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5 Tips To Improve Your SEO

April 16, 2014

I spend A LOT of time on google. Most of the time I am googling things like “do I have ______ disease?” or “behind the scenes at Kimye’s Vogue photoshoot”, but sometimes I use it for useful things like finding tonight’s dinner recipe.

I never really understood the mastermind that is google until I started a blog. Search engines are almost always the most important traffic referral to your blog. If it isn’t in your top 3, then you may want to research why that might be.

In your research you will likely come across the term “SEO”. Today I want to talk about what this means and some ways you can improve the SEO of your blog. I am certainly not the first person to post on this and there is a wealth of information on SEO out there, but I wanted to highlight 5 tips that have been helpful in improving my SEO and making search engines (mostly google) the #1 traffic driver to THM.

5 tips to improve your SEOFirst off, what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Essentially, it means making your blog and your blog posts as optimal as possible so that they are easily found by search engines and have a higher page ranking on these sites. Aka how to make your post appear on the first page of google rather than on page 47.

So how can you optimize your blog for search engines? Here are my tips:

1. Start using meta tags. What are meta tags? Meta tags are data tags that are hidden within the HTML of a post. The text in these tags is not displayed, but can be uncoded by search engines to make it easier for them to understand what your page or post is all about. The most important of these is the “description tag” and some argue the “keyword tag” as well. To make it easier for you to input this information into your post, WordPress offers plugins that allow you to fill in this information so it is added to the HTML for you. I use a plugin called “Yoast” and it could not be more simple.

As you can see I just fill in the focus keyword and a brief description of the post. When I first installed this plugin my search engine traffic was 20% of my total traffic. After going through and filling out the meta tags for each post, it jumped to 40%.

yoast2. Include keywords in your posts. Based on your blog’s niche and topics that people are searching for frequently, certain keywords will drive more traffic to your blog. Keywords deserve their own post entirely so I won’t get into it, but google everything you can on “Google Adwords” and start figuring out which keywords are traffic drivers to your blog and which ones you haven’t tapped into. You’ll find some blogs use A TON of keywords to the point where their posts are boring because it’s literally all keywords. Google will penalize you for that so try to find the middle ground.

3. Set up google authorship. Basically this means you’ve declared ownership over your blog and you get a cute little picture next to your posts when they appear on google. Google will see your page as a reputable source of information and anyone who they see as a trusted author is far more likely to appear higher up in a google search. You will need a google+ profile to sign up for google authorship. Once you have a google+ profile it is worth signing up for authorship using this tutorial. It could not be easier.

google authorship4. Time to start using Google+. Okay, I am terrible about this. Mostly because I’m too lazy to sign out of my personal gmail and into my THM gmail account. But apparently posts that are also posted onto your google+ page improves that post’s SEO. Could someone please remind me to do this?

5. Use Rich Snippets for recipes. I swear I’m still speaking English here. This point is mainly for food bloggers. Ever googled a recipe and seen that some of the results will have pictures of the recipes next to them? Notice how these ones almost always appear on the first couple of pages? You can have your pretty little recipe image too AND improve the SEO of that post by using Rich Snippets.

Like meta tags, this is a way of providing search engines with additional information about your web page so it can display more useful information to people searching for similar content. Once again, plugins to the rescue! For recipes to appear with a picture you must provide a certain amount of information in your post (more info here) but using specific recipe plugins and filling in the appropriate info will make your life easier. To my knowledge two plugins are effective for Rich Snippets, ziplist and easy recipe (can someone confirm this??). I love this post on Food Blogger Pro on the steps you need to take to get your recipe image to appear in google and improve your page’s SEO.

Rich SnippetsWhew! That was a lot of info. Did I lose you there? Again, these are just some tips. This post is also extremely dumbed down and I’m trying to not be very technical so SEO wizards don’t hate on me.

I hope you learned something new. No need to implement any or all of the above. The #1 thing is that you create good, quality content. If you do that, people will read.

So tell me, did you learn something new? Are you already SEO pros or are you still completely confused?

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  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    April 16, 2014 at 5:46 am

    I got lost at number 5. Let’s dedicate our next skype sesh to this. Well, just a little bit of it I don’t want to fall asleep 😉

    Thanks for sharing, D. You are an ASSet.
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…Butter me up. Buttercup.

