Last Updated: April 25, 2021
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SEO in 2021 For First Time Bloggers: What You Need To Know

If you’re looking to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and use it to boost your blog traffic, then you’re in the right place. 

This ultimate SEO guide for beginner bloggers will help you increase and grow your blog traffic massively, rank your blogs on Google and appear in relevant searches to boost your site traffic further. 

Search Engine Optimization can be tricky because algorithms are constantly evolving, but it’s not impossible. SEO doesn't have to be overly technical or time-consuming if you cover the basics for every blog post.

SEO for first time bloggers

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You don’t need to become an SEO expert

The good news is you don't have to be an expert to do well at SEO. But it’s nevertheless good to get a grasp of the basics. Here are some useful tools and information:

  • Google Search Central Blog – The official Google blog for everything search-related, it’s written for web admins
  • Google Algorithm Changelog – An excellent resource to find Google algorithm change history.
  • Google Webmaster YouTube Channel - This channel is frequently refreshed with a Q&A from Matt Cutts and is a must-watch for all things SEO. No assumptions, speculation, or guesswork; simply accurate data from a leading Google representative.
  • Rob Powell Biz Blog posts – Provides a rich collection of SEO posts.
  • Moz Blog – Covers various SEO areas featuring a variety of guest bloggers.

What is SEO?

SEO is the sum of all the techniques used for enhancing your online content so that it ranks in search engines such as Google. 

This allows your work to appear at the top of rankings when optimized correctly for specific keyword searches. Are you a blogger and want your content to place highly in search results? 

You’ll need to compose your content in a way that matches what individuals are looking for, known as search intent. 

When you satisfy searcher expectations, then you have completed a major part of blogger SEO. 

what is seo

The 5 Steps for Creating SEO-friendly blog posts

Here are the five key steps for creating content that ranks in the search engines:

  • plan your content by selecting a topic, creating a brief, researching, and fact checking
  • craft an informative and catchy headline to grab your reader’s attention
  • write the main content 
  • Include images to enhance the post
  • edit to improve flow, and explain complex subjects before publishing 

When you decide on your content idea, it’s vital to conduct keyword research about the topic to understand how people search for the subject on Google. 

Find keywords with reasonable search volume but low competition. 

Aside from that, it helps if you understand the keyword intent so that you create content that satisfies the searcher intent. 

The best tactic in your keyword arsenal is developing a long-tail strategy, especially when there’s a lot of competition for main keywords; this attracts visitors with particular search intent.

For example, if your blog post is about ‘trendy furniture’, the odds are your blog post may never rank high in the search results because the competition for that keyword is high. 

However, if your post is aimed at a more specific aspect of furniture, such as contemporary or art-décor furniture, you stand a better chance of being found for that precise topic. 

Several recent studies found that:

What are the three things you must know about SEO?

Since the SEO revolution began in 2015, it has seen several advancements over the years, with an ever-increasing focus on mobile searches. 

A detailed and updated SEO strategy is affected by several elements for an effective overall content optimization plan, including technical auditing: indexability, internal linking, and robots.txt. 

- Technical auditing & Internal links

Technical auditing focuses on a detailed analysis of several factors affecting your website SEO performance, including:

  • URL structure
  • Keyword rankings
  • Page architecture
  • Other on-page elements

An SEO review will offer solid recommendations to improve your overall website's rankings in online searches. 

Your content requires external links in order to rank. For instance, links from relevant websites are a Google ranking factor and will help your blog posts to appear high up in the search results. 

Internal links connect your website's posts and offer Google an idea of your website structure. 

This is essential to providing the most value to your main posts and pages. Additionally, it enhances your blog usability since users can easily navigate through your content. 

- Robot.txt

Robot.txt is a text file created by webmasters to instruct search engines on how to scan and crawl pages on their websites. 

robots txt

The file is part of a standard web group known as Robots Exclusion Protocols (REP) that controls how robots crawl, access, and index website content before serving end users.  

The REP controls how meta robots treat links such as "follow" or "no follow.” 

While this can seem overwhelming for first timers, SEO tools like Ahrefs site audit will help detect and fix most website issues. 

Another link that’s very crucial for your SEO is backlinks, created when websites link to your site. 

