20 things you need to know about SEO – a beginner’s guide to SEO

SEO can be a scary word. As a blogger, we all know we should be doing it, but many of us still have absolutely no idea what it is, how it works, or what exactly we should be doing to improve us.

I too was lost in a world of mystery before I attended a blogger workshop organised by the SEO agency Tamar. And so for you, in this quick SEO beginner’s guide, is a round up of some of the SEO basics you need to know about.

The word SEO spelt out in scrabble letters

  1. SEO can be broken down into three factors – content, links & technical but you need all three in unison.
  1. In terms of content & SEO, listicles are the most powerful – with more shares on average, a high number of links plus gains more referring domains.
  1. Video content is also an SEO king being shared 1200% more and being far more likely to be linked to.
  1. Blog posts need to be a minimum of 300 words so google can crawl it. Videos need 200-300 words description and include links in order to be optimized.
  1. Long form content does better in terms of SEO – however 85% of content is under 1000 words. Researched & opinion pieces get more shares and links. If you’re doing listicles, think about writing longer ones to reach a higher word count.
  1. Categories on your blog posts helps with SEO so make sure you use them.
  1. Every post should have both internal and external links to do better in SEO. Try to include links to high authority websites. No more than one link per 100 words. You should be aiming for 3 internal and 3 external links per blog post.
  1. It is worth putting in the time to change image titles and alt text to something that lines up to the blog post in question – you can go back through the media library and change if you have the time! Be sure to label names with hyphens in between words.
  1. Use header tags – h1, h2 , h3 – in your blog posts to optimize them for SEO.
  1. There are an endless amount of factors that effects ranking order – Google looks out for length of content, number of comments, title, relevancy to search, how many links point to your site, and whether content has been duplicated but to name a few! But links are the biggest influencing factor.
  1. Social media links all contribute to your link count. Pick three networks where you think you can do well and stick to that.
  1. The idea that using Google Plus helps improve your SEO is now defunct.
  1. The best way to get your DA (Domain Authority) up is by regularly posting good quality content people read! 
  1. When building relevant links to your site, variation in sites is important! 100 links on different sites is better than 100 links from one site.
  1. Anchor text is important and guest posting is a great way of seeding your anchor text elsewhere!
  1. Social media profiles are a great way of creating links back to your site and there are a plethora of networks you can create profiles on without having to be active on them which can help you to do this – just google “profile creations SEO”.
  1. Internal linking is key – google allocates a specific amount of time the google bot will be crawling on your site ie crawl budget. Go through old blog posts and ensure internal linking for more popular post (check your google analytics).
  1. SEO plug ins really are the bomb – the industry agrees that Yoast really trumps all others.
  1. Broken links are really as evil as everybody says. You need to minimise broken pages otherwise it puts off the google bot when crawling!
  1. Make sure your url says what the blog post is – e.g. not post63546!!! You can easily change your url structure on your back end. And ensure you have a sub category in the url i.e. co.uk/parenthood/toddler/5-reasons-why-toddlers-are-crazy

Did you find this post useful? What questions about SEO do you have?

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  1. I never realised about having categories in the url, this is really helpful to know. Also I’m not sure what you mean about anchor text when guest posting but I will google. The rest was very helpful. Thanks for sharing. Xxx
    Alexandra | I’m Every Mum recently posted…Atlantis the Palm {Review}My Profile

  2. Ah my tiny brain is melting! I need these tips but I feel like I need a ‘technical side of blogging for dummies’ workshop. Seriously I had to google SEO as I had no idea what it was. Will return to this poat after I ahve done some swatting up! #coolmumsclub
    sisterk1n recently posted…The Reading ListMy Profile

  3. I use All In One SEO on my blog and find it really straightforward. I’d add that it is also useful to think about keywords that people will actually search for and incorporate these in to the post description for Google. I say that, but whether I always achieve it is a different matter LOL! #coolmumclub

  4. This was sooo helpful Talya! I use Yoast which is useful, but other than that I’m pretty bad at putting in the extra time to get my SEO great – I always forget to include internal links. That’s good to hear about Google+ as I still haven’t got to grips with that! I will definitely be looking into more profile creations. Thanks for sharing hun x #coolmumclub
    Mum in Brum recently posted…The nursery lurgy…and when to listen to DadMy Profile

  5. Right, I’ll be totally honest-I’m still lost!! That’s clearly nothing to do with the way you’ve written it, I’ve just still not heard of about 80% of the stuff you’re talking about!! It’s totally alien!! Maybe I can DM you, or ask you to explain it at BML?!! I will do some more research then come back to this!!
    Lucy recently posted…Parents Evening…?My Profile

  6. Oh my gaaaaaad this sounds like actual work! Only joking, it’s actually really helpful, I’m still at the bumbling-along-grateful-ANYONE-is-reading stage but maybe one day I’ll get the hang of things and get my serious hat on. I’m about to show how utterly clueless I am now and ask – Can you only get plug-ins if you are self-hosted? I’m not, as I started my blog in January with an off the peg number from WordPress.
    Mess and Merlot recently posted…Why Body-Shamers can kiss my (squidgy) butt!My Profile

  7. Thanks Talya, really helpful. Some of this I know and some of it I didn’t. I am not self hosted and so don’t have the plug-ins. I will be saving these tips and trying to action the ones I can do now and look at doing more if I ever bite the bullet and go self hosted! Thanks for hosting #CoolMumClub xx
    Cheryl @ Tea or Wine recently posted…End of The Pushchair Era!My Profile

  8. I feel like I need to take notes. I have so much to learn as I am absolutely useless at SEO and anything technical!I have already learned so much from your posts though and this is definitely one for me to keep and refer back to as I try and get to grips with this stuff! Thank you – you are officially my oracle for all things techy!

    Thanks for hosting #Coolmumclub x

  9. Oooh I have a question!?

    What does SEO stand for? Ha ha…you missed the obvious in this post Talya 😉

    Just kidding – even I am not that clueless. It’s Silly Elf Outreach, right?

    Great post you SEO-guru you…#coolmumclub
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 26My Profile

  10. Thanks for this-I will probably refer back to it! Some of this I already knew, and I have been using Yoast for a while now and slowly getting to grips with the whole SEO thing, but definitely still not there yet. I need to work on internal and external links in particular I think, and go back through my old posts and add them in. #coolmumclub
    Single Mum Speaks recently posted…The Up and Down Life of A Working MotherMy Profile

  11. Brilliant post! As you know I have just moved to self hosted and trying to get my head round this. I have downloaded SEO Yoast and it is really easy to use. I like that it prompts me to do things on every post, like a checklist. Thanks so much for this, I found the links (internal and external) interesting. I do try to include links but I think I will make sure I do on every post. xxx #coolmumclub
    Yvonne recently posted…HELLP – I am a mummyMy Profile

  12. Definitely bookmarking this! SEO is still a maze of confusion for me, but I actually am understanding some of this LOL. But seriously, my brain feels like it’s on overload haha! #coolmumclub

  13. Some great tips, have shared! Also make sure your images are condensed as your site, nor Google will like having such huge files to load! I need to go through all my posts to get that green light from Yoast but it’s finding the time! Also, do you find sometimes even when you’ve done everything int he right place YOAST will say it’s not right? Like doesn’t contain the focus keyword when it’s RIGHT THERE!!! Grrr, so frustrating!! L xxx

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