  • Reply
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    April 16, 2014 at 6:22 am

    SO funny you posted this today because I have dedicated today to start re doing all my posts SEO since it fails! Thanks for the tips!
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness recently posted…Panera Hummus Chicken Power Salad Copy Cat {GF, Low Fat, Low Calorie, Easy + High Protein}

  • Reply
    erin @ The Almond Eater
    April 16, 2014 at 6:46 am

    You da you da best. I actually do most of these minus setting up a Google+ profile. Wahhhhhh I know I should I just am already on so many platforms it’s just another thing to remember. BUUUUT I do think it’d be beneficial in the long run sooooo guess I gotta get on that. Literally.
    erin @ The Almond Eater recently posted…Sweet Potatoes, Oh Sweet Potatoes..

  • Reply
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
    April 16, 2014 at 6:51 am

    This whole blog thing is such a learn as you go process but I have gotten pretty good at the SEO process. Although, there is always more and more and more to learn to improve and get better. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming, doesn’t it?
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…WIAW – Lots of Matzoh Plus Matzoh Brei Recipe

  • Reply
    lindsay
    April 16, 2014 at 7:12 am

    i failed rich pins… sad day. LOL! they won’t let me in
    lindsay recently posted…The Difference Between Building MUSCLE and Building STRENGTH

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Femme Fitale
    April 16, 2014 at 7:30 am

    This is such awesome info, Davida! Love your recommendations/this post, and I’m definitely sitting down to check out those plugins ASAP. I’m seriously the worst (errr…laziest???) blogger when it comes to technical stuff like this. I just want to write, and seriously hate thinking about all of the background nonsense. BUT…I know it’s essential if I want my blog to prosper, so I really need a kick in the pants. Thank you!
    Kelly @ Femme Fitale recently posted…Body After Baby: Getting Back In Shape

  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    April 16, 2014 at 7:39 am

    So I need to start figuring out how to use Google+? Damn.
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…WIAW: Finding Balance.

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    April 16, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I just mentioned to Amy recently that I know NOTHING about SEO so thank you a million times over for this post! The little I have seen about SEO before left me totally confused and sounded like it would involve a ton of work and would require me to totally change the way I write. This all sounds much more manageable.

    I hear you on Google+, why does it exist? I’ve been trying to get better about posting to it because of SEO. The only real tip I can offer you there is to do it through hootsuite so you don’t have to log in to your actual THM Google account!
    Kim @ BusyBod recently posted…Our NY bucket list

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food
    April 16, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I’m pretty clueless about most of this stuff, so this is all good to know! Maybe when I have time this summer I can work on learning bloggy things. I saw once that someone searched for “stressed” and it brought them to my blog, so obviously I have some stuff to work on haha.
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted…WIAW- The day of indicision

  • Reply
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey
    April 16, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I am always too lazy to fill out the SEO options on my posts. I know that Genesis is supposed to be great for SEO…if only I’d use it right! I’m gong to bookmark this post and come back to it after 9 in the morning. Great tips!
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…Fast Foods – Berry Breakfast Smoothie

  • Reply
    Megan (The Lyons' Share)
    April 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Thank you for making this readable for non-techy people!! I still can’t get on the Google+ bandwagon (I know…), but I’m installing Yoast right now and excited to start using it! Thank you!!!
    Megan (The Lyons’ Share) recently posted…Changing Up My Plan

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    April 16, 2014 at 9:29 am

    even though i have been blogging for more than 2 years now, i have no idea of any of this. thanks for these info dear…also i need to really move to wordpress.

  • Reply
    Heather @ Run Like a G!
    April 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I had no idea what SEO meant! Thanks for letting me know!!! 🙂
    I think I may buy “authorship” to my blog…I have had it for over a year and I really enjoy it. I should get on that!
    Heather @ Run Like a G! recently posted…Check In With Yourself #3

  • Reply
    Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite
    April 16, 2014 at 9:45 am

    SEO confuses me like cray, so this is some really helpful information!
    Alisha @ Alisha’s Appetite recently posted…My Natural Face & Skin Care Routine (Raw Honey, ACV & More!)

  • Reply
    Suzanne @ hello, veggy!
    April 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

    SO helpful dave! Thanks 🙂
    Suzanne @ hello, veggy! recently posted…Wild Rice, Quinoa, and Edamame Salad + Liebster Award!

  • Reply
    Beth @ The Small Victories
    April 16, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I didn’t know that having a Google+ and SEO were linked… I couldn’t even keep up with having a Facebook page for my blog. Sigh.

