I bet you’ve reread the title at least several times. Did I really just announce a blog post on why you should quit your blog? Yes. Yes, I did. Who am I to tell you to quit blogging? And before you tell me that I should be the one to quit my blog, let me tell you: no, I’m not. In this post, I will share five reasons why you should quit blogging.

Free course! Learn what makes your site rank with our SEO for beginners training »

Free SEO course: SEO for beginners Info

Reason number 1: You can’t write

You think that you are a terrible writer. No one wants to read your blogs, and if you look at the blog posts you wrote a few months ago, you cringe. You have convinced yourself you absolutely cannot write. So put yourself (and all your readers, they’ll thank you) out of their misery. Just quit.

Unless…

… you love to write. Unless it’s just your inner critic talking. In most cases, it’s just not true. And even if it’s true, how can you grow to be a great writer if you don’t try? We somehow have forgotten that to learn, we have to try. We have to fall and stand up again. No child ever just stopped trying to get up after it fell again and again. It just got back up to try again. The first baby steps couldn’t have been successful if the child thought it couldn’t do it after failing the first time. So grab your notebook or your laptop and get to it. Make mistakes. And then find a way to do it right and improve.

Reason number 2: You don’t have an audience

Who are you writing for if you don’t have any visitors? Honestly, what a waste of time. You could spend your time doing something useful, such as making money by getting a real job. Maybe you should do chores around the house, get the groceries or do some cleaning.

I hope you’re writing for yourself. I hope you’re writing to ease the writer inside of you. And I hope you write because you have a story to get out of there. Above all, I hope you realize that if you keep your writings to yourself, no one will ever read it. And if you don’t have an audience yet, you could try and work on your SEO. Whatever the reason is you do not have many visitors just yet, find out what it is and get that audience.

Even more important: cherish the small audience you might have right now. If it’s your spouse, your mother, your best friend or someone you don’t know: if they take the time to tell you they like it, you’ve got an audience. It starts with just one reader.

Reason 3: There are a lot of blogs already, yours is nothing new

My younger sister told me this when I started my blog about life as a mother. She said: ‘Aren’t there already a lot of blogs like yours out there? Why do you think you’re so special?’ She hadn’t even seen my blog yet, hadn’t even read my articles. And I doubt she even remembers she told me this because last week she told me: ‘Oh, I read this and that on your blog. That’s insane!’

I remember feeling insecure when she told me I wasn’t unique, but I continued to blog anyway. I told her she knew nothing. And no, I’m not the biggest blogger out there (if only), I’m not even mildly average. My blog isn’t even big enough to be considered for so-called ‘influencer programs.’ And although I have goals to become big, my goal to be authentic is bigger. So my blog is something new because it’s mine. Your blog is just as special and authentic.

Reason 4: It’s lonely

You’re just sitting there, behind your computer, writing stuff no one reads for a blog that makes no money. You must be so incredibly lonely.

I’ve met a lot of bloggers the past year. On blogger conferences, through Twitter, through Facebook groups, through Pinterest and blogs of bloggers I admire. If you feel alone as a blogger, find a local (WordPress) meetup, join Facebook groups, Twitter discussions or just send an email to a blogger you admire. Writing can be a lonely hobby, but it’s not necessary.

Reason 5: You’re giving away your information. For free

Are you out of your mind, or what? Are you just giving all your information away, for free? How will you make money? I mean, why would you give stuff away for free?

I don’t know why we do this either. It must be in our nature to help people.

And if you didn’t already know, bloggers can surely monetize their blog.

I love to write. I write a lot. Therefore I am a writer. I’m not making money with my blog. I’m losing money on advertising, hosting, a theme and premium plugins, but I don’t care for now. It’s my hobby. It’s almost volunteering, but on my terms.

Honestly, did you think I was serious about quitting blogging? I’ve started this series to encourage you to pick up blogging too. I’m encouraging friends to start blogs and we have written guides how to start or continue blogging. So, if anyone ever tells you again you should quit blogging, tell them: Nope. And throw this page in their face.

Read more: ‘Caroline’s Corner: Finding inspiration for your next blog post’ »

The post Caroline’s Corner: Why you should quit your blog now appeared first on Yoast.

After (re)defining the niche of my blog and creating a proper site structure with the needed categories, I felt as if I had reinvented my blog. I decided I wanted to publish at least three articles each week. This meant I would have to write 156 blog posts a year. That number sounds extremely daunting, as there have been times the past year I was struggling to come up with just a single blog post idea. How would I ever come up with enough ideas for cool blog posts? It’s all about finding inspiration. Today, I want to share my best tips so you can keep generating useful ideas.

Get the most out of Yoast SEO, learn every feature and best practice in our Yoast SEO for WordPress training! »

Yoast SEO for WordPress training Info

Tips and tricks for finding inspiration

I’m always amazed at bloggers who have a few hundreds or thousands of blog posts on their site. Where do they get their inspiration? How do they know what to write? I dove in, had a lot of fun, worried about my niche again, worried about the health of the people who inserted certain search queries and ended up with a list of blog post ideas. Let me show you how I did that.

