SEO for Lifestyle blogs can be a difficult endeavor, due mostly to the business models and strategies that most lifestyle bloggers utilize. Let’s journey though the world of lifestyle blogging to try and uncover what some of the challenges may be when trying to market a lifestyle blog within Google’s organic search results.
Let’s start by defining a lifestyle blog? A lifestyle blog can be defined as a digital representation of its author’s everyday life, interests, and even family. Originally, a lifestyle blogger created content inspired and curated by their personal interests and activities, but now they usually contain content that is inspired and created to promote some other businesses interests.
Where The Lifestyle Blogger’s SEO Story Unfolded
With the rise of lifestyle blogs on the web and their primary goal, much like a traditional publisher, being page views, they started taking their SEO seriously as a way to drive additional traffic to their website, grow their community, and brand themselves in their niche.
Lifestyle bloggers soon found out that, if they had a large enough following, they could become micro influencers – thus they started to add affiliate links, go crazy with ads, and do sponsored content to earn revenue – and this is where things went haywire with their SEO.
Google SEO For Lifestyle Bloggers
It is no secret that Google (and their organic algorithm) is not a huge fan of websites that make advertising more important than content and usability. They have taken actions within their algorithm to devalue website that have a poor user experience, low value content, and prioritize advertising placement and number of ads being used, over usability and easy content consumption.
Let’s explore some of the pitfalls that Lifestyle bloggers have succumb to in the SEO space, and how they can better align with what Google values, while still increasing revenue.
Lifestyle Bloggers SEO Pitfall #1: Ad Placement
Most bloggers feel that the more ads they have, the more money they will make. So why is this thought process flawed?
- A recent study found that the 80/20 rule applies to ads as well, meaning 20% of your ads will drive 80% of your revenue.
- Even though Google is in the ad business with Google Adsense, a part of their organic algorithm was built to devalue websites that bombard users with ads, and prioritize ads above content within the page layout.
- Page speed is also a huge part of Google’s algorithm and as more ads are added to a page, the slower the page gets.
All these make understanding your ad placement and which ads are performing best a top priority so that you can eliminate ad placements that don’t perform – thus speeding up your website up, aligning with Google SEO best practices, and still growing revenue.
Lifestyle Bloggers SEO Pitfall #2: Content Creation Ideas
One of the biggest challenges that small businesses say they have with blogging, is coming up with fresh content ideas that users want to read.
There are many strategies for coming up with blogging ideas such as:
- Competitive Analysis
- Use Google Trends
- Check Google Autocomplete Suggestions
- Read though Blog Comments
- Interview Industry Experts
- Share Behind The Scenes Info
- Ask Your Readers
- Check The News
Just remember, once you find the topic idea to write about, don’t just regurgitate what others are saying, come up with your own perspective and even sprinkle in a little controversy or play devils advocate to help increase engagement.
Lifestyle Bloggers SEO Pitfall #3: Content Structure
Having a well defined content structure for your blog articles is not only a SEO best practice, but also aligns with usability best practices for content consumption.
A content structure for your blog should go something like:
- A single H1 tag – this is the article title
- A few H2 tags – these are subtopics of the primary topic
- A few H3 tags – these should be included as sub topics of your H2 tags and located within each H2 tag section.
- Photos – these should have descriptive alt text added, as well as a descriptive file name.
- Lists – lists are a great way to summarize your key points of the article or give users quick access to content that they can consume quickly.
All of these items make it easy for users to consume your content and helps Google better understand the topics that are being targeted with your article so they can rank it properly.
Lifestyle Bloggers SEO Pitfall #4: External Links and Affiliate Links
With the majority of lifestyle bloggers earning income from sponsored posts and affiliate links, linking out to other websites is another area where lifestyle bloggers hurt their SEO more than helping it.
Google says, links that are paid, link to untrusted content, or that are for the purpose of earning money (affiliate links), should not pass ranking value. The only links that should pass ranking value are those that are given editorially, and that which are natural links.
How do you know what links to follow and which to add the nofollow tag to? Ask yourself these simple questions:
- Was this link given as a paid endorsement?
- Is this link in the article or on my website to earn money when someone clicks on it?
- Is this link within my comments section?
- Will this link be placed in a press release?
- Is this link an advertisement or sponsored link?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then you need to add the rel=”nofollow” tag to the link.
Lifestyle Bloggers SEO Pitfall #5: Website Structure
Website structure, much like page content structure has both an SEO and user experience standpoint.
In the case of websites that operate on a business model that aligns with a publisher – where page views are king – having a well defined information architecture and internal link strategy can not only increase rankings, but increase page views per user.
A few downfalls we usually encounter when analyzing lifestyle blogs include:
- Taxonomy naming conventions
- A single post being placed in multiple categories
- Using both tags and categories to organize content
- Lack of internal links to help with page views per user
Lifestyle Bloggers SEO Pitfall #6: SEO Tagging
Creating great title tags, article titles, and description tags is table stakes when it comes to SEO for Lifestyle bloggers. Well optimized tagging can make a huge difference in article findability and Google traffic.
But where we see concerns arise is the need to be cute or kitschy with article titles. Instead, bloggers should work towards balancing keyword and topics, with kitschy conversational statements that will help engagement and click-through-rate.
Lifestyle Bloggers SEO Pitfall #7: Popups and Overlays
Popups used to be used to present ads to users, but with bloggers, they are usually used to help increase engagement or try and get a user to sign up for an email list or newsletter.
There is nothing inherently wrong with using popups or overlays on your lifestyle blog, but where bloggers get in trouble is when they use them incorrectly or intrusively. Google released an update to their algorithm recently to devalue websites that use these type of strategies for aggressively.
There are two rules for using overlays and popups to help market your blog, increase email subscribers, or execute a drip campaign.
- Don’t Be Intrusive – if a user is reading an article there is nothing more frustrating than getting a few paragraphs or sentences into the article and then having a popup show up and interrupt their engagement. So…
- DON’T use timers to show overlays
- DON’T base them on a user scrolling to a certain point.
- Don’t Let Them Show On Mobile – mobile screens are already small, so having a popup or overlay show up when a user is engaging with your website on their phone or tablet can cover the entire screen and cause user frustration. So…
- Turn them OFF for mobile devices.
In conclusion, if you’re a lifestyle blogger writing about your own experiences in life, fashion, health, or a different relevant life topic, I hope this helped you better understand what Google and users want from your SEO strategies.
As we part ways, remember two things to help you with SEO for your lifestyle blog; a great website experience matters more now than ever, and great content is king for business growth.