At the end of July we held our first Twitter event, #TheIBAChat. The first takeover in what we hope to be a long line was hosted by our very own resident SEO expert, Alina Ghost, who gave her key insights into the sometimes confusing world of SEO. Alina asked 5 top questions she often hears and then went on to share her answers. Other bloggers joined in along the way and she was able to answer more of their questions that popped up as the hour went on. Read #TheIBAChat…
Q1: Do you optimise your blog posts for search engines and if so, how?
@MrsAlinaGhost: Keyword research is key. Use Google’s keyword planner tool or https://answerthepublic.com/ to find out what people are searching for. Optimise your titles and content using what you find but make sure it’s relevant. Another top tip: download the @yoast plugin!
@andrubymakes4: I could definitely do so much better!! I’m always so short on time What do you prioritise if you’re on a deadline?
@MrsAlinaGhost: I would optimise the things that you’re in control of – do keyword research for every post you do and use it in your titles, meta description & copy. Also resize your images for good site speed (mobile experience is really important!)
@ohmarieturner: How do you find the right keyword to shoot for if the best-performing one is taken up with the big 6 sites? (BBC, CNN, etc.)
@MrsAlinaGhost: Don’t get hung up on search volume and have a look at ‘long term keywords’ (3 words+) as you’ll have better chances of ranking & getting relevant readers looking for that specific thing!
@labelsforlunch: I really need to do more keyword planning! It’s hard to know where to start!
@MrsAlinaGhost: Look at 1 post at a time to make this manageable and simply look for the most searched for ways that readers type in order to optimise your titles, meta descriptions and copy or… for the most ‘niche’ term to have a better chance of ranking. Use Keyword planner tool!
Q2: Do you categorise your content so that your blog navigation is SEO friendly? If so, how?
@MrsAlinaGhost: A nav must satisfy search engines & readers alike; it must be easy to find your content. Think about topics that you write about & use keyword research to help you name them. Break these into subcategories if you focus on one area only (ie. interiors!)
@borealabode: I focus on a maximum of five categories, even though I’m not sure they’re the best keywords
@MrsAlinaGhost: That’s still good, at least you know the ‘sections’ of your site & what you write about There’s no reason why you can’t rename (if you ever wanted to) in the future, otherwise use the content & titles of your posts to optimise for those terms.
@_hannahwhalley: What’s the maximum number of categories you should have in your navigation?
@MrsAlinaGhost: If you think there’s too much to look at stop! ;) If it’s not good for the user, it’s not good for search engines so I’d say if you’re covering lifestyle/everything then have a think about 4-5 areas that you can group your content to.
Q3: Site speed. Yay or nay?
@MrsAlinaGhost: Did you know that we’re unlikely to wait longer than 3secs for a page to load before we give up? Site speed is also a ranking factor so it will directly impact your blog visibility on Google. Here are 5 ways to improve your site speed: https://www.interiorblogawards.com/improve-page-load-speed/
@borealabode: Super yay! I’m so proud of my 97 speed score
@labelsforlunch: Soooo important!!!!!! My site speed was low for a month thanks to Bluehost and my stats plummeted! Right back up as soon as I moved away!!
@MrsAlinaGhost: So important when it comes to traffic and engaging those users. Check this post out that I wrote, it’ll help you and fast https://www.interiorblogawards.com/improve-page-load-speed/ …
Q4. How often do you post content on your blog and do you think that it affects your online visibility?
@MrsAlinaGhost: Google loves fresh content so it’s just as important to revisit your old content as it is to create new posts. Regularity is important not only to your readers but also to search engines that come back time and time again to crawl your site.
@borealabode: I started publishing posts every other week, then I moved to monthly. They’re long blog posts (between 1-4k words) because it’s what I feel more comfortable with. I find long pieces provide more value and are likely to answer more questions users may have.
Q5. Do you think social media affects SEO?
@MrsAlinaGhost: Most probably. Amplifying your content & making it worthy of shares sees correlation of increase in visibility online & gets you more traffic because it’s catchy & relevant for those searching for it. It’s a great indicator that your content is popular. #TheIBAChat #IBA18
@borealabode: I only know that when I search for my blog’s name from the second result down it’s all my social media channels.
@MrsAlinaGhost: Social media platforms do have a lot of authority so they tend to come up first for a long time but don’t sweat, your website will be up there soon!
@andrubymakes4: Perhaps traffic from social is more engaged, as tends to be from those following my accounts. So potentially lower bounce rate, more subsequent page views etc. – which you’d hope would have a positive impact on SEO.
@MrsAlinaGhost: I love this. A very good point and you’re totally right – better quality of traffic = popular content signals = high rankings :).
@labelsforlunch: I find WordPress subscribers great too! I have almost 30,000 subscribers via them and I feel like it’s a really nice boost to my readership xx.
Sign up to Alina’s newsletter via www.aghost.co.uk and get your very own SEO checklist emailed to you or listen to the latest episode of her podcast; SEO 101: Basics for Bloggers. We will be hosting even more twitter takeovers for #TheIBAChat this year so keep your eyes and ears peeled for the next one. In the meantime follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with all this IBA news – @AmaraIBAs.