Performance report in Google Search Console

Google Search Console shows you more than your crawl errors. Only recently I learned about the Performance report in GSC. It was once again my coworker Patrick who showed me this, although I could’ve known, as we have blog posts on this very subject. No wonder I heard my colleagues laugh when I kept staring at my screen in amazement and uttering: ‘Wow, this is so cool. This is awesome. I had no idea. This is brilliant! Thank you!’

The Performance report shows you the search queries people use that your site ranks on. There could be queries on the list that you have never even thought about writing about.

After looking at my list, I saw someone searched for [milkshake during pregnancy]. I’ve written about pregnancy and milkshakes, but not in that combination yet. This means that an article on milkshake recipes you can make at home that are safe to consume during your pregnancy could be a good idea. Another search result is [time capsule baby]. I don’t even know what it is. It got me worried at first, but now I’m excited to find out what it is. I’m sure the person who searched for this, didn’t want to put a baby inside a time capsule because that’s weird.

Content Idea Generator

Content Idea Generator won’t give you ready to go article ideas. At best it will point you in the right direction, at worst it will provide you with a few laughs. For example, I entered the term [baby]. As a mom, this is something that’s apparently on my mind all day — it’s not, by the way. The subject most on my mind is probably sleeping. And wine. Content Idea Generator gave me the following title: ‘Why babies are scarier than dating Taylor Swift’. I’m not sure what dating Taylor Swift is like, but I do know babies can be quite scary.

A content idea about [wine] gave me ’17 unexpected uses for wine’. I’d think it’s to drink, all other 16 uses would be a waste of good wine to me, but what do I know? Perhaps there are other ways than just to drink it!

Entering the [sleep] subject just left me kind of sad, because I ended up with ‘Why you’ll never succeed at sleep’. That’s disappointing. And accurate at the moment.

While the Content Idea Generator won’t give you immediately what you want, it’s sure to get your creativity flowing. If we take the last subject I entered, which is [sleep], I ended up with the following blog ideas in under two minutes:

  • How to fall asleep faster.
  • How to sleep like a baby — hah, see what I did there? I combined two subjects!
  • The definite guide to get your baby to sleep through the night — oh yeah, did it again!
  • Sleep problems? Try these six tips – and perhaps combine this with wine and link this to the ’17 unexpected uses for wine’. Double win!

Days Of The Year

I am in love with Days Of The Year. This site collects all the funny, bizarre and nice holidays the world has. Browsing their calendar gave me a list of close to thirty post ideas and that was only because I was being extremely picky. For example, today, April 5, is both caramel and deep dish pizza day. I didn’t even know deep dish pizza was a thing.

It’s also ‘Tell a lie day’ today. I could twist this one into a blog post for my niche and could write an article about all the lies I tell my son each day, or the lies I tell myself. You can easily lose a couple of hours while scrolling through that site. Keep your pen and notepad at hand, though, because it is bound to give you tons of inspiration. There are days available for every niche. Are you a fan of mythical creatures? April 9th is unicorn day. There’s also a leprechaun day and a howl at the moon day.

May 25th is towel day, which can give travel bloggers and lifestyle bloggers ideas for posts. Think of blog posts such as: ‘How to keep your towels soft’ or ‘With this information you will never buy the wrong towel again’. Or throw the word [towel] in the Content Idea Generator I described above, which will lead to hilarious posts such as: ’17 facts about towels that will impress your friends’. Or this one: ’18 things Spock would say about towels’; brilliant, as Towel Day is on the same day as Geek Pride Day.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a beautiful source of inspiration, especially for bloggers! I rediscovered Pinterest a few weeks ago. I had abandoned my account for quite some time, but after I read article after article about why Pinterest is important to bloggers, I got active again. I’ll cover my journey on Pinterest in another blog post, as I’m still trying a lot of things to see what it can do for me as a blogger.

Pinterest can help you find enough input for your next subjects. Search for keywords such as [blog post ideas], [blog ideas], or [what to blog about]. To get even more inspiration fast, include your niche in the search results. For example: [blog post ideas for moms], or [blog post ideas for lifestyle bloggers]. Bloggers like you and me write these guides, so often you can learn what works and what doesn’t. But please, be cautious as well. In my opinion, Pinterest is clickbait heaven. Falling into the trap of quantity over quality is easy. Keep your focus or you’ll lose track of time.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Other ways to generate ideas

This is not the definitive list for generating ideas of course. There are a lot more ways to find inspiration, for example:

  • Find bloggers that inspire you. Make sure you do not copy their ideas, though. And give credit where credit is due.
  • Join Facebook groups that are related to your niche.
  • Join Facebook groups for bloggers.
  • Follow the ideas described in these posts:

What’s next?

With the above lists, I generated over 70 blog post ideas, and it took me only ten minutes of brainstorming. While not all of them are ready to turn into blog posts just yet as I need to do research, the goal to write at least three blog posts a week won’t be dependent on lack of ideas. The only way this could fail, is with the wrong planning.

Read more: ‘Why a blogger should focus on SEO’ »

The post Caroline’s Corner: Finding inspiration for your next blog post appeared first on Yoast.

