How to Blog, Part 2: Attract More Readers With SEO!

SEOI’m deeply grateful to my friend Jodi Aman for giving me the opportunity to share the following post with my readers. Jodi has written Part 2 in my “How to Blog” series, and her information about SEO will benefit us all. Here’s what Jodi has to say:

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 (like my post, Laughter is the Best Medicine), 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.

Jodi’s Blog: http://healnowandforever.net
Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog
Twitter: @JodiAman
Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace Center for Narrative Practice

GREAT SEO ARTICLE LINKS:
A Comprehensive SEO Post on PROBLOGGER by Kole McRae
The Importance of Using Keywords in Articles, by Webmaster Course.com
How to Get People to Read Your Blog, by Jim Murdoch

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47 Responses to How to Blog, Part 2: Attract More Readers With SEO!

  1. Belinda Pollard June 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Great stuff, Jodi and Molly. Now all I gotta do is actually BLOG. ;-D

    What a shame that commenting and social media are “no follow links”. I didn’t know that.

    I’m going to bookmark this one so I can refer back to it. (And probably detour to a couple of those anxiety posts, to see if I can’t calm myself down about the convolutions of SEO…;-) )

  2. crubin June 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Fantastic post. I will save this for future reference.

  3. nikky44 June 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I was wondering why a post like “i miss you” had over 1000 readers whereas the average for others is less than 200. It must be the title, not the post itself.

    • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      Amazing! “I miss you” got so many readers. Maybe many people shared it because they were so touched by it. Remember my post that received 11,000 hits: Love Heals, Kindness Heals? It is amazing and unexpected. Maybe lots of people are googling I miss you. I will have to do a post on this and see how I do.

      • Nikky44 September 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

        I would love to read about what “i miss you” means to you :)

        • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever October 16, 2012 at 3:09 am #

          I have been thinking of a post with this title since yours did so well, maybe I shall plan it. It’ll have to come from my heart like yours. I did out missing someone in the you are not alone post. It has been fun to play with titles that I love and see if google likes them, too.

  4. Harleena Singh June 19, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Wonderful post Jodi!

    You are so right about SEO here and yes, the foremost is the need to write quality – original content that touches the lives of people somewhere or relates to them, by giving them value enough for the time they stop and read your post.

    Choosing the right kind of keyword for your post is the key where SEO is concerned, but again it does take a little bit of time, effort, and patience to strike the right balance between what you really want to write and how much those topics are really searched for online. However, with the recent Penguin update, I wonder if we should use the keywords too often, and that again depends from person to person. I have often visited sites that rank well even though they hardly use any keyword, while those who do don’t rank well at all. Guess we need to be careful about the number of times a keyword is used nowadays with the recent Google updates, in-case you are banned due to over-usage.

    Ah…spending time on commenting and social media is needed, but again it’s easier said than done, because you really need to be a multi-tasking person for that! Being a freelance writer working from home, I do have my hands full with writing projects and blogs to maintain, besides so many other things on hand, so it does get tough at times, but yes, that’s needed too as that’s how your readership and relationships build up. :)

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips that are sure to help many, and it’s nice to visit your blog Molly :)

    • Molly Greene June 19, 2012 at 6:09 am #

      Harleena, I’ve also had posts rank really high without attempting to use keywords at all. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

        Molly, It is so hard to figure out the formula, once you have it figured out, things do what you least expect. Sometimes it makes me just want to through my arms in the air and just write what I feel. The authenticity I think makes it touch people!

    • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      Yes, it is a balance between unexpected share ability, quality and SEO. So much to think about but very rewarding!

  5. Brenda June 19, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Good post – and yes, SEO is overwhelming and something to pay attention to…but always the last thing on my mind.

    • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      Brenda, Your writing stands on its own. You are beautiful and have the share-ability factor! You write what you love, because you love. It works!

  6. Jon June 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Many thanks for this Molly, am putting this into good practice on my blog as we speak.

  7. Monica June 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Amazing post, Jodi! Chock full of very helpful info, and, of course, your brilliant insight. Thanks for sharing! Now, I’m off to mull it all over.

