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5 Essential Blog Foundations for Strong SEO

Posted By Jim Stewart 28th of July 2017 Blog Design 0 Comments

5 Essential Foundations for Strong SEO

This is a post by ProBlogger’s SEO expert, Jim Stewart.

Many bloggers start a blog with gusto, rushing to establish a blogging website and share their opinions and knowledge with the world. They choose a popular platform to build on, select an attractive theme with all the bells and whistles, sign up for hosting that appears value for money, before finally writing awesome content and waiting for the audience to explode and their rankings to rocket.

Then reality often sets in.

They slave away for months with much optimism only to find themselves languishing in the dark recesses of page two (or worse) on Google, while their competition revels in the attention lavished on those that sit comfortably in the top three spots on page one.

So what went wrong?

Well it’s often because they’ve built their blogging site on foundations made of sand; unstable foundations that are at the mercy of Google’s ever-changing algorithms, ones that can transform ranking stability into ranking free fall in the blink of an eye.

So what can you do to avoid the pitfalls when establishing your blog? Well, there are tried and trusted strategies to building a blog that can create robust SEO for future growth. These strategies should be the cornerstones of any new blog, ones that will create and maintain a strong foundation that will withstand and protect your blog from the fickle nature of Google updates.

1. Content Management System

Choosing the correct Content Management System (CMS) is imperative. I cannot recommend WordPress highly enough. Its popularity is such that it reportedly powers over 22% of all websites and is a widely used CMS blogging platform for good reason.


Wix vs WordPress

WordPress is an open-source program that offers you the freedom and flexibility to customise your site to your liking while leaving you room to grow, there are thousands of free and paid plugins, and best of all it contains an in-built blogging platform.

Simplicity is the name of the game with WordPress. It is easy to download and install and just as easy to operate. WordPress also utilises search engine friendly code that not only makes it appealing to Google, but also easy to adjust your SEO with a multitude of plugins.

The admin control panel makes it easy to maintain updates and backups for both plugins and themes and can manage many media platforms, perfect for promoting your brand.

2. Yoast SEO

There are many useful plugins for WordPress but few more important than Yoast SEO. You could spend countless precious hours poring over your site, making adjustments and monitoring results. Yoast SEO will save you that time.

It is arguably the most important, not to mention effective, tool your site can wield. Yoast streamlines your site’s SEO functions via one easy to use control panel where you can follow recommendations to effect real change to your SEO. Yoast SEO is not a one-size-fits-all plugin, and therefore will need some customisation to suit your individual site needs. Never fear though, as the process is simple using the inbuilt dashboard.

Once set up, Yoast SEO can be commanded to check each of your blog posts for SEO friendliness and report back using a sequence of coloured dots, green for good and red for, well, not so good! Yoast offers the ability to focus on areas of your site where SEO improvements are needed the most and can yield fantastic results when fine-tuned. (If you need help installing and setting up Yoast SEO, we have a comprehensive breakdown here.)

3. Hosting

Spend some time selecting your hosting solution. A poor choice, often based on price, can have a detrimental effect on your blogging site, whereas a fast hosting solution can result in huge increases in traffic. If you heed my advice and build your blog using WordPress then it is advisable to have your site hosted by a WordPress specialist.

For that, WP Engine (aff) is unbeatable. They are a dedicated WordPress host with satisfied customers in over 120 countries. Being an open source program, WordPress can be susceptible to certain flaws, such as security. That is why WP Engine is the trusted hosting name for the platform. Their custom designed architecture delivers a seamless and smooth running website that will grow with your blog.

Others benefits include superb customer service, all-important backups, high-level security, and a unique front-end that can help your site run up to six times faster. Site speed cannot be overstated as it contributes heavily towards a great user experience, one that Google values and can help your rankings. An optimal load time is under 0.5 seconds. A fast Domain Name System (DNS) lookup is also important. This system translates an easily remembered domain name into an IP address used for communication between computers. This conversion process takes time, so the faster your DNS, the better value for your blog.

4. Theme

There’s a great thrill when it comes time to selecting a theme for your blog. WordPress has a theme for every blog, from photography to eCommerce and there’s sure to be one perfect for you. These themes require no coding experience, as most include a control panel where you can customise colours, layouts, background images and the like.

