Whether you’re a brand new blogger trying to figure out which way is up, a small business trying to connect with customers online, or a seasoned blogger set in their ways, these 14 SEO habits and reminders will keep Google sending readers to your site for years to come
Contents: 14 SEO Reminders
- Do your Keyword research first, then write
- Prioritize getting on the first page for lower volume, long tail searches over page 2 for higher volume searches
- Keep the searcher’s “Keyword Search Intent” in mind when choosing keywords
- Don’t forget to optimize for click through in Google’s search results: Sharpen titles, sharpen meta descriptions, and add “search candy”
- Keep track of your keyword rankings: To repeat what you’re doing right and analyze what’s going wrong
- After 100+ posts, 5,000 hits per month of organic search traffic, and
one yearwriting, start revitalizing SEO in old posts
- Remember Google ranks “mobile first”, so you should assess your site on a mobile device
- Keep your site quick by optimizing images (~50kb on average)
- Join a good support group to save yourself time Googling
- Add some free tools in normal view on your browser, to help all of this SEO stuff sink in (Keywords Everywhere, Moz Toolbar)
- Understand the basic concepts to make this whole SEO thing easier to research (PA, DA, SEO Keywords, Competitiveness, “On Page SEO”, etc.)
- Make use of free SEO learning resources regularly (resources listed below)
- When havoc hits, force Google to re-index
- When you understand SEO, DA, PA, search
volme, competitiveness, and what makes a SEO good keyword, level up and save yourself time with a paid tool…but a cheap one…
Around the time that I started writing, I was on a whirlwind trip through Asia, culminating with the Everest Base Camp hike. As is customary for me, I was intent on pushing the experience as close to the limits as I could. I was determined to do the 12-14 day trek in a week and without the help of a guide or porter. Not the smartest idea.
The upside of this experience was that most of the trekkers called it quits around
For the 4 days we walked, our conversations swung back and forth between every topic two light headed trekkers could have after spending 24 hours a day together. But the conversations that really stuck were his advice for my my new blog.
For seemingly hours at a time, he would explain various concepts in SEO, how he had seen SEO done wrong in blogs, companies, and everywhere int he past few years…and how each of them could have done it the right way. A year later and I can honestly say, his information was priceless. About 6 months ago I wrote down as much of his advice as I could remember so that I could remind myself every few months of what good SEO is.
Below you’ll find 14 great reminders about SEO. Unfortunately, it’s a fraction of the information he gave me, but if you can incorporate these 14 reminders, whether you’re just starting or have been writing content for a few years, you’ll be building a foundation for success that will pay off down the road.
Straight out of the Himalayas, here are Chris the SEO Ninja’s 14 SEO reminders for bloggers and content writers
14 SEO Reminders for Bloggers and Content Marketers
1. Do your Keyword research first, then write
This was the first piece of advice I received. Quite frankly, it has become the most valuable. Researching and deciding a keyword before ever typing a keystroke is great because of how the process:
- Aligns your language with the language of your reader, and Google
- Ensures you are writing something that a sufficient number of people need and are looking for
- Ensures you are writing new, useful information that hasn’t been written before, meaning less competition – and if it has, you will presenting it in a novel, valuable way.
By researching and deciding keywords first that have high search volume, low competition, and searcher intent aligned with our content, there is a natural need for whatever we write. Things that are needed never have to be sold or marketed. Instead of having to market and push content, readers come and get the content they’ve literally been searching for while we write more great content.
It all starts by finding the right keywords for our content that have high search volume, low competition, and search intent aligned with our content
If you’re unsure how to do keyword research to find easy keywords, read our article, “Keyword Research in 6 Simple Steps”
2. Prioritize getting on page 1 of Google for lower volume, long tail keyword searches instead of page 2 for higher volume keyword searches
A common misconception among newer bloggers and content writers is that its better to be on page two of a high volume search, 10,000 searches per month for example, than to be on page one of a lower volume search, for example 1,000 searches per month.
In reality, because of how searchers choose results, nearly 95% of searches end on the first page, meaning only 5% of the time does a searcher even continue on to page 2.
To make matters worse, the first 3 search results (on page 1) are clicked nearly 60% of the time.
Even position 3 on page 1 garners nearly 11.5% of clicks in searchers according to Search Engine Watch
In comparison, position 1 on page 2 only get’s 1.5% of clicks on average.
So if we compare being on page 2 position 1 on a 10,000 searches per month keyword and being on page 1 position 1 for a 500 searches per month keyword, page 1 of the small search will get you about 15-20 more clicks on average (165 vs. 150). It can actually be easier to get the smaller search’s page 1 to boot…an all around win.