    • Molly Greene June 20, 2012 at 6:25 am #

      You’re right, Monica! Jodi is brilliant, generous, insightful and supportive. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog!

    • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      Monica,
      I hope I didn’t completely overwhelm you. Your writing, like Brenda stands on its own. You are clever and smart and very good. Totally entertaining. I love what you come up with. Keep having fun and it will grow organically! I am sure you are way past me!

  8. My Inner Chick June 20, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Thanks, Girls.

    I shall save this to read again.

    GREAT tips for the blogging chicks! <3

  9. Kelly Hashway June 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Great info! I’m going to have read all this a few times to get this all into order. :)

  10. Molly Greene June 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks everyone for stopping by!

    • Toby Neal June 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      I just started using the Yoast SEO plugin that’s been on my blog forever to do the keywords/searchability thing. It seems to make a difference and isn’t hard. What? I know! And I’ve been blogging forever and missing out…
      Great to meet you via blog reading, Molly!

      • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

        I wonder what kind of difference it has made. I am excited to hear this. There are lots of great SEO plug ins. I use Yoast, too!

    • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      Thanks Molly for hosting me! I was a great experience to write something so different than usual!

  11. Mary Yuhas June 22, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Molly and Jodi, I enjoyed your blog so much. Thank you for all of the helpful information. I just got mine up and thought I should have a new post three times a week. Is that too much? Both of you – thank you again!

    • Molly Greene June 23, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Mary, I think the quality of the content is more important than the frequency of your posts. I’ve posted once a week for the past year. You’ll do well if your posts contain the elements Jodi described. Best of luck to you on your new blog!

    • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Mary, congrats on your new blog. In the past, three times a week increased blog hits but now may cause followers to unfollow since it seems too much. Times are changing and bloggers are decreasing there posts per week. It is best to stay consistent. Three times a week comes around fast! It is a lot of work.

  12. C R Myers June 26, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Thank you Jodi and Molly. More fabulous information. My poor head is going to explode. :D Now, all I have to do is put it to good use.

    Cat :)

    • Molly Greene June 26, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Lots of info, but it’s all here when you need it. Baby steps. I blogged for a year before I thought I was ready to take on SEO!

    • Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever September 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      Cat,
      Just try one new thing at a time. It works well for me. Also blogs are transient. You don’t have to be perfect, you always get a new chance!

  13. Sandra Cutry September 11, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    I haven’t made a website yet, and I am now doing research. Thanks for all the tips!

  14. Jodi At Heal Now September 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Sandra,
    There is no time like the present! Only the first “publish” button is hard. Then you realize you can change things and it gets easier. Nothing is permanent, it is better to try and fix mistake (or improve) than waiting till you have it perfect. Better to be out there than not out there.
    Love,
    Jodi

  15. Lisa Lynn September 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    I think links are so much more important and I have read that the page SEO isn’t really important at all! It’s hard to figure out who to listen to!

    • Molly Greene September 24, 2012 at 6:39 am #

      I agree Lisa, there’s lots of conflicting info. Page SEO has to carry some weight because search engines crawling the page have to be able to determine that the content matches the title and tags. But bottom line, you need to determine what is reasonable for you, then simply experiment to see how your articles get ranked. Thanks so much for stopping by, and we’d love to hear what works for you!

  16. Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever October 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Lisa,
    It is overwhelming. If you are a company selling a product this would be one thing, if you are a blogger, focus first on quality posts. Write what you love, not what might be good for google. This is first and foremost, then when you have energy tweak it little by little. I find this is the best way not to get overwhelmed!

    • Mandy November 12, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      I had never heard about SEO before. Thank you so much for the useful information !

  17. Wilbur April 28, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to take a look.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting
    this to my followers! Exceptional blog and great design and style.

    • Molly Greene April 28, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      Hi Wilbur, so happy you found us. Please tell your FB group I’m grateful for the share!

  18. ChristineArdigo August 4, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Wonderful post! Perfect timing. I just started my own webpage last month and was about to send out a new post tomorrow and this helped me fix/tweek it tremendously! Thanx again!

    • Molly Greene August 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      So happy to hear this, Christine! Best to you with your blog, stop by often!

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