Improving your site's SEO
(Psst, looking for insights into SEO? Check out all of the SEO related posts on our blog!)
SEO is a complex subject that’s always evolving, too. Recommendations may be very individualized based on your goals, the type of content you produce, and who you’re trying to reach. But with all that being said, here are a few recommendations we make for most style and lifestyle bloggers.
Install the Yoast SEO plugin
This is a no-brainer! Yoast’s SEO plugin is a free, invaluable resource for your blog. It allows you to set a focus keyword for an individual post, as well as edit all elements of the “snippet preview” that appears in Google search results. You can use the plugin settings on every single post and page, making it easy to ensure your SEO is optimized for as many content pieces on your site as possible. The plugin also has a bunch of other cool features, one of which is allowing you to easily integrate Pinterest Rich Pins from your blog. Learn more about the plugin, and download it here.
Whenever possible, you should name the images you upload to a post with like keywords that you’ve designated within your Yoast SEO plugin settings. This is because Google crawls information associated with images just like they do the text in your post. If you’ve named your image a default title like “IMG_0865,” Google has no idea what this means, or what the content is about. Conversely, if an image is named “Top 10 Budget Boots for Fall,” this tells Google exactly what it’s about, and your image may be returned in search results, particularly image search results.
We’ve written more about how to name images for your blog posts here.
With the Yoast SEO plugin in mind, it’s a good idea to seed your focus keywords through your content where possible. Let’s use our Budget Boots post as an example. Suppose your focus keyword for this post was “budget boots for fall.”
You would want to include this exact string of words in your post title. Be sure to get creative to make the post title sound like a human wrote it! For example, “My Top 10 Budget Boots for Fall,” “Shop to It: the best budget boots for fall,” or “10 Gorgeous Budget Boots for Fall” are all fine post titles.
Next, you’d want to seed the string of keywords into your content, once as a minimum, a couple times if you can. Ideally, this string of keywords would also appear in the first few sentences of your content. Again, you want to try and weave this in so it sounds natural. For example, an opening paragraph might be:
Happy Monday everyone! We had a cold front move through over the weekend, and I was finally able to break out my favorite boots. It got me thinking about picking up a few more pairs of budget boots for fall, as we’re currently saving for a vacation over the holidays and I definitely don’t want to break the bank. Here are my favorites:
Having this string of keywords in your post title and so early in your content tells Google, “Hey! This post is about budget boots for fall.” In combination with naming your images some combination of these keywords, you’re sending clear messages to Google as to what your post is talking about.
Other things you can do enhance keywords within your content is to bold them or apply heading styles, but we recommend doing this with a light hand, lest you look like you’re totally keyword stuffing your post. One good option can be to use a title like “Shop more budget boots for fall” at the end of your post, as a title to a Shop the Post affiliate link widget.
Links are the currency of the Internet
Years ago, our co-founder Victoria heard a great quote at a blogging conference: “links are the currency of the Internet.” While much has changed since that blog conference in the late 2000s, this is still a very true statement — and especially when it comes to SEO. The more people you can get to link to you and your site, the more Google assumes you must have some authority on particular topics. This is part of the reason why some bloggers will leave their URLs in comment fields — it’s a way to create a link back to their own site, which can provide someSEO juice.
More valuable is to get people to link to particular posts that provide actual value for the readers who click on it. That’s because if you get a ton of links back to your site, but users who click on them immediately leave your page, that tells Google that the content wasn’t valuable for them (this behavior of arriving on a site but immediately leaving it without clicking on anything is referred to as a bounce. You might have heard about it in conjunction with a bounce rate).
In our budget boots example, let’s say that a couple other bloggers linked to you saying something like, “Check out my friend Jane’s awesome post on budget boots for fall for more great options.” If their readers click on the link, and then begin clicking on links in your post and even buy something, that tells Google the content you produced is immensely valuable.
Hence, links are the currency of the Internet, but we’ll add that’s only true when the users stick around and engage with the content. So while we love the original quote Victoria heard, the age old adage about blogs is probably even more true: Content is king. If your content is good, people will ultimately link to it, talk about it, and share it, giving you amazing SEO juju.
Be sure to check out our blog post with more tips and tricks for SEO beginners! Read our post, on easy ways to improve your blog’s SEO.