Allowing people to comment on your content is a great way to increase engagement and get in touch with your audience. So, it pays off to choose a good comment system that works for you. Besides the standard WordPress comment system, there are several other systems out there you can implement on your website so your readers can directly respond to your posts.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

It’s good to keep some things in mind when selecting what comment system you want to use. Do you want integration with social media, for example? Do you want to be able to keep your comments if you ever need to change your comment system, and what features do you need? You may want more functionalities than WordPress’ standard comment system provides and therefore choose another system. But are there really no downsides to that, keeping the importance of site speed in mind? What about comment systems and SEO? Let’s get into this dilemma in this week’s Ask Yoast!

Max sent us his question on comment systems:

There is no question that the Disqus service takes a little while to load on a webpage. So, do these blog commenting services, like Disqus, affect SEO in some way?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

The impact of comment systems on SEO

“Do they affect SEO? Well, yes, they do. Because, in fact, they’re so slow to load that most of the time, what you see is that Google doesn’t load the content of those comments, and doesn’t use them to rank that page. Which might be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how good your comments are and whether your comments have a lot of content or not.

I personally don’t like these services because they slow down the page load so much and because they make it slower for people to be able to repond to your content, which is why, on yoast.com, we use the plain vanilla WordPress commenting system with some added features that are in the Yoast Comment Hacks plugin, which we’ve released for free on the repository. So that’s why we use that, and not any service like Disqus. But I know there’s a lot of fans of services like Disqus because of all the other features they have. So it’s a trade-off. We made our choice, you have to make yours. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

The post Ask Yoast: Comment systems and SEO appeared first on Yoast.

Here at Yoast, we’re very good at SEO. We’re also very good at telling you why you should focus on SEO: because you want to get the most out of your site. But what if you’re a blogger writing about things you love without the intention of making money? You want to entertain people with your blog posts and hope they’ll come back next time to read about either your new travel adventures, an awesome DIY project you’ve tried or a personal update. The last thing you think you need is something like keyword research or Yoast SEO’s green bullets — especially since Yoast SEO always seems to hate your writing style.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Introducing: Caroline’s Corner

Hi, my name is Caroline. I’m 29 years old and a technical product specialist at Yoast. In my spare time, I write and maintain a blog about life as a mother. In September 2014 I joined the company as a software developer and to be honest, I had no idea what the Yoast SEO plugin even did — but don’t tell Joost and Marieke I said that. Something with SEO, sure. But who needs that as a blogger? That’s for the big companies out there that are only in it for the money. O, how wrong I was.

In a new blog series on Yoast.com, I will take you by the hand and show you how to make the most of your blog. I hope you’ll join me on my travels! But first…

Six reasons why you should focus on SEO

A lot of bloggers start their blog as a hobby. They don’t focus on SEO at first and who could blame them? You want to write, not worry about Google and their unfathomable rules on how to rank. But as your blog starts attracting more visitors, you might think of the possibility of making a bit of money. You could use it to cover the cost of running the site, for instance. Or you want to keep it a hobby, but would love to get an even bigger audience. Just as there are a million reasons to start blogging, there are lots of reasons to focus on SEO — especially if you want to reach that next level as a blog. Not entirely convinced yet? Below you’ll find six reasons why you could focus on SEO with your blog.

Currently, you only reach readers via social media

Perhaps you have an active Instagram and Facebook account with a couple of hundred followers or more. You’re aiming for your readers to visit your blog through the links you share on your Facebook page. However, social media optimization is a thing too and to do this right, you need to focus on your SEO as well. SEO-optimized content can bring in new traffic from search engines.

You want to get to know your readers

Your readers are probably a fan of your blog and without them, you don’t have an audience. To cater them, you need to get to know them. By getting to know them, you know what drives them to your website, what gets them to stay on your blog and what makes them leave. You’ll be able to write more relevant blog posts and get more in touch with your blog.

To get and stay inspired

When you know how well you rank for certain keywords, you might find your most popular blog post is one you’ve written over a year ago. There might be a series hidden in that blog post that you can expand. You’ll never suffer from writer’s block again.

Additionally, if you want to grow, you need to know what keywords you need to focus on. If you want to become an expert on a certain topic, you’ll need to do keyword research.

You’re not depending on mouth-to-mouth

While off-page SEO is important to grow too, handing out your paper business cards and telling your family and friends you have a blog, probably won’t get you to exceed a thousand unique visitors a month, unless you have a very large family, of course. While my mom is my biggest fan and she tells everyone they should visit my blog, I doubt she actually gets more than ten people to visit my blog. While mouth-to-mouth will get you to grow just a tiny bit, it will not help you grow hugely. That’s another reason why you need SEO.

To acquire collaborations

There are several things that matter for companies that want to collaborate with you. From domain authority and page authority to the total amount of visitors and from your Facebook like count to the amount of Instagram followers. To make money blogging, your blog and each aspect is your business card, treat it as such.

Brings structure to your blog

Last but not least: to grow, your blog needs a clear structure. You wouldn’t be the first to end up with dozens of categories and hundreds of tags. Your users need a structured website to navigate and Google uses this as well. This means your website will become better by spending time on SEO.

Let’s get started!

Feeling inspired to start? Great! Feeling worried? I can imagine. Don’t worry, this is just the first post in a blog series where I’ll take you through the daunting jungle of SEO to show you (and myself) that it’s not a big bad world out there.

