SEO For Dummies…I Mean Writers
So here at the IBC, we talk a lot about branding and about how you need to have a consistent brand (usually your name) across platforms so that you can be easily found. It’s all well and good for people to find you when they search for your name, but what about the REST of your content? You spend all this time crafting posts about…well whatever you craft your posts about, and you’d like someone other than your family, BFF, and brother-in-law to be able to find it.
That’s where SEO comes in.
What is this SEO thing and why do I need to know about it?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is, quite simply, what makes it easy for Google (and others) to find and index your blog/website so that you show up when people search for stuff you wrote about.
Now SEO is a complex thing that usually scares most people off. Don’t start running. I’m not about to overwhelm you with all the nitty gritty details. I’m gonna tell you the easiest stuff you can do that won’t break your brain.
Least You Need To Know about SEO.
- The easiest thing you can control about SEO is your post title. You want this to be as clear and use as many keywords as possible. Keywords are basically search terms. Keywords often associated with IBC posts include branding, social media, Twitter. Crafting a good post title that is both SEO friendly and catchy is an art form that should be practiced. Kind of like writing good tweets in less than 140 characters.
- Another easy thing you can control on your blog is permalinks. Most blogs, particularly the free ones, are set up to automatically generate your link to be http://yoursitename.com/the date/-your-post-name. See how that post title comes into play again? Sometimes, though, your title ends up being too long to be effective for SEO. On MOST blogging platforms there is a means of editing your permalink (usually this is right there on the post composition page). You can edit your permalink down to something short and sweet using keywords. So today’s post, for example could be edited down to http://yoursitename.com/thedate/seo-for-writers. Important note: You must do this editing BEFORE PUBLISHING THE POST, otherwise it will lead to errors and Google won’t pick it up.
- Permalinks aren’t the only important kind of link. Content links are also essential to SEO. The world wide web is aptly named because information criss-crosses all over the place and connects stuff together. The more quality posts and articles you can link to within your post, the better. And I don’t mean only linking back to your own stuff (though that’s a good thing in its own right) but linking to outside sources with bigger traffic. The more quality links you have, the more important Google will treat your article. Notice I keep saying “quality”. This is important. You don’t want to have a line saying “I’m going to bed,” and then link to a Wikipedia article on beds. Also important to note when dealing with content links is to be sure to you link on keywords. One of the biggest mistakes non-SEO-familiar people make is to have a link saying something like “Click here.”
- Also important to SEO are using your blog’s categories and tags. I actually learned something on this when I was refreshing my memory on SEO to write this article. You should only have posts in ONE category, otherwise Google sees multiple copies of the same content and Google doesn’t like that. Then you should select 3-5 tags, which, again, should be based on keywords.
- You have probably also noticed that we tend to use headings, subheadings, bullets, and lists in our posts. That’s because Google crawls those as well. It reads things like headings and subheadings as more important than the other text (and they should be, in the sense that they clearly state what you’re talking about). A value add of using these features in your post is that it makes it reader friendly and very scannable. People don’t always read full posts these days due to busy schedules and short attention span. Having things broken up like this means that they’re more likely to read it than if they were to see big long blocks of unbroken text.
See? You can stop quaking in your boots. I told you this was the easy stuff. Add this to our already proven methods of promoting yourself via social media, and I guarantee that you’ll see an increase in your blog traffic.