Caroline's Corner

Caroline's Corner
Why should a blogger focus on SEO?

Caroline’s Corner: Why should a blogger focus on SEO?

Here at Yoast, we’re very good at SEO. We’re also very good at telling you why you should focus on SEO: because you want to get the most out of your site. But what if you’re a blogger writing about things you love without the intention of making money? You want to entertain people with your blog posts and hope they’ll come back next time to read about either your new travel adventures, an awesome DIY project you’ve tried or a personal update. The last thing you think you need is something like keyword research or Yoast SEO’s green bullets — especially since Yoast SEO always seems to hate your writing style.

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Introducing: Caroline’s Corner

Hi, my name is Caroline. I’m 29 years old and a technical product specialist at Yoast. In my spare time, I write and maintain a blog about life as a mother. In September 2014 I joined the company as a software developer and to be honest, I had no idea what the Yoast SEO plugin even did — but don’t tell Joost and Marieke I said that. Something with SEO, sure. But who needs that as a blogger? That’s for the big companies out there that are only in it for the money. O, how wrong I was.

In a new blog series on Yoast.com, I will take you by the hand and show you how to make the most of your blog. I hope you’ll join me on my travels! But first…

Six reasons why you should focus on SEO

A lot of bloggers start their blog as a hobby. They don’t focus on SEO at first and who could blame them? You want to write, not worry about Google and their unfathomable rules on how to rank. But as your blog starts attracting more visitors, you might think of the possibility of making a bit of money. You could use it to cover the cost of running the site, for instance. Or you want to keep it a hobby, but would love to get an even bigger audience. Just as there are a million reasons to start blogging, there are lots of reasons to focus on SEO — especially if you want to reach that next level as a blog. Not entirely convinced yet? Below you’ll find six reasons why you could focus on SEO with your blog.

Currently, you only reach readers via social media

Perhaps you have an active Instagram and Facebook account with a couple of hundred followers or more. You’re aiming for your readers to visit your blog through the links you share on your Facebook page. However, social media optimization is a thing too and to do this right, you need to focus on your SEO as well. SEO-optimized content can bring in new traffic from search engines.

You want to get to know your readers

Your readers are probably a fan of your blog and without them, you don’t have an audience. To cater them, you need to get to know them. By getting to know them, you know what drives them to your website, what gets them to stay on your blog and what makes them leave. You’ll be able to write more relevant blog posts and get more in touch with your blog.

To get and stay inspired

When you know how well you rank for certain keywords, you might find your most popular blog post is one you’ve written over a year ago. There might be a series hidden in that blog post that you can expand. You’ll never suffer from writer’s block again.

Additionally, if you want to grow, you need to know what keywords you need to focus on. If you want to become an expert on a certain topic, you’ll need to do keyword research.

You’re not depending on mouth-to-mouth

While off-page SEO is important to grow too, handing out your paper business cards and telling your family and friends you have a blog, probably won’t get you to exceed a thousand unique visitors a month, unless you have a very large family, of course. While my mom is my biggest fan and she tells everyone they should visit my blog, I doubt she actually gets more than ten people to visit my blog. While mouth-to-mouth will get you to grow just a tiny bit, it will not help you grow hugely. That’s another reason why you need SEO.

To acquire collaborations

There are several things that matter for companies that want to collaborate with you. From domain authority and page authority to the total amount of visitors and from your Facebook like count to the amount of Instagram followers. To make money blogging, your blog and each aspect is your business card, treat it as such.

Brings structure to your blog

Last but not least: to grow, your blog needs a clear structure. You wouldn’t be the first to end up with dozens of categories and hundreds of tags. Your users need a structured website to navigate and Google uses this as well. This means your website will become better by spending time on SEO.

Let’s get started!

Feeling inspired to start? Great! Feeling worried? I can imagine. Don’t worry, this is just the first post in a blog series where I’ll take you through the daunting jungle of SEO to show you (and myself) that it’s not a big bad world out there.

I would love to hear from you what you find hard about SEO for your blog so I can possibly touch that subject in a next blog post.

