Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a bit of a mystery to new site marketers.
I admittedly blogged for years without considering SEO or why it might be important to allow others to search strategically for my blog’s content.
My approach to SEO was rudimentary. I tagged general topics and formal names. I didn’t really worry about anyone or anything else. After all, I figured my blog’s audience would see my social media promotions, visit the site and fall immediately in love with all of the fabulous information I have to offer.
It never occurred to me to consider a whole world of online viewers who might be interested in my content. Instead, I sought to help a few people in my niche with whom I had regular contact, never considering that I could provide valuable information to others in my field who I did not know.
Aren’t young, naive bloggers cute?
I still don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about Search Engine Optimization. The truth is that its formulaic needs are way too close to math for my taste. But I certainly want people to read my content and learn from my blog, so I’ve learned too. I’ve read a lot about the importance of SEO and how to successfully implement it into your site. Here’s what I know for certain, based on my readings:
Once you determine your site and/or post’s topic, you should focus in on a few keywords related to it. I use the Google Adwords keyword tool to verify that I’m using the most searched keywords on topics.
Use these keywords in your blog’s headline, in the URL, in the text, and in the meta keyword section. You also should use certain content-related keywords in your site’s general categories. Using keywords in this manner will help your site become recognized by search engines as a source on your subject.
Write Good Titles
Titles (or “headlines,” as the newspaper nerd in me calls them) are essential to getting your post read and optimizing it for search. You need a clever keyword-focused title that represents your post. Keep it short, simple and creative.
For more on writing good titles let’s go straight to perhaps the most prolific writer on the subject of blogging, Darren Rowse at ProBlogger. Check out Darren’s post, How to Craft Post Titles that Draw Readers Into Your Blog.
Links to and from your site are essential in increasing your PageRank. This is important since you want to be near the top when someone searches for your subject matter. Most research has shown that people don’t read past the third page of search results. I argue that most people never get past the first page. We search, find what we need, and then we move on.
You should link out to strong sites using keywords or keyword phrases. I use Alexa to determine the strength of a site to which I’m considering linking. Perhaps more importantly, I link to sites I follow regularly and support. I never link to a site that hasn’t been updated regularly or link to a post without reading it entirely.
It’s a bit more difficult to get others to link to your site. You can do this by writing great content, building a strong reputation in your field/niche area and guest posting.
Here’s another great post from Darren Rowse about getting backlinks, 11 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Linked to By a Blogger.
Social media not only leads people to your site, it allows them to share your content with others, perhaps even on their own sites, therefore helping increase your ranking.
It’s important for you to share your content and make it easy for others to share it as well by prominently displaying social sharing buttons on your webpage.
Participating in social media is not optional in today’s consumer-driven world. You must engage online with current and potential customers, sharing information you find relevant to them. Finding the correct audience and building a relationship with them will lead your business to success–online and off.
For more on the important relationship between social media and SEO, read Social Media and SEO: 5 Essential Steps to Success.
This post certainly won’t tell you everything there is to know about SEO. I don’t even pretend to be an expert on this topic. However, this post provides a foundation for optimizing your site. Hopefully it helps take some of the mystery out of Search Engine Optimization.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
What did I forget? What do you see as an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization for professional sites that I did not include in this post? Let’s share and learn together.
Real Nerds Read!
Here are some other resources I recommend to learn more about Search Engine Optimization. Please note that both Jeff Goins at Goins Writer and John Saddington at Tentblogger did great series on SEO for Beginners. I recommend that you read them both.