Sunday, July 10, 2022

Published July 10, 2022 by with 0 comment

10 Tips for an Amazing and SEO Friendly Blog

Writing blog posts is not a skill that people have naturally. It requires skills that you develop over time and the only way to learn is to actually do it. To start with, you have to put a lot of thought into the structure of the content you are developing it and keep it enjoyable. If people like an article they are more likely to share it with other people – and this will increase your rankings. If you want to improve your writing skills and your website and blog rankings, you need to start with these 10 tips on how to write an SEO-friendly blog post.

Writing blog posts is not a skill that people have naturally. It requires skills that you develop over time and the only way to learn is to actually do it. To start with, you have to put a lot of thought into the structure of the content you are developing it and keep it enjoyable. If people like an article they are more likely to share it with other people – and this will increase your rankings. If you want to improve your writing skills and your website and blog rankings, you need to start with these 10 tips on how to write an SEO-friendly blog post.

When you first start out, writing to attract and draw in an audience and writing for SEO purposes may seem like two goals that fight against each other. However, me and other experienced writers disagree with that, but for some of us, it took a while to convince us. Yes, the words you want to be found for should be placed properly and in prominent places if you want an SEO-friendly blog post. However, overusing the necessary keywords can make your text seem forced and the readability suffers, which is something that you don’t want to do. This is why keyword stuffing or high key phrase density is frowned upon, but it's also frowned upon by Google, which negatively affects your search rankings and your site will because of it.

Here, we will focus on providing tips on writing blog posts that are SEO-friendly and readable. While they may initially seem contradictory to one another, these two goals should always be aligned. Put simply, writing your blog posts in an understandable language will get you more visitors and keep them following your content long-term.

Before Starting: Do Keyword Research

Before you begin writing, you need to take time to do keyword research. If you want your work to dominate the search results and show up for a wide array of search intent results, you will need to find out what your target audience is searching for. Once you find out what your target audience is looking for, you will know what you should write about and what keywords you should use in your text to not only rank but to answer your reader’s questions.

After you have finished your keyword research, you will have your list of focus keywords, it’s time to start writing. Check out these 10 tips to help you develop an awesome blog post.


Writing Tips for SEO-friendly Blog Posts

Whatever personal preferences you have when it comes to blogging, we all have the same goal, to create a great piece of writing. When you are starting a new blog post, you may have the urge to just start typing whatever comes to mind. For some people, this may work and sometimes it even works for me on a topic I know a lot about but sometimes it’s a good way to waste two hours of your day just to find out that what you thought was turning into the perfect blog post actually needs to be 5 different topics and you have to start over…5 different times. Because of this, I developed a list of ‘rules’ that I follow when I’m writing blog posts and a few of my friends have taken my list so I’m sharing it with all of you too. 



1. Think Before You Start Writing!

Before you begin writing, consider carefully what message you want your piece to bring your readers. What information do you need to tell your readers? What is the main question you are aiming to answer? What is the overall purpose of your article? What do you want your readers to do at the end of the page? Write down the answer to all of these questions before you start writing and think about the possibilities of the reader’s search intent. The easiest way to gain insight into what your reader’s search intent is by looking at the search results using the term that you want to rank with.

2. Develop a Structure for Your Post

One of the most important steps in creating readable and SEO-friendly blog posts is to create a clear structure. The goal is to ensure that every post has:
  • An introduction that completely introduces your topic.
  • The post body is where you provide your message to readers in an organized way.
  • A conclusion where you summarize the main ideas of the information or give a conclusion of the topic you addressed.
Using a few sentences, write down what you want to include in all three of these sections. Congratulations, you now have a summary. This summary will help you reach your goal of a structured and readable blog post. Now the hard work begins.

3. Use Paragraphs and Headings

Everyone uses basic paragraphs out of habit, but not everyone uses them well. It is important that you don’t start each sentence on a new line just because you think it looks pretty. It is also important not to make paragraphs too lengthy and confusing, as each paragraph should have its own subject or idea. Each paragraph should have a main idea and the paragraph should be used to summarize the main idea. Can you summarize the main idea into one sentence? If the answer is no, you need to use more paragraphs. 

Using proper headings will make sure that readers understand what a chunk of your text is about. Subheadings are also an important way to guide them through articles. Subheadings are also a great way for readers to skim or scan your page to assess the structure of your articles. While you may assume that they are only important to readability, they are also important for SEO also. That’s why it is advised to use some of your important keywords in subheadings, but make sure that you don’t overdo it and make your text clunky. 

4. Use Transition Words

Transition words are a great tool to allow readers to scan through text to understand the relationship between sentences and paragraphs. For example, let’s say there are three reasons for someone to buy your eBook. You should use signal words like: ‘first of all’, ‘secondly’, and ‘finally’. Words like ‘similarly’ and ‘however’ can be excellent signal words for your readers. This will also give your readers a clear impression that a conclusion will follow when you use words like ‘in short’ or ‘to sum it up’. Transition words are extremely important to provide your article or text with structure. 


5. Use Keywords Related to Your Focus Keyword

Proper keyword usage is extremely important to your success. Stuffing your article with the focus keyword can hurt your rankings and make your content less attractive to your readers. Google is getting a lot smarter and Googlebot is watching you carefully. Google wants you to produce content that readers will love, and it will punish you for using your focus keyword constantly and it is programmed in ways that it can analyze what your text is about. One of the ways that is programmed is to recognize synonyms and determine other keywords that are related to your focus keyphrase. This makes using synonyms and related keywords throughout your copy.