As new bloggers, or even experienced bloggers on a smaller blog, we might not have the Domain Authority to rank on the first page for a higher volume search, but with good SEO keyword research for keywords that are easy to rank for (and targeting Long Tail Keywords, you can definitely land on page 1 of Google for a smaller search.
3. Keep the searcher’s “Keyword Search Intent” in mind when choosing keywords
Specific SEO keywords will only be productive to target for specific content.
With the right keywords, the keyword will signal to Google the topic of your content, the information you provide, and what search results to put your content on. The right keyword for your content will receive a hefty number of searches per month, thus (hopefully) sending more searchers to your site…but the process doesn’t stop there.
With the right keyword for your content, the searcher will have a question in mind that they intend to get the answer to or a problem that they intend to find a solution for. If your content has the information that the searcher intends to find, their search will stop at your site, and they’ll spend much more time engaged with, and reading through your content…and Google will see all of this. Google will recognize this time spent on your site as a sign of satisfaction.
In return for providing great content that responds to the searcher’s intent behind the keyword, and the need driving their search, Google will send more searchers to
On the other hand, if Google sends you a searcher but the searcher arrives, realizes the information isn’t what they need, and leaves immediately, Google will notice this dissatisfaction and remove you from the results for that keyword.
What’s the point?
Whenever you’re choosing keywords, aim to be in the first situation, wherein your content aligns with the searcher’s and the SEO keyword’s intent. This leads to ultimately delivering a satisfying experience providing the exact information the searcher needed.
Think deeply about the searcher’s potential intention behind searching that keyword. If there are several potential intentions behind a search keyword, making the intent unclear or ambiguous, then move on to a different SEO keyword. Aiming for an ambiguous keyword will do you more harm and waste than good.
Here’s an example that demonstrates keyword intention:
- Italian motorcycle
- Ducati motorcycle
- How much does a Ducati motorcycle cost?
- Should I buy a Ducati motorcycle?
For each potential keyword that could be searched, there is a goal behind the query, and a question that the searcher wants answered.
In which of these potential SEO keywords is the intent (or the information desired) more clearly communicated? Clearly in #4 and #5. In #1, #2, and #3, the keywords are less descriptive and the searcher could easily be hoping to find one of a handful of different things – you may have great information in response to a query “motorcycle” but its much more likely that you’re not delivering what the searcher was hoping for.
When deciding keywords, pick keywords wherein the searcher’s intention (and what they hope to find in the content) is clear, singular, and directly lines up with your content.
4. Don’t forget to optimize for click through in Google’s search results: Sharpen titles, sharpen meta descriptions, and add “search candy”
After spending hours and sometimes even days researching SEO keywords, writing content, peppering in the keywords, publishing, and finally sharing on social media, we often forget to optimize one of the most important things – the first thing that searcher’s in Google see – “the snippet”, also know as the “meta description”.
Make a better first impression in Google by using a catchy, engaging meta description
Hopefully we’ve already optimized the title and made it catchy, but what about that blurb that pops underneath the title in Google results. What about the meta description?
If you look at most searches, the meta description is dull and boring. This leaves a huge opportunity to stand out.
Before a job interview, or a blind date, we often think heavily about what we want to say and what we want our first impression to be like. Put the same effort into the first impression of your content in Google by making your “snippet”, your meta description, catchy, engaging, and something that stands out from the rest of the results.
Make your result in Google look better by dressing it up
Everybody likes and is attracted to stars. Stars are so entrancing that teachers can use them to bribe two year olds into behaving. Few forces on earth can do that. So, if stars can enchant two year olds…why not use them to enchant Google searchers?
Use “schema.org markup” to add stars or numbers to your review articles, of products, movies, accommodations, etc., and structure the data so that the stars show up next to your site’s results in Google.
Beyond stars, learn how to structure the information in your posts so that, if you achieve page 1, you’ll be able to take spot 0 on Google.
5. Keep track of your keyword rankings: To repeat what you’re doing right and analyze what’s going wrong
In the beginning of any craft, writing, blogging, or otherwise, the most important thing is to just do it. Do it as much as possible so that you learn by doing.
Over time, as you gain more experience in your craft, learning won’t come as naturally by “just doing it” and you’ll have to learn by either analyzing and fixing mistakes or by figuring out what you do well so that you can repeat it.
