No one tells you, setting up a blog by yourself is hard work. And the longer you do it, the more you realise you didn’t know anything when you started. There’s a lot to learn. There’s researching domains & hosting and how to use a platform (like WordPress). And then you need to learn how to set up your site structure for SEO and how to publish posts. And then there’s SEO and marketing.
Site structure refers to how you set up your pages and includes tags, categories, and links. Site structure is one of the things bloggers can take for granted. Yet it is important to Google. And a good site structure can help you rank higher in search engines.
Are you uninterested in this? We are sure you will love our post – New Zealand Top 6 Travel Highlights. As ranked by the Editor of Travel Bugs World.
As part of the #TravelBlogTips chat that we host every last Sunday of the month, this month we chatted about site structure for SEO and how to optimize it. We learned and shared some great information about blogging, as we do every month. Further, we realised we had a lot to learn.
Thank you to all the #TravelBlogTips chat participants. One hour is not enough time for you to go through the responses. As hosts of the chat reading or responding to all the replies, we feel that no one learned more than us. So this month we are sharing that knowledge with you. These are the most helpful ways to improve your site structure for SEO.
Optimizing your Site Structure for SEO
Basics of Site Structure for SEO
Q1: Do you know the basics of Site Structure? How do you use it to help your ranking? #TravelBlogTips— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
with Hosts @TravelBugsWorld @MonkeysVentures @GreenMochila @KaliTravel @Clarissa_Laskey @AuraPriiscel pic.twitter.com/CpoWRe4dA1
We know the basics of site structure, and we use categories, tags, internal/external linking and a site map to help our ranking. What other people had to say at the chat was of interest to us as we had postponed working on our site structure for far too long.
We found the most important thing for bloggers is clear navigation and that their readers could easily find the information they required. And while many bloggers claimed they were not looking at their site structure for ranking purposes but ease for their readers, Google likes structured information. Thus, it seems like the other bloggers, and we are on track.
And due to the motivation incited by this chat, three of the chat hosts focused on their site structure this last month. As stated by blogger and chat participant Why We Seek, “There’s always room for improvements…It’s a learning process!”
How Categories Can Help Your Blog Structure
Q2: How many Categories do you have & why did you pick them? Any Subcategories? #TravelBlogTips— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
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The aim is to have categories showcasing what your blog concerns. This way, Google and your readers will know what your website is about and what it offers to readers. Overdo the categories and not only will your readers get confused but so will Google.
While categories are broad, the use of tags to organise posts is standard. Further, the use of subcategories is common practice. An example from travel bloggers websites is ‘Destinations’ as the category and countries as subcategories. Using categories and tags is a way to structure your site.
Numerous SEO posts recommend 4-6 categories for smaller blogs. Many of the bloggers at the chat have an average of four categories. We, too, have four categories. The ones we have are destinations, travel tips, resources & travel stories. We also have lots of subcategories.
However, some of our posts are in two categories and regarded as duplicate content due to this. Many experts say it’s harmful to SEO. Others say it’s acceptable as long as we have many posts in those categories. After some follow-up research, we are now changing a couple of the categories to tags.
Do Tags Help Your Blog Structure
Q3: Do you use Tags to organize your topics? How many on each post & how do you choose them? #TravelBlogTips— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
with Hosts @TravelBugsWorld@MonkeysVentures @GreenMochila @KaliTravel @Clarissa_Laskey@AuraPriiscel pic.twitter.com/cdwQeQ8C4b
The main use of tags is for navigation and organisation. Travel bloggers use them for topics such as countries or themes like outdoor pursuits, culture or solo travel. We have a lot of tags, and each post is in 3-5. We add a new one if we have a few posts on a specific subject. Some bloggers use up to 10 per post. They use keywords and unique words and use them as a way to link several posts together.
The bloggers at the chat recognised that tags are for the most significant topics covered in a post. Host Green Mochila adds, “See tags as a way to link a few posts together. Each tag should have at least two posts. Do NOT have competing tags & categories!”
And while tags may not necessarily benefit a blog posts SEO, they do help with the usability of your site which will help to rank in search engines. So thus, they do improve your websites SEO.
Pages and Posts
Q4: What’s the difference between Pages & Posts? Which Pages do you need on your blog? #TravelBlogTips— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
with Hosts @TravelBugsWorld @MonkeysVentures @GreenMochila @KaliTravel @Clarissa_Laskey@AuraPriiscel pic.twitter.com/xjteiLRK43
Posts are timely and added in reverse chronological order to a blog page. Pages are for static content, for example, your websites About Us page. Even the beginner bloggers at the chat agreed that the must-have pages included About Us, Contact Us, Home Page and Disclosure Page.
However, we found that many bloggers had not paid attention to their category and landing pages. The reason they are important is they help your SEO. Therefore, you should optimize them for SEO.
Not all themes let you customize your category pages directly, so you then need to add a page. However, this can result in duplicate content on your website.
Ultimately, it is best to have clear navigation between your pages and posts so your readers can get from blog posts to pages and vice versa.
