Case study: SEO of a mom blog
SEO can be a rather complicated and abstract thing. What exactly do we mean by increasing keyword density? How do you start with improving the structure of a site? That’s why I’m going to write a series of Ask Yoast case studies. In these case studies, I’ll take a look at a specific site (the owner knows about it of course :-)), and I’ll give some SEO advice. In this first case study: SEO of a mom blog!
Improve the SEO of a mom blog!
In this case study, a mom blog’s SEO is the central topic. Lindsay Butler of One Beautiful Home asked us to look at the SEO of her many blog posts.
“I’m a mom blogger,” Lindsay says, “who has gone from a hobby blog to a business. I’ve started making real money with my site, and would love to continue its growth. I have hundreds of posts, but never paid much attention to SEO, other than selecting a keyword. So I have to go back to the beginning, and optimize all of my older posts, so they can rank properly. I have hundreds of posts. What is the best way to organize this process, so I can make sure I don’t screw it up?”
About the mom blog
One Beautiful Home is an awesome mom blog. Being a mom of 4 myself, I really enjoyed browsing through this blog. I especially enjoyed all the printables and worksheets Lindsay offers. She really made her blog into a shop. Her writing style is entertaining and the subjects she chooses are great. I think this website has great potential, and, I have to say, I’ll become a regular visitor for sure! That being said, I’d also like to give Lindsay some advice for improvement.
At the end of this blog post, I’m going to answer her question. But before I come to that, I want to give some general SEO advice to improve the SEO of Lindsay’s website. Advice more blog and website owners could benefit from!
General SEO advice
Don’t use too many adds
When looking at One beautiful Home, you cannot escape the ads. Especially the ad below the banner is huge. The banners also load very slow, which is pretty annoying. Too many ads and banners can be detrimental for both the UX and SEO of your site. You shouldn’t put too many ads on your website.
Of course, I understand that these ads generate income as well. So, removing the ads could reduce the income of your website. That’s scary. Still, removing them will probably improve your rankings and the User Experience. That’ll definitely have a positive effect on the sales of your own products.
Site speed is low
The page speed score of the homepage of One Beautiful Home is very low (17/100 on desktop in Google Page Speed Insights). A low page speed is bad news for your SEO! The images on the homepage are quite heavy and should be optimized. Overall, you could reduce their size by 3.5 MB (76% reduction), which would, most likely, substantially boost your site speed.
Read more: Site speed: tools and suggestions »
After reading a first draft of this post, Lindsay already took some steps in improving both the speed of her site as well as the number of banners. That’s really awesome!
Optimizing for SEO after publishing
Let’s go back to Lindsay’s question. What SEO improvements should Lindsay start with, if she has hundreds of published posts she wrote without actively optimizing them? I thought of a step-by-step plan to help her get through this:
1. Do your keyword research
The first step of every SEO copywriting strategy is executing proper keyword research. To do so, you really have to get inside the heads of your audience. What words are they searching for? What terms do they use? You should use tools like Google Trends to check out which words are used most often.
After you’ve finished your keyword research, you should have a long list with competitive (head) search terms and less competitive and more specific (long tail) search terms.
Keep reading: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »
For this mom blog, examples of search terms could be [debt free living], [pre-school education], [pre-school education printables]. Search terms as [parenting] are probably too competitive to rank for.
2. What are your cornerstones?
What are the articles you’re most proud of? From every category on your website you should choose one blog post (it could be a page as well) that really reflects your core business. Cornerstone content should be rather long and informative articles, in which you can describe all important aspects of the main topic. In these cornerstone articles, you’ll use the most competitive keywords. Our Yoast SEO plugin will help you optimize your text. Check out the bullets and start optimize your cornerstones for the most competitive keywords.
Make sure to give your cornerstone articles a prominent place on your website. You should be able to navigate to these specific articles within two clicks from the home page.
Category pages could be great long tails too. I think that would be a doable strategy for One Beautiful Home. Lindsay should write an awesome informative category page about parenting, about debt free live and about pre-school education.
