So the last month of last year and the first month of this year inspired several articles discussing improvements you can make in 2013 – the most interesting of which focus on using SEO for your blog. It really doesn’t matter why there were so many folks talking about it (though it was clearly in response to the many changes Google was making). The important part is that there were so many people talking about how you can improve your search engine optimization efforts in blogging that it can be really hard to figure out which ones will work out for you.
That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any good advice. As far as we could tell, here are the best takeaways you can get from all those tips.
Best SEO Blogging Tip #1: Keep doing proper keyword research
Whether you’d like to think about it or not, keyword research is STILL going to be the backbone of SEO. If you want your blog to rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to know the right keywords to use. It’s not just to ensure that people will start associating you with certain terms, the way vanity toll free numbers help us associate certain brands with certain ideas. It’s also to find ranking opportunities that your competition hasn’t really taken advantage of – something that you can use to boost your own authority.
Right now, you can do keyword search by using the Google keyword tool, the Bing keyword tool, and even the YouTube keyword tool to have a clear idea of what search terms people are using to find blogs and sites like yours.
Best SEO Blogging Tip #2: Create great content
When we say “great content” these days, we don’t just mean “put some pictures in it”, or “make it as entertaining/interesting as possible” – although those do help, along with excellent grammar and spelling. Creating great content means providing readers with a whole lot of value in most, if not all, of your blog posts. The recent Google Panda and Penguin updates have shown that search engines are starting to emphasize the importance of content quality. You can’t just publish any old post now; you need to make it worth your readers’ time.
The best way to handle this is to slow down your content production so you can produce better posts. Having one 250-word posts every day is no longer as valuable, SEO-wise, as one 1000-word post every week. It also helps if you don’t bury your content in keywords.
Best SEO Blogging Tip #3: Learn “White Hat” link building strategies
As Thomas MacMahon discussed here, linkbuilding is still important for long-term SEO success. Getting sites to “backlink” to you still contributes to your blog or site’s authority online. The more backlinks you have, the better your chances of having a high rank in SERPs. More importantly, the more RELEVANT backlinks you get, the less likely it will be for search engines to penalize you these days. “White Hat” linkbuilding is all about making sure that you have the right kind of backlinks – the ones that come from sites that can effectively be related to yours, theme-wise. The reputations of those sites are secondary.
Given this, it must be said that the best way to approach linkbuilding in 2013 is “manually”. Personally create guest posts for your links (don’t have some program generate it for you). If possible, have some posts and comments that DON’T give you direct backlinks – so you can’t be accused of spamming.
Bonus SEO Tip: Have a working knowledge of HTML and stay updated
If you’re a long-time blogger who likes dabbling with SEO, then chances are really good that you have a solid grasp of HTML. Knowing HTML means you know how to properly tag each page within your site, to ensure that search engines can have their spiders crawl through them more effectively. Sure, you can make use of plugins in certain content management systems (WordPress comes to mind), but it’s always better to know these things yourself so you can adjust accordingly, if needed.
And you probably will need to adjust accordingly, because the rules of SEO can sometimes change without you realizing it. That, by the way, is the reason why you need to stay updated when it comes to search engine optimization. What you value right now may not be valuable in the future. Social media may not have mattered in the past, but it sure as heck matters now.
Do you have any other SEO tips that you think blog owners should take on in 2013?