I need help to fix my blog – My SEO is bad
I realize I need help to fix my blog and get some love from the search engines? Do you?
After 2 years of blogging, I came to the conclusion that without drastic changes I could spend another 2 years getting absolutely nowhere.
I evaluated my website to try to discover what needed fixing and the best way to go about it.
In my earlier posts, I covered Making a good first impression, Determining my Audience, and Evaluating my branding and website.
Why do blogs fail? this post looks at how I compared my blog with others and evaluated it.
I need help to fix my blog looks at what I did wrong.
In today’s post, I will look at Search Engine Optimization and the many mistakes I made.
There are many aspects that the search engines look for when determining which website or post they should present to a search enquirer.
Unfortunately, the search engines do not tell us exactly what every step is but it is safe to say that they are looking for the most authoritative site that answers the question the searcher has entered or provides the information requested, in the most thorough manner.
When the search engine presents a website, if the searcher clicks and spends time on the page then the search engine will believe that it was a good match.
It is all about user experience.
The current buzz word is ‘user experience’.
The search engine is trying to give the user the best answer so that the searcher will get the most relevant result.
That being said, most people will say that there are elements we can add into our posts that will help the search engines to determine through its algorithm whether the post is likely to be a good match and whether the user is likely to stay and read or not.
As a searcher, we know ourselves that there are times when a post may have the answer we are looking for but because of the presentation and elements within the website, we bounce and go looking elsewhere.
We need to ensure that this does not happen simply because we have not taken the time to ensure that we do offer the best user experience possible.
I believe my SEO is bad and I have a high bounce rate because I am not offering the best user experience.
My earlier observations have tried to address this issue and I now will need to let the search engines know that my content is updated, relevant and better presented.
What is a high bounce rate?
A high bounce rate is a result of a user either immediately hitting the back button, or scrolling through and doing so within a fairly short period of time.
To prevent this and encourage users to click through to other pages within our website is what SEO tactics should be all about.
What are SEO tactics and what have I not done to help me fix my blog?
There are many aspects to consider with Search Engine Optimization and while some of them I have complied with, I will list all that I know in an effort to make this a complete list to help you determine what tactics you should consider when evaluating your own website.
Most of these I have failed to do on one or all of my posts.
There are three very basic concepts that I believe form the basis of SEO
- No matter what you do – you must do so with good user experience in mind.
- The search engines need to find and like your website and content.
- All content needs to be good and helpful.
Unfortunately many beginners, myself included, do not have these factors in mind. Making money is often the main focus when creating a blog or website.
Creating a good and helpful website creates wealth. Money may be created later as a by-product of that wealth. This, I believe, happens because we apply the above three principles correctly.
Although we tend to think of wealth as relating to having a lot of money or assets, according to The Cambridge English Dictionary the noun wealth also means “a large amount of something good”.
If we create a wealth of knowledge and help within our website, we can build trust and earn an income given time and hard work.
These three principles mean – we need to discover how to structure the website to provide content that can be found, is liked by the search engines as well as users, and is highly informative and helpful.
This content needs to be optimized and of very good quality.
- Our website and content need to be found and liked by the search engine spiders.
- We need to understand what users want to learn.
- Our content needs to be easily read and understood.
- Our content needs to guide users to other relevant information.
- We need to cater to the visual user as well as the avid reader.
- Content needs to be structured and high quality.
- Content needs to be kept fresh and accurate as times change.
- People need to respond to the content and share it with others and we need to interact with our readers.
- Our website needs to be secure and comply with legal requirements.
When we optimize our website we are sending triggers to the search engines that we are providing content that they need to consider presenting to the person searching for it.
Our website and content need to be found by the search engine spiders.
Spiders are bots that crawl the web looking at content and working out how to categorize it when adding to the big database that is the web.
Google and the other search engines send these spiders to crawl around behind the scenes in the world wide web.
When they find something new they crawl over the information and try to work out how to add it to the database.
They will analyze the content and evaluate it. There are many ways they analyze the content looking for boxes to tick and help in the analyzing process.
One way we can help let them know our content is available by using a site-map. Within WordPress, this is usually part of the SEO plugin.