Unfortunately, no one’s memory (that I know of) is good enough to remember all of their SEO activities (or lack thereof) well enough to learn from them. Instead, it will be more useful to track a few key metrics:
- Keywords you’re targeting, when, and what posts are targeting them
- Keywords you’re ranking for, the position in Google, and the associated date
- Major SEO changes you notice and any associated info (increases in traffic, dips in traffic, when they happen, possible reasons)
- How posts are performing – though this is easily available in Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Though you will only analyze this data once in a while, having it handy will let you see
- Individual SEO Keywords that you are ranking well for – giving you a hint of a potentially successful niche to target
- Topics and niches that you are ranking well for – giving you another hint of a potentially successful niche to target
- SEO keywords, topics, and niches that are wasting your time – so that you can spend less time on what doesn’t work and more time on what does
- Posts that are underperforming due to improper or lack of SEO optimization (chosen keywords, how they were optimized), but can garner more traffic if “re-SEO’ed”
You may not be at a point yet with the skills or free time to analyze this information to improve your SEO, but you will thank yourself when you finally do reach that point (of SEO skill and free time) and have that data available.
Additionally, if your website ever does run into problems, such as a dip in traffic, having this data will help you diagnose your site’s problem and get back on track quickly.
6. After 100+ posts, 5,000 hits per month of organic search traffic, and one year blogging, start revitalizing old posts
Google has something called a “freshness factor” in which Google rewards content that is “fresh”. “Fresh” doesn’t necessarily mean new, it means that the content was recently updated with information that makes it more relevant and valuable in the present. In other words, you can use this old content to boost your traffic, instead of writing all new content…a huge timesaver.
Additionally, some content may be great but just didn’t take off, in a search engine sense, because it wasn’t paired with the right SEO keywords or didn’t receive the right on page SEO – meaning Google couldn’t tell exactly what it was about and wasn’t able to figure out which queries it answered and which keyword intents it lined up with.
After a year, you have plenty of Google Search Console and Google Analytics data to use to analyze what Google really thought your content was about. So, you can go back and re-SEO accordingly, with the help of all that data.
- Some content never takes off, just because it wasn’t optimized well or optimized for the right keywords. This doesn’t mean there aren’t important questions it answers or needs it responds to. Re-SEO’ing a post gives it a second chance and takes far less effort than creating new content.
- Revitalizing old posts is a chance to gain more traffic and move up in Google search rankings thanks to Google’s “freshness factor”
7. Remember Google ranks “mobile first”, so you should assess your site on mobile
Most bloggers and content writers build their websites and write their content on laptops…but over 60% of user views of content happen on a much smaller, mobile devices.
Additionally, since 2018 Google crawls the mobile version of your website, not the desktop version, and uses that as the basis for placing your site in its rankings. This is part of Google’s mobile first approach.
If users and Google are prioritizing mobile, shouldn’t you be?
I know your response is probably that, “yes, I’m prioritizing mobile.” However, when was the last time you flipped through your site and read your own content on a mobile device? If you’re doing that frequently, you’ll be assessing the user experience, layout, design, and readability, and optimizing them constantly for that mobile device format.
- Take some time to flip through your site and read your content on a mobile phone. You’ll likely find a few surprises to fix and other opportunities for improvement
- Whenever you’ve written content, proofread it on your phone. What might be perfectly formatted and structured on a tablet or laptop may be a torturous wall of text on a mobile device
8. Keep your site quick by optimizing images (~50kb on average)
The larger an image in your content is, the longer it takes to download, the longer it will take the content to download. If readers are kept waiting, they leave. No questions asked.
Fix this one of two ways.
- Install a plugin that automatically shrinks any images uploaded to your WordPress site
- Use Irfanview (completely free software) to do a “bulk optimization”. Just install Irfanview, open up the software, and press “b”. A dialog will open up in which you can shrink a nearly infinite number of images with one click, and sit back while the software works. Simple as that.
9. Join a good support group to save yourself time Googling
There’s nothing new under the sun. Any problem you’ve had as a blogger or content writer has probably been experienced before. Lucky for you, the community of content producers is a generally social, helpful, and collaborative group. By joining a group of likeminded wordsmiths, you’ll have a network of people to direct your queries to whenever Google fails. I can personally recommend these groups as great hubs of encouragement and thought.
- Travelbloggers Club on Facebook (Specifically for travel bloggers)
- Make Traffic Happen (Specifically for SEO)
- Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Facebook group – you’ll have to join his course to get access, but once you’ve run through all of the course content, the group continues to help you and provide value
- r/Blogging on Reddit for all kinds of blogs
- r/JustStart on Reddit for affiliate marketing and ideas for growing traffic that most bloggers don’t think about
If you have an ideas for other groups, or you run one, feel free to share it in the comments
10. Add some free tools in normal view on your browser, to help all of this SEO stuff sink in through exposure (Keywords Everywhere, Moz Toolbar)
Just like any other craft, the more exposure you have to SEO, the more familiar you’ll become with SEO, and the better you’ll become at SEO.