While there are thousands of free and paid templates to choose from, you should not select one on design alone. Behind the theme are codes and architecture that will affect your SEO. Select a template that uses heading tags properly and not for aesthetics, otherwise you may be unwittingly harming your SEO.

An SEO Friendly Structure

From How to Select the Perfect Theme for Your Blog

No matter what other website owners are saying, SEO still is, and will remain, a very important element for the whole “getting popular on the internet” thing.

An SEO friendly theme is a really valuable asset. If you’re planning on doing any kind of SEO work around your site, then such a theme is essential. And even if you don’t have time for SEO, an SEO friendly theme can do a surprisingly big part of the work for you anyway.

Good SEO always starts with getting the basic characteristics of your site just right. Only then you can tackle link-building and other off-page SEO tasks.

How can you find out whether a theme is SEO friendly or not? Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure until you start working with a given theme. However, there are still some things to look for when you’re playing with a theme’s live demo, or analyzing the screenshots of a theme.

  • Is there the ability to set the titles and descriptions for every post and page individually (including the homepage)?
  • Does the theme use <H> headings?
  • Are the categories and tags visible?
  • Is the layout clean and simple?
  • Does the theme support major SEO plugins?

Some of these factors can be seen when you’re looking at a theme, while others are simply listed in the promotional materials of the theme. Make sure to pay attention to these considerations, though. The more SEO features a theme has, the better.

5. Brand

I’m a firm believer that brand is a ranking factor for Google. By that I mean that Google admits popularity is a ranking factor, saying, “URLs that are more popular on the Internet tend to be crawled more often to keep them fresher in our index.”

Build your brand. Gone are the days of focusing on building backlinks. Increasing your audience will in turn increase your brand popularity, sending the Googlebot crawling your way more often and increasing rankings in the process. If your brand becomes synonymous with a product or service then Google will trust you and direct traffic your way.

You must also focus on building your brand and growing your audience outside of Google. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter will all contribute to your brand’s authority in the marketplace and will help drive rankings.

These five factors are prerequisites for building a healthy, stable, and durable blogging site. Rush in and sign up for items based on price, appearance or convenience and your blog will stagnate and possibly die. Get them right and you will have a stable platform that is flexible enough to grow with your blog and take advantage of Google updates long into the future.

About Jim Stewart
Jim Stewart, CEO of BloggersSEO, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.
  1. I do not believe that back links are a thing of the past.

    • Jim Stewart says: 08/03/2017 at 9:19 am

      They’re not. Focusing on getting them though as opposed building your audience and brand is detrimental.

    • Oops, I think my original response contained trigger words for site monitors, so let’s try it again. (Yes, it was sort of self-advertising–it mentioned P-t-e-n.)

      Well…I was posting “Link Logs,” and lots of people liked them, especially the people whose blogs I was reading regularly and linking often. Then I put them on a pay-per-view basis. So far they’ve not been paid for. But they could be.

  2. Great post, thanks. How would you recommending judging the DNS speed of your domain’s host, though? Also, I’m keen to move to a dedicated wordpress host but they’re expensive – and I want to know the improvement they can really offer before I commit to pouring money down the drain.

  3. Well, I read your article and found that it is good, but it is similar to so many other articles, nothing new. Every person tell about wordpress, theme, hosting and social sharing, can you please put some more light on ranking factors?

  4. I love this post Jim! With so many updates to WordPress these days, is Yoast SEO still needed or is WordPress still not fully optimized automatically?

  5. Hello Jim,

    Great Post. Yoast is really one of the best SEO plugin for WordPress. Wpengine is also a good managed WordPress hosting provider, but it is quite expensive. However the features and benefits giving by wpengine is really worth of it. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  6. Iteire Apollos says: 07/29/2017 at 7:39 pm

    Great post. Choosing a good host, cms and using yoast plugin especially is a great way to start any blog. However, I will like to add this: Pillar Content! Pillar content does magic. It helps to reduce bounce rate to the minimum which will also help a blog for seo on the long run. New bloggers should try to implement this into their content strategy. They should come up with five post at least, where these posts are interlinked.

