by Jodi Aman
SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization.” The phrase refers to how high a web page ranks in search engine results for certain keywords or phrases. Great SEO puts you in the “cool clique.” It means that Google, Yahoo, and Bing notice your blog. And when the search engines like your blog, they offer your posts to searchers everywhere. This article will discuss how to blog in a way that will enhance your SEO.
We’ll get back to how to blog using SEO in a minute. First, focus on writing quality posts
Experts agree: The single most important factor that will determine the success of a blog is posting original, quality content. Well-written posts have these attributes in common: emotional connectivity, relate-ability, helpful information, entertainment, and inspiration. Articles with these elements are more likely to be shared by readers on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. And sharing is blogger gold! You want everyone to love your posts so much that you get “invited to all the best parties.” How do you do that? Focus on producing quality posts.
Next, focus on SEO: Keywords, keywords, keywords
With 74 million blogs on WordPress alone, how can your blog get noticed? How will people know you’re amazing? To rank high in search engine results and get your website in front of readers, you need to use keywords in your blog posts. Keywords are words and phrases (“long-tail keywords”) potential readers type into Google when they’re looking for information. For example, writers use search engines to look for information using phrases like “writing prompts for moms,” or “ya paranormal novels,” or “how to blog.”
Molly’s post How to Blog, Part 1 discussed establishing topic groups for your blog. Now that you’ve decided what to write about, choose a few keyword phrases for your topics and check how strong they are using Google Adwords. Here’s how:
• Type in your phrase at the top (one at a time)
• Check the box, “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms”
• Type the words that appear so Google knows you’re human
• Click on “Search”
• Review the results Google displays below your chosen keyword for variations other searchers have used
When you review your search results, you’re looking for words and phrases that Google says have “low competition but high search rates.” That means that lots of Googlers are searching these phrases or word groups, but not too many other websites are using them as keywords, so you’re more likely to rank higher in Google searches if you use them.
Example: type in the words “how to blog.” Google will offer you a list of affiliated search phrases, such as “how to write a blog post.” Google shows that the competition for keyword uses of how to blog is low, BUT there are over 151 million global searches for that phrase monthly. So a post titled/about “how to blog” was a good choice. Note: This analysis can be much more involved, using lots of math and formulas. See Ana Hoffman’s free e-book for more in depth information.
On Page SEO
If your blog posts have different topics, each will need its own keyword(s). Some bloggers research keywords to get ideas for posts. I get my ideas first, then research the keywords and phrases that will get bring my topic the biggest payoff in search engine results.
If possible, use the keyword or phrase in your post title. Even better, use the keyword early in the title. Use it again in the first paragraph, preferably in the first five words. Also, use it again in header 1 or 2. (Google ignores headers 3-6). Also, use your keyword several times within the post and again at the end. Bold them once or twice and put them in italics for good measure. It sounds preposterous, but it will work. Note: Check spelling carefully. Google frowns on misspelled words and may blacklist you from the “bloggy club.”
Yoast offers a free WordPress SEO plugin. If you’re interested, check it out. Also, here’s a site that offers live keyword analysis on the fly. Type in your keywords, paste in your copy, and it will tell you how you did.
Creating and Using Blog Categories to Enhance SEO
It’s best to limit the number of categories on your blog, and write posts that fit them. Example: My anxiety blog categories appear below. Guess my keyword. No really, guess.
• About Jodi
• Anxiety Causes
• Anxiety Medication
• Anxiety Symptoms
• Anxiety Treatments
• Anxiety Videos
• Effects of Anxiety
• Types of Anxiety Disorders
Social Media, Links and SEO
Still with me? Once you’ve spent most of your day using keywords to optimize your article, it’s time to link it up. It’s important that you use lots of links within, from, and to your blog to capture Google’s attention and trust. This might be more important than On Page SEO!
Always give the links in your post anchor words that describe what you are linking to. For example, use the article’s title as the link: How to Build a Quality Twitter Following FAST. Don’t just say “click here.” Also, in each new blog post, link to other posts and pages on your blog. This is good for readers, page hits, and SEO. Three birds. Yay!
Guest posts also build SEO, since your host always links back to your fantastic blog. Google will think you’re cool with tons of “links” – like high school all over again! If the cool links like you, other links will want to hang out with you. Besides guest posting you can get links through forums like SheWrites.com, submitting to e-magazines, or winning bloggy awards. Or, you can just sell your soul. (No, wait.)
Gradually build links to your blog from other websites. When possible, have other sites link to a specific page of your blog rather than your home page url. This is called deep linking, and it will help each page of your blog get indexed by Google, which is important and has something to do with algorithms. Or something. Want more info? Here’s a great article: How the Powerful Backlink Strategy of Linkwheel Gets Results.
All blogs benefit from using social media sites.Commenting on other blogs is also very beneficial to your own! While social media and comment links bring readers, they are “No Follow Links.” I have no idea what “No Follow Links” means, other than that search engines cannot follow these back (and we thought they were so smart.) So technically, posting on social media and leaving comments on other blogs does not help optimize your blog. But since they do bring readers and build relationships, please do spend 6-7 hours every day on comments and social media. (If you blog, are writing a book, have a day job, and/or have small children, throw your arms up in a tee formation and spin around really fast.)
SEO and life
I know, it all seems overwhelming. These are just options, and I find it best to try one SEO tip at a time. Remember, even though you’ve got a goal to learn how to blog effectively, you need to have fun and keep living your life!
About Jodi Lobozzo Aman: Jodi is a human being on the path to spiritual wholeness, and her blog is your invitation to join her journey. Follow her adventures and be entertained as she trips over selfishness, comes up against obstacles and is encumbered by fear and doubt. Be heartened as she reaches for forgiveness, appreciates the experience, attempts to heal on deep levels and finds the way to forge ahead. And be inspired to bring this consciousness into your own heart’s story, opening a roadway to a new you.
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