When you run a blog, you’re not just lazily writing posts in between painting your toes and reading magazines – it’s hard work, and there are 1000 things to do at all times! Creating new posts, staying up-to-date on changes and new strategies, and being a being a one-woman marketing team. Let alone managing family and outside work! It’s no wonder you’re constantly looking for ways to improve your workflow and save yourself a little time. Although, even if you COULD magically get more time, you know you’d just pour it straight back into your blog, wouldn’t you? 😉
But why bother doing anything at all, if you’re not reaching your full potential?
By ignoring SEO, you’re limiting your blogs true performance – you’re capping your traffic potentials and throwing caution to the wind by relying on social media algorithms. We’re not asking you to take on a whole new social media platform or to create something new each and every week. Instead, SEO is simply improving what you’re ALREADY doing!
All it takes is one little push
So you’ve heard the murmurs and you know you SHOULD be doing SEO, but there’s a little voice in the back of your head faintly whispering ‘Ugh, how long is it going to take? I’m already doing 100 other things, how can I fit it in?’ combined with that little bit of selfishness (YES, selfishness!) that wants instant results and stops you from fully committing to your blog.
This post has one purpose – to show you that you CAN do SEO! If you want your blog to be a viable income stream with thousands of devoted readers, you need to devote a little of your own time – and by the end of this post, you’ll realise it doesn’t take very much at all! Remember, one of our favourite mantras is “You’re ALREADY doing the hardest part of SEO!” – because you ARE! Writing fabulous content and engaging an audience is the toughest part of running a successful blog. The rest? It’s just ADMIN!
A little work, BIG results
SEO sounds hards, but it’s simply knowing ‘what buttons to press.’ While it is a little more in-depth than that, it’s actually a fairly simple process – you just need the know-how! While SEO isn’t exactly a set-and-forget task that you can block an hour away a month to do, there certainly are some tasks that fit into that category, and others you only have to do once! For the larger part, SEO tasks are merely maintenance that slips neatly into your regular routine – soon you’ll be working from memory and building GREAT habits!
For individual tasks, some things can be a flick of a switch and done in just a few seconds. Others only take a few minutes, but will need to be repeated, like keyword research – you’ll need to research for each new post, and potentially revisit if you’re looking to increase performance.
Just a few extra minutes researching the most effective keywords before you begin writing could see your post rank almost immediately after you hit publish! Renaming your image files as you upload them only takes two seconds, and you’ve already got the image open & ready to go. An extra click, two minutes of research and your posts can be performing like never before.
Now I did mention that some tasks need to be done occasionally, and some only once. While these tasks are a little more time consuming, you’ll see major results for just a few extra minutes of your time.
For example, moving your blog to HTTPS takes around 30 minutes to implement, and you’ll need to monitor the changes for a few hours. But, you only have to do it ONCE, and the benefits of a secure site vastly outweigh the time spent.
Auditing your blog’s SEO sounds painful, but it’s actually kind of fun! Yes, lame-o-liz thinks audits are fun… Spending 20 minutes running through your site, identifying and fixing issues ensures any future (and current) posts reach their full potential.
So how often do we audit? Well, if you’re making big changes, or haven’t checked in in a while it’s a great time to get a full breakdown of issues on your site. Or, as often as you want! If you’re a ‘do everything in one big chunk’ type of gal, you could block out a morning once a month to fully audit your site and fix any issues you find. And the more you audit, the fewer issues you’ll come across as you’ll learn to avoid them! Auditing is the perfect way to find out what areas of your site SUCK for your readers, and are harming your rankings – AND helps you find any nasties, like site hacks! 🙁
The best thing about our site audits? You can break them down into smaller tasks and do what you can when you can!
Patience & fluctuation
The majority – and if not the most important part of SEO – is MONITORING. Monitoring is when you make a change to your site, check your rankings and performance before and after the change. Sometimes, you might notice a drop or increase in your rankings. It’s important to check back regularly (sometimes daily) to see what happens next – you might appear, then drop out completely, only to reappear at a higher place a week later, and stay there. You might bounce around for a few days, even a few weeks, or you could drop out altogether.
Understanding what these changes mean for your goals (drop in rankings = decrease traffic) means you can further pursue changes that had a positive effect (like changing a single page title – you should explore this on others), or to avoid & reverse changes that had negative effects (like changing up your content structure and trying something ‘funky’ that makes your post unreadable).
If we say ‘90% of SEO work is just watching what impact changes have had’, that sounds kinda lazy – but it’s really the most important part.
That’s not to say you HAVE to check everything, every single day. As long as you do it regularly and keep track (we’ve got a simple & free keyword tracker ready for you!), you’ll be able to see patterns emerge. We check every day because we’re highly invested – it’s also our job, and we’re here all day every day working on our sites. We get it out of the way first thing before we start looking at anything else – mainly because it might impact the changes we planned to make!
The other thing about rankings is that they can be a little patchy at first – they can bounce around for a while as Google fully understands your content and it’s position in the web. But don’t worry, they WILL stabilise! Once they’re stable, or fluctuating around the same area (say regularly #15 – #20), you can assess and work on improving them further.
Results in …3 …2 …1
Some changes have instant effects, and others take time for Google to register. Setting up your geo-targeting, for example, is as simple as logging into Search Console, and clicking a drop-down!
Improved site speed has a double effect – your audience will notice it on your site immediately, and Google will register the improvement the next time it visits – usually within 24hrs, and will your rankings will be adjusted accordingly soon after.
There are several things you can do to improve your site speed – optimising individual posts takes minutes (if not seconds) while moving to new hosting can be a relatively simple process but requires monitoring. BUT, chances are you’re already doing that anyway, so increased speed is a (time) free bonus! Our favourite hosting for speed improvements is WP Engine, with increased security, daily backups and STELLAR customer service. AND we’ve got our very own FREE migration class. Need I say more?
Other site-wide changes, such as adjusting page titles, need a little more time to take full effect. Google needs to crawl your site and understand the new connection between these changes. This is still a relatively quick process in the grand scheme of things, and rankings will be adjusted immediately after.
Another change we love is content consolidation, where you eliminate competing pages and help Google prioritise a page for that keyword. This again takes time as you wait for Google to understand the pages that have been removed or combined, and re-assign the authority. However, the payoff of having a single post on page #1 is FAR better than 2 posts appearing on page #3!
I’ve covered a fair few things in this post – which one are you going to work on first?
If you’re looking for a helping hand to get started with SEO, we’ve created beginner friendly classes covering EVERYTHING I’ve mentioned above! Keyword research, site audits, content consolidation, HTTPS & hosting migrations – our classes are waiting for you, and you can get started RIGHT NOW!