Synonyms are easy to think of or look up but it is important to find the right related keywords. Doing a little research may seem like a waste of time but it will pay off in the long run. If you want to set your website or blog up to rank #1 in Google every time your target audience makes a search, you absolutely need the SEO Checklist from SEO Buddy. Trust me, you won’t regret the purchase. 

6. Optimize Blog Post Length

Every blog post should have a minimum of 200 words, but the length of the article should always be balanced. Google loves it when you have long articles, but if your article is too long it can scare users away from your blog. Writing longer articles and keeping them balanced can be difficult so it’s typically recommended for experienced writers, but practice makes perfect so you can always have an editor look at your work when you are done. 

Lengthy text is asking a lot from online readers, especially because if it is written correctly, all of the information on the page is important to the overall topic you are trying to get across. Check out this article if you are not sure how long a blog post should be. Remember to keep using your focus keyphrase through your text to ensure that your final result is an SEO-friendly blog post!

7. Link to Your Existing Content

If you have already published content on the same or similar topic as your current blog post, don’t forget to link to and from your posts. Linking the posts together will make the posts you already have stronger and show that you are an authority on the subject. Link structures are also important to Google and can dramatically improve your rankings. Linking to other content about a given subject is great for your readers and linking will ensure that they take time to read related posts also. It makes navigating your website a lot easier. 

In the blogging word, we call these steps internal linking. Google and your readers will thank you for taking the effort to intertwine your articles and blog posts. It will help them manage the content on your website. 

8. Let Trusted People Read Your Post

Before you publish your blog post, make sure that you let someone else read the post first. Ask them if they understand the main concept and invite them to correct any grammatical errors and typos, or even leave notes in the margin to let you know when something doesn’t come across clear enough. Having a second set of eyes on your post will give you an objective view of how readable and attractive your text is. 

9. Add Content on A Regular Basis

Adding new blog posts to your website on a regular basis tells Google that your website is alive and well. This is important because if your website isn’t active and updated, Google won’t crawl it as often which could negatively affect your rankings. It is important not to post for the sake of posting though. Make sure all of your posts are high-quality content: well-written articles that are informative and entertaining that fit into your reader’s search intent. 

If you have difficulty posting on a regular basis, a great approach would be to create an editorial calendar for your blog. This will allow you to structure the publishing process in a way that suits your websites needs. Make sure to include time to update your old blog posts every so often to avoid them becoming stale.

10. Use All-In-One SEO Plugin

One of the most important Wordpress Plugins you can use is All-in-One SEO. This plugin offers one stop everything for SEO and helps you to guide your website in the right direction with every post. I have learned so much from this plugin that another person couldn't teach me or that I just didn't understand the explanation for. Just look at everything it includes!




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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Published June 29, 2022 by with 0 comment

SEO Basics – What is Thin Content?

 

Every website owner you meet will tell you that content is king. It doesn’t matter how amazing your keywords are if you don’t write meaningful and original content using them. You will see me say this a lot because the content is the most important thing you can possibly bring to your website. Here, I am going to explain to you why you need to ensure that your website is attractive to your visitors, and I will talk about why Google dislikes low-quality content, also known as thin content.


What is Thin Content? 

So what does Google see as thin content? Thin content is considered content that has little to no value to the reader or website user. An example of what Google considers thin content is a doorway page. These can be low-quality affiliate pages or pages that have very little content. Knowing this, you don’t want to swing too far the other way and create a lot of content that is similar or content pages that are considered thin. You will also be punished for content that is not original, pages that have scraped or duplicate content, and pages that don’t have enough content on them. 

Google is also very much against keyword stuffing so if you’re trying to load your pages with keywords in an attempt to get as much attention as possible, you’re going to move down in the search rankings, possibly so far down that people cannot find you. Googlebot is programmed to be extremely intelligent, and it gets smarter and smarter as time goes by. You will not trick it, no matter how hard you try. 


Google is Wanty, but What Does it Want? 

A lot of people say that Google is needy, but I disagree. Google is wanty. It doesn’t need everything it asks for from you, but it wants a lot more than it actually needs. Google strives to provide the best results that can match not only searches but the search intent of users. If you want to rank high, you have to convince Google that you’re providing quality answers for what the user is asking for. If you’re not willing to write extensively on your topics, Google will find someone to rank higher than you. Content that is considered thin will not qualify for Google to rank. 

What do they want? They want to know exactly what your page is about to see if it’s worth providing to their users, if it’s not then your content won’t be displayed. In order to ensure that Google sees your content worthy of showing to its users, you need to write enjoyable, informative copy with quality and accurate SEO to make Google happy before it ever makes it to your target audience.


Strive to Be the Best Result

Google is looking for answers to its users’ questions. In order to convince them that you are the best person to answer those questions, you need to write meaningful copy about the keywords you want to rank for. If you’re keeping a blog about your favorite hobby or something you know a lot about, you may assume that it won’t be hard to satisfy Google’s wanty nature, which is true. Google is looking for an expert in your topic, so be that expert!

Other types of content may be a little more difficult to meet the qualifications. It can be difficult to write elaborate text about certain things and one example of this is an online store. If you have a store that focuses on hundreds of products, it can be very difficult to write extensive text about every product. In cases like this, it is imperative that you provide original introductory text instead of slapping up an image with a buy button next to the price of the item.