I would love to hear from you what you find hard about SEO for your blog so I can possibly touch that subject in a next blog post.

Read more: ‘Blogging: the ultimate guide’ »

The post Caroline’s Corner: Why should a blogger focus on SEO? appeared first on Yoast.

How do you explain SEO to people who don’t know the first thing about it? What is SEO really about? Before anyone accuses me of discriminating against the elderly, the title of this post is only a figure of speech. Joost’s 90-year old grandmother knows exactly what SEO is, while some of our 30-something friends have a hard time grasping the concept of SEO. So, lots of people do not understand what SEO is really about. How can you explain it to them? Here, I’ll tell show you how to explain SEO to all of your friends – and to your grandparents – in four simple steps.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO for WordPress pluginBuy Yoast SEO Premium plugin Info

1. Explain the influence of search engines

I always start my anecdotes about what SEO is exactly with pointing out the importance, or the monopoly, of the search engines. For most people, the search engine is pretty much Google. I point out how much people use Google and for what purposes. With so many people using Google, every website wants a good position in Google. The more people find a website, the more they’ll read articles and buy products on that specific website. Explaining the importance of the search engine is a really simple thing to do. Most people – even grandparents – know about Google, right?

2. Explain what SEO stands for

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. That basically means, optimizing a website for the search engines – Google – in such a way it’ll appear in a high position in said search engine. That’s usually the second step I take in explaining SEO to my friends and relatives. The tactics SEO uses in order to optimize for the search engines differ over time and between professionals. But every SEO strategy is always aimed at aspiring a high ranking in Google.

If people understand the importance of search engines, they’ll now know why SEO is important. They’ll be now wondering how to achieve such a high position in Google. The hard part is yet to come!

3. Explain Google and Google’s mission

The third step in explaining SEO to your grandparents is to tell them about Google’s mission. In order to understand HOW you can achieve a high position in Google, you should know a bit more about Google and Google’s mission. Google’s mission is:

“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Google wants to serve the client a result that fits his question. So, SEO tactics should be focused on making a website in such a way, that the customer will quickly find what he or she is looking for. The best SEO tactic is always to be the best search result.

What does Google do?

Google has an incredibly large database. All the content of all the sites in the world is in there. Google reads texts. By these texts, it decides what a particular site is about. So the content of a website is of particular importance. But, other parts are important too. Google likes websites that are fast and it likes websites that are linked to by many other sites. There are lots of factors that decide which websites are shown in high positions in Google and which websites are shown in a low position. But, they all boil down to the same thing: Google wants to serve the client the BEST possible result. SEO tactics should, therefore, be aimed at being that best result.

4. Give examples of SEO tactics

In the final step of explaining SEO, I usually sum up all the aspects you’ll need optimize and I’ll start with content as content is my thing. SEO means writing awesome content, content that people want to read, content that people like to read. Above that, your website should be fast and it should be user-friendly. People should be able to navigate a site easily, they should instantly know where to click. SEO also has to do with security, making sure your website won’t be hacked. Google does not like hacked websites. There are several on-page SEO tactics you can use to improve your site.

If you notice you’re explaining SEO to someone who responds really enthusiastically, you could tell them a bit about technical SEO. I usually skip that part. If you want a more entertaining touch to your story, you could tell them about buying links and Google penalties. That’s exciting stuff, but not something to use in your SEO strategy.

Conclusion

Explaining SEO to someone who’s pretty much clueless about the subject can be quite hard. SEO is something that changes over time, and that’s a different thing to different people. Even among SEO specialist, opinions on what is good SEO differ.

Read more: ‘Holistic SEO’ »

The post Explaining SEO to your grandparents appeared first on Yoast.

Why do so many eCommerce sites have a blog? Is that because online shop owners love to write posts? Or perhaps they have a lot of spare time on their hands? Probably not. Although blogging is lots of fun, it also is a great marketing and SEO strategy. And because of that, eCommerce site owners start a blog. Here, I’ll explain why blogging is such a great marketing and SEO strategy. On top of that, I’ll give some practical tips on how to set up blog on a eCommerce site. 

New to SEO? Learn the Basics of SEO in our Basic SEO course »

Basic SEO training$ 199 - Buy now » Info

Why blog on an eCommerce site?

Inform your audience about you and your products

Blogging is a great way to inform your audience about your product. In a blog post, you can show how to use a product and why people should buy it. You can also tell your audience about yourself and your company. And you’ll be able to tell the story of your products from your perspective. If you’re, for instance, selling baby clothes on your site, a blog about children and children’s fashion is a great idea.

Stay top of mind

If you blog on a regular basis and post your blog posts on social media, you’ll stay top of mind of your audience. You want your audience to remember you, even when they’re not going to buy anything just now. If a visitor encounters one of your posts on how to dress children on a hot day, for instance, this visitor may not immediately want to buy new clothes for his or her children. But, they got to know you and your eCommerce site through your post. That way, you increase the chance people think about you when they DO need new clothes for their children.

Blogging is a great SEO strategy

Maintaining a blog contributes to SEO as well. Every time you write a new blogpost, you’re adding fresh content, which Google likes. In addition to that, maintaining a blog will allow you to start writing content related to those keywords you would like to rank for.

