What New (and Old) Bloggers Need to Know about SEO

In today’s episode we talk about search engine optimization, and in particular, the five mistakes bloggers make with SEO and what to do about them.


My guest today is Jim Stewart from Stewart Media. Jim has years of experience with SEO and has helped me with my SEO for ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.

He is currently helping us with SEO while we move ProBlogger to a new domain, and he is also going to be a speaker at this year’s 2016 ProBlogger event.

In This Episode

In this episode (which you can listen to above or on iTunes or Stitcher) we discuss the five SEO mistakes bloggers make, and then we move on to some reader questions from our Facebook page.

Jim adds that one thing that bloggers are getting right is creating great content. Here are the five mistakes and how to correct them:

  1. Understand what Google is crawling on your site, so you can eliminate duplicate content. Type SITE:domain.com in the Google search bar to see what pages are being crawled. The number of pages being indexed should be equivalent to your number of posts. If additional pages are being indexed such as archives, tags, etc., install and configure the Yoast plugin to prevent this.
  2. Setup Google Search Console (previously called Google Webmaster Tools) This will tell you everything Google sees on your site. You can use it to find and fix errors and submit sitemaps.
  3. Optimize your permalink structure. You want DomainName/PostName. If you change your structure, you have to go back and 301 redirect old posts.
  4. Use good post structure. The page title should be in the URL and enclosed in h1 tags. Use descriptive names in images.
  5. Interlink your posts using a series of posts or sneeze pages. How to Create a Page That Propels People Deep Within Your Blog

Reader SEO Questions Answered

  • What is keyword stuffing and how to avoid it?
  • What is the best beginning blogger SEO tool?
  • What to focus on when using Yoast?
  • What numbers to measure and how to check volume in search console?
  • How many keywords to target on a blog and a blog post?
  • How important are onpage ranking factors, and should I bother focusing on them?
  • How popularity may be replacing linking factors in search results?
  • Is there value in getting links from social media?
  • Should time be invested in getting links from other sites?
  • If a site scrapes your content, should you issue a DMCA notice?
  • What are some tips when moving from Blogger to WordPress?
  • How to look for change of address settings in search console after a 301 redirect?
  • What to expect time-wise when ranking a new domain?
  • Why speed is such an important factor when choosing a host?

Tools and Resources Mentioned In This Post

How did you go with today’s episode?

If you have any additional SEO questions for Jim, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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  • Kirsten Oliphant

    Loved this! Sharing in my weekly email. Also- LOVE the new design! It looks fabulous!

    • Kirsten Oliphant

      Oh, wait- it may just be the podcast section. Am I crazy? The blog page looks the same. I swear I’ve been here before. Now I feel like I’ve lost my marbles. <- is that an expression Australians use?

      • Louise Scott

        That was a term my Scottish mother used. 🙂

      • Thanks Kirsten – new design coming across the whole ProBlogger podcast, blog, job board and everything else in the coming month or so! 🙂

  • Louise Scott

    This is an excellent post. A must-hear! Thank you Darren 🙂

  • Louise Scott

    I listened to it a second time, with pen and paper. Thank you to Jim, also. 🙂

    • Jim Stewart

      You’re welcome. I hope it helps.

  • Debbie Yarwood

    Wow – great tips I hadn’t heard before. Great podcast! I have an additional question. I checked out my site using site: domain name. I have the opposite problem to the one Jim talked about. I have only four search results returned when there should be about 15 (including pages and posts). I have Yoast installed and the indexes seem to be running. It is a new domain (two months old) Does it take time for Google to pick up full index? Or is there something else I should be doing?

    • I’ll get Jim to have a look at your question Debbie!

    • Jim Stewart

      that is unusual Debbie and may indicate a problem. Let me know your domain – if not here ping me on twitter or youtube @jimboot. Also getting a sitemap in Google Search Console may fix the problem.

      • Debbie Yarwood

        Thanks so much for responding Jim and Darren! My domain name is newhire365.com. Yoast seems to be creating sitemaps for me, but when I go into Google Search Console it says there is no data available for my site. I expect there is a glaringly obvious step I have missed to get them to talk nicely to each other? Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it!