    Also, if both of your emails (personal + blog) are linked, you don’t have to sign in/out of one to get to the other. What you do is when you’re on your primary email (aka the email you want to show up when you type “gmail.com” into your URL bar), click on your picture in the upper right hand corner and select “add account.” Type in your info for the account you want to link and from then on, to get to your other account all you have to do is click on your picture and then click on the other one!
    Beth @ The Small Victories recently posted…Sopping Wet Green Beans And Garlic Bread For Dessert

  • Reply
    Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon
    April 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Is it okay that my brain hurts? Yoasted toasted brain. I still don’t use a recipe plug in because I want all my info to stay on my site and not be through another- tips on that welcome too!
    Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon recently posted…Raspberry Rooibos Iced Tea

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    April 16, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I remember SEO being an absolute nightmare to learn… I didn’t understand it at -all-, but after taking some time to learn the basics, I definitely noticed a huge jump in my traffic. Now to go back and optimize all my older recipes…
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. WIAW … just add [the good stuff] .

  • Reply
    Kim
    April 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I feel like a total idiot – I don’t know how to do any of these things!!!
    I pinned this because maybe I can convince Chris to help me!!!
    Kim recently posted…Trusting or Naive?

  • Reply
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner
    April 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Great tips! I have to review this with my hubby…he’s in charge of the technical side of my blog and I’ve been meaning to implement some of these but just hadn’t had the time. I did just join G+ last month…better late then never. 😉

  • Reply
    Megan @ The Skinny-Life
    April 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Awesome post! I so needed this info. Google authorship and yoast were new to me. I will be investigating them pronto!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats Celebrities
    April 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    So Extraordinarily Oblivious – that’s what SEO should mean….

    However, I actually have researched this… Another tactic is obviously a good TITLE to your blog post, but to hell with it! I like quirky blog post titles, I don’t careeeeeeeeee! #BREAKINGTHERULES!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…That’s A Haunted House 2

  • Reply
    Shashi
    April 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks Davida – I definitely learned a couple of new things! I underestimated the value of meta tags and rich snippets for recipes!

  • Reply
    Cassie
    April 16, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Girl, you’re such an SEO Maven. Seriously. I work with an SEO specialist day in and day out for work and had no clue about meta tags!! I know some stuff, like giving photos alt-descriptions, etc. and linking out and linking in… but this is amazing. Definitely saving this to give my blog some SEO love!!
    Cassie recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday: Blogger Recipe Round-Up

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I’m the worst at this stuff. It’s allll over my head. :/

  • Reply
    Mary Frances
    April 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Davida, this was incredibly helpful! Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I’ve spent the last half hour figuring out how to use these tips. I had no clue what SEO was before (other than it helped Google out … that was it 🙂 so I really appreciate the time you put into this!
    Mary Frances recently posted…Triple Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee Bark

  • Reply
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs
    April 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    My blog list just got longer!
    Pinterest images
    SEO with meta tags
    Oh, and I should probably move to self hosted and redeisgn my site too.
    I’m sure it’ll all come together eventually 🙂
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…WIAW – Minus Dinner

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit
    April 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I can’t wait to put some of these tips to use. Thank you for this post!
    Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit recently posted…Some FIX Food + Another Buffalo Recipe!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
    April 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Seriously awesome post…. I even took notes! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted…The What I Ate Wednesday Goods!

  • Reply
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance
    April 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Ok I am obsessed with this post but by the time I got to point 3, realized that I needed to read this at home when I can start tinkering with things! Awesome job Davs! 🙂
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…The Best Active Vacations

  • Reply
    Parita @ myinnershakti
    April 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Love how you simplified this! I’ve read a lot about SEO lately but it always goes over my head. I’m definitely going to look at this more (using your post). Thanks!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    April 16, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    This was SO helpful Davida! 😀 I’m a bit confused, but hopefully I’ll have some time this weekend to really sit down and work on some of the suggestions in this post!
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted…O’Finn’s Irish Temper

  • Reply
    Nikki @ Quest for Balance
    April 16, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for all the awesome tips lady! I’m definitely going to set up Google Authorship pronto. I’m trying to learn more about SEO and there is sooo much content out there so it’s great to have a round up post that is directly applicable to food bloggers.
    Nikki @ Quest for Balance recently posted…Coconut Almond Encrusted Tilapia