If you have a lot of products that are extremely similar, it becomes even more important to optimize the page category instead of the product page or even use canonicals to avoid issues with duplicate content. 

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Published June 29, 2022 by with 0 comment

SEO Basics – What is Googlebot?

 

When I think of Googlebot I prefer to think of a cute little robot speeding off wearing a hat. He’s on a quest to find information and create a knowledgeable index. The truth is disappointing though, it’s just a computer program developed by Google that scoots around adding pages to its index. Let’s take a look at what it does.

Google Bot? Crawler? Spider? What is it?

Everyone calls it something different but you will never catch me calling it a spider…ever. All of these terms mean the same thing. It’s a computer program that crawls web pages by using links. It finds updated and new content, reads it, and suggests what should be added to the Google index and what shouldn’t.

This index is essentially Google’s brain, which is where all of the knowledge of the internet sits. Google uses a lot of computers to send their crawlers out to scour every nook and cranny of the internet to find out what is on them and how to best handle what they find. Every search engine has its own crawler, but Googlebot is the one used by Google.

 

How Does Googlebot Work?

Googlebot uses databases and sitemaps that were previously created during its crawls to decide where it should go next. After a crawler finds new links on a site, it adds them to the list of pages to be visited next.

When it finds links or even broken links, it will make an instant note so the index can be updated in the system. Based on what is found, the program will automatically determine how often it will crawl pages. To ensure that Googlebot is able to index your website correctly you need to check its crawlability. As long as your site is available, the crawlers should come around often.

There are different robots that have different purposes. For example, the Adsense and AdsBot check ad quality while the Mobile Apps android checks Android Apps. We won’t go into detail on what they are called, just know there are multiple crawlers and each one has a purpose.

 

How Googlebot Visits Your Site

If you want to find out how often Googlebot comes to your site and what it's doing while it’s there, you can check your log files or open the Crawl section of the Google Search console. If you have the capability or are willing to learn how to get into the advanced stuff, you can optimize the crawl performance of your site, you can check out tools like Screaming Frog and Kibana

The IP addresses of Googlebots are not released by Google. The IP addresses change frequently but you can do a reverse IP lookup. It is possible for spammers to spoof a user-agent name but they cannot fake an IP address. Google has actually listed a way for you to verify the validity of their Googlebot visits though. 

You can use the robots.txt to determine how Googlebot visits parts of your site. However, if you do this incorrectly, you might stop Googlebot from coming altogether. If Googlebot cannot index your site, it may remove your site from the index. There are better, more effective ways to prevent your site from being indexed.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a great place to check the crawlability of your site. Inside the console, you can verify how Googlebot sees your site. You will get a list of crawl errors so you can fix issues. Inside the search console, you can also ask Googlebot to recrawl your site.

Optimize for Googlebot

The process of getting Googlebot to crawl your website faster is a technical process. It boils down to bringing down the technical barriers that prevent the crawler from accessing your site the right way. Even though it is a technical process, you need to make yourself familiar with it. If your website cannot be crawled by Google it can never make it rank high for you. Once you find the errors, fix them right away.

Wrap Up

As long as you are doing the right things, Googlebot is your friend. It is important that you make technically sound choices for your website to ensure that it comes often. Adding fresh content also ensures that it will come around more often. If you have made large changes, you may have to call the crawler to you through the Google Search Console to ensure that the changes are reflected as soon as possible.
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Published June 29, 2022 by with 0 comment

SEO Basics - What is Crawlability?

 

If you want your website to rank in search engines, it is important that you build a flawless SEO plan and create relevant, helpful content for your readers. 

Understanding basic SEO is important to ensure that you outrank your competition and stay at the top of the search results. One important aspect of SEO is crawlability.


What is the Crawler? 

Search engines, like Google, consist of what is known as a crawler, an index, and an algorithm. Crawlers follow links. Google’s crawler for example is known as Googlebot. Its job is to find your website, render it, read it, and save the content in its index. 

The crawler follows the links on the internet. Other names you may see the crawler referred to are the robot, a bot, or a spider (Which is something I will never call it). Its job is to go around the internet 24 hours a day. Once the crawler comes to a website, it saves the HTML version of the site to a massive database referred to as the index. 

This index is updated every time the crawler comes around your website and finds a revised or new version of it. The frequency that the crawler comes around your website will depend on how important it thinks your site is and how frequently you make changes. Basically, how you interact with your website property will determine how often it comes around.


What is Crawlability?

Crawlability is a term used to determine the possibilities Google does have to crawl your website. You can even block crawlers on your site. There are a few ways that you can block crawlers from coming to your website or a specific page on your website. Keep in mind that doing this will be directly telling Google not to come to your page which will mean it won’t show up in search results. 

There are a few things that will prevent Google from crawling or indexing your website. These include: 

Your robots.txt file blocks the crawler. Google will not come to your website, or the page specifically listed.

Before crawling your website, the Google crawler looks at the HTTP header of your page. This header contains a status code that crawlers rely on. If the status code has been deleted or doesn’t exist, Google will not crawl your website. 

If the robots meta tag on a given page blocks the engine from indexing it, the crawler will still navigate through it, but will not add the page to its index. 


