This is a video recording of my WordPress SEO Session at BlueFrog, Mumbai. This event was organised by IndiBlogger and BigRock team. Check out the video and transcript is added below:
Hello Mumbai, great, today we have seen so many legends talking about blogging, now many of you must be thinking how all this thing matters to us, understand, whatever you learn till now, these people are telling their experience, something that they have done, something they have achieved. You might not be facing all these things today, but tomorrow, all these suggestions are priceless, so take a note of it and saying that, let’s start the session.
Let’s start with how many of you who have a blog? I mean, I am sure everyone have one, right? So let me correct my question, how many of you blog for passion? Oh, that’s quite a number and how many of you blog for fame? And how many of you blog for money? okay, very few like you are shy or, all right, so here’s the thing, no matter like whatever the reason is, you are writing anything online and you are writing for yourself and at the same time you are writing for the people, you want to be read by the people , and how do you get that?
Now one of that habit that we all have like, we write a blog post and post it on Facebook and waiting for our friends to like and come to our blog and comment, well that’s good, I used to do that, my friend used to like it and then after that they stopped coming, you know, initially it’s like, they used to come because they find it interesting, they want to encourage you but later on, they don’t want my [x], they are not the audience, like I remember, one of my friend said today “don’t write for your friends” and he made a point, whatever the thing that you are writing for, you writing for someone who are searching for, so today I’ll be talking about one of the most technical topic and that is SEO(search engine optimization).
I started blogging in 2009 and when I heard about SEO, I used to think “What is SEO”? “Why do I need to worry about SEO?” I mean, I am a blogger, I like something and I write about it, why do I need to care about SEO? But the thing is, a lot has changed in terms of SEO and search engine in last 4 years, the internet that we know, has changed a lot and how it has changed? from now, you have to book a ticket, you go online and book the tickets, you need to buy a mobile phone, you go online and read the review and made the purchases, now understand the power, because of you, because of your review, because of your opinion, somebody is taking out his credit card and making a transaction, I mean somebody is putting out the money based on your review, so understand the power of the internet, now when internet becomes e-commerce now, that’s what I call it, so google, the major search engine like google, yahoo, they started putting regulation and regulation in the form so that they filter out good content from the bad. now SEO is not rocket science and I am not here to scare you, what I’ll be doing today, I will decode the SEO in the simplest form possible and by the ned you can ask me any question related to SEO which you think I haven’t answered and lets start session,
so before that, let me introduce myself properly, hi, I am Harsh Agrawal and I write a blog on ShoutMeLoud.com since 2008, I am a professional blogger that means I am making a living out of my blogging, I talk about online marketing, how to make money from your blog and more important, how to live life of your own and when I am not blogging, I am usually jumping from the sky, travelling everywhere and that’s what the life is all about, exploring something new.
so let’s start with how search engine works, I mean if we understand how the things work after that, the technical side is very easy to understand, so to start with, this is how the typically cycle of search engine, you go to google.com, type your query and google shows you the answer, that’s how the typical search engine work.
What is this? Spiderman! So exactly Spiderman is the reason we all get to transfer, so search engine like google, they have something called spider bots, these spider bots come to your website, like come to your homepage, go from one link to another and crawl all your pages, now this is called crawling, this is like following one link to another to another like a spider web, now the next thing they do after crawling is ‘indexing’, so indexing is typically like they move from one pages to another and they pick those pages which are important and they put it in google search, now let me simplify these more for you, typically search engine works and overlong SEO is divided into 3 simple way, on-page SEO, on-site SEO and off-site SEO.
Now on page SEO is something that you write, your blog post is what on-page is all about, your complete domain is your on-site and off-site is typically getting links from other blogs, now if you do the first two things, you will drive an immense amount of traffic and that naturally, you don’t have to share it on Facebook, people will typically find your blog from search engine and you will get traffic.
I understand many of you are BlogSpot bloggers and typically SEO for blog spot and WordPress are no different, I mean it is almost the same, the WordPress have certain advantage that it has plugins which configure everything quickly.
