The world of SEO can appear intimidating to those who are approaching it for the first time. However, once you get past the industry jargon and plethora of acronyms, you will likely find that the bulk of SEO best practice is largely common sense.
Search Engine Optimization, in its simplest terms, is ensuring that your site is as easy to find and as attractive to search engines as possible. Google and the like exist to provide those surfing the web with the most efficient and relevant sites according to their needs. Therefore, when trying to optimize your site, you are principally making your site as attractive and useful to your target audience – which should be your goal as a webmaster anyway, whether you are actively considering SEO or not. That being said, there are certain rules of thumb that those who have never embarked upon SEO will not be innately aware of.
Now that web hosts such as www.1and1.com are offering unlimited web space for as little as $1, it seems that it has never been easier or more affordable to set up a blog. The next, much greater challenge is to bring people to that blog. We’ll look at three SEO mistakes that bloggers commonly make, but which can be easily rectified so that readership on your blog hopefully increases.
- Keyword Research
Keywords are anything that someone types into a search engine, from ‘buy new Doc Martens’ to ‘holidays in Spain’ to ‘what was David Bowie’s first album’. Before writing a blog post, it is important to conduct keyword research so that you can identify the most popular keywords that your potential audience are searching for and then incorporate them into your text. This will heighten the chance of this particular post being ranked in one of the top positions on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for those particular keywords.
Be sure to only add the strictly relevant keywords. If you are solely a fashion blog and repeatedly use the keyword ‘buy Doc Martens’, those looking to actually buy Doc Martens may turn up on your site, only to find that they cannot buy the shoes there, and will quickly leave. This will increase your bounce rate and may affect your future ranking.
Similarly, avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ like this example: ‘I have always loved Doc Martens because I think that retro Doc Martens can match almost any outfit for Doc Martens. I have recently bought some new Doc Martens and so now in our house we have Doc Martens for men, Doc Martens for women and also Doc Martens for children.’ A decade ago this may have pushed you up the SERPs, but the search engines can now easily identify unnatural keyword stuffing and your site will be made to suffer for it.
- Duplicate Content
As a rule of thumb, it is best to avoid duplicate content. Search engines may regard duplicate content as proof of ‘site scrapping’; this is essentially pillaging the content from another person’s site to benefit your own. Of course, many bloggers repost content from other blogger’s in a perfectly legitimate and open fashion. Doing so can be beneficial to both bloggers and your audience. It is simply important to make sure that the search engines are aware of what is going on. Ensure that you state openly on the page that this is content originally posted from another site, and insert canonical tags into your code. Read more about this here.
- Hindering Sharing
No one can deny the marketing potential of social media today. Ensure that it is easy for your visitors to share your posts via their accounts. Incorporate social media buttons on the side of each post so that with just a couple of clicks the post can be shared. Note that offering too many of these buttons can be a turn off; you will find that visitors simply won’t share it at all if they have too many options to choose from. Identify which platforms have the most potential and offer no more than four buttons. Don’t waste your time on niche sites such as Evernote and Diigo if your target audience aren’t on them.