By installing few free tools, you’ll overlay SEO data onto your normal searches. In doing this, every time you run a search in Google you’ll get a better feel of how many times per month particular searches are performed and how strong the current results are or how easy they would be to rank for.
We all have preconceived notions of what good SEO keywords probably are, but this helps us check our assumptions.
Additionally, these tools can help make brainstorming a continual process. Keywords Everywhere provides a list of suggested & related searches with every search, and provides monthly search volume so you can quickly take note of great keywords and screen out ideas with low search volume.
Tools to download for Google Chrome:
- Keywords Everywhere: Provides monthly search volume and related searches download Keywords Everywhere here
- Moz toolbar: Provides data on competitiveness of search results with Domain Authority, Page Authority, and number of backlinks. Install the Moz toolar plugin into your Google Chrome browser here
But in order to get the most of the data that comes up, you’ll need to learn a few terms, which leads to our next tip…
11. Understand a few basic concepts to make this whole SEO thing easier to research
PA: Page Authority
DA: Domain Authority
SEO Keywords: Search Engine Optimization Keywords ** Understanding SEO Keywords**
The attributes to optimize in “On Page SEO”:
Read How to Do On Page SEO” for full descriptions of each of the following HTML tags and how to optimized them, but start by understanding these elements:
- H1 Header Tag
- H2 Header Tag
- Alt. Img. Tag
- Paragraph: First 100 words
- Paragraph: First 1000 words
- Meta Description / Google Snippet
- Optimizing Pinterest Ready Images
12. Make Use of the Free SEO Learning Resources
SEO is a developing field and fast paced, but there is still a ton of free knowledge out there. Learn as much as you can about SEO using these free SEO knowledge resources
- SEO Training Course by Moz (Whiteboard Fridays): Available for free on Udemy
- Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy: Udemy
- SEO: Quicksprout
- A 6 Step Process to Keyword Research: How to find high search volume keywords with low competition
On PageSEO Checklist: How to use SEO keywords to improve your Google Rankings
Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays
Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays are an amazing resource, perfect for any level to get started in SEO. If you’re new to SEO, start with the whiteboard Fridays and be don’t afraid to browse Moz’s blog. They have tons of free, valuable information on all things SEO.
SEO Training Course by Moz (Whiteboard Fridays): Available for free on Udemy
Quicksprout specializes in all things digital marketing and has a very robust catalog of information on SEO. If you hit a particular SEO hurdle and need some information on a specific problem, Quicksprout’s blog is a great place to peruse for a solution. All for free.
Udemy’s Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy
If you need a cheap, well structured course to guide you through your SEO information, Udemy’s course is good, and it’s a steal for only $12.
13. When you understand SEO, DA, PA, search volume, competitiveness, and what makes a good keyword, level up and save yourself time with a paid SEO keyword research tool
When you’ve progressed beyond a beginner level, consider purchasing a tool that allows you to do your SEO keyword research more quickly, generates a “competitiveness” score for quickly assessing keywords, and has filtering capabilities that allow you to quickly filter through keywords to find the SEO keywords that are best for your content.
There are several tools out there, all of which offer a 30 day free trial that you can use and abuse to learn the SEO ropes. Here are a few
When it comes time to actually paying, I highly recommend Keysearch, which is what I use. For 3 reasons…
Itscheap. $17/mo. and only $14 a month with discount code “KSDISC”
- Its simple and offers all of the capability a blogger needs.
Itscheap…which leaves more money for me to travel with
Keysearch is Cheap
$14. That’s cheaper than a hard night out in Bangkok. Worth the time you’ll save by using this tool and the accuracy you’ll gain in your keyword searches
By comparison, Ahrefs is about $99 per month and Moz is $99 per month as well
Keysearch is Simple and Effective
Personally I save a good 5 hours per week at least on SEO keyword searches thanks to keysearch, and being able to see the competitor URL, links, description data in a single view. That’s well worth the $13
Don’t forget to use discount code: “KSDISC”
If you’ve already signed up for Keysearch and are unsure how exactly to use it, checkout
Did you find this useful but still have a bit to learn about SEO?
Bookmark this page (CTRL + D) to come back later and proceed to the following:
If you found this useful then check out:
- A 6 Step Process to SEO Keyword Research
- On Page SEO: A Checklist for how to use SEO Keyword in your content, and some FAQs