Read more: ‘Blogging: the ultimate guide’ »


30 Responses to Caroline’s Corner: Why should a blogger focus on SEO?

  1. Basit Ansari
    By Basit Ansari on 14 March, 2018

    Thank you for telling me the importance of SEO and now I am following your steps.

  2. Martha Morrice
    By Martha Morrice on 13 March, 2018

    Hi, In line with your introduction, if I have a few posts with a bad SEO score (indeed these are my first posts), and the rest has green SEO scores (let’s say the proportion is 7 bad over a total of 70 posts). Do you know if these bad posts are totally going to hurt my ranking with Google?

  3. Michael
    By Michael on 13 March, 2018

    Great post! You mentioned having hundreds of tags – is this a bad thing? Should tag pages typically be excluded from the sitemap / noindexed? Perhaps you’ll touch on this in a future post. :)

    Cheers!

  4. George Starakis
    By George Starakis on 13 March, 2018

    Hi, thank you for your SEO approach and sharing it with us.
    Just wanted to ask sth general, because I read somewhere in your post about Social Media Optimization. Is there any big difference between SMO and SMMarketing? I can imagine the latter being an aspect of the more general SMO, correct?
    Im just asking because since I use your directions and your content/plugin I can succeed to rank some websites very high even 1st result for long tail buy also for just some general keywords. Local SEO has helped me out a lot…. Im so thankful to you.
    Finally i have to add that even i do not focus on off seo yet, i can achieve such high rankings just caring my useful content and my on seo. I would be so grateful to you if you could share with us a tipped article focusing on “ON SEO” tactics…or how to get backlinks without buying them. I do really hate that procedure to gain some fake inbound links.
    Thank you.

  5. Dennis Schmets
    By Dennis Schmets on 13 March, 2018

    Thanks for this informative blog, it’s all about the quality and content that the blog has to offer.

  6. Jessie
    By Jessie on 12 March, 2018

    I would love to heAR about structure for the blog. Specifically the Categories. I have read that you should have approximately the same number of posts in each category. For example, I have 5 main categories, which are broken down into subcategories. Topic>this>that. I’s there a general rule for the number of subcategories? Is it better to have a broader category section or smaller with more subcategories?

  7. Olivia
    By Olivia on 12 March, 2018

    I like Yoast blog very much because of it’s user-friendly discussion. Every post comprises quality information like this. SEO is mandatory because it provides a constructive structure to a blog.

  8. syamala
    By syamala on 12 March, 2018

    Thank you and I absolutely agree with you….

  9. SOPHIA EMMANUEL
    By SOPHIA EMMANUEL on 11 March, 2018

    What is the very first step in getting your blog SEO ready? Where is the best place to start?

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 12 March, 2018

      Keep following the series. The next post will be about setting up your blog and getting it ready for SEO.

  10. Claudia
    By Claudia on 11 March, 2018

    Hi Caroline, very interesting article! Yes, I do find it difficult to focus on SEO and yes, most of my traffic comes from social media. I run a food and wellness blog( I know, plenty of fish in the sea) and I would love to have more tips!

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 12 March, 2018

      Thank you and please stay tuned for more blog posts on how to gain traffic to your website, even if you have a blog that’s about something that’s been covered all the time. I run a mom blog, talking about plenty of fish in the sea ;)

  11. Want Extra
    By Want Extra on 10 March, 2018

    Hi Caroline!
    I am working on knowing my readers and what keywords are making them drive to my site. In starting Google Analytics was a ocean for me and I took time to understand it. After understanding search console and analytics reports now I started writing according to users. The main thing I did currently is I changed my site to support AMP pages after I saw 100% bounce rates when traffic comes from phones. The articles now I write on my blog are totally about “what readers want” instead of “what I want”. Some readers now are also leaving comment about their more article expectation from me.

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 12 March, 2018

      A mobile friendly website is absolutely important! I think writing what your readers want is definitely needed, but what the readers want to read and what you want to write about, should, in my opinion, be closely related. Otherwise your blog does not have the audience you wish to reach.
      Thank you for your comment!

