There are currently 500 million blogs online that are active. This means that they are receiving traffic and content is being added to them regularly. In fact, more than 7 million blog posts are added to websites on a daily basis. Regardless of what subject you are writing about, it will always be an uphill battle to rank online with your blog. That’s why you need to understand the basic requirements of search engine optimisation SEO. Below we’ll discuss the key factors and variables that you should consider to rank online.
Keeping Up With Google Algorithm Updates
First, you need to be aware of the Google Algorithm updates. The algorithm is what Google uses to determine what should impact whether websites rank. There are various different algorithm updates through the year including core algorithm updates.
Core updates began in 2018 and since then have been rolled out approximately three times each year. The core update is the most important issue to be aware of because this is a change to the overall ranking systems and algorithm. Essentially, it is a change to the collection of algorithms that Google uses to interpret signals from different web pages. Both the Panda and Penguin penalties are part of Google’s core algorithm. As such, an update could change one or both of these.
Google reveals very little about the factors that impact ranking. According to experts, there are millions of small algorithms that look at different internet signals.
Individual updates can be significant. For instance, Google’s Pirate Update had the potential to trigger a 89% drop in traffic for any website that received a large number of valid removal notices.
Learning Key Metrics and SEO Softwares
To ensure that you have the best chance of gaining a high ranking for your blog, you need to be aware of key metrics and SEO softwares.
Developed by MOZ, Domain Authority (DA) will predict how likely it is that a website will rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
DA scores can be anywhere up to 100 and typically a higher score means that a website has a greater chance of ranking. You can track your DA using the Moz Link explorer as well as through Moz Pro campaigns. Countless SEO platforms have also incorporated a check of the DA score. It is calculated using a variety of factors including total number of links and linking root domains. Since 2019, DA scores have been based on the results from machine learning.
MOZ has also developed a spam score metric. The spam score determines whether your blog has features that have been found across sites that have been penalised or even banned by Google. A low spam score is considered to be anything between 1% and 30%. A high score is considered to be anything between 61 and 100%.
It’s worth noting that a high score doesn’t mean that your site is always going to be spammy. However, you should complete an investigation to check for issues.
There are various ways that you can lower your spam score. For instance, you should ensure that spam links are not connected to your site and avoid using dodgy tactics to link build. This includes paying for links because this will usually result in a higher spam score. Adding positive links can also lower your spam score. For instance, virtually no spam websites are associated with LinkedIn pages.
If you want to explore different SEO aspects of your website, there are various options that are worth exploring. However, Ahrefs is the best. This can be described as a complete toolset that provides learning materials and has a complete community that you can lean on for support. Ahrefers provides a:
- Site explorer
- Content explorer
- Keywords explorer
- Rank tracker
- Site audit
Using these tools will allow you to explore whether there are any issues that need to be corrected on your blog. You can also check levels of organic traffic and find out which content is getting the most shares across different social media channels. Ahrefs will save you from using multiple tools for your SEO campaign.
Create Unique And Valuable Content
It was Bill Gates who originally said that content is king. He was right then and he’s still right today. By adding the best content to your website, you can ensure that it does gain the attention you need.
We have already mentioned the Google algorithm. However, the main aim of the search engine giant is to ensure that users always find websites that provide value. Content is the best way to ensure that your blog ticks this box.
However, any old content won’t provide the benefits you need. Your content must reach the highest quality standards. It should be unique. Even spinning content could result in a penalty due to plagiarism or even a copyright claim.
The content must also provide real value to your target audience. The best way to do this is to think about their pain points and then build content around these. Content should also be varied with a mixture of images, text, long form articles and even infographics.
Longer content or richer blog posts tend to rank better because they provide more valuable information. However, this won’t be the case, if they are stuffed with keywords or if the long content is mainly fluff.
As well as adding fresh content to your blog on a regular basis, you should also focus on ensuring that you have a healthy amount of evergreen content too. Evergreen content will always provide value to your audience or readers and is not based on current trends of changing topics.
