Here is a book review (and little travel too) blog Ecstatic yet Chaotic, it is of a friend of one of my best friends. Being an SEO enthusiastic, I thought to have a look at her blog to see if I have any suggestions that might be helpful for her and other this kind blogs to improve Search Visibility and share on my blog so that other bloggers in a similar niche might be benefitted.
If you do not know what SEO is, well, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a practice that helps websites to increase search engine visibility, that means more people find your website through Search Engines.
That means the practices are not only about the search engines’ crawlers finding your website but also to help people, your readers to easily find and navigate your website, and to improve the overall experience for your audience.
Have realistic expectations:
Firstly I need to tell you that don’t get it wrong, this practice will not increase the traffic by a lot right away. It needs much effort and a continuous involvement, and the result depends on 100s of factors. But a few basic practices I believe every website or blog owner should be doing. At least people should be able to find your blog by searching the blog name or your name in Google.
As an SEO person, it is my nightmare to type blog name or a business name and not finding the website within first few results in Google.
If you follow these suggestions, it will make sure that people searching for terms like
“your blog name”
“your name’s blog”
“author your name”
“written by your name”
or just “your name”
or “an article name + blog name” – should be able to find your blog or the particular article within first few results in Google.
Keeping up these practices now might help you in future, let’s say your blog has gained little fame and have become authoritative book review blog, you can get thousands of new visitors from search engines from high volume search terms like “a book name review”.
Possibilities are many, but this is not an easy thing as the book review is very competitive niche.
All I’m trying to say is that you do not necessarily be an SEO expert, in fact for this kind of blogs I think Social Media and some other form of promotion like email marketing work much better, especially in the beginning.
But few basic practices are essential for every website for Search Engine ranking and for a better experience that your readers deserve.
So, here are my suggestions for her blog, as I said before you do not have to be perfect at each one of those, just do as many of those are convenient for you.I have not gone for very technical and advanced SEO, you will find many of these you are doing already, I wrote them just as a reminder.
SEO Suggestions for book review blogs:
1. Make it unique and maintain consistency:
Try to make the blog unique every way possible, be it design, be it writing style and must have a unique name for your blog and a domain name that people can remember easily. Maintain the same style not only throughout the blog but also other places like Facebook, Twitter pages.
Previously she used to Blogger, then the name of her blog was Resplendent and the domain name was http://ecstaticyetchaotic.blogspot.com/. Having the same or similar name sends a strong signal to Google about the name of the blog. The problem is even bigger for human, like me who are forgetful. People don’t understand which one to remember and which one to type in Google to find the blog.
Now she migrated to WordPress and everything is nice. She has a consistency in both and the blog ranks well in Google for the term “ecstatic yet chaotic” where the old blog nowhere to be found, there are many other reasons for that but this is certainly one of them. For my search, it ranked second, only next to its own Facebook Page.
It will come to the top if some these practices are care of.
2. The platform, Domain name, and Hosting:
The platform mostly depends on personal preference and some platforms are better in aspect than other platforms, I will not go in depth, even I have not tested everything myself.
Blogger (Blogspot) is an excellent platform, I like it much for its simplicity. If you do not care to have much control over the look and feel and many advanced features, you get a decent amount of features though. I feel if you are going for completely free (you don’t wanna buy a custom domain name and pay for hosting) blogger gives better search engines visibility than WordPress.
Tumblr is good for microblogs, it is something in between blog and social network. I don’t recommend for serious bloggers though as you will have control on your website, it can be used as a secondary blog, that might help you get a bit more traffic to your main blog much like social media.
WordPress is a most used platform in the world, especially for blogs it is probably the best. It has a load of features, lots of plugins that allow you to do almost anything without a coding. It has a huge community, so you get many new great plugins coming every day, lots of tutorial on anything and more visitors on your blog. But, for free hosting (WordPress.com) you don’t have much control and features I just talked about, you don’t get to install plugins, can’t have ads on your site. So, if you can host your own website on something Bluehost, Hostgator then install WordPress(.org) on it.
Don’t worry if you can’t afford it, just keep writing articles, you can migrate from WordPress.com very to self-hosted WordPress.org whenever you want.
3. Choose a right theme:
Other than having good look and feel of your website a theme should be loading faster, error-free code, and importantly it should be optimised for mobile. These affect search engine visibility. Google doesn’t suggest someone a website which provides a notoriously bad experience!
To test the speed take some of the pages URL to
These will show you how the pages are performing, give many suggestions where you have scope to improve. If you find your blog is performing very bad, look at the suggestion try to fix it or get someone else to fix it for you, or just get rid of that theme, choose another.
For mobile devices, you better check manually how pages are loading, whether all the functions are working correctly or not, and the UI. You also can check Test Your Mobile Website Speed and Performance.
I tested her website in PageSpeed Insights, for desktop it is quite good but for mobile it is average.
4. Title and Meta Description:
I almost forgot to write about this important point then I searched “ecstatic yet chaotic” in Google
Okay in the image you can see what is a Title and what is Meta Description. Again the Title is seen here…
So, there are only two places where people can see the Title, again people are not going read all in the second place, so you need to make sure that it looks nice on the Search results pages. Just see the title for the Facebook page looks better.