Creating landing pages to link to relevant posts are great for traffic and for helping search engines see you as your subject.
Q5: Do you have a strong Internal Link structure? Do you add External Links too? #TravelBlogTips— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
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This is a topic we love talking about. We have spent the last few months working on building a strong link structure. We always add 1-3 internal links to our older posts. Also, we add external links to at least one website on each post, though we try to add more. Karla, one of our chat participants who has blogged for over nine years, recommends linking to a domain that has a higher domain authority than yours.
Linking is crucial as it shows search engines that your blog has relevance. By linking to other content of your website and other websites, you prove this. Internal linking also helps to keep people on your site and promote your other posts. Further, the use of anchor text is vital for SEO, as is linking to a keyword.
Most of the bloggers in the chat indicated they tried to remember to go back to add internal links to older posts. However, it is one of those tasks that get forgotten. If it makes you feel any better, we are like that too! But we have now added it to our monthly schedule – titled “Website Maintenance”. It includes doing a site audit, checking speed and links.
We recommend you learn as much as you can about linking and use links to promote your content. In the words of SEO expert Neil Patel “Add as many links as would be helpful for the user.” However, we try not to overdo external links for fear of losing our readers to another website.
Q6: How do you build quality Backlinks to your site?— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
Share your tips! #TravelBlogTips
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Backlinks are a highly valued subject. It’s the holy grail for bloggers! A year ago we added external links from a blog post to a tourist board, and they then linked back to us in their press release section! Our domain authority went up from six to 13. We were ecstatic and began to see the value in building backlinks.
But how? That was the question on everyone’s lips at the #TravelBlogTips chat. Ours too, so we read all the chat responses methodically.
Guest posts for other blogs are one of the best ways to build backlinks. A guest post involves writing a post for another website in return for a backlink. Make sure to favour sites with high domain authority and make sure the link is DoFollow. Then again, don’t disregard Nofollow links. While they are not helpful for SEO, they do still increase traffic and give link juice.
Look out for collaboration opportunities with other bloggers. We have done a couple of these with success.
Further, blog commenting is helpful to build backlinks. While most are Nofollow links and will not help your SEO or domain authority, it does help with potential traffic and building relationships with other bloggers.
Moreover, many bloggers use content syndication (third-party sites republishing your content from your website). These are websites like Flipboard, Medium, Quora and LinkedIn. We do use Flipboard, but beware as issues such as duplicate content and its consequences remain debated. Plus, your duplicate content could outrank your website. We suggest you do your research and decide for yourself about the cons and pros.
Award-winning travel blogger Megan Jerrard from Mapping Megan says ” To build quality backlinks, obviously write awesome content. But also network – make friends with people! When you have genuine relationships, you can link swap without having to cold pitch and send spammy emails!”
Q7: Do you have any Landing Pages and why? Which tool or template do you use? #TravelBlogTips— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
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Landing Pages are on our to-do list. They help with your SEO and your traffic. Therefore, we feel guilty for leaving them on the to-do list. But a bloggers life is all about “so much to do and so little time”. And we are full-time travellers and only part-time bloggers. Okay, all excuses aside it seems many bloggers at the chat have landing pages on their to-do list.
Besides the home page as the landing page, bloggers use newsletter sign-ups and category pages as landing pages. Creating landing pages for your destinations means you can promote all your content on a particular country on that one page.
Chat host Clarissa Laskey affirms, “They are SEO boosters”.
Q8: Are you familiar with Cornerstone Content? How do you create it? #TravelBlogTips— #TravelBlogTips | Bloggers’ chat (@TravelBlogTips_) February 23, 2020
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Cornerstone Content is the best and most important posts on your website and the ones you will internally link other posts to. It’s also the pages/posts you want to rank highest.
We have two cornerstone content posts and are working on creating two more. We will also create a “Start Here” page as cornerstone content. Further, an ultimate guide or a country guide is good cornerstone content.
We found many of the bloggers who were present at the chat are working on cornerstone content. They are making their most in-depth posts cornerstone content.
Thanks for joining #TravelBlogTips chat— Travel Bugs World ✈️🐞🌎 (@TravelBugsWorld) February 23, 2020
We look forward to catching up on all the comments over the next few days.
& the hashtag #travelblogtips & let’s keep the conversation alive and our blogs growing! pic.twitter.com/XzjIU3T2kU
We hope this post on Optimizing your Site Structure for SEO was beneficial to you. We never considered our site structure in as much detail until the #TravelBlogTips chat. Our goal was always getting content out!
We found many valuable articles while doing further research on this topic, so we are sharing a few with you for further reading. Additionally, these are websites you should follow if you are serious about growing as a blogger.
- Using category and tag pages for SEO
- Keywords, Internal Linking, and SIMPLIFYING SEO – Spencer Haws From Niche Pursuits
- The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking that Will Improve Content Marketing SEO
- 23 SEO Mistakes To Avoid in 2020
- How to Optimize Your Site Structure for SEO
Speaking of growing as a blogger, check out our recent posts.
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