Live Session: Building your blog through organic SEO social signals and image optimization

Speaker: Nicole Bullock @cuteculturechic

Session begins
Hi everyone, my name is Nicole Bullock and I blog over at cuteculturechic and beautyandthebypass. I have around 11 years experience blogging and previously worked 10 years in health care when I suddenly found myself unemployed. I spent quite some time T that point on the Internet and decided then to take advantage of the time and learned everything I could about SEO. So I’m completely self-taught in SEO which goes to show you that everyone can learn about search engine optimization and out it into practice. This learning and experience landed me a job eventually at SEO.com.

A little more about me, I love going to concerts , I had gastric bypass and lost 125 lbs, I love being active and accomplishing fitness goals such as an 11 mile bike ride over the golden gate bridge in Sausolito. I love to travel and being the wife of a pilot I do have great travel benefits and recently returned from England, one of my favorite destination.
Things we’ll talk about today
Google Panda and Penguin
Rel =author
Linking to Google Plus profile
Using keywords
Image optimization
Keyword research
Nicole -These are the most important areas for all levels of bloggers. Some of you already know about SEO and some are only just learning.  Hopefully you’ll have lots of questions for me.
What is SEO?
SEO is a process that essentially affects visibility. We have two types -
Organic and Paid
SEO can be used to target different types of searches and in slightly different ways for websites, video and images. Each way that you tag can influence visibility
Is SEO dead? Do we really need it?
It is “dead” from the time previous to the google panda update; there’s been a a real evolution of SEO.
Nicole – I’ll explain what Panda and and penguin updates are:
Panda penalized sites with weak content and rewarded sites with quality in 2011.
Penguin, which happened in April 2012 is the evolution of incoming links. As there are still many ways to buy followers, penguin checks if your site includes link schemes to improve rankings. This has devalued low quality links.
Rel = author is an HTML markup in the code of a web page that allows authors to associate with their google plus profile.  In my opinion, this is the single most important thing you can do for your blog!
Nicole- on my presentation you’ll see how this looks when used by linking your google plus profile number in a search.
An audience participant asks where to add this. Nicole explains that with Blogger the association is made automatically. Otherwise you can find this in WordPress on your site reader (varies by theme) , or your G+Id in WordPress author profile or by using easy rel=author plugin.
Nicole asks the audience how many participants use google analytics. Many hands go up. She then asks the same question but regardig google webmaster tools.
Nicole explains the two and shows us a more detailed slide regarding authorship and validity.
Are links the focus? Nicole explains that the key to ranking success has shifted to quality of content  rather than number links.  The greatest value here  is for traffic purposes.
Keywords are still important, she tells us and suggests to really think about the best words to use when creating a title to our blog post.  Avoid overuse of keywords or “stuffing”. A keyword tool can be used to help with ideas for words to be used. You can even refine your keywords on current usage and competition keywords and determine approximately how many searches there are for the words you as a blogger want to use.
Tools you can use are Google adwords keyword tool results  or Soovle.
Image descriptions
Nicole then explains to us how important it is to take time to rename your photos on your blog posts with keywords, to use keyword rich file names,  and use alt text for more detail.  You can always go back to older or more popular posts to rename with relevant keywords  and use differentiation such as hyphens or underscore.
SEO and social signals
Twitter, Google +, instagram, pinterest…
This is another change in SEO –  how integrated it is with social media adding an extra level of credibility simply because of the buzz of social media.  Users are engaging more than ever now .
Leah @bookieboo asks if her site goes up or down in credibility with sharing or is it individual blog posts.  Nicole explains that depending on the amount of posts shared it could have an affect on her site credibility. Moral of the story is, create posts with shareable content.
A few tips for sharing your content on social media:
Keep your tweets concise – 110 characters or less. This leaves room for  retweets and adding comments.
Set eye catching meta images to your posts on Facebook , this grabs more attention than than the actual text!
Pinterest – add images with text for tutorial purposes and choice keywords in your descriptions.
Google +  use more lengthy descriptions with keywords and hashtags for the biggest bang for your SEO buck.
An audience member asks “will your presentation be available for us to download later?” Nicole confirms, yes, she’ll be sharing a link after Fitbloggin.
Another audience member asks if there are any pin friendly tools to help link keywords on pinterest. Nicole believes there is a plugin to help customize keywords and hash tags.
An audience member mentions the recent addition of hashtags on Facebook. Nicole warns us – if we are concerned about privacy, remember using hashtags can draw in outside viewers on your page.
Social sharing widgets
Nicole asks “how many of you use sharing widgets on your blogs?” Most hands go up.
She gives us the following tips:
Use visible sharing widgets to make it easy for your readers
Add these yourself with HTML code or as a plugin
Offer 3-6 of the most popular / relevant social networks to decrease indecision
Create your online portfolio
For personal branding , Nicole suggests creating your own online presence on pinterest. Make sure your pinboard names are relevant, using your well-researched keywords
Nicole then gives us her listof favorite SEO resources:
Moz.com
Seo.com
Searchengineland.com
Searchenginejournal.com
MattCutts.com/blog
GoogleWebmasterCentral.blogspot.com
Distilled.net
Nicole ended with her information on how to connect through various online availability. She opened up for questions where many specific questions were asked regarding personal blogs, rebranding and reporting content, how credibility is affected, what the right amount of keywords are, etc. Nicole offers to be of assistance to bloggers after the session to  discuss further .
Nicole – “thank you all for coming to this session today and happy to help!”