world won’t help you if your blog isn’t worth reading. At most it will get you a bunch of clicks and an astronomical bounce rate.
So proofread everything, use original photos if you can (or at least avoid all of the strange stock photos that are out there), and be genuine, and the visitors that you get will be more likely to stick around.
2. Write custom title tags and meta descriptions.
And make use of H1s and H2s in your posts, too.
Title tags are what you see at the top of your browser on any given page (the title tag for this page, for example, is “5 SEO Tips for Beginning Bloggers”) and what shows up as the link on Google’s search results page. Meta descriptions are the short lines of text that appear below that link.
H1s and H2s are hierarchical header tags that (more or less) give Google information about which text most important—the lower the number, the more important the information in the tag. Individual pages should only contain one H1 tag, but you can be more liberal in your use of H2s. Meta descriptions should be kept between 160 and 170 characters (not words) and be thought of as ad copy to entice users to click through to the page. The sweet spot for title tags is 60-70 characters, and you’ll want to be sure that they contain relevant keywords as well. Title tags and meta descriptions should also be unique to each page.
3. Include social sharing buttons.
Social media has been shown to have a positive influence on SEO, and most people are more likely to read posts that have been recommended by friends or other trusted sources. Including social sharing buttons with every post makes it easy for people to share/tweet/like your content, increasing its visibility and driving more traffic to your blog.
And while you’re at it, engaging with other bloggers in the comment section or through social media can do wonders for your exposure as well.
4. On that note, connect with other bloggers.
When a “more powerful” site links to yours (for example, in its blogroll), your site receives a little SEO bump. You can also demonstrate authority by linking to other quality blogs from your own site. Don’t get sucked into spammy link farms or anything like that, but do facilitate connections that will lead other honest bloggers to link to you.
5. Add internal site links.
In other words, every page on your site should contain links to other pages on your site. That can mean referring to other posts you’ve written within the text of your current blog or adding a sidebar with “related” or “most popular” posts.
This is important because it gets people to stay on your website. Say I stumble upon a blog post that you wrote about your hunt for the perfect pair of jeans, and I think your writing style is fantastic. Make it easy for me to read more of your posts by linking to them for me! Then I’ll be more likely to remember your blog and check back in the future as opposed to reading a one-off post and then moving on to the next website that catches my attention.