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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Published June 28, 2022 by with 0 comment

4 Keys to Understanding and Creating a Pillar Page


Not only is this article going to teach you how to use pillar pages on your website and blog, but it is also an open example of a pillar page.  The steps we will cover in this article include:


Topic Cluster

Formatting a Pillar Page

Using SEO on Your Pillar Page

Putting Your Pillar Page to Work


The concepts around digital marketing and content marketing are changing constantly. It can be hard to keep up with all of the trends but it is essential that you keep up with all of the important changes. It is very important for your business to determine what fads are worth the time and money to get involved in and which ones don’t suit your business needs or are just too far-fetched for your business to be involved in. 

Getting involved in some content trends can be beneficial for your website and blog. They can help you get noticed by people who previously haven’t seen your content. However, between these trends, something has to keep your blog and website at the forefront for readers and this is where your pillar pages come in.

What is a Pillar Page?



So, what is a pillar page? What does a pillar page do? What is a pillar page’s purpose? Most importantly, why do you need pillar pages? 

So, what is a pillar page? What does a pillar page do? What is a pillar page’s purpose? Most importantly, why do you need pillar pages?

The best way to think of a pillar page is to think of it as brainstorming, outline, or mind map. It has a central theme with a bunch of offshoots. A pillar page is an umbrella that has an overarching topic with several other topics under it. 

Pillar pages are also intensive SEO strategies also. They serve multiple purposes, like addressing a full topic in one pate. This is extremely helpful for a blog or website’s target audience who is looking for answers on a specific topic. It is a great way to infuse keywords and phrases into your website and help provide structure to link to other pages. Basically, it is a way to meet the high demands of SEO without watering down your other content, while still providing important information to your readers.

Today’s consumer wants to chat with you. They want to be able to ask real questions and get very specific about topics they are looking for. A pillar page helps them wade through all of the noise and information overload and get straight to the point. Pillar pages also show up more often in voice searches because they are typically labeled as very specific topics.

In fact, according to Ahrefs, around 64% of searches are 4 words or longer, which makes pillar pages a dynamite SEO strategy; much more powerful than a blog post. But why is a pillar page such a great SEO strategy?

The quick answer is that search engines have gotten savvier. They are getting better at displaying content that a user wants.

Blogs are often written on a singular topic, but you aren’t necessarily able to put in all the SEO-rich keywords and phrases and subtopics within it. Pillar pages act as a topic cluster. You have a broad main topic, and since the pillar pages are longer, they allow you to bring in several more specific related topics and keywords into the page as well.

Bottom line—you need and want pillar pages to enhance your SEO strategy. You’re able to use the model to link URLs on your website more efficiently, help searchers find information more easily, and hopefully gets more pages on your site ranked by Google.

Here is where information could be written about the technicalities, algorithms, and thought process behind the topic cluster strategy—but you’ll need to be awake, so you can learn how to create pillar pages.

The First Point to a Pillar Page: Topic Cluster

HubSpot says it best: “Topic clusters help more pages rank to give searchers better answers.” You see, at the core, while content is a way to rank and be found, its ultimate goal should be providing answers and solutions to your target audience. Everything should be written with that audience in mind—including your pillar pages.

A topic cluster is choosing your main topic, which should be one that can be broken down into several subtopics easily. Think of it as a way to explore a topic in-depth.

For example, let’s take Content Marketing (which the audience here is obviously interested in). Within that very broad topic you can form a cluster of topics—or subtopics—like:

  • Types of content marketing
  • Creating your content marketing strategy
  • Target audiences
  • Buyer personas
  • Creating content
  • SEO
  • Content’s role in inbound marketing.
Even more, you can use subheadings and formatting to answer questions, so that readers who are skimming still get the information they need.

Finding your topic clusters is more straightforward than you think. You have endless tools and data at your disposal. Inspiration is already there. Following are some strategies you can use:

  • Look to your blog – What posts are successful and tie in together? Which posts have you said, I’d really like to go more in-depth on that topic?
  • Answer FAQs – If you have your FAQs broken down into categories, using those categories may be a great way to create a pillar page. Another way to think of it is as your customer’s pain points. Your pillar page should address each of those main points thoroughly.
  • Can you link it? – A pillar page works ideally when you can link to cluster content. If you are doing a pillar page on content marketing, you’ll want to be able to link it to your well-written, in-depth post about buyer personas.
  • Can it act as a guide, or topic 101? – Pillar pages serve well as a topic 101. They are comprehensive pieces of content that also give a general overview of content on your website. While you’ll touch on a cluster of topics in one place, you’ll also provide ways for your audience to go as deep into a subject as they want (via hyperlink).
Deciding what to put on your pillar page should be about organizing content in a way that makes it easier to navigate. Approach it with the intent to filter out vague search results. In essence, you are answering your audiences long-tail search queries. In fact, use questions and long-tail keywords as subtitles. For example, how do I create a content strategy?

Another approach is to determine the topics you want to rank for as a business. For example, if your business’s specialty niche is helping businesses harness the power of their accounting software, create a pillar page about the hows, whys, and benefits of using a software consulting firm that teaches your staff how to fully use their QuickBooks. Address the pain points, like how long it can take to navigate software you aren’t familiar with, and how that time can transition into a loss of profit for the company.

