There are countless blogs written and posted every day. How many, you may ask? Try taking a gander.
So you can have a somewhat accurate idea of just how many blogs are circulating the internet for the first time every day. WordPress users alone are responsible for over 2 million blog posts every single day.
If you do the math, this breaks down to twenty-four blogs being posted every second. Crazy, right?
That means when it took you to read everything up to now, over 216 blog posts have been published in that time frame.
Note that this is only counting WordPress users, meaning that the number is infinitely higher if we take all blog posts into account.
With all these blog posts circulating the internet, you may find it hard to stand out amongst the crowd. However, if you want to run a successful blog, you need to make yourself stand out.
When optimizing blog posts, you may be familiar with the three-letter term “SEO”. Otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, which many people integrate into their blogs once they are finished writing them.
On average, 2.2 million searches are conducted on Google alone every single day. That being said, whether or not your blog comes to the top of the search results can decide if it’s a booming success or not.
Well, now that you know what Search Engine Optimization is, you may be wondering just what exactly you need to optimize?
From the blog’s design to the writing itself, there are many factors that you can work on improving. However, to ensure optimal success, we’ll begin this SEO guide right from the start.
SEO: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means ranking high on a search engine in the unpaid section or organic listings of the internet.
If you’re anything like me the first time I heard the definition for Search Engine Optimization, you’re probably very confused. Don’t worry, I was as well, but now I’m going to make sure you can understand it correctly.
There are three main components of SEO: the search engine used, the person using the search engine, and yourself. If someone is using their search engine to look up how to SEO optimize their blog, you want your blog post to be the first to show up on the search results.
Overview: Now that we’ve gone over the textbook definition and an example of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, you may be wondering, what matters strictly, and why?
As stated earlier, a vast majority of online experiences begin when someone uses Google. Why Google in specific, rather than other search engines? This is because almost 75% of all searches start with Google. On top of that, 67% of users click on the first five results they see on Google.
Now, do you get how vital search engine optimization is to have a successful blog? By having your blog come up on the second page of search results, it might as well be invisible to the majority of the internet.
However, before we go over how to show up on the first page of search results and why even being on the second page is as good as nothing, we will first go over how the search engine works.
How Searching Works:
Many components revolve around SEO basics, with Google alone having over 200 determining search factors. Though they aren’t all public, you can find an extensive list of factors compiled here.
However, despite many factors present in SEO searching, there are only two sides to the Search Engine Optimization itself, which we will be going over right now.
White Hat vs. Black Hat:
When comparing these two sides, you must ask yourself. Are you looking to make a quick sum of cash from optimizing your blog, or are you more interested in the long haul?
For those who are more interested in making a quick buck, then the Black Hat SEO method may work better for you. What exactly is Black Hat SEO, you might ask? We’ll go over that right now.
Black Hat SEO mainly focuses on optimizing your blog for the search engine rather than using the search engine. There are many ways you can bend the rules and regulations to have your search results placed higher, resulting in money being made more quickly.
However, most blogs and pages that do this method are usually sites crammed with spam and ads, resulting in them being banned rather quickly. On top of that, the person in charge of the website will often receive some form of severe punishment, limiting their chances of building a regular and sustainable blog in the future.
While this is a way for some to make extra money quickly, you’ll have to constantly be on the lookout for when search engines update. By that, I mean that you’ll have to put a large amount of effort into finding ways to bend the rules without being punished for it.
In comparison, White Hat Search Engine Optimization is the more sustainable way to build an online blog and business. This method of SEO focuses more on the searchers rather than the search engine.
This is mainly for marketers and blog writers who want to give their customers the best content possible while making it easily accessible and following the search engine guidelines. Here is a quick comparison chart stating the differences between Black Hat and White Hat SEO methods.
Black Hat SEO:
- Duplicates content
- Usually redirects the user to another page, most of the time non-relevant, once the link is clicked
- Text crammed with keywords
White Hat SEO:
- Original and relevant content
- Unique content that doesn’t feel stuffed with keywords and links
- Links are on track, not intentionally sending users to any ads or irrelevant sites
As you could expect, today’s primary focus will be more on White Hat SEO and how you can create a popular and effective listing while also catering to customers and following the search engine’s rules.
Of course, despite how much I tried to make this sound simple, you and I both know that there is much more to come, regardless of your chosen method. We call the Gray Hat SEO method a perfect example of other methods that adapt a little bit of white and black.
Essentially, you are still working hard to gain an advantage over other blogs and make a nice sum of money without extensive manipulation of the people and the system. This is mainly doable due to the disparity in Google’s search engine standards.
A clear example of this is when Google states that guest blogging is not allowed to build links. However, it never says that guest blogging can’t be done to build up your brand, awareness, and internet traffic.
These are all great reasons to guest blog and why I can also personally recommend it.
Search Engine Optimization constantly changes, so as you could expect, many loopholes and ill-definitions can be found amongst the rules and regulations. This is why many people look to expand their business and influence and sneak right by, including White, Gray, and Black Hats.
While people may disagree over which methods are more efficient than others, in the end, it all depends on how you choose to do it. Most knowledgeable people in SEO primarily focus on scalable link building. If you want to generate any ROI on any marketing tactic you do, it will need to be scalable one way or another.
The main problem is that most of these ‘tactics’ are Black Hat SEO methods depending on how it is done. By looking at some if not all major news outlets, you can find integrated and built-in links in almost every post and article that they make.
However, as a solo journalist or blog writer, you may be wondering how exactly you can make impressions on potential customers while following a sustainable practice? If even law firms and other corporate sites have to introduce means such as starting scholarships to produce high-quality links, is it possible with one person?
With Google search engine rankings not being as good as they should be, people like Glenn Alsop use Gray Hat tactics, creating private networks for his blogs.