The very first thing and most important thing is the permalink, now the permalink is the URL, now you know when your write a blog post, let’s say, what is blogging, so your permalink is typically domain.com what is blogging, now in this ‘is’ word ‘and’ word are not [x], so before that, so in WordPress typically, when you configure a new WordPress blog, your permalink is set to the first default one, that is not search engine friendly, that is more like p=1,2,3 or any number, that is you post I.D number, they are good for your blog but not your readers and not for the search engines, so typically what we do, we go to the WordPress dashboard, click on the permalink and save the permalink to post in, simple, easy and crisp. now after that, when you write the blog post, so this is very useful for blog spot user also, when you write a blog post, you have an option to edit the permalink, Remember, you know writing a blog post like “hi, this is ram”, like just assume that this is a blog post we are writing now, the words like ‘hi’ are called stop words because they don’t add any value to the search engine, so what the search engine do, they discard them, they don’t give any weightage to them, so what you can do, when you write a blog post, before publishing, you can edit the permalink and remove those stop words like ‘a’, ‘and’,’the’,’is’,’are’ so there are a list of stop words you can google it to get the complete list.
SEO is typically a set of rules, a set of algorithm written by one of us and it’s not a human who comes to your blog and judge the quality of your blog, it’s typically algorithm that goes, check your blog and figure out that this post is about this, I write to it for this typical keyword, now how difficult it could be to make an algorithm fool? now I am not saying you have to fool, you just have to give them something that it is looking for, as it is you are working hard by writing blog post from your passion, from your heart, now all you need to do is become a bit smarter, give them something they are looking for, so your readers would be happy, your search engine would be happy, you’ll get more traffic and you’ll make more money.
After the permalink, the most important part is Meta-title, now meta title and meta description is what search engines are interested in, so typically, this is one of the most common question I have been asked like, like “Harsh, I write a blog post from my heart and you know the thing is, I use title like ‘moon is something like that'” or may be title could be like maybe you went to place called ‘bluefrog’ and you want to write a review and then you are like, frog is not as good as we think and typically that is the title you come up with but the thing is, the people who are searching for the review are not going to find you like that, how will you go and search in the google? you will typically type ‘bluefrog review’ or ‘review of bluefrog’, so what you can do here, to write the title for search engine and for the readers separately, so typically, the post title that you write is called the readers and at the same time, there are plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast, All in one SEO, they are free plugins, easy to configure and they have a box like this, so here, you add a meta title that is written for search engine , similarly you write a description for the search engine, now what is the value of meta description?
Think of meta description as the sales copy, it has to be seductive, it has to be appealing and it has to give a reason to readers to come and click on it, to the point of writing a meta description is, it exactly tell the readers, the searchers that this is what I am offering and that’s why you have to click on my this result and come to my blog, so make a thumb rule, it will take hardly one minute whenever you write a blog post, spend one minute, write a good meta title and meta description, the easy way, think how do you want to be found like what exactly you would type in google to find your blog post, it does not have to be about your writing, think from the mass point of view, if you do that, you are one step closer to the, now there is one aspect called keyword research, we are not going to cover that today because that’s to lengthy but anyhow, lets covet next point.
So you have a blog, you have blog spot blog or WordPress blog, how google would know that you have a blog, how google would know that you are publishing a new blog post and I have to go and crawl it and you have a blog and you are blogging from let’s say a month and your blog is not in google search, how people will find you? And how need to be found? so there’s a thing called sitemap.
It’s called sitemap file that you create once using a plugin in WordPress it’s just like, with one click you create the sitemap file, google offers google webmaster tool, Bing offer Bing webmaster tool that is for you and me like, for the bloggers, for the website owners, it’s completely free, you and submit the sitemap there, so whenever you publish a new blog post, the search engine bot will automatically come to your blog and index your new blog post and that’s with where the traffic come into the picture.