  7. This is great post and sharing! From this, I understand that I am on the right way into SEO world. I don’t know if my hosting provider is great enough but I feel its fine to go following your tips here.

  8. nice article and you have covered good points in it. I have just written a post on how to get free traffic with the help of backlinks. Backlinks are a backbone of SEO, so we should always focus on creating strong backlinks.

    • Jim Stewart says: 08/03/2017 at 9:04 am

      We prefer to focus on building brand and audience – the backlinks tend to follow.

  9. Hanibi Abna says: 07/30/2017 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks Jim,
    I agree about your post “5 Essential Blog Foundations for Strong SEO”. Yoast SEO is one of pluggins for wordpress which many bloggers use it.

  10. Sara Khan says: 07/31/2017 at 12:55 am

    Kindly Suggest Me Some Best Hosting Companies.

  11. Hi,
    Wordpress Yoast is a good platform for seo and yoast is used for website optimization.Thanks for sharing useful information…

  12. Hey, Jim!

    Wonderful post, buddy!

    I am the big fan of Yoast SEO and using it from day one of my blogging.

    And I am with my own name kicking into the world of blogging, and that’s so helping me in being recognized.

    So, brand making is in action. :)

    Thanks for the apt ones, buddy!

    ~ Adeel

  13. As part of a team working on the Actonlytics eCommerce tool, I do find that it is very important to have a proper SEO optimisation.

    Very good article!

    Keep it up.

  14. i still dont get that seo technique some sites are cerntainly in top 10 some sites even though we work harder on backlinks I dont know why it takes so much time to make it in top 10

    is there any technique than backlink in seo?

    • Jim Stewart says: 08/09/2017 at 11:25 am

      You should be working on building your brand and audience not your backlinks. Search is used to find relevant content. Backlinks is just one signal. There are over 200 others

  15. e bikepk says: 08/03/2017 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Jim, Nice Post, but i would like to share my experience about YOAST. There are couple of things which i have been witnessing on regular basis. When SEO TITLE is GREEN in Yoast still we saw incomplete title in Google Search. Same case in META DESCRIPTION, YOAST shows green but in Google Search shows incomplete Meta description.

  16. Kristin Hanes says: 08/04/2017 at 8:10 am

    Thanks for this post! I use Yoast SEO…..should I be putting in several keywords per post or just focus on one?

  17. aruna says: 08/04/2017 at 4:57 pm

    Hello Jim,
    Thanks for sharing these article,It is very helpful for us.Yoast Seo is platform for site developing in Google.

  18. Yoast is my go to 99.9% of the time! Although i do use all in one seo as well. I feel that Yoast seo has a more user friendly style to it.

    This is a great write up!

    Heres to all the bloggers our there growing their brand!!

    Thanks again!

  19. Sorry I meant judging it relative to other DNS providers speed. I have no way of knowing if I would have a faster DNS speed elsewhere without moving?

    • Jim Stewart says: 08/06/2017 at 10:47 am

      Well cloudflare, Amazon etc are around 2ms most other providers that we have checked are around 250ms. But use ultratools for comparison

      • I’m on cloud flare for CDN at the moment. Domain is hosted by 123 reg. I didn’t know I could actually move a domain to cloudflare itself?

        • Jim Stewart says: 08/07/2017 at 12:14 pm

          You’re just moving the DNS – it’s a very simple process for most domains

  20. Completely Agree – CMS and Yoast SEO makes my day!!

  21. Hello Jim!!

    Great Post!! Keep writing more!!


  22. Shaon Thelosser says: 08/08/2017 at 2:04 am

    It’s a very good post.
    Content has been the king for the success of a blog but I think the keyword plays most crucial part in achieving the success most
    thank you brother . For a nice interpretation, write.

  23. We have been developing MLM Websites and software from last 7 years and we have successfully completed more than 200 MLM Projects. We have worked with national and international #network # https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7a6b18c4709daa3c05700dd4204a52584bee83b68c284258e3fdbaa7adf2efc9.jpg marketing companies and provided satisfied results to our clients.

  24. Grazie, Brian, sono d’accordo con te. Lei perfettamente elabora i fondamenti del blog. Lo spettacolo è veramente buono. Sei così vero con i tuoi punti. Grazie ancora per questo blog informativo.

  25. NISHANT M OOMMEN says: 08/14/2017 at 10:50 pm

    Hello, Jim. That was some great share.

    Selecting a reputed content management system that’s been powered by a leading internet security service invigorated the feeling of trust. A host that can provide uninterrupted service is crucial. If a site is down for a long time or frequently the server goes down, then Googles does see’s the website a high quality source which could address the pain points/ offer solutions to the users.

  26. Adeel Sami says: 08/16/2017 at 6:40 am

    Hey, Jim!

    Wonderful post, buddy!

    I am the big fan of Yoast SEO and using it from day one of my blogging.

    And I am with my own name kicking into the world of blogging, and that’s so helping me in being recognized.

    So, brand making is in action. :)

    Thanks for the apt ones, buddy!

    ~ Adeel

  27. Lucas Smith says: 08/16/2017 at 4:35 pm

    This is a great article!
    No blogger would want their efforts fall into deaf ears. Bloggers write simply because they want the world to know about their work. With this great tip to a strong SEO, blogs would be easier to find and more accessible to viewers. Thank you for this very informative article Jim!

  28. Absolutely loved this blog of yours Jim. As a new business who is a newbie in site-development and marketing I am constantly trying to learn more and your article was highly knowledgeable. Thanks again.
    OOTB Tutoring

  29. Hello,

    WordPress indeed is the great content management system for implementing usability features on the site with easy customization. I am big fan of Yoast SEO and as a blogger gets happy with the two green radio buttons.

  30. Lots of people are happy with WordPress. I don’t know. Considering that Google systematically down-rates personal blogs in any case, and you’d have to post the *only* substantial online article about a really obscure niche topic to get significant Google ratings…I use Google’s Blogspot, arguably inferior to WordPress in some ways, definitely down-rated by Google, but it *is* easy for those who find it to read. (Google tries to route all comments through Google +, which is a bore for those who don’t want to bother with Google +; I never did, particularly, but I will say it runs beautifully in Chrome and has become a social site for a nice group of readers.)

    My experience is that WordPress does not play well with others. Some sites are more compatible with Yahoo and Internet Explorer, some with Google and Chrome; WordPress has never worked very well for me with either.

    • Before someone else says it, I will. I live in the high Blue Ridge Mountains. Connectivity is generally not great here–and we like it that way, on the whole. There’s one Internet server in my neighborhood. It’s classified as a “proxy server” and it systematically fouls up anything coded using “i-frames,” so a lot of sites just do not, ever, work in my part of the world. Some parts of Paypal and Amazon are on that list. So is WordPress; most of the time I can *read* a WordPress blog, but that’s about all.

      Lesson for those who want to attract readers? Some people *want* to limit connectivity. Some people *want* to have access to only the very most secure sites. Some people also want to print off content in order to read it rather than look at it on the screen. So if you want to take full advantage of all that WordPress and other flashy sites can offer, you might also want to have a modest, simple, graphics-free “shadow blog” that readers like me can actually use.

  31. Absolutely loved your post! As a budding entrepreneur who is still new to marketing, I constantly try to educate myself and your article was highly informative. I really need to read more about Yoast SEO.

  32. Thanks for this

  33. Olabiyi Malik says: 12/18/2017 at 7:50 pm

    Hey Jim,

    The most interesting part is the CMS, I love to use WordPress because it is the best.

    I love thee designs there also, both the Front and Blog Page Setup.

    Doubtlessly, WordPress is the best and for the hosting i preffered Bluehost.


  34. Using plugins to help automate the tedious things is a great way to free up time to focus on your audience and creating content. I love going to Quora, Reddit, and even Amazon to find real-world questions to answer in my posts. This helps reduce the stress of what to write about, plus provides actual ideas on how to optimize the posts. Great read, thanks!

  35. Great article, I totally get your point about backlinks, they are important but posting good content and being active, creating blogs and infographics will get you backlinks. Nowaday the quality of backlinks is much more important than it used to be so creating great content is the best way to obtain backlinks from industry related sites in my opinion.

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