1. Optimizing theme files for better Google speed score
Google is giving great importance to a site’s speed as a ranking factor. And one of the biggest hurdles to a fast loading site are the images. Many travel bloggers know about this fact and follow the best practices like:
– Uploading images captured with camera in jpeg/jpg
– Uploading computer generated images like icons and logos in png
– Compressing the images with a plugin like Smush.it
However, There are not many who know how to optimize the theme images. Here is how it is done –
1. Install the EWWW image optimizer plugin for WordPress and configure the plugin with these settings.
2. Go to left WordPress dashboard -> media -> Bulk Optimize
3. Click on scan unoptimized images and wait for it to show you how many images you have unoptimized. Click on “Optimize images” to optimize theme images.
2. Get more shares with less buttons
Ever heard of the Paradox of choice? Let me explain it you in brief. The paradox of choice states that eliminating consumer choices can reduce anxiety and inaction among users.
Similarly, by reducing the number Social sharing buttons on your site, you can have more shares for your articles.
I suggest using not more than three social buttons to get the maximum benefit from this phenomena.
But which ones should you keep?
Well, Facebook and Pinterest are a must. Travel articles get shared the most on Facebook, followed by Pinterest. If you decide to keep the third button, then choose one among these 2 – Twitter and Stumbleupon. If you have a nice Twitter following (more than 5000 followers), then keep twitter otherwise keep Stumbleupon.
A classic case of “less is more.”
3. The Perfect URL structure for List posts
Look at the URL of this article by journey era – www.journeyera.com/best-things-to-do-on-oahu/
The URL says – the best things to do on Oahu, not 80 best things to do on Oahu. You may be wondering how does this matter. Well, it matters a lot. By not including a number in the URL, Jackson has not only kept his URL short which is great from SEO perspective but also bought himself the luxury to add more items to the list without creating a conflict between what the title and the URL say.
Keep this best practice in mind the next time you create a list post. Don’t change the URL of older list posts, though, as you will end up with a lot of error 404 pages on your site.
4. Get more views with Republishing
Medium is a blogging platform just like WordPress with a greater emphasis on community. If you have got something to say and it’s worth listening to, you will find a lot of readers automatically without doing any promotion.
So, if you have recently published something epic on your blog like an ultimate guide to some destination, something you are proud of, then republish it on Medium as well.
You can either copy-paste the content from your blog to medium text editor or use the import option provided by Medium itself. All you have to do is paste the URL of the post on your site, and medium will do the rest.
And don’t worry about getting the duplicate content penalty from Google. There is no penalty for syndicating your content to third-party websites. But don’t overdo this by republishing all articles on Medium as the users must be rewarded with new content when they visit your site.
5. Write meta descriptions the right way
Even when your article manages to rank on page 1, it has to compete with ten other items for user’s attention. By writing unique meta descriptions for SEO and clicks, you can please both the Google and the users.
Let me teach you how:
1. Get the Yoast SEO plugin
2. Go to post editor and scroll down to find a box like the following.
3. Find the meta description box
4. Write a Unique meta description that mentions your target keyword at least once and includes a call to action to prompt searchers to check out the article.
Let’s take Jackson’s article mentioned earlier as an example. If you search for “Oahu things to do” ( it has over 2900 search volume per month ), you will find Jackson’s article on position 2 or 3 depending on where you live.
Now, study the meta description. Two things stand out for me:
– He includes the target keyword “things to do on Oahu” right off the bat. Google bolds these words which catch the attention of the searcher.
– Although he does not has a clear call to action like “check it out” or “click to find out,” by saying “1 point for each item ticked off… What is your score?” he makes them curious, suggesting the searcher to take action ( find out the score by reading the article ) and that is what a call to action does.
6. Write keeping the audience in mind
Hundreds of new travel blogs crop up every day. You need to know who your readers are to connect with them and provide them the most value.
Thanks to an excellent tool called Storybase, you can know the demographics of the netizens searching for a topic. Again, taking the example of Jackson’s article, if we feed the primary search term “ Oahu things to do” to the tool, it shows us the following information.
As we can see, most of the searches come from female users who lie in the age group of 35-50. This information is invaluable as now we can write the content that addresses the problems of this demographic.
With some common sense, we can infer that she will be traveling with her kids mostly during the day, won’t be partying that much and living in a hotel, not a hostel.
You don’t need to write exclusively for this group however since we know they form the majority of searchers for your topic, you should include information they will be interested in.
These SEO hacks have helped me increase traffic to numerous blogs I have worked on in the past. However, for these hacks to work, you need to have a solid foundation. And that foundation is excellent content. If you are holding nothing back and share the best stuff with your audience then you will have strong foundation. By implementing these tactics you will see an instant increase in traffic to your blog.