Practical tips for your blog on an eCommerce site

What to blog about?

You can write about all kinds of things on your blog, but make sure to do proper keyword research first. You need to know what search terms you want to be found for. These keywords should be leading when you choose what to blog about. A keyword, however, is not a topic yet. You need an angle, a story around such a keyword.

A great way to come up with ideas for blog posts is by referring and writing about current events. Keep an eye on different news sites, and write posts in which you incorporate your views on the news in your niche. Another way to get ideas is to invite your audience to leave comments on your blog. It may take a while to get them, but you could receive some questions or feedback that are excellent starters for your next post.

Read more: ‘6 tips for coming up with blog ideas’ »

Blog in the menu

The menu or top navigation of your site helps visitors understand what your website is about and what you’re offering. It should reflect the structure of your website. If you add a blog to your eCommerce site, you should make sure it also appears in your menu. A blog should be in your main menu.

I would advise you to set it apart from the categories of your eCommerce site. Put it all the way left (next to home), or all the way right in your menu, for instance. You should be able to click through to your blog from your homepage. After all, you want visitors to find your blog easily. And linking to your blog from your homepage will indicate to Google that your blog is important, which can increase the ranking of your blog. Also, make sure your blog is on the same domain as your eCommerce site, this way both your eCommerce site and your blog will profit from each other’s rankings.

Use of tags

If you have a blog on your eCommerce site, you’d probably write a lot on topics related to your products. Maybe about events where you use them, or what to use them for, how to use them best, comparisons between different products etc. Therefore, it makes sense that your tags will partly overlap with the product categories and subcategories of your shop. This is OK. Because in the end, you’d like to rank with those posts to draw people to the products you sell. And, if you group products, whether that’s in categories or tags, it’s easier to make them rank.

Social media and newsletters

If you start a blog on your eCommerce site, make sure to share these posts on social media as well. In addition to that, you should definitely send out a newsletter promoting your latest blog posts to your audience. People need a reminder of the existence of you and your blog once in a while.

Conclusion

A blog is a great marketing and SEO tool for eCommerce sites. In your posts, you can tell readers about your brand and products, and perhaps also about yourself. No excuses here, just start blogging!

Keep reading: ‘How to start a blog’ »

Breadcrumbs are an important part of almost any good website. These little navigational aides don’t just help people visualize where they are on your site, but also help Google determine how your site is structured. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to add these helpful little pointers. Let’s see how breadcrumbs work.

Want rich snippets for your site? Try our Structured data training »

Structured data training Info

What are breadcrumbs?

When Hansel and Gretel went into the woods, Hansel dropped pieces of bread on the ground so they could find their way home if the two of them ever got lost. These breadcrumbs eventually became the model for the breadcrumbs we see on websites nowadays. A breadcrumb is a small text path, often located at the top of a page. On yoast.com, for instance, the path to our Yoast SEO plugin page is Home > WordPress Plugins > Yoast SEO for WordPress. This breadcrumb immediately shows you where you are. Every part of that path is clickable, all the way to the homepage.

Breadcrumbs also appear in Google. If you use Yoast SEO or add the correct form of structured data to your site, search engines can pick up this data and could show your breadcrumbs in the search results. These provide users an easy to understand overview of where the page sits on your site. Yoast SEO automatically adds the necessary structured data in JSON-LD format for you. Flip the switch and see the necessary lines show up in your source code.breadcrumb seo google example

Different kinds

Looking closely, we can distinguish different types of breadcrumbs. These are the three most common types of breadcrumbs you will find on sites:

Hierarchy based breadcrumbs

These will pop up most often. We use them on our site as well. Breadcrumbs like this will tell you where you are in a site structure and how many steps you can take to get back to the homepage. Something like Home > Blog > Category > Post name.

breadcrumbs hierarchy

Attribute based breadcrumbs

Attribute based breadcrumbs appear after a certain selection has been made, for instance, while searching for a product on an e-commerce site. Maybe, Home > Product category > Gender > Size > Color.

breadcrumbs attribute

History based breadcrumbs

History based breadcrumbs do what it says on the tin; they are ordered according to what you have been doing on the site. Think of these as a replacement for your internet history bar. These would appear like this: Home >  Previous page > Previous page > Previous page > Current page. It’s also possible to combine these like Macy’s does in the screenshot below.

breadcrumbs history

Advantages to using breadcrumbs

There are a couple of advantages to using breadcrumbs on your site. Let’s go over them quickly:

1. Google loves them

Your visitors like breadcrumbs, but Google likes them as well. Breadcrumbs give Google another way of figuring out how your website is structured. In addition to that, Google might use your breadcrumbs to show these in the search results. This way, your search result will at one become much more enticing to users. To increase the chance to get these breadcrumbs in Google, you need to add structured data or use Yoast SEO.

2. They enhance the user experience

People hate to get lost. When confronted with a new location, people often look around in search of recognizable objects or landmarks. The same goes for websites. You need to keep visitors happy and reduce as much friction as possible. Breadcrumbs can help your user experience since it is a well-known interface element that instantly shows people a way out. No need to click the back button!