3 Other Important Keys to Creating the Perfect Pillar Page

After you have developed your topic cluster and it’s ready to go, you need to address logistics for your pillar page. Your pillar page will need to be like every other piece of your business, unique. While there are some basic pillar page basic rules, your audience will need an individualized approach and only you know what they’re looking for.

Here are the basic rules and keys that will help you get started on your pillar page.

How Long Should Your Pillar Page Be?

In general, pillar pages are long. They tend to be between 2,000 and 3,000 words each. To determine how long you want your pillar pages to be, you will want to take a few things into account. Things you will want to take into account are the topic and how in-depth you want to go with the topic, which means that each pillar post will range in length but you will want to keep them around the same length for uniformity. Determine how what will work best for your audience and your topic, or you can go with your gut after doing some research about your topic.

Formatting Your Pillar Page

Everyone approaches pillar pages differently and there are a lot of people with varying opinions. There are some industry standard points of a pillar page we all have agreed on, even though an occasional dirty glance is thrown around from time to time. Here’s what we have agreed on.

Introduction – Whether you approach this as an introduction or an overview, it is important. It will let your audience know what they can expect to find in your article and why they should stick around to read 3,000 words…which is a minimum of 10 minutes.

  • Visuals – Using large blocks of text is something we have left in the past and it is because of what readers demand. They want photos, graphics, charts, graphs, and more. You will want to add things to break up text but don’t use so many images that the page is overcrowded or overstimulating. Balance is a huge factor and you will need to ensure that it still looks clean, crisp, appealing, and easy to read through or skim through to find information.
  • Support – Using support text and formatting will enhance your pillar page. Add in quotes and citations, highlight text, places to add links and subtitles. Take time to polish the page and make sure it’s engaging. 

SEO and Your Pillar Page

Something that is commonly overlooked when it comes to SEO is the importance of long-tail keywords. Your pillar page SEO will be based on topic clusters and long-tail keywords and key phrases. To develop the list of keywords and key phrases you need to brainstorm where your content is going and what is important inside that content.

Something that is commonly overlooked when it comes to SEO is the importance of long-tail keywords. Your pillar page SEO will be based on topic clusters and long-tail keywords and key phrases. To develop the list of keywords and key phrases you need to brainstorm where your content is going and what is important inside that content.

The way I approach this brainstorming session is to ask myself ‘What are my readers and customers looking for’? Maybe your readers are looking at ‘how to create a pillar page.’ Look at the topic clusters and pull in keywords and phrases from related blog posts.

Use SEM Rust or even just Google Search. Here, you can find out what people are looking for based on the main question, key phrase, or keyword. Here’s an example. If you type in “how to create a pillar page,” Not only do you get the results, but you also get a box at the end of the results page called “searches related to how to create a pillar page,” I just did this and I found:



There are some weird results but you get the point. Another great place to look is the “people also ask,” or look into the Google search box to see what other phrases are being highlighted because this is what people are asking. 

These are the results I found from the Related Searches.


Putting Your Pillar Page into Play

So where does your pillar page go? Well of course it goes on your website! How you present your pillar page depends completely on your strategy.  Some websites file it as a guide in their blog but you could even create a tab for it. I plan to file this as a blog post under guides because it is going to link to a page I have already built a navigational tab for.

The number of pillar pages you create is completely up to you and how many topics you have. It will also depend on how you want to organize them. You should never approach pillar articles loosely though. Each article should have a solid plan and you should make sure to put a lot of thought into it. Look at the architecture of your website and cluster the topics to group into pillar pages. Think of these pages as the cornerstones of your content.

Final Thoughts

Your business should have the goal of staying at the top of the list in your niche and to do this SEO is extremely important. Now, more than ever, it is important to stay present in an online in an online world that can be difficult for readers and consumers to navigate. Not only does it help them find information they are looking for easier, but it also prevents them from getting information overload. Pillar pages allow them to find information that an audience finds valid and that is well organized. It also let’s your website stay ranked in the everchanging market.

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Published June 28, 2022 by with 0 comment

Categories vs Tags – SEO Practices for Sorting your Content

When people email me asking questions about setting up their website or developing their content, one of the most popular questions is what is better for SEO: categories or tags. There is a difference between categories and tags and how they are used. Here I will explain how to use them correctly. 

The Difference Between Categories and Tags

Categories: Categories are used to create a broad grouping of posts. They are generalized topics that you can consider the overall table of contents. You can use this table of contents to create a hierarchy with subcategories that you will use frequently.

Tags: Tags are more specific than categories. They help describe important details of your posts. You can think of these more like an index and allow micro-categorizing of content. Tags do not have a hierarchy.

For example, if I wasn’t proving a point to other writers that you don’t have to recommend only expensive methods of building a website and chose WordPress, the category of this post would be Blog >>Beginners Guide in the navigation. The tags would be categories, categories vs tags, custom taxonomy, seo, seo best practices, sorting your content and tags. These tags won’t display on your article, but they do assist in landing your post in relevant searches on your blog or website.

One of the primary differences between categories and tags is that you must file every post in WordPress under a category, but you are not required to use tags. Failing to give your post a category will cause WordPress to automatically assign it under the “Uncategorized” category by default. Because of this, I tend to rename the uncategorized category to “Miscellaneous” or “Other”.

It is important to note that only blog posts have categories and tags, but you can use a plugin to add categories to your WordPress pages.

How to Add Categories and Tags in WordPress

When you are creating a post in WordPress, you can add categories and tags. You will find them on the right-hand side under the ‘Document” settings.