Backlinks are also referred to as incoming or inbound links and are valuable SEO factors since they represent a vote of confidence in your website. 

Backlinks to your site are a pointer to web crawlers that others affirm the quality of your content. 

If numerous websites link to your website or page, search engines will assume that your content is worth referring to and is worth ranking in the SERPs. 

Earning backlinks can positively affect your search ranking, especially from famous and well-established websites. 

But links from inferior or substandard websites can drag down your website rankings and your search engine visibility. 

Natural backlinks are the safest, fastest, and most effective linking strategy for improving your SEO. 

They occur when bloggers and web admins link to your content like images, blogs, videos, etc. because they consider it useful and valuable to their audience and website. 

- Your content is key

As essential as these elements are for your SEO success, your content is also vital. This has led to the famous online marketing quote that "content is king." 

types of online content

Google places particular emphasis on your website content since it's the main thing that attracts your visitors. 

Your content is central to your website’s success and no amount of technical SEO can boost the ranking of half-baked content. 

Content is critical for your marketing strategies and must focus on satisfying visitors’ interests rather than advertising. 

A study indicated that 73% of businesses focus their marketing efforts on content. Original, high-quality content ranks higher in search engines like Google. 

When combined, all these factors lead to quality, rich content that encourages website visitors to share. 

Old SEO tricks (to avoid)

If you want to avoid the risk of getting a Google penalty, stay away from old, black hat SEO techniques and tricks; they not only hurt your website traffic but also taint its credibility. 

It’s tempting to ignore Google rules and guidelines and opt for quick fixes and instant results. However, this only compromises user experience, which could cost you dearly. 

Google may penalize you for using black hat SEO tricks with lower position in the SERPs  or even complete removal from search engine results, although this is rare. 

Some familiar black hat SEO practices include:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Invisible text 
  • Content duplication
  • Cloaking 

Google wants users to have a good search experience, which is why they release numerous search engine algorithm updates. 

too much emphasis on technical SEO

New SEO

Google search engine algorithms are constantly getting more powerful and innovative, not just with web page analysis but also in ensuring that users spend more time on the platform.. 

New SEO doesn't use shortcuts to get ranked but rather basic practices to enhance your website credibility, gain more search traffic and boost your online visibility. 

Google is now built around enhancing user experience. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to improve the experience your targeted audience has with your website. 

Fortunately, there are tools such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Outfunnel, which help monitor and understand website traffic and user behavior. 

These tools provide valuable insights on your performing pages, traffic sources, and other useful metrics to help you appropriately adjust to the right content marketing strategies for your website’s success. 

User experience is crucial for Google's recent updates. These updates focus on giving users the best possible experience, and so website usability has become a vital piece in the SEO jigsaw puzzle. 

Studies have suggested that the average website has less than 50 milliseconds to convince the visitor to stay longer, before the visitor decides to leave. 

Aside from visual appeal, several factors impact website performance, including font size and type, menus, page layout, colors, web design trends, and so on. 

SEO checklist template

Great content isn't only about your content type but also about the care you take behind the scenes to create the best user experience. 

Before hitting the publish button for your blog post to go live, here are six essential checklist items to keep in mind: 

  • Set publish date and time
  • Proofread your headline, subheadings, and permalink 
  • Select the correct author post bio if you’re not the only one writing for the blog 
  • Choose a category and featured display image 
  • Add the meta description
  • Review the entire checklist and publish

What does good and bad SEO look like?

While you may not intentionally create content or pages stuffed with keywords and manipulative links, you can still find yourself involved in bad SEO practices. 

good and bad SEO

If you want to find out the difference between good and bad SEO you need look no further than the user experience of your website visitors. 

Google is focused on building a digitally friendly environment that prioritizes user experience. 

The search engine giant is regularly updating its algorithm for an enhanced user experience across various platforms. 

However, some common SEO mistakes include:

  • Link buying
  • Unnatural anchor text
  • Spamming other blogs with link-dense comments 
  • Content duplication
  • Creating keyword-stuffed content

Conclusion

A lot is changing when it comes to SEO, but you can still get results by keeping up with the basics. While I believe you’ll find this guide helpful, be aware that implementing these tips won't produce instant results. 

This article has provided some in-depth detail on the critical areas of SEO for a first time blogger: implement these tips and with patience, you will see results.

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