  • Reply
    Brittany
    April 16, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Ugh, will you come redo my blog for me..please..I will pay you in treats. Not that you need them because you make your own, but who doesn’t love when someone else makes them!? HA. Very good tips…but I am still so lost with all this self hosted/make that moola blog shit. I need to get on it already.
    Brittany recently posted…Poo Poo Point

  • Reply
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables
    April 17, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Thank you… must start doing this!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    April 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

    This post was all that and a bag-a-chips. Totes just tweeted it. So glad it gave me the balls to call you up and have an overdue phone chat. XO
    Alexis @ Hummusapien recently posted…Berry Spinach Salad with Maple Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas and Balsamic Dressing

  • Reply
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch
    April 17, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I definitely learned something from this! SEO stuff goes straight over my head most of the time. I think it’s time for me to at least look into these “meta tags”…that looks easy enough haha
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch recently posted…Tomato-Basil & Havarti Grilled Cheese (recipe)

  • Reply
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets
    April 19, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I really need to figure out this rich snippet crap because I can’t get my pictures to show up in Google, either my profile picture or the food itself and I do have a google plus account. I can’t find you on Google Plus though. Mine is under Meghan McCarthy.

    Also I actually somehow linked my blog posts to Google Plus so whenever I publish one, it automatically creates an entry on Google Plus. Other than that though, I’m not very active on it. One day.

  • Reply
    . link love 4/20 . - . running with spoons .
    April 20, 2014 at 8:04 am

    […] 5 Tips To Improve Your SEO via The Healthy Maven. Great tips on how to optimize your SEO and drive more organic traffic to your blog! […]

  • Reply
    4/20/14 Sunday Funday & Happy Easter | The Skinny-Life
    April 20, 2014 at 11:32 am

    […] 5 Tips to Improve Your SEO via The Healthy Maven – Some of these I knew of, but not most like the Google Author.  I’m getting that on my to-do list. […]

  • Reply
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs
    April 20, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Ohh what a helpful article! I suck at SEO so so much :'( I guess it’s about time to learn!
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs recently posted…Cookie Dough & Whipped Cream Chocolate Cake

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    April 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

    This is a SUPER helpful post, Davida! I get so lost when it comes to anything regarding SEO 😉
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted…Sweet and Sour Chickpea Pizza (Vegan)

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    Virtual Tea Time [18]hello, veggy!
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    July 3, 2014 at 9:18 am

    […] that I wanted to start sharing more blogging tips! So far I’ve discussed food photography, SEO and a two part series on social media (part 1 and part 1). Today I wanted to talk about an area of […]

  • Reply
    Freelance web designer | Danny Hardy
    July 19, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Hello, thanks for sharing these tips. I have heard much information about Google+ and how using this platform can improve SEO for your website but i have also spoke to certain companies that said they have utilised Google+ 100% for many months with no improvement so am sceptical on the whole idea. If anyone would like a SEO strategy that apparently works look into tier link building. I also have some more information on my blog about SEO related topics, maybe you would find it useful http://www.webbro.co.uk/blog/ – Thanks
    Freelance web designer | Danny Hardy recently posted…Website Development and programming tips

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    TQI Huntngton Beach
    August 25, 2014 at 3:46 am

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    seo specialist in bangladesh
    October 6, 2014 at 3:59 am

    It’s in fact very complex in this full of activity life to listen news
    on Television, so I only use internet for that purpose, and
    obtain the newest information.
    seo specialist in bangladesh recently posted…seo specialist in bangladesh

  • Reply
    Saba Umar
    January 6, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Adding Mata tags and Key words are crucial part of SEO these days. Figure out the key words and then add them Tittle in met descriptions and first 2,3 paragraph. Add them smartly don,t just stuff them in the article make it natural.
    Here is some more Tips to make the Blog Successful
    Saba Umar recently posted…By: SEO Tips Not To Ignore While Blogging | Gatelogix

  • Reply
    MatijaZ
    June 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Hi, thank you for excellent post. Now I am confused. I thought meta tags and authority marks are left behind. It looks I will have to still stay on time with Google :), Thank you, Matija, Slovenia
    MatijaZ recently posted…Kako izmeriti prostor za garderobno sobo v mansardi

  • Reply
    Darshak Jadhav
    July 11, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Thanks for sharing these simple, yet straightforward tips. These tips are easy for anyone to use. No need to be a pro.

  • Reply
    Md Masum Billah
    November 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    very useful tips.Thank you for sharing these useful tips.
    Md Masum Billah recently posted…High Page Rank Free Blog Hosts Sites List 2015

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