  12. Ravindra
    By Ravindra on 10 March, 2018

    hi thanks for sharing useful tips

  13. avinash singh
    By avinash singh on 9 March, 2018

    hey, Caroline your post is amazing but I have a question for you please answer me if you are free. I am using Yoast premiums and must say it’s the lot better than the free version and the question is after using Yoast for on-page SEO and build some links for my blog is that ok or do I need to pay for Google AdWords for traffic.

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 12 March, 2018

      Thank you. If you want visitors fast, you can use Google Adwords for traffic, but the question is whether it’s worth it. It takes quite a lot of resources to verify whether the traffic you are getting, is the traffic you are aiming for.
      It’s best to work hard on great content and your SEO strategy as well as social media to gain an audience.

  14. Jamie - HostChecka.com
    By Jamie - HostChecka.com on 9 March, 2018

    Totally agree Caroline! Most bloggers just start out writing about anything and then wonder why they don’t get any traffic over time or the traffic itself is too broad, so it leads to nothing. Good tips :)

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 12 March, 2018

      Definitely, or they don’t know where to start and what influences their rankings. Thank you.

  15. crmnigeria
    By crmnigeria on 9 March, 2018

    Thanks Caroline for this awesome post. I am looking forward to what you have in stock for us. Yoast SEO has really helped my blogging career. I can smell the awesome traffic coming soon.

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 12 March, 2018

      Thank you!

  16. Meeta Shah
    By Meeta Shah on 9 March, 2018

    Completely agree. As you pointed out, SEO certainly helps in reaching a wide audience even if you are doing it just as a hobby. Thanks for sharing. Good article!

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 9 March, 2018

      Thank you!

  17. Freddy G. Cabrera
    By Freddy G. Cabrera on 9 March, 2018

    Hey Caroline!

    I think even a blogger who is blogging just for fun should consider learning about SEO. I don’t think is such a challenging topic to learn more about.

    It can only benefit your blog in many ways. So, learning more about SEO and actually implementing a few tactics on your hobby blog, can really help in the long run if you ever decide to make some extra change from the revenue, right.

    Thank you for sharing this! :)

    Best regards! :D

    • Apoorv
      By Apoorv on 10 March, 2018

      I agree but as soon as you start going deep in SEO and making backlinks concept then it becomes very overwhelming to gain knowledge in this field.

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 9 March, 2018

      Thank you and I absolutely agree with you, that’s why these series started. Hopefully it will inspire more bloggers to focus on SEO more.

  18. Mal Warwick
    By Mal Warwick on 8 March, 2018

    Thanks, Caroline. I’ve been writing a blog for eight years. I now typically post four times per week and have a total of more than 1100 posts online. I follow most of the recommendations from Yoast — at least, those I understand — but my biggest problem is finding the right keywords. I’ve tried researching keywords through Google’s tools, but the recommendations always seem to be artificial, bearing little or no relationship to the content of the post. And I simply don’t have the time to research keywords for every single post. I would appreciate any suggestions about how to streamline the process — or get around it.

    • Caroline Geven
      By Caroline Geven on 9 March, 2018

      It’s great that you have a post schedule! That helps your readers to know what to expect from you. I absolutely understand the struggle with keyword research. Keyword research is usually not something you want to focus on as a writer, but is something you should absolutely do. I’ll be sure to touch this subject in one of the upcoming blog posts as well and will share suggestions on how to integrate this with writing the actual blog post.

      • Monique van Dam
        By Monique van Dam on 11 March, 2018

        Thanks for writing about blogging and SEO Caroline. I could not agree more. That is why myself and Petra Steffens are combining our respective SEO and blogging knowledge in a practical one-morning workshop in Ede. To take away any ‘fear’ or resentment about SEO and turn that into inspiration for a good blog people are searching for. Will check out your next blogs too.

        • Caroline Geven
          By Caroline Geven on 12 March, 2018

          Thank you, good to hear we have the same goal!


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