In terms of how to optimise your content you need to think about using title tags, meta, descriptions and alt texts with the keywords and search terms included. Keywords and search terms should also be present in the content and title. However, it’s important not to go overboard here. Aim to ensure that your level of keywords is just under 2% of the content.
The title is one of the most important pieces of metadata on your blog. This is responsible for the title that will be displayed at the top of the browser window. It needs to be concise and should be around 60 characters long. You might also want to consider ending with the name of your brand to build awareness.
Your descriptions need to be concise and you should try to aim for no more than two complete sentences. This should be about 160 characters long.
Image alt tags should also be optimised. Don’t forget 20% of the two trillion searches seen by Google are exploring images. As such, if you’re not optimising this aspect of your site, you could be missing a huge amount of traffic. This will also ensure that your website has a higher level of accessibility, improving the experience of users.
When you are adding content to your blog, it is important not to cheat or cut corners that will impact quality. For instance, you need to avoid using AI software to create your articles. If you use an AI solution, then you run the risk of your content looking like spam. Instead of using AI, you can use freelancers to create content for your website. However, you will need to make sure that they match the standards and the style of your website. If this content sticks out then it’s another way that your blog can seem spammy.
To achieve a high ranking for your website, you must focus on link building. You need to acquire good quality links from reputable sources. Essentially, websites that your blog is linked to should have the right scores on the metrics that we discussed above including domain authority and spam.
As such, you should be careful about where you acquire links from. If you’re running a blog, you will get random emails enquiring about linking to your website. It’s unlikely that someone like this will provide the high quality link you need. Similarly, platforms like Fiver are not going to be a good source of high quality links. HARO can allow you to link your website with high authority resources such as news websites like Time and the Wall Street Journal. It’s free to sign up, but you will need a little time and patience to get the links that you want. The good news is that linking to resources like this will almost always boost your ranking and ensure your blog is viewed as an authoritative resource.
Internal links are also a useful choice for your content. You can use internal links to connect with other pages on your blog. This will make your blog easier to navigate which can improve your bounce rate. We’ll discuss this a little more further down. A quality navigational structure will also make it easier for the Google crawlers to navigate your site and index it.
Site Speed and Mobile Optimisation
Site speed and mobile optimisation are essential parts of the SEO process. Site speed determines how fast your pages load, impacting the results of your site. On average, users will wait a maximum of two seconds for a page to load before they move onto the next one, causing your bounce rate to go through the roof if you are not focusing on speed. With a soaring bounce rate, your site and other pages are likely to rank lower as search engine’s algorithms pick up on this piece of information.
It is also important to note that if you want your SEO to be a success, you must ensure that your site is mobile friendly. To do this, you have got to implement ideas like a responsive layout, avoid cluttered web design, and continuously check the mobile friendliness of a site. There are sites that allow you to test the responsiveness and mobile compatibility of your website, so make use of them.
It’s common for pop up ads, as well as general ads to impact the user experience. This is another contributing factor to a high bounce rate, meaning it’s something that should be avoided. However, it is important to note that higher bounce rates are perfectly normal for a single-page site, so don’t panic if this is the case for you.
To get the best results here, learning to use Google Search Console should be a priority. This will help you track the information that you need to make the most out of your site. For example, it provides insights into website traffic, and assists you in making decisions about your site.
Capitalise On Existing Traffic With CTA
As a blogger, you want your users to click through to various pages on your site, not just stay on the home page. We have mentioned internal linking which is a fantastic strategy for directing users where you want them to go, but you can also use a call to action (CTA). Essentially, a CTA is a direction given to the user to go and do something such as check out another page if they want to learn more about X. Through this, you are capitalising on the existing traffic by sending them to other pages on your blog, boosting your website relevancy. The longer you can keep someone on your site, the better.
We hope this helps you understand some of the basics of SEO that you need to be aware of to ensure that your blog has the greatest chance of achieving a high ranking online. Remember, no one, not even Google can guarantee you a spot on page one of the SERPs for desirable search terms. But by focusing on these areas you will be putting your best digital foot forward.