one thing, what is Apple? Fruit? Apple could be a company! So the thing is, how will google differentiate between two apples? Like I am writing the word apple, you are writing about apple, how google will understand which apple you are talking about? it could be the fruit, it could be the company, that’s where the thing called LSI, the related keywords come into the picture and according to the latest 2014 survey report case study, the related keywords are the most important factors for the writing of a blog post, so let’s say you write about, you are writing about Bluefrog review, now there are certain keywords that google is expecting for example night-club or happening place, so you have to figure out what are those keywords and the easy way to figure out, go to google.com, type the keyword and at the end google shows related searches, those are the keyword that you use for, otherwise there is a plugin called ‘EasyWPSEO’ in WordPress, this shows LSI keywords like this, so in this case, we have a keyword manually update I-pad which has like total 7000 searches a month and it shows with the LSI keyword over here so what you need to do, within your content, you need to add this keyword that you do very naturally.
Blog loading time
Another thing which is very important in today’s date is the speed of your blog, even if you are blogging on WordPress or blog spot, how fast your blog is loading matters a lot, if it loads in 2 seconds, 3 seconds, you are good but if it’s taking more than 4 seconds to load, nobody has enough patience to wait for it to load and it’s our job to make to make sure that our blog loads faster, understand one thing, what you are offering, may be unique to you but there are similar things being offered by many others and as a consumer, as an end user, I have multiple options, what you are offering, if you don’t give me in the good user experience, I’ll go to somebody else, so site loading time is a big search engine ranking factor, work on your loading time of your blog, make sure your blog loads really faster, there are sites called tools.pingdom.com where you can go and check how fast your blog is loading.
Another thing which could change the way you blog is ‘Cloudflare’, the Cloudflare is a free service which offers free CDN and is a bit technical but I would recommend everyone to go and search about Cloudflare, its quite easy to integrate, quite easy to setup with your blog and that will make your blog load very faster and for free.
I will be sharing two case-studies that I have done in last one year and that increased my traffic by 40%, so one of them is, as a blogger, I write evergreen post, I don’t write post which is outdated after fun, so one change which I made is, I removed the dates from my blogpost, now when I say, I will just show you one example that how this works, so in this blog post, if you what it is, like the, I saw it was something recovering from google panda, in the first post, there’s a date September 16 2013, second one has a date, third one doesn’t have a date, fourth one does not have a date and the fifth one is 2013 again, now imagine, when you search for anything and if you are blogging from three-four years, chances are that your post are dated as 2011-2012, as a searcher if I am searching google and I see your result and three other result, I won’t click on your link because I am sure that it’s an outdated blog post, I have better option, in this case what is happening that the date is not shown so I would still give a benefit of doubt to these two and I will click on that, now this one, you have to be careful because this I recommend only for those blogs, who are fashion blogger, food blogger, who are writing evergreen content, if you are writing content that gives outdated like news website, mobile websites, I suggest not to do this.
Second and the last one which is very important is the comments, comments of your blog are the free content for your blog, that is something you have to understand, most of us, when we blog, we wait for the comments on our blog and maximum times we give comments like “nice post” “beautiful post” and we feel happy, but the thing is you are spending hours of your time, writing the piece of content that is from your heart and somebody is just coming and writing nice post, do you think that is adding value? and when I say that yes, you might say that we are appreciating and as a blogger I have to accept it but understand that the quality of comments that you get on your blog will encourage more similar comments, expect one good comment, it will encourage more good comments, if you will accept comments like “nice post” “good post”, the other blogger or the person whose is coming might write nice post, now the thing is, how comments help you in better in writing, so let’s assume you have written a blog post in 500 words and then a guy comes and he adds value, now when he adds value, he write comments in 6-7 lines, now the thing is, the comment which he is writing is adding into that total content of your blog, increasing the length of your blog post and at the same time, increasing the relevancy of your blog post, that ways the ranking of your blog post gets higher, so one suggestion, when you get comments on your blog post, be serious about it, try to encourage meaningful comments, try to encourage good comments and that will help you a lot, so pretty well that’s it for my end and I am open for questions.
- Questioner: the [x] for deleting dates on [x] post right, so just tell me how do we actually go about it?
- Harsh: so for WordPress, there’s actually a plugin called SEO date exclusion plugin, that’s a free plugin, you can use that.