3. They lower bounce rates

Hardly anyone comes in via the homepage anymore. It’s all organic search nowadays. That means every part of your site could be an entry point. You must come up with a way to guide these visitors to other parts of your site if the selected page does not meet their expectations. Breadcrumbs can lower bounce rates because you’re offering visitors an alternative means of browsing your site. Don’t you think it’s better to send a visitor to your homepage than back to Google?

How to add breadcrumbs

There are several ways of adding breadcrumbs to your site. Firstly, if you use a WordPress site, you can use one of the many breadcrumb plugins or just use Yoast SEO. If you use a different CMS the process might be different. It is also possible to add them by hand. If you want them to appear in Google as well, you need to use structured data in a way that Google understands. You can find more information on this in Google’s developer documentation on breadcrumbs.

Yoast SEO offers an easy way to add breadcrumbs to your WordPress site. It will add everything necessary to add them not just visible on your site, but get them ready for Google as well. To add breadcrumbs to your site, you need to add the following piece of code to your theme where you want them to appear:

<br />
<?php<br />
if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) {<br />
yoast_breadcrumb('</p>
<p id="breadcrumbs">','</p>
<p>');<br />
}<br />
?><br />

This code can often be placed inside the single.php or page.php files, just above the title of the page. Some themes want it at the end of the header.php file. Try not to add it to functions.php since this could create problems.

After adding the code, you can go to the advanced settings of Yoast SEO and switch on breadcrumb support. Here, you can also determine how the breadcrumb structure will look and what prefixes will be used. Find out more on our Knowledge Base page on implementing breadcrumbs with Yoast SEO.

search appearance breadcrumbs yoast seo

Conclusion

While using breadcrumbs, Hansel and Gretel still got lost in the woods. Don’t let that happen to your visitor. Breadcrumbs provide an easy to grasp way of navigating for users. Visitors instantly understand how the site structure works. For the same reason, Google loves them as well. Use Yoast SEO to add breadcrumbs to your site easily.

Read more: ‘Site structure: the ultimate guide’ »

The post What are breadcrumbs and why are they important for SEO? appeared first on Yoast.

Writing blog posts can be great fun. But for some of you, blogging can be quite a challenge as well. What should you write about? What do you do if you’re out of inspiration? How do you get engagement on your blog posts? And how do you market and monetize your blog? This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know about blogging.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Why blog?

If you have a website of any kind, you need to blog, at least occasionally. Blogging is the best thing you can do for SEO and it’s a valuable marketing tool. Plus of course, it can be great fun!

Blogging for SEO

Adding content on a regular basis should be a part of every sustainable SEO strategy. It allows you to rank for new keywords and to keep ranking for those you’re already being found for. If you blog regularly, Google will see your site as active, alive and relevant – and that will definitely help your overall rankings.

Blogging as a marketing tool

A blog is a great marketing tool for every website. You can use it to tell your readers about your brand, your products and perhaps even about yourself. Maintaining a blog also allows your readers to get to know your brand and your products better.

Read more: ‘To blog or not to blog’ »

Setting up a new blog

If you’re just starting a new blog, it pays to do some prep before you start. Take some time to think about your niche and to do some proper keyword research. And don’t forget to structure your blog in a smart way. If you give some thought to how you want to set up your blog before you start writing, it will save you a lot of work later on.

Keep reading: ‘How to start a blog’ »

What should you blog about?

You can’t blog without ideas, and you’ll need lots of them to maintain a successful blog. But where do you look for inspiration?

Keyword research

You’ll have to decide which terms you want to be found for before you start writing your content. To decide that, you need to get inside people’s heads and find out which words they use while searching for your type of business. When you write, you’ll use these exact terms in your content to make sure you start ranking for them. Keyword research is the first step in SEO copywriting and an essential part of any successful SEO strategy.

Read on: ‘Keyword research: the Ultimate Guide’ »

If you’ve done your keyword research properly, you’ll end up with a long list of keywords to write content about. A keyword is not yet a topic though. As well as a keyword you’ll need an angle or a specific story around a keyword in order to write a decent blog post.

Where do you get inspiration for your posts?

Current events, your own work, and comments from your readers are just some ways you can get inspiration for new blog posts. Reading a lot is also a good idea for finding inspiration. Read magazines, newspapers, and other blogs. Hot tip: keep a list of ideas for new blog posts on your mobile phone. Inspiration strikes when you least expect it.

Read more: ‘5 tips to get inspiration for your blog’ »

How to write a high-quality blog post

Writing requires some skills – it’s more difficult for some people than for others. We’ll give you some tips to make writing easier for you later on, but first we’ll discuss two important aspects of high-quality blog posts: originality and readability.

Original content

Your blog posts should always be fresh, new and original. Each one should be sufficiently different from all the other blog posts and articles about the same topic already on the web, and it should be something that people will want to read.

Keep reading: ‘The importance of original content for SEO’ »

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training »

SEO copywriting training Info

Readable content

After you’ve written a post with original content, you should make sure your article is easy to read. Readability is vital for your audience. If your text is well structured and clearly written, people will understand your message, but readability is also crucial for SEO. Not only do people read your text, but Google does too. If your post is easy to read, with a clear structure with subheadings and logical paragraphs, chances are it’ll rank higher in the search engines too.

