Up until about 5 minutes ago I thought it was Wednesday. I’m not sure why I didn’t know it wasn’t, especially after my post yesterday specifically involed the Geico Hump Day Camel. Either way, Happy Day! Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike. Ha, come on, if you’ve seen that commercial you’ve got to chuckle. And if you’re interested, I finally got around to posting our 4th of July Party pictures. Feel free to check them out!
I wanted to write today about something we ALL need to work on and be informed about. After all, we’re in the same boat! And while I’m on this blogging journey, I may as well think out loud 🙂 I’ve spent countless hours reading dozens of opinions on the matter. It’s something I never thought I would care about, but since I run two blogs, I figured I might as well suck it up, embrace it, and learn all that I can, whether or not I choose to implement everything or leave it by the wayside.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Since Google really runs the world as we know it, it’s no wonder they kind of run our blogs too! And by kind of, I mean yes, yes they do. Google is amazing, and all of its’ intricasies never cease to amaze me! I got so caught up last night reading about tips and new concepts that I just shut my computer off and went straight to bed because my mind was about to explode with ideas and confusion.
I wanted to share some things that I’ve learned, in hopes that maybe you’ll learn something too! Or maybe you’ve known these things for a long time now, and if so, I’ve been living under a rock and that’s okay too.
1. Figure out what “niche” you’re in, and blog about THOSE things. Don’t overwhelm your blog with all topics from A-Z. Google likes to see your consistency.
For me, THIS blog is about my fitness journey, as well as my blogging journey. I hope to try and stay on that path, and surround myself with similar bloggers. My photography blog is more of a lifestyle/photography blog so topics are maybe a bit more broad, but still more surrounded upon photography. If I suddenly started posting about knitting on my running blog, not only would I lose a few (if not all) readers, but Google would be extra confused.
2. Figure out what categories and keywords would be best to use. They say that Google can better find your blog if your categories also contain those keywords that web searchers might use when searching for your “niche” of blog. Also be sure and “tag” your posts appropriately.
About as creative as I’ve gotten with this so far are my Blogging, and Running categories. Pretty straightforward. I’ve read that it would also be helpful for LOCAL traffic if you also added a category for the town you live in. So, I could add a Running in Arkansas category, or Little Rock 5K Race Recaps category. For the longest time I didn’t know what box down there on the right even meant, the one that says Tags and has a space to “add” something. Now I know, and I tag every post with as many applicable, and consistent, keywords as possible. These tags will pop up in your “cloud” as well, making it easy for readers to find a topic, click on it, and easily see all posts related to that one subject matter.
3. BUY YOUR OWN DOMAIN NAME FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE.
Not only does it look more professional, but it’s MUCH easier for search engines to find it. So instead of using, thisismyblog.wordpresscom, or thisismyotherblog.blogspot.com, try going to a hosting company like Bluehost or GoDaddy and checking to see if thisismyblog.com is available. If it is, buy it right now. If it’s not, look into purchasing it from whoever DOES own it. Getting into self hosting is a whole other can of worms, so I will leave it as that 🙂
4. Rename the images you post on your blog. Instead of uploading DSC_1234.jpg, rename it to Cute Black Lab Puppy.jpg or Healthy Strawberry Smoothie.jpg. Search engines will see these much easier than the mumbo jumbo default labels. That’s one reason why when you google a picture of something, sometimes photos from some of your favorite bloggers will pop up in the results.
This is something I ALWAYS forget to do! I so WISH I had known this when I started my photography business. Even if a handful of photos had been labeled “little rock wedding.jpg” there’s no telling how much more traffic I could be getting. So my new project is to rename my images from here on out, and go back and pick a few to re-rename!
5. Link to posts within your own blog. Not only will it create more traffic for some of your older posts, but it make your sight look more active.
6. Take advantage of the free widgets that WordPress offers. Some of the ones I use are the Most Popular Posts, the Sharing is Caring social media one (haven’t activated it yet), the Pinterest hover pin button (still trying to figure out how to get it to show up on my pictures), Comment Luv, NRelate, and the All in One SEO pack. These widgets will help move your traffic around, and help get you MORE traffic. So they say. I’m still learning 🙂
7. Be on social media to help increase your KLOUT score. I just learned what Klout was last night, and I was quite intrigued by how it determined your amount of “influence.” This isn’t neccesarily SEO, but I still just learned about it and thought it was something useful to know!
8. If you’re on WordPress, change the structure of your Permalinks. Instead of looking like wordpress.com/post/9358309dsflkjc084 basically like a foreign language, you can change it to look like this, wordpress.com/basic-seo-for-bloggers. You do this in Settings > Permalinks > select custom structure or PostName /%post name %/
9. Change the URL of your actual pages. I had never thought about this until I read it earlier! So like when you go to my “about” page, instead of the URL saying “sweetmiles.com/about” it would be more beneficial to have it say, “sweetmiles.com/arkansasfitnessblogger. Make sense? I think I read this on the SITS girls website, check it out, they’re FULL of knowledge about blogging and SEO!
10. Link to places that might link back to YOU. Google loves this. It’s called Backlinking. The more links out there that are sending people to YOUR domain, the better. I haven’t learned much about the whole backlinking thing, but it seems somewhat complicated. I first read about it on Smart Passive Income’s Blogging section.
11. Use titles that are not only creative, but that also either use keywords from your niche, or just MAKE SENSE.
This is something that’s hard for me. I love coming up with witty, creative titles that catch people’s eyes. I feel like that’s something that determines if people read your post or not. But if it doesn’t make sense at all, is completely random, and has nothing to do with your blog, then why would Google want to read it? My goal is to try and be a little more strategic with my post titles.
So there are 10 fun things I’ve been reading about and learning about lately. Hopefully you didn’t finish this post and say to yourself, “Duh Sarah, where have you BEEN?!”
Ta-ta for now!
If you could give one piece of SEO knowledge to bloggers, what would it be? Or do you have a question that you want me to research for you? I’m kind of a nerd like that.