What is SEO and How Can it Help Your Wellness Blog?
Here at Namastream, we support wellness practitioners at all levels of tech expertise. We’ve worked with web-savvy entrepreneurs who’ve taught us a thing or two about running seamless online businesses, and others who needed primers on basic best practices. Today’s post is aimed at the latter group ... but I guarantee it’ll have a few helpful tips for you self-proclaimed web geeks, too!
Begin at the beginning: What is SEO?
Virtually all Internet users have at least heard the term SEO, but I’d wager a handful of you aren’t clear on definitions and details. You may know it’s something essential to blog success, but aren’t sure why or how to make it work for your own website. Let’s break it down…
SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and it’s a series of practices that makes your web content easy for search engines to find, understand, and recommend to their users. If you search for “online yoga studios,” Google or Bing or the search engine of your choice will provide a list of pages that their algorithms have determined to be the best and most authoritative “online yoga studios.”
Your goal as a health or yoga or fitness or wellness blogger and online businessperson is to ensure that all of your web content looks relevant and authoritative to Google and Bing. You want to optimize your site for search engines so that you’re easily find-able. And using keyword phrases is one of the most important aspects of SEO.
How to find the best keyword phrases
Including phrases that searchers use when seeking information about a particular topic is the easiest way to boost your SEO. You may be able to predict a few yourself, but tools like Google Keyword Planner, Bing Keyword Planner, or Long Tail Pro take the guesswork out of keyword phrase selection.
The Google and Bing tools are free to use, but you must sign up and be approved for their respective advertising programs to use the keyword functions. Long Tail is a paid tool that starts at $25 per month, though you can sign up for a seven-day trial to see if it’s a good fit for your needs. The screenshots below show you the basics of Google Keyword Planner.
Using these tools will help you focus on the keyword phrases most likely to yield results. Ideally, you want SEO keyword phrases that have low competition and high monthly searches. This combination indicates that people are seeking information about a topic, and there’s not much of it out there. Experts say that keeping the monthly searches between 10 and 200 works best for blog posts. Any higher and there will be such a huge volume of search results that your own post is likely to get buried.
If you fold low-competition/high-search phrases into your content, it will float to the top of the list when Google and Bing receive requests. (Single words are often too broad, so concentrate on phrases.)
Where should keywords go?
You might think that incorporating targeted keyword phrases into your blog content would be essential, and you wouldn’t be wrong: Those SEO-driving words needs to be sprinkled into your text. But they also need to fill several other search engine-friendly slots. The list below gives you the details, and this graphic highlights a few key placements.
The post URL: Wordpress, Blogger, Squarespace, and many other blogging platforms allow you to alter the URLs of your posts, so take advantage of that flexibility!
The post title: It’s essential that your post title include your target keyword phrase since titles are among the top elements examined by search engine algorithms.
The name of the featured or primary image for the page/post: When editing and saving your images, name them using your keyword phrase. Also add your keyword phrase to the “alt text” and “title” fields when you upload the image via Wordpress/Squarespace/Blogger. See the labelled screenshot (below) for instructions on where to find these fields in Wordpress.
Any relevant internal links: Linking to other posts on your blog helps keep readers circulating through your content. When you do this, be sure to link related keyword phrases instead of directives like “click here.”
The first paragraph of text in the post and/or the first subheading: You don’t want to hammer on this phrase too much, but working it into the first few lines of body copy is vital to your SEO efforts.
The names of any additional images
The final paragraph of text
Yep, that’s a pretty long list! It may feel awkward to slide your keyword phrases into all seven spots when you’re just starting to implement SEO best practices, but the process will begin to feel more natural over time.
What about my older posts?
Say you’ve been blogging for a couple of years and are only jumping on the SEO bandwagon now. Is it worth your time to go back and optimize your blog archive? This might not be what you want to hear, but yes, it absolutely is.
Optimizing and keywording posts may seem like a savvy-but-optional series of tasks, but if you want to position yourself as a subject matter expert, it’s actually mandatory. The more blog posts you have that have been SEO’ed, the better your chances of getting your content seen by eager readers. And the more readers you have, the higher you are naturally ranked by search engines. It’s a system that self-perpetuates.
If you don’t have the time to revise image names and subtitles for hundreds of old posts, consider hiring a virtual assistant who specializes in SEO. Have this person concentrate on your top-ranked posts if you can’t afford to tune up the entire archive. For a couple hundred dollars, you could start bringing in double or triple your current blog traffic.
Don’t worry if this is all news to you. Now is a good time to start utilizing SEO strategy! Ease yourself into the habit of planting those keyword phrases, start chipping away at your archive, and you’ll see rewarding results in your traffic numbers in no time.