Traffic from search engines, like Google, are considered the holy grail of referrals. However, there are a few simple things I’ve learned in the past 5 years of blogging that can help or hurt your search engine optimization (SEO).
Working on SEO can get complicated involving keyword research, looking at competitors, and building backlinks.
However, the simple actions in this post are all things you can do today, likely in less than an hour….
In this post, I’m going to share 5 things that will impact your search engine optimization but are hardly talked about when you start your blog.
They are easy to implement and can help you to be found on search engines.
1. Check Your SEO Settings in Yoast
Yoast SEO is a wordpress plugin often recommended to help you with your on page search engine optimization. However, very few people actually explain that you should look at and adjust your settings in Yoast SEO.
To do this go to SEO>Search Appearance
There are several tabs at the top – start with Content Types:
While what settings you have here will vary depending on your site and the other plugins you use.
For example, since I use Thrive Leads and Thrive Architect, then in Yoast I have settings for Thrive Symbols and Thrive Lightboxes. Obviously when someone searches for something on Google I don’t want a random lightbox showing up in the search results.
So I opt to hide them from search results:
Go through each and decide if it should show up in search engine results.
You’ll also likely want to go through the settings in the Archives tab as well.
2. Make Sure Your Freebies Aren’t Searchable
If you’re like most bloggers then you likely offer some sort of freebie on your site. If you’ve uploaded the freebie into the “media” section on your site and have allowed your “media” to be searchable via the Yoast settings, then they can be found via a search on Google.
Chances are you want people to opt-in for your freebie and not just be able to search for it online. In which case, you’ll want to go to those files individually and change the settings on them. You can do this under the “Advanced” drop-down menu:
Pro Tip: if you’re freebies are PDFs, search “pdf” in your media library to locate those freebie files
You might also want to make certain pages nonsearchable. An example of this could be a thank you page or a one time offer upsell page.
3. Take Dates Out Of Your Permalinks
When you start a WordPress site your permalink settings usually default to include the “day and name” but including the day in the permalink is not great for search engine optimization.
But before you go changing it, if you’ve been using that default and plan to change it, likely to the “post name” option, then know you will need to forward all your old URLs to the new URL.
You’ll likely want to use a plugin like Redirect to do this, but I would highly recommend hiring this out so that you don’t end up with a bunch of dead links everywhere.
4. Don’t Use Follow Links On Paid Links
Outbound links (links to sites other than your own) have settings you need to be aware of as well.
There may be times when you don’t want to pass along your “SEO juice” to other sites just in general. Then there are times when you absolutely should not. In those cases, you need the outbound link to be classified as “no-follow”.
You should be using “no-follow” classification on any link that is paid, that includes links in sponsored content as well as affiliate links. The folks at iMarkInteractive wrote a great explanation of when to use no-follow and how to set a link as “no-follow”.
5. Share Your Authority
In an update to their algorithm in 2018, Google started placing more emphasis on EAT = expertise, authority, trustworthiness.
The better your EAT score, the better your chances of ranking. This means you need to make sure that your site demonstrates your authority and expertise.
A few easy ways to do this is through your about page and your bio. So make sure they’re good and if they don’t currently showcase your expertise go back and edit them.
Even if you’re a new blogger, these 5 things are easy to do to help you with your site’s SEO.
- Review your settings in the Yoast SEO Plugin
- Make sure your freebies aren’t searchable in search engines
- Take dates out of your permalink structure
- Use nofollow links appropriately
- Showcase your authority and trustworthiness throughout your site
Implementing all of these things should only take maybe an hour of your time and could pay off big time in the long run.