So today is my day off work and I was planning on sleeping in ’til noon (don’t judge) – but my dog decided otherwise. He woke me up at 8am, restless and hyper, and after an hour of snoozing and dozing I just had to get up. Realising I had all the time in the world, I decided to do something I have been putting off for so long – updating my SEO and XML blog sitemap. I know, I know, not the most exciting things to do on my morning off, but it has to be done. Does the words scare you of a bit? Well don’t worry, because I am going to show you how you can easily grow your blog using SEO, step by step.

Grow your blog using SEO - Fashionblogger

(Since I am a loving user of WordPress, some parts of this guide are written from a WordPress point of view, but I am sure it is easily adaptable to blogger or any other platform as well). 

 

FIRST OF ALL… WHAT IS SEO?

SEO AKA Search Engine Optimisation is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. This basically means that when you use a search engine like Google, Bing and Yahoo,  web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. You might think that if you write a post about “Rome”, for example the Ultimate Rome Guide, it will magically appear when people “google” after a Rome guide. Sadly, it is not that simple. To get your Rome Guide high ranking on a search engine, you need to give the search engines a bit more information about your post, using SEO and a XML Sitemap. Does it still sound quite confusing and technical? Well, it is really not.

Grow your blog using SEO - Fashionblogger

SO… WHAT CAN YOU DO?

LETS START WITH THE LINKS

Before getting into the technical bits, there are some easy ways for you to improve your SEO, and they all have to do with optimising your blog content. First of all, lets take some time to talk about links. Why? Because they are really important. Whenever you write a blog post and you think “Hey, this is a good place to link to a previous post of mine”, never EVER use the word “here” for your anchor text. It is such an easy and honest mistake, but think about it – who is going to find your link if everyone just calls it “here”? If you (for example) want to share some previous blog tips you have shared, write something like:

I previously wrote about The Absolute Must Know Tips of Blogging in June.

Instead of

You can read about my Must Know Tips of Blogging here.

You see what I did?

 

AND THEN LOOK AT YOUR PHOTOS

Same as with your Anchor Text for your links, you need to think about your Image names and ALT text. To be honest, this is something I can be so lazy with at times, but I am trying my best to always save my images with good and relevant names that are searchable, instead of “IMG_3198.jpg”.

Grow your blog using SEO - Fashionblogger

NOW LET’S GET MORE TECHNICAL

aka. SEO and XML Sitemap

Now it is time to start to create a XML Sitemap and really get into your SEO. There are a lot of different plugins and websites which you can use, but I will share with you what I am using (and loving) in this step by step guide.

  1. Download and Activate the Yoast SEO Pluging (for WordPress). This is an easy and automatic SEO Plugin, which will do a lot of the hard and technical work for you.
  2. Optimise the Plugin by Adding your Social Media and Changing your Titles and Metas. Go to your Settings (general WordPress settings) and choose Permalinks, where you can choose your preferred post URLs. My blog posts used to have long titles with numbers (dates) and so on in them, but I have now chosen the “Post Name” one, which gives me a short and simply searchable post URL. When you have chosen this in your WordPress Settings, you can go to your Yoast SEO “Titles and Metas” settings and choose even more on how your URLs will look and appear in the search engines. Save your changes.
  3. Go to “XML Sitemaps” on your SEO plugin and check the box which says “Check this box to enable XML sitemap functionality.” 
  4. Now it is time to view your XML Sitemap (by clicking the button/ box which says “XML Sitemap”) which will direct you to a new page. The link will be something like http://yourblogname.com/sitemap_index.xml. Copy this link.
  5. Go to Google Webmaster and add your page if you haven’t already. When your blog is uploaded, click on it and go to the link which says “Sitemaps”. Click the red button which says “Add Sitemap” and paste your Sitemap link (the one you copied in the previous step). Save, and wait for your Sitemap to be added to your website.
  6. Congratulations! Your SEO and XML Sitemap is now uploaded! If you create a new blog post (on WordPress), you will now see a new box underneath where you write – this is the Yoast SEO. From now on, whenever you write a blog post, be sure to write in a Keyword, Title and Meta Description – which is what will show up in search engines. If you want to, you can also go back to old posts of yours and do the same. Your post SEO will from now on be “marked” as bad, okay or good, and you can check the details of why it is marked as what it is by clicking “check” / “Page analysis”. Of course you want it to be good – so keep on working with your SEO and see how your blog will grow along to it!

 

I hope you found this post helpful and easy to understand, it is not the simplest thing to describe in a few words, but it is so important for your blog that I just had to try. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you want me to go more in depth on anything!

 

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