You can also go to Posts >> Categories and Posts >> Tags. Here you can add new categories and tags to your website and blog.

For more information about the process of adding categories and tags, check out What is a Category? and What is a tag? for guidance.

How Many Categories Should You Have in WordPress?

There is no given number of categories that you should have. In my experience, you will want between 5 and 10 to properly categorize your posts and make your website and blog easy to navigate.

Categories are meant to be a broad topic. Below these, you will need subcategories and tags which will split your topics into smaller groups. 

If you are just starting your blog then don’t worry about making your category list perfect. Just start out with 5 broad categories and you can expand from there as time goes on and you get a better grasp on what direction you are going.

Do you have to use subcategories?

The truth is you don’t have to use subcategories and many large blogs don’t. However, as you build larger you may want to break up large categories into smaller sections. This could prove to be quite a task if you wait too long to take care of it. 

A great example of this is a close friend who started a blog and had a recipe section. She took great interest in gluten-free recipes and soon she had a lot, but they were mixed in with all of her other recipes. She noticed that most of her readers were struggling to find gluten-free, but her analytics said it was something people were searching for heavily. She spent quite a while sorting through a massive stack of recipes to add a subcategory because she ignored a gut feeling when she was building the blog. Psst...I even stole this picture from her. Don't worry she knows but made a funny face when I said I was going to use her as an example of following your gut.


Instead of just using a broad category, you can make more specific categories to make searching easier for your readers.

Using Categories in Your Post’s URLs

Some websites use the category name in the permalinks (the post URLs). If this is something you would like to do, you can set this up under Settings>>Permalinks.


Let’s use my friend’s website with recipes as an example. If she added the category to her URL, her links would look like …/recipes/gluten-free-pancakes/ 

After you move the post to a child category, or subcategory she will have a new URL that looks like …/recipes/gluten-free/gluten-free-pancakes/

Even though WordPress is programmed to automatically redirect the old URL to the new one, it is important to check that your links are still working. If necessary, you can create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one to prevent losing statistics on an existing post.

Another option you have is to keep the post in the parent category and assign it to a child category, but this can have a negative impact. Even though I am giving you directions on how to add the category to your permalink I do not advocate for people to do this, and I always give a strict warning that you may be penalized for doing so. 

I always recommend using a shorter URL that only contains the post name because you have more flexibility with this type of link than you would a long one. It also allows you to recategorize and reorganize content without having to worry about setting up redirects.

It is also not recommended to change URL structure once your website I operational so make sure to find a style that makes you happy and make sure to do the research about the repercussions of choosing an unorthodox URL style.

Can I Assign a Post to Multiple Categories? 

WordPress will let you put a post into multiple categories. This could be several parent categories, or a parent category plus a subcategory or subcategories.

Having multiple categories won’t benefit your SEO though. You should only assign posts to multiple categories if it makes the most sense for your readers because it won’t get you bonus points with the search engines and you may actually be penalized for it.

It’s also possible that having your post in multiple categories could cause some SEO issues due to duplicate content.

If you do use multiple categories, then try to avoid putting one post into two or more main (parent) categories. Each post should fit within one main category, and you should choose more than one child category instead. This should reduce your chances of getting hit with duplicate content warnings.

Is There a Limit to How Many Tags a Post Can Have?

WordPress itself doesn’t have any limit on the number of tags you can have on each post. You could potentially assign 1,000 or more tags to a post but I definitely don’t recommend that. I’m not even sure what would happen if you tried but things might get interesting when it comes to certain plugin operations.

The purpose of tags is to help link related posts together. Think of them as an index section in a book. Each tag is like a keyword in the index.

Tags can be extremely helpful for users who are searching your site to find content. Some plugins that display related posts utilize tags to help them navigate which posts’ topics are related in order to make navigating your site easier for readers. 

I typically recommend that people use a maximum of 10 tags per post to ensure that plugins that utilize them aren’t confused by what you are doing.

Categories vs Tags: What’s Better for SEO?

Are there any WordPres SEO advantages of using categories over tags or tags over categories? 

The answer is not really because they are meant to be used together. Categories and tags have their own purpose and can make navigating your site a lot easier. WordPress requires you to use categories but if you want to go against the grain you don’t have to use tags. 

While it's possible to skate by not using tags it’s not something I recommend trying. Not only will your website be messy for your readers, but it might also start tipping your sanity after a while. This is one of the mistakes I made early on and it’s one reason this website earned its name. The name was earned after things got a little crazy, the name was not developed from thin air.

Every aspect of your website should be chosen with users and operations in mind. Search engines want to provide users with content that is most useful for their search and combining categories and tags will make it a lot easier for them to do so.

This means that organizing your content for best usability will also help you get better SEO rankings.



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Monday, June 27, 2022

Published June 27, 2022 by with 0 comment

Launching a Blog Checklist - Official Checklist for 2022

You will notice at this point I have certain words in red throughout this post. The words in red will lead to pillar articles I am currently developing and you will see that the red text will disappear in the next few days and be replaced with internal links and affiliate links. Most website owners do not let you see this as it happens, but I think it's important that you see the process in action instead of seeing the entire website completed at once. We are doing this together and I want you to see the back-end chaos and what you will be dealing with behind the scenes as you are developing your own blog and website.