You should set up Google Search Console and verify your website and add this site map. The site map then should be regularly updated automatically. Likewise, Bing has Webmaster Tools that need to be set up and your website verified.
I use Rank Math SEO as my plugin and there a section within that you complete to get your site verified.
After posting, we can also let Google and Bing know that we have more content to inspect. I cover this later on.
We need to understand what users want to learn.
Knowing what words are being spoken or typed into search is called Keyword Research. A Keyword can be one or two words or a sentence. For more on keywords check out my posts what is a keyword and what is keyword research.
What is a keyword talks about where to look for and discovering lots of keywords.
What is keyword research talks about how we use the keywords we have found.
We need the search engines to understand that our content matches these keywords in order to help in the categorization process. In order to do this, there are some steps that we can take to assist the process and improve our SEO.
1. Add your keyword to our Blog Title (this adds it to our permalink). If it is a long keyword, put the shorter main one or two-word version in the Blog Title.
2. Repeat the keyword in the H1 Heading at the top of the post and expand on it to make the heading interesting. This must make sense and must be what your content is then about.
3. You do not need to keep repeating the keyword throughout the post, but you do need to make the content 100% relevant to the keyword. If you do use it in the content it must make perfect sense to do so.
4. The keyword can be added to the alt-tag in any images as long as it matches what the image is about. It is advisable to use a differently worded version of your keyword and related keyword within the alt-tags.
5. Meta Title and Meta Description. Add your keyword here in such a way that it makes sense and lets your reader know what the content is about. It is not about placement but rather enticing the reader to click and go to your website and find the answer to their inquiry.
This section is found at the base of your blog post and is added by your SEO plugin. It means that if your website is presented to a user, this is what comes up in the SERP listing – not the first bit of your post.
To Make It Stand Out, It Is Recommended That You Camel Toe The Title And Description.
6. Tags. ONLY if your keyword is topic related, you can add the short version in the tags. Tags describe the topic of your blog post. For example, I could add SEO and blog help as tags to this post but not the entire ‘help me fix my blog’.
Our content needs to be easily read and understood.
User experience is paramount to creating a successful blog. There are a number of factors which should always be addressed. Some I have covered in the earlier posts but there is more to consider.
1. Making a Good First Impression and clean and tidy layout.
2. Having a mobile-friendly theme and posts.
3. If pop-ups are used they need to help our readers and not keep bothering them.
4. The website needs to load fast.
5. H1 heading needs to be at top of the post.
6. H2 and H3 headings need to be placed throughout the post to highlight points so the post can be scanned easily. The text under each heading needs to relate to the heading as well as these can become alternate Keywords that the search engines may consider.
7. Use of lists, either unordered or numbered to highlight points.
8. If the Keyword is a question, then answer the question then provide extra information. Don’t make the reader have to negotiate lots of text to get their answer.
9. Where practical, use How To instructions with images rather than ‘telling’ how to do something. This makes for better user experience.
10. Posts need to be lengthy and thorough without repeating information or fluff to extend the word count. Short posts often will not be considered over longer versions.
11. Posts should be catered towards targeting the way the search engines present their results to users. This means using images, video, speech keyword terms, and relevant links. You really need to try and tick every possible box.
Content needs to guide users to other relevant information.
Where practical, you can use external links to guide readers to other information that they may require or to link to other resources. This gives your website authority and lets your reader know that you have researched your information and creates trust.
Internal links to related content or to help the reader take the next step keeps your website content interlinked and can keep the reader on your website longer which helps the search engines understand your website is good.
We need to cater to the visual user as well as the avid reader.
Images break up our content and help it look presentable and easy on the eye. Infographics can highlight the points of lists and can make your content easy to share to social media.
There are some people who prefer to see rather than read and video can help with this. You can add some video on particular points or even speak the whole post with your headers as the visual points in a powerpoint presentation.
This, I believe, will be a big SEO factor in the future.
Content needs to be structured and high quality.
Content needs to have an introduction, body of content and conclusion. It is advisable at the end to let your reader know what steps they then should take. This could be a call to action to download or purchase a product, to read another helpful blog post, or may share the post on social media.
