SEO Basics for Blog Pages

SEO Basics SnippetWhat are the SEO BASICS?  Your blog pages must use SEO basics if you want search engines like Google and Yahoo to display your page in searches. A few simple guidelines can get you started!  (Scroll down for tutorial videos, SEO checklist and top tools and links to help you.) There are incredibly complex search engine optimization, or “SEO,” practices that will help all your pages show up well. But you can easily start with these SEO basics tips and use a good SEO tool or plugin to give you an advantage – even if you are a beginner. You should keep learning as much as you can from recent tutorial videos and instructional resources about what makes for great SEO and what tools can help you. There are many opinions about it and MANY ways to approach it.  In particular, you should also specifically follow Google SEO and Yahoo/Bing analyzer or webtools about SEO basics, and keep up-to-date because the algorithms change rapidly.  It’s a complex field to be involved with and it’s highly technical. Good SEO is an art not a science.

SEO Basics Checklist:

If you just want to get started with SEO basics this is where to begin. You should review your draft article to assess if it conforms to this SEO basics checklist:

Does your title start with a key word or key phrase?
Does the URL page for your article start with your key word/phrase?
Does your article have “sub-headlines” (<H2>, <H3>) that contain your key word/phrase?
Is the key word/phrase for your article page unique to your website?
Does your article have an image that has alt-tag and title assigned with the key word/phrase?
Does your first paragraph contain your key word/phrase in the first sentence?
Is there an underlined or italicized key word/phrase in your content?
Is there at least one outbound link to a good website?
Does your article have 500 words with numerous repetitions of your key word/phrase?
Are you entering correct and optimized metatag info for title and description?

SEO Basics Are Easier with SEO Tools like Yoast SEO for WordPress

If you are using WordPress you should install a free plugin to help you avoid major SEO errors before you publish your page. They help you identify problems and will also automatically fill in important meta-tags such as “meta title” and “meta description” that affect your search engine rating and how your snippet appears in search results.  For non-WorPress publishers you can search and easily find out which SEO tools match up with your host or software.  Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, as well as and Yahoo/Bing Webtools will also analyze your pages (but only after you publish.) This website uses the free plugin “Yoast SEO for WordPress.”

SEO Basics Start with Good Key Words and Engaging Content

Either before or after you write your article draft you should consider which key word (or key phrase of 3 words) that you will emphasize on your page. It should be unique to your page – you don’t want to have the same key word/phrase used in multiple pages across your site.  You can intuitively know what a good choice is based on sample searches that you do about your topic. Or you can search for key word tools that help you pick an appropriate key word/phrase (you don’t want to pick the most popular ones because you will be competing against other websites that use that same key word/phrase – try to pinpoint a good key word or phrase that is unique and relevant to your industry or article.)

Regardless of your favorite choice of key word/phrase, you want to shape your article to be engaging to humans, not just search engines.  If people don’t like your pages your search engine ranking will go down anyway if you don’t get many engaged visits, even if you start with SEO basics that are good for the computer algorithms.  You will always be trying to balance perfect SEO for the search engine algorithms against content that is great for real humans – that is the challenge!  The minimum word count for good SEO used to be 300 words, but you should now aim for 500.

SEO Basics Include Proper Titles, Metatags and URLS

Your key word/phrase should appear at the beginning of your article title, the URL of the page itself, at the beginning of the meta title and in the meta description. These elements are analyzed and rated by the search engines and they also affect how your listing looks visually in a search result page (your listing will be a “snippet” that is shown based on those elements.)  Yoast SEO plugin and/or other tools will help you with this if you use WordPress.

Design Headlines, Image Info, Links and First Paragraphs for SEO

Your key word/phrase should appear in at least one sub-headline (called “heading 2, etc in the font selection area), the first sentence of your first paragraph (use the selection called “paragraph” text in the font selection area for the body text of your article), and it should appear many times in the text body of your article.  You should always have an image in your article and the settings for that image should have an ‘alt-tag’ assigned to it and a title that contains your key word/phrase. You should italicize or bold at least one instance of your key word/phrase that is in your content. You should insert outbound links (to other good websites) and ideally you would exchange links with other websites that also link to your article.

Good Blog Contributors Will Test Articles with SEO Tools Before Submission

You should enter your drafts into your own website dashboard and analyze it with SEO tools before you submit it to other websites for publication.  (Do NOT publish your article in two places, however!  The search engines can easily detect duplicate content on different pages and both web pages or web sites will be heavily penalized in the search engine rank algorithms when that happens.)

The editors of this WordPress website use the Yoast SEO for WordPress free plugin. Once you install the plugin and enter your article draft into a post or page, you can look at the bottom of your post to see how the plugin rates your article. It will warn you of problems and direct you to improve it.  It will help you identify your key word/phrase (and make suggestions as you type in that field.) It will ensure that you fill out meta tags and it will use those to tell Google and Yahoo/Bing how to show your “snippet” when show up on a search inquiry page.  Here’s a sample of the Yoast SEO plugin analysis for this webpage:

YOAST’S “GENERAL TAB” HANDLES YOUR META TAGS AND SNIPPET:

Yoast SEO General Edits

YOAST’S “PAGE ANALYSIS TAB” BREAKS DOWN YOUR SEO BASICS MISTAKES:

ADVANCED TAB YOAST SEO

NEVER EVER USE TUTORIALS THAT ARE OLDER THAN A YEAR!

The algorithms are all new and you should keep up with them!  We recommend these videos to get started with Yoast or learning about SEO.