Friday, April 28, 2017

The Dummy's Guide to SEO: Get the Basics

Everyone's always talking about SEO when it comes to blogging and I've always been curious about what exactly SEO is. So of course, I decided to do a little research on it and share with you what I learned about SEO.

Be prepared for the detailed guide for blogger dummies like me. Additional warning; please read the entire post till the very end before actually implementing anything that I share. Thank you!

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, it's a fancy word for "the chance that your blog comes up in a search result". That's an important concept because when your blog shows up in search results, more people would come visit your blog and increase your traffic without you shoving your links in their faces. In other words, this would create organic or earned traffic.

It's like the gift that keeps on giving I suppose. You work on one blog post properly and make it SEO friendly so that traffic keeps coming to it through search engines instead of constant promotion on twitter and other platforms. The downside to organic traffic could be that most visitors would be one time visitors; the showed up because you had something they were interested in and once they've gotten what they wanted, they'll be flipping tabs over to something else.

That leads to two conclusions; either you build your blog entirely and create content to grab the attention of these visitors long enough to make them your readers or you utilize these one time visitors by serving up obnoxious ads and getting revenue through them. Sure, readers get put off by such ads but it's not like they were going to stay that long in the first place, right? (which reminds me that I have to write another post about me and my Adsense fiasco).

How did I end up getting involved in this SEO junk in the first place? Well... Reddit. There are a couple of blogging subreddits there and one of them included a thread where people would ask for reviews on their blogs, so I figured why not? I asked about how I could increase traffic on my blog. Here's the response I got:

It's going to be tough for you to get a lot of organic traffic with a Blogspot blog. It also looks like your archive pages are outranking individual blog posts.
I'm not sure if you can control these things on Blogspot, but your SEO titles and meta descriptions are not optimized for search engines either.
I strongly recommend that you migrate to a website if you want to start seeing organic growth on your blog.

Well, I am most certainly not shifting to wordpress. I'm sorry, but I can't. I don't have the time or energy for it. Maybe if I actually earned from blogging, I could hire someone to shift my blogs for me but I don't see that happening anytime soon, so blogspot it is and blogspot it shall remain. They threw out some interesting words though, like "SEO titles" and "meta descriptions" and that helped launch this research!

Let's start out with a simple blog post page title. Blogger has things a little wacky, for example, if you were to google search one of your own posts and if it cropped up in the results, the main link would be: "Your blog name here: Your blogpost title here". That's not very friendly when it comes to the search page because your blog name takes up all the space that could have been used for the post name. When you do press on the click, you'll notice that the tab header also has been completely occupied by your blog's name instead of the title of the post.

Switch back to my blogpost. My tab header will show the post title instead of the blog title. Google searching (I had to be super specific) to find a post shows my post title instead of my blog title and that's what's really important when it comes to SEO. The whole phenomenon is called "title swapping". So how can you get this done? You're going to need some coding help. Fortunately, I found a great guide on how to get things done.
How to Optimize your Blogger Blog Titles: This is a really super easy guide, just follow the steps they've outlined and your blog post title will start looking just like mine: not cluttered with main blog title! You just have to copy paste a few lines of code and voila, you're done.
Next up is the concept of meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are basically a few sentences that explain what your post is all about. You know, when you search something and then you get a result, first you have the title and then you have a small snippet below it explaining the title. That's your meta description. You need to enable the meta description option in blogger and don't worry fam, I got you covered.
Adding a Meta Description: Another great guide on how to get things done? Enabling meta description is an option in blogger itself, so don't worry, there's no need for coding. If things do get messy, they've shared how to get things done through a code as well!
Unfortunately, this guide only tells you how to enable meta descriptions, but not how to utilize them. Once you've enabled meta descriptions, if you start a new blog post, you get a new option under "post settings" called "search description". At first, I didn't know what exactly this meant, and I ended up using it as a secondary tag dump. No, no, no, no, don't do that. Don't. Let me show you how it looks, and it looks awful.
Oh, it looks so cringy. I just stuffed a bunch of tags into the search description and look at the awful mess that popped up. We don't want that. Please don't repeat my mistakes.
So we have to write a decent search description because that is what people will read when your post shows up in the result. Those are the three lines that you have to write to pull people in to read your blog post so you're going to have to write them really nicely. Notice how the words that I used to find this particular post are high lighted. Those words are key words. You basically have to use as many words and concepts that you think describes your blog post best and would also be searched for by other people.

Now that we've got your look on a search engine fixed, it's time to make your entry in the result look appealing. It's important to write good headlines so that the search engine understands how relevant your post is to a query and so that the person reviewing the results is pulled in to check your link out. There are a bunch of articles out there about the algorithm that Google works with and how you can make the best headlines, but I feel like I wouldn't remember all the important stuff so I found this great website to substitute everything.
Write Better Headlines: This is a website that reviews your headline. You enter your post title and it rates your headline by multiple standards, from the length of your title to the kind of words used in it. It's really helpful! It even explains the things it's rating your headline on so that you can make multiple improvements to your score before finally settling on the post title. 
Okay! Your blog has overall improved quite a bit by the time you finish all of these tips. How do you know if things actually changed for the better or not? Well, you can have your blog reviewed before doing all these changes (which is why I asked you to read the entire post before actually doing anything) and then review your blog again after you're done. If you do actually do this, please comment below on whether these really helped you or not. I wish I had reviewed my blog before and after so I could share my own experience with you but unfortunately, I've been learning as I go along and came across all these resources in a jumbled sequence. Anyway!
Have Your Blog Reviewed: This is a website that is kind of like the previous link, except this reviews your entire blog, head to foot. The only drawback to this is that it will only rate your main blog page. It won't work on individual post pages since the links for those end with .html instead of .com

I hope these tips help you improve your blog! I've been working on trying to run my blog like a proper blog brand, mostly because my ultimate goal here is to monetize in some sort of way and the first step to monetizing through other brands and sponsors is to have a solid base in terms of traffic, influence and readers. And you know how I am- whenever I learn something new, I love babbling about it on my blog.

Remember to come back and let me know if your blog improved before and after these changes! Have a nice day!


  1. K, you've really simplified SEO. I've read countless articles on how to 'optimize SEO' but I got lost very easily (and very early on) each time! Thanks for helping me out! I'm going to work on implementing them!


  2. SEO intimidates me so much, thanks for taking the scary out of it!

  3. Thank you for explaining SEO so well, I've been blogging for nearly a year and I've still yet to get my head around it fully! This is a great guide!

    Abbey 🌈

  4. These seem really helpful! I'll try implementing these and see how it works out :D

    -Kathie K
    Half A World Away

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this, I've always found SEO so intimidating but this makes in manageable!
    Joelle x

  6. This is such a good guide! I've never really understood it, but this has definitely cleared a few things up for me. Thank you!

  7. I'm already pretty clued up on SEO because I have to know it for my job, but this was such a great and well-researched guide for people who want to know more!

  8. I've never understood SEO at all!
    This has really helped and I'll be bookmarking this to come back to for advice every so often! :D



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