Simple SEO Tips
Ok, so you have setup your blog, networked with other bloggers, become active across multiple social media platforms, and written a plethora of high quality articles. But you’re still not ranking well in search engines and the web traffic gods just aren’t smiling on your blog they way you thought they would.
Well you are in luck! In this article, I would like to share with you 4 simple SEO tips for getting your search rankings elevated, bringing more traffic juice to your already awesome blog.
Create High Quality Content
I know what you’re thinking – I already have great content! I know, I know – but it can’t be overstated. The first and foremost way to get better search ranking results and drive more traffic to your magnificent blog is to put forth your best effort when writing your posts and articles. No matter how much you post, if it’s not worth reading, you’re just spinning your wheels. Posting really great content that gives value to your readers will get noticed and shared, increasing social proof. With each successive link and share, search engines will likely increase their opinions of your content. This in turn, will result in the search engines ranking your content higher, thus generating more and more traffic. Plus, creating high quality content will bring referral traffic as well, along with search engine traffic.
Create Internal Links
Another important way to optimize your site for search engines is to create internal links on each post. By creating links to other relevant posts on your site, you are essentially helping the search engines stay on your site longer and keep crawling through your various related posts. Creating internal links also helps reduce bounce rate by keeping your readers engaged longer and providing them with links to other compelling content that might be of interest to them. Internal linking keeps your readers happy by giving them more great content and also keeps the search engines happy by giving them more content to index – it’s a win-win situation!
Use an SEO Plugin
Anybody who knows me even a little bit knows I think WordPress is the best CMS (Content Management System) available today. And within the WordPress community there are numerous SEO plugins available — both for free and for purchase. Now, if you know me at all, you also know that I use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast on my main blog. It works wonderfully on my site and my traffic jumped up as soon as I installed it. Plus, it have some really great features, like the ability for you to set the SEO title, meta description, and URL for each post. You can also perform an SEO check before you hit the publish button for additional suggestions and reminders. It really is a robust SEO plugin and the best part is it’s FREE!
Mind Your Permalinks and Slugs
The default URL structure for most blogging platforms, including WordPress, is to use what is commonly referred to as a query string, which looks something like this:
Not very attractive, huh? Plus, it’s not easy to read – for human readers or for search engine crawlers. So, if the search engines can’t read your links, they can’t rank your content. If you haven’t already done so, you need to change your permalinks to something that is easy for both your readers and the search engines to read. The URL of your post should contain the keywords you want the search engines to rank your post for. This part of the link is called the “slug.” If you need help with this, you can read my post on setting up your permalinks and slugs. Either way, the resulting URL should look more like this:
This new URL, or link, is now readable for both your audience and the search engines, which will now be indexed and shared, resulting in higher rankings and more traffic.
I hope this helps you get your content ranked better in the search engines. I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Let me know what you do to get your posts ranked higher in search engine results. Share your ideas and give this post a share as well!
Seo Dice Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Pingbacks and Trackbacks – What To Do?
The question came up on the last post on SEO Kindergarten – the AZ SEO list. Lauren asked what are these and what do they do. I’ve heard of them, read about them many times and accept them here but did not realize I was not letting others know of the mentions I’ve been giving without sending them a tweet or an email.
Pingbacks Are Automatic
Pingbacks do NOT send back any content. It is a remote procedure call (XML) to encode and uses HTTP to transport it from Site A to Site B when an author at Site A writes a link to Site B. It does require a hyperlink. When site B receives the signal it goes back to Site A to check the incoming link. If is links correctly the pingback is recorded successfully. This makes Pingbacks less spammy than trackbacks. Pingbacks are automatically sent via software.
- Only approve the pingbacks you want linking to your website or blog.
- You can turn them off in your settings under discussion.
Trackbacks Are Manual
Trackbacks are like acknowledgements. They send a PING from one website to another manually. They are used mainly to communicate in blogs, letting authors know you may have referenced them in your own post. Many companies have used these to send spam links that they can generate money from. Because of the many spam links some blogs and websites have stopped using them because of the amount of spam that need to be checked. Others use a software to stop the spammy type of trackbacks or eliminate them all completely. In WordPress, on each post you have the option to check off Send Trackbacks. I just started doing this on mine recently and I like that you can edit them just like comments of course with CommentLuv premium. The Gasp function in CommentLuv premium must be checked off. It’s an anti-spam bot plugin within CommentLuv. (If I find too much spam they will be turned off.)
- Remember if you do approve these they will show up in your comment section of your post or page.
- If you do not want any you can also go to your settings in WordPress – Discussion and check them off.
Most people either love or hate trackbacks. They have value if they are not spam but if they are all spam there is NO value in them. No one wants to deal with spam on a daily basis. We have enough spammers to deal with on Twitter and other places online each day. I will provide a follow up in my newsletter on the results of using Trackbacks in a few weeks.
