3 Easy SEO Tips for Beginners (+ a Video Lesson!) – When you know how to use Search Engine Optimization to rank for keywords in Google, it can mean traffic gold for your blog! And it’s way more fun than you’d think.
THIS POST IS LESSON FIVE OF MY FREE BLOGGING AS A CREATIVE BUSINESS COURSE
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3 Easy SEO Tips for Beginners
When you know how to use Search Engine Optimization to rank for keywords in Google, it can mean traffic gold for your blog! If you start out doing the following SEO things from the get-go, you’ll have a running start, so don’t skip this lesson. I’ve also included a video lesson near the end of the post to walk you through the process in person.
What exactly is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Moz.com defines it as “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
I didn’t really start to focus on it until 2015 because the thought of learning it kind of made me want to fall asleep. It turns out; it’s not that boring. It’s even kind of fun!
In the second half of 2017, I started to dive deeper into making SEO work for me, and I’m going to share everything I’ve learned to enable me to increase my organic traffic. Organic traffic means people are landing on your blog due to Google searches.
When your organic traffic is significant:
- It means your SEO efforts are working! I’m currently ranking for over 1000 keywords/phrases, which increases my traffic (and profits).
- You’re less reliant on social media, and it’s ever-changing algorithms.
SEO is Worth Your Time
The graph above shows my typical month’s traffic breakdown by source.
I want to show you this because we all stress so much about social media. But look at what a small percentage of my blog traffic comes from social!!!! 😮 That’s not a very good ROTI (return on time investment). With only so many hours in a day, you have to focus on what brings the best ROTI.
That’s where SEO comes in. (All well as Pinterest and Email, which are in the next two lessons).
I’m an advocate of focusing on what you can control. Social media is too wishy-washy for me to justify devoting too much of my time there!
3 Easy SEO Tips for Beginners
Tip 1: Install the Yoast SEO Plugin
Did all of the above make your head spin? Have no fear. There’s an easy way to get started with SEO.
I use Yoast SEO to Manage my SEO. If you start with just one thing for SEO, make it this plugin. This pretty much manages it for you and has spots you fill in your keywords and what not. It also builds your XML sitemap for you. This is all stuff that is for people who are IT gurus and much of what I just said is way over my head…so I consider it my SEO for Dummies plugin! It gives you the green light when your SEO is good.
For two years, using the free Yoast SEO plugin was the only SEO thing I did, and it was working, even though I wasn’t using it with the intention to rank for anything (nor did I know much about SEO beyond the basics I’ll list in the next section).
I filled in the Yoast SEO plugin field for each post until I got the green light and that was all I focused on.
I’ve been using the paid version of Yoast for about a year now, namely because it allows me to use multiple keywords for each post and auto-redirects any post titles I change. You can see what you get with the free version vs. the premium version here. I recommend starting with the free one and making upgrading to the premium version a priority as soon as your budget allows for it.
Tip: the Yoast Knowledge Base has excellent articles on getting your Yoast SEO plugin all set up!
The following screenshots show you how I entered data in Yoast SEO for this post.
It gives you tips on what you need to do to get the green light. I worked to get them all green but as long as your primary light is green (shown right next to where you schedule/publish your post), you’re good to go.
Finally, it gives you some insights on potential keywords.
Speaking of keywords…
Tip 2: Research Keywords
If you want to take your SEO game to the next level, all you have to do is be intentional about your use of keywords and long-tail phrases. Keywords are just the words or phrases people enter into the Google search bar to find content.
To rank for keywords, you’ll need to do a little research with a keyword tool. I use Keysearch.co. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any free keyword research tools. I chose this one because it’s easy to use and affordable. You can get 20% the Keysearch Starter plan with code KSDIC. I’m on the starter plan and find it more than sufficient for my Keyword Research needs.
It’s super easy to use. I just type a keyword idea into the search box, and it tells me who ranks for it and how hard it is to rank for. The key is to find keywords with a decent search volume and a green button (easy to rank for) or light blue button (super easy to rank for).
Tip 3: Focus on the Basics of SEO
- Use your keyword(s) in your post title, URL, naming photos (see note below), use of blog post headings, early in your blog post body, and in alt text for media in your post.
- Make sure to rename your pictures before uploading them to WordPress. It boosts your SEO and helps your search rankings! So instead of leaving an image named DSC00019, change it to “BrushCalligraphyTombowTutorial-1.jpg”.
- I made a screenshot video to walk you through how I optimize all my posts for SEO using Keysearch and Yoast SEO Premium.
- Some things that affect SEO, like the age of your website, are out of your control. SEO can take time to build but keep at it because it’s worth the return on your time investment.
Here’s a video walkthrough of how I optimize my blog posts for SEO.
Tip: I took this First Steps of SEO: Keyword Research and Website Optimization class online at Skillshare and highly recommend it.
Link Building is often mentioned concerning SEO. I don’t do it. It feels spammy and time-consuming. You email people and ask them to put links to your site on their site.
People email me all the time to ask me to put their links on my site and I’ve never done it. I don’t know them nor how reliable their content is, so why would I link to it?
Instead, I focus on creating quality content other people will want to link to, which is a more organic form of link building (in my opinion). Sharing things on social media also helps with link building.
These 3 Easy SEO Tips for Beginners are quite manageable, don’t you think?
Up Next: 8 Essential Email Marketing Tips for Bloggers
Why Email is the number one thing I wish I’d handled differently when starting my business. In this module, I’ll talk to you about: How to Grow Your List, Why You Should Clean Your List, Creating a Welcome Automation Email Series, How to Monetize Your Emails and more.