The content itself needs to have good grammar and spelling and answer the searcher’s inquiry. It needs to be 100% relevant to the title of the post.
Quality content not only answers the exact inquiry of the user, but it also should answer any other related questions that they may need to know.
It should mean that the user doesn’t need to go back to the search bar and retype the same keyword as they still don’t have the answer that they were looking for.
Content needs to be kept fresh and accurate as times change.
The search engines like to see that old content is being updated on a regular basis. This may mean removing content that is no longer accurate.
Updating the information and images as new research and opportunities become available, ensuring that all links are working and that the information that they link to has not been changed.
Sometimes this can also mean changing the SEO tactics used in earlier posts that are no longer relevant and could be hurting a website due to algorithm changes as the internet has changed and matured.
This can also mean adding new practices to older evergreen content and letting the search engines know that we are continually improving and taking advantage of ways to improve user experience.
The search engines like to see that readers interact with websites. This can be through leaving comments and it is very important that all comments are responded to. Comments can increase the length of our post therefor increasing SEO. There are many ways to get comments, including simply asking for them within your content.
The sharing of your content within social media by yourself and others will also let the search engines know that your content is shareable and liked.
This can also lead to people coming to your website which, if they don’t immediately bounce off, the search engines see as a good thing.
Our website needs to be secure and comply with legal requirements.
Google likes to see that your website is secure. https:// is now not only a requirement of websites such as banks where consumer information may be recorded but expected good practice for everyone.
If your hosting does not automatically provide this then you should pay extra to get this or obtain a plugin that provides this certificate.
The search engines also need to see that you have other pages that cover legal and recommended requirements.
With general opinions, affiliates and health and finance it is advisable to add on-page disclaimers that state whether you are qualified to make this recommendation or whether it is based entirely on your personal experience.
What else is needed to bring attention to your post?
There are other things that we can do once our post is live to let the search engines and potential readers that we have the information that they are looking for.
- Let Google know that we have a new or substantially upgraded post.
- Let Bing (and therefore Yahoo) know as well.
- Share parts of our posts to various social media to get viewers.
- Share our website link with others and where practical get links back.
- Share our website within the offline community.
Now that we have our post published and it is sitting there just waiting to be found, what should we do to help bring attention to it?
Let Google know that we have a new or substantially upgraded post.
Within Google Search Console there is a section called URL inspection. When we finish our post, as a new or smaller website, it is advisable that we add the URL to this and ask Google to search it.
Let Bing (and therefore Yahoo) know as well.
This is done with Bing Webmaster Tools.
If we have been interacting with our social media platforms then we can let our followers know that we have a new blog post and how it can help them. It is important that we do not only share posts within most social media platforms without interaction as it will just look spammy.
The exception is Pinterest because it is in itself a search engine. Whilst it is important that you look at other people’s pins and download some of them (even if it is to a secret board) it doesn’t matter how many pins you add to Pinterest, as long as they are different.
Social media is one way to share our website link and links to individual posts. Other ways can include adding it to your bio in forums (where it is within the terms of service), writing guest posts on websites within the same niche and commenting on websites within your niche.
If you make good informative comments (without leaving a link) often others will look you up and if they like your content, they may link to it within their own posts which can give you authoritative links. Links for the sake of it are not helpful.
YouTube has a discussion tab within your channel that you can add content-based posts.
If you link to your website here as well as within the description of any videos you create, you will be adding solid back-links to your website.
If you can help the online community, then you should be able to help people offline as well.
Business cards, leaflets, advertising and even talking to people and referring them to your blog, if you think it may help them, are all external methods of gaining traction to your blog.
You may join local clubs that relate to your niche where people are looking for information to help them.
I will be going through all of my earlier posts and fixing all the points that are not done correctly. It will take time to add videos so this will need to be done later.
In my next post, I will outline the steps I am taking so that if you too need help and guidance to get your blog in shape you will have an example to work with.
I will have a to-do-list to follow in order to improve every new post I write and improve every older post with a view to bettering my SEO tactics.