- It should describe your blog, or the article if it for an article page
- Should consist keywords if you care for Search Engines
- It should read and look nice and be eye catchy and click-worthy
- Use symbols and numbers as they attract more
- And most important completely visible in the Search result page. It is the only place where people see it, it should be should be complete and make sense there. Google shows titles at 600 pixels, that is about 60 characters wide. Use characters that takes less space such as “|”, not “_”.
And for Meta Description everything is mostly same, try have something more descriptive that you want people to know before they visit your site. And it is shown only on the search result pages and shouldn’t be more than 160 characters long.
See these are not only for Search engines, they are more for your audience. You should take care of them and the search crawlers will be feed automatically.
5. Try to concentrate on one topic:
Try to write an article concentrating on one particular topic.
Okay, it is particularly for her, what she does is in some posts she reviews three or more stuff in one article. So, what happens is search engines rank a page for a topic, now if a page talks about different many things, even though it satisfies Google on everything but search engines are confused about what to rank the page for.
Well, I am just saying it will be difficult to rank in Google but Google is not everything. It really provides value to readers as they get a package 3 review which is good. Keep writing however you think will be good for readers, but if you have an opportunity to rank in google give a try.
In online marketing Keyword is the term people type in the search box on any search engine when they need some information. A keyword is probably the most crucial consideration in SEO. But I will not suggest you stress over keyword research than on writing a quality article. It sometimes consumes much time for keyword research. But if you want the search engines to be the primary source of traffic on your blog and you want to know one thing about SEO it will be Keyword Research.
There are many ways to perform a keyword research depending on different scenarios, but I’m explaining one simple way here which you will need the most.
First, think of a term you think people will type in the search box when they want to find the article you are going to write. Then you make a quick google search and scroll down to the bottom of the search page to find google suggestion. Those are the keywords people are using.
For e.g. I did a quick search for “em and the big hoom” and found these following suggestions
Well, from this results it seems more people are searching for summery than a review so you might consider writing on that if you wish.
You can use few more tools like Keyword Tool, Ubersuggest to find more of these keywords. And if you want to know the exact search volume you can create an account in Google AdWords, if you have a Gmail account it won’t take much time. Then use its Keyword Planner Tool to know search volumes and even you will many more related keywords there.
After you decided the keyword make sure to use it (and some variations of it) in
- URL (by the way, in URL us “-” in place of space and never use “_”)
- Headings (Make sure to use actual heading tags like h1,h2,h3 don’t just increase the font size to make it look like a heading)
- Meta Description
- Article body, especially near the beginning and the end parts of the article.
Use variations, synonyms of the main keyword and also semantically related words throughout the article.
What semantically related words mean? It is just related terms to that topic, which are expected to be there in the article. Like if you are writing about “Football” then Ronaldo, Messi, FC Barcelona, World Cup, La Liga and so on are semantically related words to football.
Similarly, if you are writing a review about a book then the author’s name, other books from the author, names of characters in the book, topics discussed in the book will be semantically related words.
7. Image Optimization:
Optimising image for SEO can help you many ways.
Compress your images and resize them if they are a lot bigger in resolution than you need. That will make your image load faster, good for people and browsers.
This app store logo used on the website of the company I work for was 182 kb previously, after a lossless compression it is now less than 5kb. So, especially for those pages with lots of images use compressed images, you can do this in tinypng or toolur. Or if you have an existing page with lots of images you want to compress those, head to PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix, they both will provide all of the images compressed.
Before uploading the image name them with the exact topic the image is used for. Use the topic name again in the image alt. This will help the image rank in image search results, and that might help even the actual article to rank higher.
Make images non-clickable. Sometimes when people click on any image on your blog they get directed to a different URL that is the image’s URL leaving the actual page they are reading, it might send a wrong signal to Google wrong signal that people are leaving the page and when many people leave a page search engines consider the page to be of less value. So, if it is not intentional make the image non-clickable.
8. Install Google Search Console and Google Analytics:
9. Social Media:
The topic how to nail social media should be explained by her than me, I’m a complete disaster in socializing. Anyway, I will explain why social media is useful for SEO and share a reminder of activities which I do not follow but I know that works.
You all anyway should be doing this very actively not for SEO but for getting traffic to blog and to get more recognition, build a relationship with similar minded people and so on. I said it before this kind of blog performs much better in Social Media than search engines, at least before you gain some fame and authority.
The Social Signals i.e. social shares, likes, comments and all other social activities have a majore impact on search engine ranking. When search engines find an article is receiving lots of these signal, plus many people are visiting the page and staying there to read the article which is a user generated signal, they know the page is good, people are linking it. So, when someone makes a search in Google on that topic, Google will be confident to serve that piece article to the searcher.
- Make sure to set up accounts or create pages properly on all the major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Maintain consistency of Name and Brand as said before and fill out as much information as possible. Make sure all the profiles have Links to your blog.
- Have enough of activities on those pages. Have a proper schedule sharing stuff in social media, you might want to use a post scheduler like buffer to save time and reduce the effort.
- Make sure to add the features Facebook Like button, social share buttons on all the pages, if you use original nice images, make sure to add pin it button on images.
- Follow relevant pages, influences, other similar blogger and even their followers in social media. For the last case, you might want to unfollow them after few days 😜.
- Join relevant groups and communities, participate in discussions and don’t forget to promote your article whenever you get a chance.
Explore all another way to leverage your social media presence, this will help increase search engine visibility.
10. Find opportunities for Backlinks:
networking for Backlinks and Social share