Effective SEO Tips and Tricks

kitten finger puppet
Kitten Finger Puppet - Cupcakes for Clara

Post written by Fran Swaine of skullsandponies.com

Last night’s tweet chat was all about SEO and things that bloggers have found help increase their presence in the search engines.

For those unfamiliar with SEO – it stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and simply put it means doing things to help your blog rank higher in the search engines. It’s a huge topic and if you are new to SEO it can feel a little overwhelming with all the things you can be doing to help better your blog.

The best piece of advice I can give when approaching SEO on your blog, is not to try and do everything at once and remember that a lot of SEO is just good practice and things you can apply every time you are writing a new blog post. It’s also important to point out that SEO techniques should never be done purely for the sake of improving your rankings – always be sure to put your readers first, this will ensure your blog is always excellent quality.

Here are some of the top tips that came up during the tweet chat.

1)      Include highly relevant keywords in your blog post and title

Keywords or key phrases are simply words or phrases you want people to find your blog by. For example let’s say you wrote a post about a recent brooch you made over the weekend and you have put in your Etsy shop. You title your blog post “Weekend Antics” include a picture of the brooch and throughout the post simply use the term “brooch” to describe your product.

Fairy Toadstool Brooch
Fairy Toadstool Brooch - Ellie's Treasures

Now think about your audience and how they might stumble across you – entering “brooch” into Google brings back 43 million pages and Google need to figure out which one is the most relevant.

You can help improve your rankings by making a few minor tweaks to your post. First of all make the ‘keyword’ more specific such as ‘fairy toadstool brooch’ and be sure to include this in the title of your blog post.

Try and use this term a few times throughout your blog post – just make sure you don’t overdo it and it still flows when you read it.

2)      Include keywords in anchor text

Anchor text is text that links to another page or website. The search engines give greater weight to anchor text as they assume it is more important. Including your keywords in your anchor text is a great SEO tip. Make sure the page or site you are linking out to is relevant to the content of your blog post.

3)      Get other blogs/websites to link to your blog

The search engines see links to your blog or website as a vote or a recommendation that your blog is awesome! This means that lots of good quality links to your blog can improve your rankings in the search engines.

Lots of links will happen naturally, your readers might blog about your website or blog or start up a “favourite blogs” page and link to you, but there are some simple things you can do to get yourself more inbound links.

By writing about other relevant bloggers/crafters you can gain links. Simply search for bloggers who write about similar things as your blog and ask to interview them or feature them on your blog. Chances are without even asking, they’ll link to your blog because it helps to promote them! They might write a blog post on it and link to your specific interview about them, and they are also likely to share it via social media!

4)      Get links to all pages on your blog – not just your home page

All links to your blog are useful, but links to specific pages are even better! It all comes back to relevancy. If a website all about knitting links to your blog but your blog is about all types of crafting it immediately becomes less relevant, if they can link to a specific page on your site about knitting this is much more useful to your new audience and the search engines see your site as being more relevant.

5)      Write linkworthy content

If your content is good, strong useful content – then people will want to link to it. Tutorials for example are a sure fire way of getting links because it is useful content to other people. When writing your blog posts think to yourself ‘Is this useful content? Is there any way I can make it more useful to my readers?’

6)      Link out to other blogs and websites

The search engines like to see links into your site, but they also like to see links out of your site to highly relevant sites or blogs. This is also really useful to your readers to find new and exciting blogs they might like to read.

You can do this either in your regular blog posts by linking out to useful blog posts or tutorials or you can create a dedicated “Favourite Blogs” page.

7)      Implement Google Analytics

Most blog platforms provide basic statistics, but it is limited in the information it gives you. Google Analytics is a great free web analytics tool that can tell you where your traffic is coming from, what keywords people have found your blog through, and which pages are the most popular.

It can also help you identify which keywords might help your SEO. For example if lots of people are finding your blog through the term ‘pink crochet heart bunting’ then you could optimise existing content talking about bunting to include this term or even write a new post utilising this keyword – such as a tutorial explaining how to make pink crochet heart bunting!

8)      Linking internally

As well as linking to other sites, it’s also useful for you to link to other pages in your blog. The search engines love it and it’s great for your audience to easily find other relevant posts. For example if you have written a post all about how to make a knitting needle cover, you could link to a previous tutorial you wrote on how to make a kindle cover.  This also means you can use highly relevant keywords in your anchor text (which we’ve already said is a big hit with search engines).

One of the things we discussed last night was implementing LinkedWithin. LinkedWithin is a widget you can add to your blog that automatically links to other relevant posts on your site. For me personally I’ve found it immediately boosted my traffic.

9)      Using keywords in your file names and alt text

The search engines can’t see what your pictures are like a human can, so naming the file names of images you use in a post tells them. Instead of using a generic name like ‘Image 1’ try and use your keywords within the file name. You can also do this for alt text (alternative text) – this is sometimes displayed if your image doesn’t load properly.

10)   Top 10 Lists
Top 10 lists are a definite winner for building your rank within the search engines. From previous experience alone a top 5 list I wrote about how to stop worrying is one of my most popular posts to date.

They use highly relevant keywords and are linkworthy as they are often dealing with a problem people are searching for.

This list covers just a few SEO techniques that were raised in our tweet chat but there is a lot more information out there and things you can do to improve the SEO of your blog.

This article called How to get to number 1 in Google was written by Hilary back in October. It’s a great starting point for SEO newbies and even if you are already dabbling in SEO techniques covers some great tips that can help you out.  

Now over to you readers, what SEO tips have you found effective on your blog?