Listen to Matt Cutts on Receiving Links From Sites You Don’t Want An Association With
How are you handling your pingbacks and trackbacks today?
Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Your Personal SEO
This is the reality of SEO in 2013. Google believes that you are an accumulation of your activities online. When you have a Google profile, you are telling the search engine what you “own” and marking your online territory. It’s your personal SEO. If you have a generic name like Susan Silver this becomes important to distinguish yourself from others. You need to be auditing your personal search results in Google and Bing. I am going to make this task easier by giving you my personal SEO branding checklist.
7 Steps for a Personal SEO Audit
1. Google your website and name.
Track the results in a spreadsheet. In the picture you can see that I have done a sample search for “Cirquedumot”. I would note the position of each result and what pages appear. This should be part of your weekly SEO review.
2. Log your social media profiles and social networks
Perform a social media audit to find all those apps you signed up for and never used. Delete them if you can, clean up your social media mess!
3. Add Your author archives and social networks to your Google profile
Your Google Plus profile is chock full of personal SEO goodness. Don’t neglect the links that appear at the bottom of your profile; “Other Profiles”, “Contributor to”, and “Links”. In particular the contributor section should link to the author archive from blogs where you have guest posted. This will lead to rich snippets for your guest posts in search, if you have added the “rel=author” tag to the Google+ link in your bio.
On WordPress they take the form http://blog.com/author/yourname. It can also be found by clicking on the “written by name” on a published post, which usually goes to the archive page. This does vary by blog.
4. Create a Hub for your personal SEO
Your hub is the foundation of your SEO work. This really should be your main blog as building on anything you don’t own is liable to disappear or change their user agreement in an unfavorable way. Make sure that your blog is shareable, usable on a multitude of devices, and links to every important aspect of your online daily life. Keep as much content as you can on your blog. Instead of sharing a pin from Pinterest, embed it in a blog post and share that instead. Always prioritize driving traffic to your hub. If people follow you in other places consider it something extra nice.
5. Create a branding kit
I have a little file folder on my computer. Its contents; avatars, long bio, medium bio, short bio, one sheet of accomplishments, various elevator pitches, and a spreadsheet that lists my best work samples with their corresponding bit.ly links for tracking. Everything you need should always be available only a copy & paste or upload away.
6. Rewrite your social media profiles for consistency
You know a lot about yourself now and you have a branding kit at your disposal. You want to make sure that all your social media profiles point to your hub and contain your top keywords. This will change and evolve over time, do a review every 3 months to update.
7. Tweet only the best things when you self-promote
Automation is great, but using a plugin like Tweet Old Posts is not efficient in my opinion. For one thing, you can only share what has appeared on your blog. What about all those great guest posts that you did? Or that one pin that drove all that traffic back to your website? The spreadsheet in your branding kit should include all the urls that matter for your personal brand.
I use IFTTT to add these links to my buffer to be tweeted. You see, this means that they are always optimized for timing (another thing Tweet Old Posts cannot do). I never have to touch the tweets again if those times change. I just update my buffer schedule and they still go out at the right time!
Personal SEO, like all work in search, is about maintenance. These steps should get you ready to tackle most of the hurdles you will face optimizing your personal brand. I always say… prepare what you need before you need it.
Cheers to a stress free and an SEO friendly 2013! Have you checked your own personal SEO out yet?
Webmaster Tools Can Help You Find Holes in Your Keywords
Do you often check out your Google Webmaster Tools? I do check daily for my retail websites. I use it mostly for broken links (Under Health, Crawl Errors) but lately I started to look at the keywords info section and learned some new tools within them available. An eye opening experience for me and maybe you too?
How often do you log in to your Webmaster tools? Of course it is the first step to finding out more information about your website or blog. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. I don’t get in often to mine for Inspire to Thrive as I do for the retail websites. When sales go down the more I go and check out what could be happening. The same if your traffic stops coming to your blog, right? See the 3 great reasons to check your webmaster tools out below.
The part that intrigued me was the Queries with Change. It is under Traffic, then Search Queries. This part was new to me. It’s right next to the basic tab. Have you seen it on yours?
Now what really opened my eyes and bells going off for me was the results for Halloween Scrubs – the search query dropped for them 100%! Not surprising since it is November but made me realize how often things may change in search. So it is time to plug some of the holes. On the holiday page I still had the keyword Halloween, no more today! Just holidays and Christmas are relevant.
So what does this mean for you with your Webmaster Tools?
- You should log in often – at least weekly if not monthly to your webmaster tools.
- You should scroll through many of the pages for the search queries and see which keywords have changed either in queries or in the average position.
- Change some of your keywords and meta to make your page position better and to reflect what queries have gone up.
- Make a list of all your pages keywords and description titles. It will be a great reference tool for you when things change with keywords as they will.
- Don’t forget to check your keyword density too when you do make changes.
When is the last time you checked your keyword changes in Google Webmaster tools?