Read on: ‘Does readability rank?’ »

Practical tips on how to write awesome blog posts

Think before you write

Before you begin, take a little time to think about what you want to write. Who is your audience and what do you want to tell them? What do you want them to know/understand/do after they have read your blog post? Which topics do you want to cover in your blog post and in what order? Answering these questions before you write will help you to write better articles.

Read more: ‘How to start writing a blog post’ »

Write clear paragraphs

We advise that you always start each paragraph with the most important sentence, then explain or elaborate on it. That way, a reader will be able to grasp the most relevant content from your article, just by reading the first sentence of each of your paragraphs. Don’t make your paragraphs too long; 7 or 8 sentences is quite long enough. Think about the order of your paragraphs and remember they should follow each other logically.

Keep reading: ‘Practical tips to set up a clear text structure’ »

Get help and ask for feedback

Our Yoast SEO plugin helps you to write readable posts. For example, our readability analysis checks whether you’re using too many long sentences and whether you’re using enough transition words. This can be a great help in writing readable blog posts.

As well as using a writing tool like our readability analysis, you should always make sure that someone proofreads your blog post. A fresh pair of eyes will at least help correct typos and you’ll know whether someone else can understand everything you want to say in your article.

Read on: ‘5 tips to write readable blogposts’ »

Optimize blog posts for search engines

After you’ve written a blog post that’s both original and readable, you should make sure your content is optimized for search engines. You should maximize the likelihood that Google will pick up your content. It’s important that you take this final step after you’ve written your post, though. SEO should never compromise either the originality of your idea or the readability of your text.

yoast seo focus keyword content analysis

Yoast SEO can help you tweak your text. The red and orange bullets will indicate which aspects of your findability need attention. For example, the plugin might suggest using your focus keyword a little more often, perhaps by putting it in the first paragraph or in one of the headings. Yoast SEO will help you to optimize your snippet preview as well. In short: don’t just set the plugin and then forget about it, but use it to your advantage!

Read more: ‘Use Yoast SEO to make your content findable’ »

Blog engagement

Blog engagement is an important factor for SEO. If your audience leaves comments on your blog (and you respond to these comments), Google will see that your blog is very much alive and active. And of course, mentions on social media will also help with your blog’s ranking. If people share your post on social media, or talk about it online, that will definitely lead to more traffic.

Replying to comments is an essential aspect of blog engagement and answering questions and providing appropriate responses in a discussion can take a lot of time. Handling positive feedback and answering questions is relatively easy, while negative feedback can be more challenging. Read our post about how to handle comments for more information and practical tips.

Marketing your blog

If you’re writing posts for your blog, you need an audience. Nobody wants to perform to an empty room! Ranking well in search engines through flawless SEO will, of course, help. But there is always more you can do.

Social media and newsletters

Social media is an important marketing instrument for your blog. You definitely need to set up a Facebook page and create a Twitter account. If you’re focusing on a young audience, you’ll need Instagram and Snapchat as well.

Also, consider starting a newsletter. Collect subscribers who want to stay informed and email them regularly.

Keep reading: ‘Marketing your blog’ »

Monetizing your blog

If your audience is growing due to great SEO and marketing strategies, this doesn’t necessarily mean that profit (if you’re making money with your blog) from your blog will also grow. For many bloggers, making money is not the primary goal. Still, you can make money from a blog. Advertising, affiliate marketing, and writing promoted posts are the most common strategies for making money with a blog. But you could also use the blog to sell your own stuff.

Read on: ‘Monetizing your blog’ »

Maintaining a blog

Starting a blog is easier than maintaining a blog. It can be a lot of work to write blog posts on a regular basis. You don’t have to blog every day, but you should decide on a frequency and stick to it so your audience will know what to expect from you. Blogging does require some discipline.

As your blog starts to grow, you’ll probably face new SEO problems. How do you keep coming up with new content and keep your old content up to date? How do you manage different authors? What do you do when traffic to your blog is decreasing? And how will you keep the structure of your blog in shape?

Learn how to structure your site well with our Site structure training! »

Site structure training Info

Site structure of a growing blog

While your blog is growing, it’s important to regularly analyze the structure of your blog. Organize your categories, subcategories and tags well. As your blog is growing, the structure will change and evolve. As long as you stay on top of that, your structure will remain SEO-friendly!

Content planning for a growing blog

As your blog gets bigger and attracts a larger audience, content writing becomes content planning and content managing. On larger blogs, a team of authors usually works together. Blogs are written by individual authors, but these authors still have to coordinate. Otherwise, a post with the exact same topic could appear twice. Or, authors could use a totally different style and tone of voice.

Read more: ‘Managing a growing blog: content planning’ »

Conclusion

Blogging is great. It can boost your rankings in Google, especially when you combine it with an in-depth keyword research strategy, and is also an important and effective marketing tool. Use our tips to get started and to maintain your blog effectively. Happy blogging!

Interested in blogging? Follow the adventures of our colleague and blogger Caroline, she regularly writes about her struggles and successes as a blogger.