        • Jim Stewart

          Hey Debbie I had a quick look. Nothing to obvious. I can crawl the site fine and find 32 pages. Google has now indexed 13. It’s normal for search console not to have any data the first few days. It will populate quickly. Submit a sitemap and it should resolve any issues.

  • Devon Lee

    Thanks for this podcast. I had previously installed the Google Console and had looked around in this before. It was nice to know I was using one of the tools you mentioned, though not entirely as often as once a week as suggested.

    I’m confused on how to resolve some of the the Crawl Issues for broken links. I did clean up a number of inaccurate links for posts that are live on my site. Thanks for the reminder.

    The trouble comes from following previous podcast advice to delete old posts and clean up my content. These old posts keep getting crawled by Google Console as broken links. Of the live posts, none of the mentioned crawled post have links to these deleted posts. They may have had content pulled up with the “Linked Within” widget or from the Archive Widget on the side bar. I thought these were curated from live content in Blogger blogs. Is that not right?

    In short, I have a number of bad crawl links but they are too posts that no longer exist and from pages that are generated by the archive widget from Blogger. Where would I begin to solve this issue? Anyone know who I should contact or if I should even bother?

    • thanks Devon – will ping Jim and see if he has any insights.

    • Jim Stewart

      Hi Devon, Google may find those old pages from external links or just historical crawling. I would 301 redirect the old posts if you can to another page or post on your site. This will eliminate Google seeing an error and also if there are external links pointing to them, fixes that as well.

      • Devon Lee

        Thanks Jim for the tips. I’ve cleaned up everything. I don’t think I did the 301 redirects correctly, but I’ll keep at it.

  • Science Chef

    Great podcast, thank you! Very clear and concise information. I did have google search console account, but never really did anything with it, but this podcast just made me actually do it since it made me see the reason why :-).

  • Great episode with actionable tips – thanks to you and Jim. I have way too many results when I search my domain name in google. Off to research Yoast configurations. Thanks for the heads up and I love your podcast!

    • Jim Stewart

      Yes correct AND in the titles & metas – taxonomies and select noindex

  • Lucy Parsons

    This is a really useful insight into SEO for bloggers. Thank you! My permalinks are set up to have the category and post name, like this: http://www.lifemoreextraordinary.com/study-skills/mini-study-habits/. Would it be better to remove the category from the permalink structure? I’m really nervous to do this for fear of breaking everything!

    • Jim Stewart

      Hey Lucy, I would look at that as a last item to do. You’ll have far more SEO benefit by fixing up other things like the doubled home page title and noindexing your tags, archives category pages.

  • Amy Urquhart

    This was a really great episode! I use Yoast on my site well at the post level, as your guest described, but didn’t know about some of the other settings to configure. Thank you!

  • Best podcast I have ever heard on SEO. I love the way Jim clearly outlined the tasks we should be doing, in laymen’s terms. (I listened to the podcast while I was rollerblading; now I’m going to re-listen to it and take notes — less chance of crashing when I’m not on wheels!)

  • Hi, it was my first ever and very interesting pocast. One thing I wanted to hear on the permalinks that what if I have a news site and I am using domain/date/post_title but you preferred domain/post_title. My site is new and I have over 150 posts. Do you recommend to change my permalinks to what you described or I should go with my existing one?

  • Great information. I never went to Yoast plugin in my admin. Followed your advice step by step. Thanks

  • Hi Jim, I’m a bit of a SEO novice so appreciate this podcast in a big way! Have installed YOAST, now not sure which settings to choose to avoid duplicating content and creating all those extra index pages. Right now I have about 180 pages and posts, and site:godconversations.com is showing ~290 pages. Could you please tell me specifically what settings I need to change in YOAST? Thanks so much!

  • akshay nair

    It was very helpful please let me know if i can improve my blog :- http://wowsome360.blogspot.in/ .
    thank you sir.

  • I am really enjoying your podcasts! It is easily understandable and makes the nitty gritty of building and promoting a blog not so tedious! Keep up the great work!