If you are looking to launch a blog, it probably feels like an intimidating task. Having built numerous blogs myself, I know how intimidating it can feel. The good news is that starting a blog is easier than you may think, even if you don’t have a lot of experience working with technology. When you are starting one without guidance, you can make a lot of beginner-level mistakes, but you don’t have to when there are writers and blog owners who want to see you succeed.

That is exactly why I developed this checklist for you to follow to launch your own blog. Keep in mind that this checklist provides minimal detail. If you need more clear-cut instructions or more in-depth knowledge, check out my post on how to start a blog guide. This checklist is organized into 6 different categories to make it easier to navigate.

Launching a Blog Checklist

From this point on, you will be going through different phases of launching your blog. 

Follow along with this guide and start checking the list off one by one as you are progressing through your journey. Remember as you make decisions that the competition is fierce. There are thousands of bloggers in every niche launching their blogs every day so make sure your decisions stand out from the rest. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully to make sure you get started on the right foot and aren’t wasting time.

Let’s jump right in!

Step 1: Ideas and Goals

Pick your niche (topic): Pick a topic that you are interested in but also has good search volume.

Set a few goals: Set up your blogging goals by creating a deadline with a specific outcome (example: reaching 1,000 email subscribers within 6 months)

Look for other blogs in your niche: See what other blogs in your niche are doing. Where are they successful? What can you do to make your articles and information better than what your competition is providing? 

Brainstorm a strategy: Once you determine your end goal, you can brainstorm ideas on how to reach your goal.

Develop a list of brand names: Choose a brandable domain name instead of a generic name. You don’t want a keyword-stuffed name. Use the Bluehost domain name search tool to help you develop ideas and check out our guide to choosing a domain name

Step 2: Get Your New Blog Online

Register your domain name: Your domain name is what readers will type into their browser to get to your website. You will need to register a domain name to get started or use a blogger domain name for free. Our first recommendation is Bluehost. Not only are they easy to use, but their customer service rocks...even at 3 AM. You can also get a free domain name if you choose them for your hosting plan, which is very affordable.


Choose your blogging platform: I will always recommend wordpress.org even though I started this blog on blogger to prove a point. Not only is WordPress.org free but it also lets you have complete control over your website.

Choose your hosting provider: There are a lot of hosting providers out there, but I prefer and recommend Bluehost to everyone who asks. It really is the best option for newbies and once you sign up, you’ll never choose another host. Trust me, I’ve tried and somehow end up back at Bluehost. It is also the primary host recommended by Wordpress.org and for good reason. For more information, check out my Best Web Hosting Guide.

Install WordPress: This is a step that might trip up some beginners, but if you choose Bluehost as your web host, you can install it with a single click. They really help you out when it comes to making things simple. Check out my guide on how to install WordPress for a complete setup guide.

Choose a Complex Username and Password: Never use a simple password. Use a combination of alternating numbers, letters, and symbols to ensure that your password is secure. I use this secure password generator that allows me to meet the criteria of different websites, they don’t save the passwords you generate, and you can make them as difficult as you want to ensure security.

Step 3: Get Your Blog Ready for Launch

Create a coming soon page: Your coming soon page can help you start collecting email addresses before your blog even goes live. Creating a coming soon page is easy if you decide to use SeedProd. You can build the entire page with just a few clicks.
 
Choose a responsive theme: Responsive themes make your blog look more professional. You should choose a simple design that doesn’t strain the eyes and is easy to navigate. You can get a free theme from your WordPress dashboard or you can purchase a theme like Divi Theme. What you choose should depend on your budget. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in your website at first, choose a free theme.

Remove unwanted things from your theme: The first thing I do when I install a theme is to remove the login area in the sidebar. Your users do not need to see that and it takes up valuable ad space, especially since there are other ways to log in. Just go to Appearance >> Customize.

Choose your font carefully: You can choose any font you want but make sure that it is easy to read. Your goal is to have people come back to read your posts and if your font isn’t easy to read, people are not going to come back. 

Design your homepage: This is where it gets exciting. You may not want to choose a default homepage layout, which usually shows the most recent posts. You might want to create a homepage that shows your most recent pages, like your pillar articles. For some people, this is the right approach and for others showing recent blog posts is the best way to go. This is your vision. Go with what feels right for you.

Write an about page: This is your chance to introduce yourself and what your blog is about. It gives you a chance to show your expertise and why you should be recognized as an authority in your field. Why should your readers trust your writing? 

Develop your sidebar: You can use sidebar widgets to do a lot of things. You can display recent posts, popular comments, your categories, your email sign-up box, and so much more. The widgets you use will depend on what approach you decided on in your brainstorming stage.

Add a contact form plugin: Adding a contact form to your blog makes it easy for visitors to contact you and it ensures that you remain in compliance with various regulations associated with operating a website. The easiest way to add a contact form to your blog is using the WPForms plugin. It will also allow you to build other forms on your website later.

Register for an Akismet key: This may seem a little obsessive when you are looking at the documentation, but it is extremely important so that you can combat spam comments that your blog will inevitably receive. 

Add an SEO Plugin: This is one topic I am torn about. I’m torn between two plugins depending on what type of website I’m building. While I’m extremely partial to Yoast SEO, I also gravitate to All in One SEO. Both allow you to add titles and meta descriptions for each of your articles and blog posts within your post editor page. 