Keep reading: ‘SEO Copywriting: the ultimate guide’ »

The post Blogging: the ultimate guide appeared first on Yoast.

If you’re thinking about starting a blog, the most important thing I have to say to you is: go for it! Start your blog! Just do it! Blogging is a great SEO strategy, it’s a wonderful marketing tool and blogging is lots of fun! A new blog will allow you to make smart and strategic choices. Just take a little time to think about how to set up your blog before you begin, so you’ll have less work later on. Let me share some tips with you on how to start a blog.

Choose your niche

You should always write about what you know. But you should not write about everything you know. Pick a niche. Decide upon a main topic and write posts related to that topic. It’s more likely that your audience will come back and read your other posts if you’re writing about similar topics. People will know what to expect. Starting a mom blog implies that you write about all things concerning your children and family life. Starting a travel blog implies you write about traveling. You can write about something slightly off topic once in a while of course, but try to stick to your niche. An audience of a travel blog doesn’t expect a blog post about gardening. 

Our SEO for WordPress eBook guides you through every aspect of Search Engine Optimization »

SEO for WordPress€ 25 - Buy now » Info

Do your keyword research

Once you’ve chosen your niche, you should do some solid keyword research. Try to find out what people are searching for. What words are they using when they want to read about your niche and your topic? You should really get inside the heads of your potential audience. If you do your keyword research properly, you should end up with a long lists of keywords you would like to be found for. Try to come up with competitive, head keywords as well as with less competitive long-tail keywords.

Read more: ‘How to start your keyword research’ »

Think about site structure

This is the best time to think about site structure. What categories are popular in your niche? What are the most important head keywords you’d like to rank for? You should write a long, kick-ass article about each of these keywords. Those will be your most essential articles, or in other words, your cornerstone content. You should give those articles a prominent place on your site.

After you’ve written those beautiful cornerstone articles, write lots of blog posts on sub topics of that main topic and always link to your cornerstones. That way, you’ll be telling Google exactly what the most important articles on your website are.

Keep reading: ‘What is cornerstone content?’ »

Write that first post

Take some time to do keyword research and to think about site structure. But don’t take too much time. Just write that first post! Put pen to paper and just do it. Your blog starts with the very first post. That post doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be published. Need some help to get started? Check out our 10 tips on how to make your post awesome.

Pictures and videos

Writing blog post is more than writing a nice story; a successful blog has pictures and videos as well. Every post should show at least one image. Taking nice photos yourself is a great way of creating images and making short videos is a really good blogging strategy as well. Especially if you’re blogging about (aspects) of your own life, photos of it are a necessity.

Read on: ‘Images for blogs’ »

Optimize for the search engines

Before publishing your post, optimize it using Yoast SEO (on WordPress of course, but on Magento and TYPO3 now too!). Don’t forget to create an awesome SEO title and a decent snippet. Finetune your text. Make sure your text is both readable as well as SEO-friendly.

Read more: ‘How to use the content & SEO analysis of Yoast SEO’ »

Promote your blog

Using social media is the best way to reach and grow the audience of your blog. That’s why your blog should have a Facebook page. Sharing your posts on Facebook is a good marketing strategy. Don’t forget Instagram and Twitter either!

In addition to the use of social media to promote your blog, we advise you send out a digital newsletter. Let people sign up for it and send out emails with your latest blog posts and some other fun facts.

Keep reading: ‘Marketing your blog’ »

Stick with it!

The most important thing to start a blog – besides setting up your new blog – is to write that very first blog post. Once you’ve written that first post, your blog has started. You should keep on writing blog posts to make it successful, so try to determine a frequency to publish new posts. You don’t have to blog every day, once a week or maybe even once in every two weeks would be a nice frequency to start with. Find a frequency you can stick with! Your audience will know what to expect, if your blogging frequency is stable.

Read on: ‘Blog SEO: make people stay and read your post’ »

If you own a blog, you have to deal with the opinions, questions, and feedback from your blog’s visitors. Mostly you receive comments related to your post, but sometimes you might receive off-topic comments. How do you respond properly? And, more importantly, do off-topic comments on your blog post hurt your SEO? In this Ask Yoast we’ll explain if off-topic comments hurt your SEO and how you can respond to them.

Gerencer Thomas emailed us asking:

“Do off-topic comments on my blog post hurt my SEO?”

Check out the video or read the answer below!

Our SEO for WordPress eBook guides you through every aspect of Search Engine Optimization »

SEO for WordPress$ 25 - Buy now » Info

Do off-topic comments hurt SEO?

Check out the video or read the answer below!

Well yes, they can. If someone has a very long comment on your post that does not relate to the topic of your blog post, then you should probably delete that comment. Not only for SEO reasons, but also for your own sanity.

It’s very easy to just reach out to someone if he or she is saying something completely unrelated. Just email that person and say, “Hey, you said this and this. I can respond to that, but it’s not really related to the blog post, so I have deleted your comment, but here’s my reaction.” That’s a friendly reaction to the person leaving the comment on your blog, but it’s also keeping your blog post intact and on topic.

So, yes it can hurt your SEO; delete them if you can. Good luck!

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from followers. Need some advice about SEO? Let us help you out! Send your question to ask@yoast.com.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »