SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic through the aid of search engines such as Google — according to this Wikipedia article There are other articles with some definitions and how-to steps for search engine optimization tailored for the novice blogger and experts.
SEO is one of the main things a blogger needs to know and has to be conversant with. For the novice blogger, discovering SEO is like having the idea lightbulb switch on due to the perks that come with it. But, knowing the existence of SEO doesn’t mean mastering the somewhat technical skill and this can be quite frustrating.
After learning how you can get a lot of traffic to your website after reading some HubSpot blogs or watching Neil Patel — you feel confident. Putting your newly acquired skills to use, it is hoped that traffic will flow to your website but it turns out not to be the case. What went wrong? Would be the question.
In as much as the SEO advice from Neil Patel and HubSpot is effective, it just doesn’t cut it sometimes. There’s a number of reasons why it might not be effective for the novice blogger and we will look at a few. In all honesty, the SEO skills we use on this website are from the HubSpot Academy and Neil Patel libraries.
Here are a few reasons why the information might not be good for you as a novice blogger.
1. Too much information
The information on SEO from both libraries can be too much as there is no clear part to start from. This is where a librarian can come in handy to help you pick out what’s best for you – unfortunately, there’s none. The libraries are a wonderful resource and they try to dumb it down for everyone but it’s not enough. As SEO is a complicated process, it involves a lot of onsite and offsite tweaks to ensure success. It’s not a strange sight to come across terms like checklist, meta description, schema markups, link building, follow or no-follow, etc. It’s all confusing to the absolute beginner.
2. They tune their content to rank
Don’t get me wrong, their content libraries and advice is great because we use them too – they’ve worked wonders for us. However, it is important to remember that they have to optimize in order to stay relevant and appear in top search engine results pages or SERPs. Writing for SEO is different from writing a report or just what one likes because there are rules. One of the rules is that articles should be much longer, this can cause a lot of fluff to make the wording count for something. You will get to realize that visiting neilpatel.com or hubspot.com exposes you to posts with 1000+ words. This can somewhat jeopardize the actual stuff useful to you, but they have a way around with structure and it helps.
3. Too many writers
Both Neil Patel and HubSpot have too many writers and each has a unique style regardless of the structure rules they have in place. Although the structure may be the same across the board, tone differs from one writer to the next. You can have an article easily speak to you and make you understand the topic but the next one can through you off – this can affect content digestion.
4. Both have a product or two to sell
Sometimes, you will be marketed to by reading their blog content because they have solutions or tools that can be used in the SEO process and references may be made to them. It gets a little frustrating if you can afford to buy any of the products they’re selling or if you’re on a different platform. To be unflinchingly unbiased, Neil Patel and HubSpot are better than some vendors out there that have a focus on making money off readers. Ahrefs, MOZ and SEM Rush are not goto areas for people in need of FREE resources as they’ve aggressive marketing tactics – they refer to their tools a lot.
5. Neil Patel and HubSpot SEO skills can demoralize you
They are good places to go to for SEO resources, but they can make you feel inadequate. If you’re busy putting in the work on your blog or website with optimizing for search but it’s not yielding – don’t worry. Being a fan of the two major libraries on SEO can make you want to emulate them but you shouldn’t do so. They’ve been doing it for a long time, it’s not today that they’ve started the SEO process. Neil Patel and HubSpot have teams that help them do the needful to rank. As you write and have an audience, remember that you’re a small team of solo or three. Our blog has 5200 visitors a month and we’ve been blogging for 7 months – we will let you in on our secret.
Now that we’ve covered the most important roadblocks a beginner blogger can stumble on, we will look at what she can do to make it work. This is the only advice a beginner blogger needs in order to have a successful blog in 2020 and beyond. FYI, this article is best suited for WordPress bloggers but part of the content is universal. The two important WordPress SEO giants are WP Beginner and Shout Me Loud university but they all belong to the same person – I believe. You may check them out too after reading this powerful article on tips on SEO for new bloggers.
Here is what you need to do to have a successful blog optimized for search engines:
1. Write long blog posts
In order to rank, there’s a need for long blog posts because this tells Google, Yahoo, and other search engines something meaningful. According to search engines, longer blog posts mean a lot of information that probably is of great value to people searching on a topic. If a website has a lot of text, it means that the information there is plenty and it also helps increase the number of keywords fused into the content. It is, however, important to make sure that value is given to readers because if they leave the website quickly, Google picks up red flags. When visitors spend less time on your website, it affects your ranking in search engines as it means it doesn’t have good enough content.
2. Structure your posts
Your posts have to be structured in a way that makes it easy for someone to skim through. Make sure your titles are big and clear accompanied by proper paragraphs. Use H1, H2 and H3 tags for titles with relevant keywords that people would search for relating to your covered topic. Fusing in images and other media makes the outline look good. Ensure that images have proper descriptions and alt text – this helps a lot! Sort your content according to categories and tags.
3. Add SSL and HTTPS
An SSL certificate places a green padlock in the top left corner of the address bar. And, Google prefers results from websites with an SSL certificate compared to those without. If a website has a valid SSL certificate, the website address will have https instead of Http.
4. Generously use links
You have to make internal linking a habit. Make sure that whatever content you have written is linked to other posts on your website. It is a good thing to link out to other websites to show proof of research and create relationships. Use no-follow links so that Google sees you as relevant if not – it means that the linked-to sites are better.
5. Add your website to Google Search Console
Google search console is a tool from Google for webmasters to properly manage their websites. In order to add your WordPress website to the Google Search Console, read this article from WP Beginner. Adding the website will aid coming up with a content strategy to further rank up.
6. Use an SEO plugin such as Yoast or Rank Math
Install an SEO plugin such as Yoast or Rank Math to better optimize your website. SEO plugins enable users to a title, description and focus keyword. Of the two, Yoast is the most popular but the premium version is better as the free version has limitations. The free version of Rank Math has fewer limitations and highly powerful too.
7. Optimize images
Images can have big file size at times and this causes web pages to load slowly and this doesn’t play well with visitors. Install an image resize plugin like WP Smush. The plugin reduces the image file size as recommended by Google. Optionally store original images as a backup in order to fully restore images to their original quality.
8. Build links with other bloggers
The blogosphere is not at all a one-man show regardless if you’re Liam Neeson in Taken or not. You will need to collaborate with others and this is of great help to your relevance. When you link out to articles on other people’s sites, you let them know so they can do the same for you. Another smart thing for a blogger to do is to submit their website to link round-up sites and submit and free online directories. Something to remember and put to good use is writing to answer people’s questions on Quora and Yahoo! Answers and linking back to your website.
9. Use a keyword tool
The last bonus tip for any new blogger is to use a keyword tool. In order to identify the necessary keywords for content strategy, it’s of great importance to pick a niche. Pick your niche and use tools like Ubersuggest or Google trends to see what search terms are popular in your niche. Both tools are free and are a great resource – Ubersuggest has a competitor analysis feature to help you see what your competitors rank for.
To sum it up, as a beginner blogger, all you have to do is follow actions in the nine steps on this list. Make sure to keep writing as much as possible and read the HubSpot blog, watch Neil Patel and check out Copyblogger for engaging titles for your blog post that will make you stand out. I hope the information here has been of great help to you. However, if you need further assistance on writing blogs and digital market, feel free to sign up for an online course. If you have made the decision to sign up for a course — here’s one FREE course from Towela Phiri: How to start a blogger in Africa.