How to optimize without spending all day optimizing
My very first blog post here on Yoast.com was about why you should focus on SEO as a blogger. That post was one of the hardest posts I've ever written, as I was not focussing on SEO at all back then. I honestly didn't want to spend time doing keyword research and research my audience. Now, almost four months later, I'm having fun with optimizing my blog posts and am creating a routine in this. And with success, my average position in Google is rising, along with the total impressions and total clicks. Today, I will share why and how I'm optimizing my blog posts.
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SEO for bloggers
In the beginning of June I was at a conference for Dutch speaking bloggers. I gave a talk about SEO for bloggers and attended several talks myself. One of the talks I saw was by the owner of a big mom blog in the Netherlands. When the audience asked her how she managed to grow, she explained it was a combination of writing a lot, using Google Search Console and using Yoast SEO Premium.
“Anyone could do it,” she told the audience.
The day after the conference, I started optimizing my blog posts. And with success. Where my average organic growth was around 10 percent per month from the start of this year, it was a whopping 86% in June compared to May. Turns out that the SEO tips we give at Yoast, even work for bloggers! Who knew?
Well, probably everyone knew. At least at Yoast. But I'm stubborn and always used the ‘that won't work for me' card. But really, as I wrote before, I didn't want to focus on SEO. I'm a blogger. Who needs SEO?
How to rise in Google
The process of rising to the first page or even the top three result is a long one. You need the right tools and you need the right plan. You need patience and you need to be able to analyze your current data.
To rise in Google, I use two tools:
Google Search Console and Yoast SEO Premium.
Google Search Console is a great tool to see what keywords people use, what the click through rate to your website is and what position you are. You can compare your data as well. The newest data unfortunately is 3 days old, so you need patience with growing.
While you can do this all without our SEO plugin, I can't live without our premium plugin anymore. I use the premium plugin to check my internal linking structure and use the link suggestions to make sure I am linking to all relevant posts on my website.
It's hard to decide which blog posts to optimize. I found out my blog post about a lipstick review I did last year, still generates a lot of traffic. I'm not a beauty blogger, but apparently the post hit home. But posts I wanted to rank, weren't ranking at all. I picked one of those blog posts and started to optimize it. You can do this by completely rereading the text, checking the bullets of our content analysis and adding relevant links to other blog posts – the internal linking tool helps with that, and to link from other relevant posts to this post. Orphaned content – content that's not linked to – is horrible and it's something you need to fix as soon as possible if you want to rank.
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How to optimize without spending all day optimizing
I want to write. I want to blog. The last thing I want to do, is work on optimizing my blog posts for Google, Pinterest or Facebook.
As I won't go viral after I hit that publish button and I won't get millions of hits after I shouted out that I blogged, I need to optimize the posts. I do this right after I finished a blog post. I reread it, go through all the bullets of the plugin and determine if I want to change its suggestions, or just ignore those stupid red and orange bullets that are out there to make my life miserable. The one thing I do check for every time, are internal links and a proper meta description. While writing meta descriptions are my nightmare, they are important in getting people to actually click that link.
I've created my own checklist before I publish a post. While I sometimes go back to a blog post to create new links if I published new blogs, I make sure all my new posts at least check off the following:
- There are at least 3 links to other blog posts I've written that are relevant to the topic. If there are no relevant links, I need to either create more content or perhaps remove the blog post altogether.
- There is at least one relevant high quality image and it has the focus keyword in its alt description.
- I've written a compelling meta description.
- My readability is green. And if it's not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
- My SEO analysis is green. And if it's not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
- I've checked old blog posts to see if I can link to this new blog post.
It's important to create your own routine in this. While in the beginning it might feel as if you're messing around and it won't have any use, if you continue to do the steps above, you will see improved results in Google and Google Search Console.
I'm curious how and if you are incorporating SEO tactics in your blogging. Please let me know, because I'm eager to learn from you too!
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