3. Optimize those long tails
After you’ve optimized your most precious articles, you should dive into your long tail posts. These are the posts that dive into a more specific feature of a subject. Again, use our plugin to optimize for those long tail keywords. Optimizing lots of posts for slightly different long tail keywords is a great SEO tactic.
4. Link from the tail to the head
Last step of your SEO updating strategy: make sure to link from all of these long tail articles to your cornerstone article. That way, you’re telling Google: this is the most important content. In the end, that’ll be the article that will pop up in the search results.
A final question from Lindsay
After reading a draft version of this blog post, Lindsay had a final question:
“I have read so much about keywords, but there is still one question I cannot figure out. I write a lot about getting out of debt. A “main” keyword for that topic let’s say is [Debt Free Living]. I have 75 posts that relate to that keyword. How would I use that that keyword for all of those posts? I know I cannot duplicate the keyword, so how does someone do that?
I know that I need a page that keeps all of my content about this topic in one area, but how do I keyword each of the posts, so that I can rank higher for the debt free living “ultimate” keyword? Should I put [Debt Free Living: paying off student loans], [Debt Free Living: buying a used car], [Debt Free Living: paying off your credit cards] etc. for the individual posts, as they relate to the specific blog post?”
The answer to this question is: Yes, you should write lots of post about niche subjects [paying off student loans], [buying a used car]. I won’t use the [Debt-free Living: buying a used car] keyword, as I suspect nobody will search for that exact term. You should make a list of keywords surrounding your head keyword [debt free living]. Make sure these keywords are search terms people actually use in Google (you could use Google Trends to figure that out).
Second step is to write that cornerstone article and optimize it for your head term [debt free living]. We have written Ultimate Guide articles about key aspect of SEO. These are our cornerstone articles. Make sure that every long tail article about debt free living links to your most important article (and keep on doing that if you write new articles). That way you’ll tell Google which article about debt free living is the most important one.
To improve the SEO of this specific site, I would recommend removing a lot of the ads and improving the site speed. And, follow my four steps to optimize all of the text. I’m sure this website has great potential. It has found a niche within the mom blog niche. That’s great.
We understood from Lindsay that she already went ahead and started improving things like site speed and the ad display. So you might see some changes on her site already, if you go there. We’re excited to hear she took action immediately. Good luck with your website, Lindsay!
Read on: Blogging: the ultimate guide »
Ask Yoast series
In the Ask Yoast series, we answered SEO questions from our readers. Check out the other questions!
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11 Responses to Case study: SEO of a mom blog
Nice post! This post is very helpful for me and thanks for the wonderful post.
What helped me was to really duve into each orange and red bullet of your Yoast SEO (premium) plugin and solve any issue. Which was often to just better the information on the page and specifically use active voice on my widows-cornerstone. Cornerstone pages have been and still are a neverending story. I do try to write vetter these days and try to insert multimedia like video and tables (pricing) for my home-blog. I like the blog of Lindsay, she seems honest about het passion and since I am a camper, I loven the RV post ;-)
I hope you do a follow up post to see whether implementing these changes has any noticeable effect.
That’s a great idea Gary, we’ll keep in mind to check with Lindsay how her site is doing after some time!
I have recently just added a CDN to my site. What are your thoughts on having the CDN deliver a robots.txt file for the static content it serves? Bad idea? Or should I stick with Yoast to do all of that?
A good CDN actually canonicalises, through the HTTP headers, back to the original source of the file, does yours do that? If so, the robots.txt doesn’t make much of a difference. If it doesn’t, well… It depends on what you want to reach: do you want static files to rank for anything?
Not a mom blogger, so the examples weren’t applicable, but wanted to say that this article was interesting and useful. Hope to see more like this. Like a lot of other people with a website, my biggest hurdle is figuring out what search terms my target audience might be using. Thanks
Figuring out what search terms your audience uses is really hard. You have to get inside their heads. Talking to your audience (in person or through a survey) could be a great way. Good luck!
Lindsay is a friend of mine and I’m excited to see her grow. I love the advice you gave and will be able to implement that on my blog as well. Thank you!
Right message too much of ads will certainly spoil your sites appearance and also the speed. Applause for the wonderful post