- Questioner: what about those of us who don’t WordPress blogs, what do we do?
- Harsh: wordpress.com you don’t have a choice, that’s a limitation.
- Questioner: what is the technology [x] moving over to self hosted WordPress?
- Harsh: it’s quite easy, it’s very easy in fact because wordpress.com offers, I mean you need to buy a domain name or you might be using the domain name.
- Questioner: I use a domain name already and what I am worried about is this I get readers still, new one joining in, like there are subscribers through the reader, when I use that facility if I move over to [x] post.
- Harsh: so when you move from wordpress.com to WordPress. Or, your readers will also get moved plus you won’t be affected by the search engine ranking because the migration happens, the migration will 301 redirection, permalink redirection and you will find enough tutorial on internet and it is quite easy to do, you’ll just have to import, export, setup your custom domain and that’s it.
- questioner: what you are directly trying to tell me is that, the whole which I am looking for is because we have this all set of bloggers who are in this habit of writing these huge comments I won’t [x], the only reason I still hang on with wordpress.com is that there are other bloggers who are trying to leave you these comments which are like these Hugh essays.
- Harsh: basically they use their wordpress.com account to comment. Right?
- Questioner: I know and they leave rather big comments unlike lot of other people, so we are not going to lose any of them if I move to blogger?
- Harsh: so when you will move, you will post images, comments and everything.
- Questioner: what about your readers? Will they be able to find me through the google reader?
- Harsh: through google or through the reader?
- Questioner: WordPress reader.
- Harsh: yes, they will be.
- Questioner: thank you.
Harsh: any more questions?[One more. right there. hey, how old are you?]
Questioner: 13[13? big round of applause, there’s a 13 year old boy in the house, give him the mike, let’s hear him speak]
- Questioner: so I have blogger account on blogger and when I post the, permalink is decided on its own, so can that be altered in blogger or it is only confined to word press?
- Harsh: no, you can edit the permalink in blogger also, in blogger, when you write the edit post section where you write the blog post, at the right side there will be an option where it will be [x] permalink before publition.
- Questioner: and also you told about removing the dates, so is that possible in blogger?
- Harsh: yes, I am not a coder but this is possible, you could use java script to show the dates, so when you show the dates by java script, it will not be shown to the search engine but will be shown to your readers.
- Questioner: and when we are talking about SEO, how much amount of technical knowledge like HTML and all that is required to implement it properly.
- Harsh: so SEO again, it depends on what platform you work, so when you are on blog spot, on blog spot, mostly you have to edit your template to create all the things like example editing the meta description and all whereas on WordPress it becomes quite easy with the help of plugins, install the plugin and everything is quite easy to do.
- Questioner: thank you!
Questioner: do you have like routine for doing SEO for every post like that?
Questioner: that also like because more..
Harsh: yes, what’s your good name?
Harsh: so Vishal asked a very interesting question that you have written a blog post and SEO you have to do and why it is important because maybe what you are doing is you publish the blog post, you share it on Facebook and twitter, you get traffic and that traffic dies like in 2-3 days or maybe a week but it’s the search engine traffic that drives traffic back to back, now the thing is, you have to SEO optimize your blog post and how do you do that? 1. you post item that I have already talked about, the meta title part, now your content itself is very important, when you write the content, we have this habit of writing the story, like no heading, no H2 tag, no hashtag, so make sure that you have H2 tag and asterisk tag in the blog post, don’t overdue the H2 and H3 tag, most of us, sometime what we do, to make the headings look good, we use 3-4 H2 or H3 tags, don’t do that, that’s a big mistake. 3. What are the important points in the blog post, use bold and italics to give emphasize to them that helps a lot. 4. Use images, use relevant images, make sure that image name is same as the keyword that you are targeting, use all tag for the images, it’s pretty easy, and just remember this term and you can do it.
Questioner: all that title and caption, all description and all you have to type it.
Harsh: yes, it matters because google can’t read images like that, you need to provide that all tag, all tag is the key that’s how google reads or [x] generates an image.