Despite not being the first result on Google’s search page, he claims that his site still has:
- More links to the page
- Higher domain authority
- Better on-page markups
While you now know the results, how exactly did he achieve this? Manipulating the SEO system to a certain degree without letting it be as bad as it used to be.
There are many engagement hacks that you can find on the internet, which are meant to increase the search engine result page (SERP) and click-through rates (CTR). Here is a prime example, which, sure enough, is one of the first results on the search result page. A prime example of this is increasing your Facebook activity and engagements to have more people give your websites an organic boost.
While the methods and ways to curve through the rules of the SEO system are virtually endless, it is essential to note that when it comes to SEO, it’s all or nothing for most, if not all, users.
Many competitors will use any method it takes to end up on the top of the search page.
On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO
When it comes to SEO specifically, there are two broad categories: on-page and off-page.
On-Page SEO takes all the Google ranking factors into account, determining them by looking at the page that is being optimized. This can include things such as the headline, text, and structure of the piece.
Off-Page SEO takes all variables that Google looks at into consideration and are not in your control. They are more dependent on outside factors, such as social networks, blogs in the same industry, and the searcher’s personal history.
Regardless of these two differences, you will need the proper order to be successful in the first place.
For example, you are a door-to-door salesman trying to land demonstrations with potential customers. No matter how good the product or content is, no one will ever agree if you provide a dirty or unkempt appearance.
This is the same as not having an optimized page for On-Page SEO. Even if you have great content, you won’t get much credit from others for your work.
This can easily be said the other way around. You can give a great impression, but the actual presentation and products are suboptimal. If this is the SEO case, viewers will leave your site after viewing only one page, which will be considered a bounce by Google. The more bounces you have, the worse your page will rank.
This is why on-page and off-page SEO are both so essential to creating a good and successful page. We’ll look at how to use both of these methods successfully, starting with On-Page SEO.
On-Page SEO’s Big Three
On-Page SEO has three big categories that are all equally important. First up is content.
Content is an essential variable for a rather apparent reason. When a customer enters a question into the search engine, they’ll want to answer directly about the question they were asking.
That being said, when you type a query into Google, the search engine will do its best to provide you with links that should hopefully answer the question that you have.
If Google does its job to direct you towards the best content you can get, then a vital objective you should set is to write great content. While this may be disappointing, this is the reality and the pathway to our next important concept, quality.
Quality is exactly what it sounds like. Having good quality work is more than enough to make you stand out amongst the crowd. This can, of course, not only be applied to SEO but any form of business or marketing.
Luckily, in most cases, you won’t need to start from scratch. There is plenty of content on the internet that you can take inspiration from, using it as a baseline before expanding on it with better and more detail.
Of course, writing great original content is an entirely viable option as well. Whatever floats your boat is the best for you to do, as long as you continue to deliver great content.
Another part of great content is the seamless integration of keywords. If you make it evident that you’re cramming keywords to gain a higher spot on the results page, it will turn many readers away.
This takes us to our final important component, which you can probably guess by now.
Keywords are yet another critical factor as they are crucial for great content and can essentially define the content you write.
While this is one of the more straightforward concepts to learn, it is the concept that you should be spending the most time on.
There are some more in-depth reasons as to why keywords are so important.
Keyword Usage and Selection
With advancements in technology, search engines have inevitably grown more intelligent over the years. That being said, improper usage of keywords will only hurt your search rankings rather than improve them.
In other words, keyword stuffing should not be done in this day and age. Instead, search engines are more optimized towards keyword semantics.
For example, if you did a search for the imposter video game, Google would know that you’re searching Among Us. On top of that, as long as your keyword is included in things such as the title, URL, and description, then you’ll not need to cram them into the actual text itself.
Another thing to contemplate is the keywords that you select to use. Even if you professionally integrate your keywords into the content, it won’t have as much impact as it should if it doesn’t match up with the content you are writing about.
The most common SEO ranking failures are due to keyword research mistakes.
This will lead to the incorrect keyword being used, which could either result in a lower ranking or the attraction of the wrong audience.
Another way to stay on top of the listings is by constantly making fresh content. If your posts are up to date and relative to current times and events, Google is much more likely to have your posts ranked higher than those written years ago.
As long as your content is detailed and posted somewhat regularly, you can expect a steady increase in results.
Answering the question
If you are writing content for a question that a searcher may have, writing a clear and detailed answer may land you on the top of the search results page.
Google has a feature that will provide the most straightforward and seemingly best solution to a question on top of the search page with a link to the website, regardless of its actual ranking and the connection that would generally be first.
Keeping the competition in mind
It would be best if you always kept the competition in mind and closely monitored the content they upload. It is wonderful to think that your content is levels above others, and it is, in fact, great to have that level of confidence.
However, it is essential to note that no matter how good your content and keyword combination is, if you keep posting them while being ignorant that other competition may still be placed higher, it will limit your chance for customers and growth.
In most cases, the best way to not only outshine competition while still catering towards your SEO and keyword goals is by thinking outside the box.
By presenting a unique idea, question, or solution that hasn’t been touched on before, you may find yourself attracting a much larger crowd while competing articles with more generic content are going to be overlooked.
Many tools on the internet can not only help you compare your content with competitors but work on improving your content as well.
The final component of SEO content I’ll be going over today is the article structure. The information must be relevant to the topic and keywords while also having a nice transition into one another.
This can be applied to all forms of writing and marketing. Depending on the content you are producing, there will be different ways to organize it for the most impact correctly.
Hopefully, this guide gave you a better insight into the world of SEO and how to improve your content while outshining others.
The best way to quickly improve is to work hard and stay committed. By doing this, you can increase your chances of standing out amongst the crowd and making yourself known to the millions of people searching on the web every day.