Write a tagline for your blog: Setting a tagline for your blog is easy. Go to Appearance >> Customize. Click on Site Identity and here you can change your tagline. Make it awesome!

Add an SSL certificate to your blog: This is something you need to do if you want your website or Google to show your website as Secure. If you don’t use it your website will show as “Not Secure”. If you use Bluehost like I recommended, you can get their free SSL certificate. Inside your Bluehost panel, go to My Sites >> Manage Site and click on the Security tab. Enable the Free SSL Certificate. For more information, check out my article on how to get SSL for your blog.

Add Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a great way to track how your visitors use your website. It shows you what page they enter on and it shows you their behavior once they are there. The MonsterInsights plugin can help you integrate Google Analytics with just a few clicks of a button.

Sign up for Google Search Console: Google has a lot of helpful resources and this is one of them. This console will show you the health of your blog and will notify you if Google finds any errors on your blog. It’s easy to sign up. Just go to Google Search Console.

Add links to your social networking profiles: After you create social networking profiles for your website, adding links to these profiles will let your readers follow you on social media. This will let them get updates about your blog and the various products that you plan to offer. 

Change your permalink structure: It is important that you keep your permalinks simple. They need to be easy to remember. The best way to do this is to change your permalinks to your Post Name. You can do this by going to Settings >> Permalinks in the WordPress dashboard. 

Step 4: Define and Begin Building Your Brand

Set up a personalized business email account: If you used BlueHost, you will have the ability to set up a free business email in your hosting account. Your email will look like yourname@yourdomain.com, or however you choose to name it. Here are step-by-step instructions to create your business email.

Create your Gravatar: Associating your email address with a Gravatar will allow you to show your picture inside your author profile. It will also allow your picture to show up in the comments. 

Create Your Logo: You can hire a freelance designer to create your logo and add it to your blog, or you can make your own logo on Canva, which is a great tool to make your graphics, flyers, and more. 

Create a Favicon: Favicons are super tiny versions of your logo that appear next to your website name in the browser tab. To create this you will need to resize your logo to exactly a 512x512 pixel image. Once you have done this, go to Appearance >> Customize. Click on Site Identity and upload your favicon, also known as the site icon. 

Define your audience: Do some research. Find out the likes and dislikes of your target audience. Create personas from your target audience and write articles for those personas. You can obtain information about your target audience by analyzing your competitor’s audience and comparing the audience of several competitors.

Think about the categories and tags you will use: WordPress organizes your articles according to the categories and tags that you choose. These categories and tags will help your readers find content that pertains to what they are looking for, they will also help search engines rank your content

Step 5: Create Amazing Content

Brainstorm and develop topic ideas for Pillar Posts: Pillar articles are considered evergreen articles on you blog that will draw in a lot of traffic even after months and years of them existing on your blog. You can analyze several of your competitor’s content to develop ideas for your pillar posts and allow you to provide better pillar articles than what your competitors provide.

Generate more ideas for blog posts: To get you started, I’ve provided a list of blog post ideas that you can steal right now. I WANT you to steal them! While you’re at it, check out the types of blog posts that work for every niche

Follow the 10x Rule (super important!): Your goal is to aim 10x higher than your competitors have reached. Make yourself stand out from the crowd by making your website and blog more valuable than the websites and blogs you consider the competition. 

Add quality images: Using websites like Shutterstock and iStock will ensure that you have amazing images to add to your content.
 
Add more media that is important to you: If you really want to reach out to your audience, add some videos in along with the images you use. Your readers will love the interactive addition.

Add internal links that are relevant: Make sure to use a solid strategy to link to your other blogs in your content. Readers will stay on your website and blog longer and travel through your content more. As you’ve seen, I’ve added a lot of links to this pillar article so that you can investigate deeper into what you want to learn about. 

Create a sitemap file: This helps Google see how your website is structured. If you want to approach this in a simple way, I recommend All in One SEO

Add meta descriptions to your posts: It is important to add meta descriptions to each of your posts. This is a snippet that will show up with your article title in the search engine. This can dramatically improve your Click Through Rate, also known as CTR. Just like many other things I’ve covered here, All in One SEO allows you to do this right from your post.

Optimize your blog with keywords: Google Keyword planner is a great way to find the right keywords. Make sure to do thorough keyword research to develop your list and make sure to add them to your blog post whenever it makes sense to use them, but don’t make it feel as though it is forced. 

Create an email list: Add a newsletter subscription box to your blog, usually in the right sidebar so you can start building a list.

Choose an OptIn form plugin: You can create amazing optin forms for your site and there are a lot of different options for WordPress Plugins to create these forms. I personally prefer and recommend OptinMonster. It’s easy to use and fuss-free once you get the hang of using it.

Create social media accounts for your blog: Create an account of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or anywhere you think your target audience will be looking for you.

Make a list of influencers in your niche: These are people you will want to connect with. Once you have interacted with influencers in your niche, ask them to share and retweet your posts to their followers. This will help you start getting attention. Buzzsumo might make this easier for you depending on how you want to go about this conversation.

Ask for links back to your blog: Building backlinks is a great way to boost your search engine ranking. Follow my guide to building backlinks.

I really hope this guide helped you through the process of launching your blog. Whether you are a complete beginner or you are a seasoned pro, I invite you to print off this checklist to guide you along the path to blog creation. Sometimes it's just easier to have a printed guide to follow than just winging it.

If you need a more detailed guide, check out how to start a blog

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