This week is a guest blogging week! I’d like to welcome Jen from Flying Penguin PR.
Practicing a little SEO, search engine optimization, is one powerful way to help your blog stand out among the thousands online today. While the topic is deep and multi-faceted, not to mention constantly changing, there are a few SEO basics you can do regularly to help boost your blog’s rankings, especially for those looking for your blog’s theme or your post topic.
SEO works kind of like this: constantly evolving and automated search engine web crawlers are out there looking for relevant content when related to searches people make on those search engines. These robots will look at your data at the top of your post’s page. This meta data, or basically the Cliff Notes version of your post, plays a big part in your rankings, among a few other things. Here is a look at how you can help those search engine crawlers learn about your post immediately and increase your chances of higher rankings during other’s searches.
Once you’ve written your post, look through it and identify a handful of keywords (sometimes two and three word phrases can be better). If you were searching for the topic of this post, what would you type into Google? Those are your keywords. More isn’t necessarily better. Be focused.
For example, with this post, I’d use the following keywords: SEO, SEO basics, blogging SEO, SEO tips, boost your blog’s rankings, search engine optimization, and SEO for beginners. My best guess is people looking for the content of this post are going to search for these items.
When it comes to your blog itself, the same rule applies. What are people looking for that you can help them find? Look at this site as an example. Momcomm.com’s keywords are: blogging, mom blog, blogging tips, writing tips for bloggers, social media for moms, social media tips. Short, to the point, and certainly searchable.
If your blog software allows you to add keywords (there are several good, free SEO plugins for WordPress for example), this is where you include in those keywords. There’s argument to how important keywords are but this article breaks down why you should use them.
The title of your blog and each post should include keywords people would most likely use in searching for your blog’s content or a post’s content. For instance, I write a mom blog about how I put my positive discipline training to work at home. I run a positive discipline parenting blog. People looking for Positive Discipline insight will type a part of my title right into their search.
When it comes to posts, you want to take the same tack. This post is titled “Blog SEO Basics for Beginners.” Anyone searching for SEO basics, blog SEO or any other combination of those words will hit on the title words.
I have to admit this has been a hard one for me. I love writing catchy, intriguing titles that will get my readers reading more. But that won’t help the post’s ranking. Use the catchy hooks in your Twitter and Facebook promotions of your post.
Now none of the above will help much if your blog software automatically names your posts randomly, like “http://www.myblog.com/2100-05-24”. Make sure you’ve either set your software to title your posts with your headline, or, if it is offered in your SEO plugin or blog software, enter the post title yourself. You want it to read “http://www.myblog.com/10-great-decorating-ideas” or another way that uses your post’s title.
Many blog software applications and SEO plugins give you the chance to enter the description of your post. This is 150 characters and when your article comes up in a search engine, it’s the description under the post. You’ll also see it pop up when someone posts a link to the post on Facebook. You can be a little catchy here, but be sure to put some of those almighty keywords in there as well. If not, it’ll just take the first 150 characters in your blog post, which may not be relevant like here where Melissa has an introduction to my guest post in the beginning.
Remember those keywords. We’re not done with them yet. You’ve used them to identify the post’s theme and you’ve used them in the title. Now be sure they’re in the post.
To give your post yet another boost, use some of those keywords in the top couple of sentences of your post. Web crawlers will see the keywords, then the title, then the first few sentences. If there is repetition, the post is deemed valuable to those keyword searches.
All Together Now
For me, when writing a post, I find it easiest to just write the post. Then I’ll go back and give it the SEO once over. I’ll come up with the best keywords for the post, edit that first paragraph to put a few in there (you don’t need them all by any means). Then I’ll come up with a title for the post. The last thing I usually do is write a description, because I’ve pretty much got that post nailed down and keyworded well by then.
These few things are only a handful of many things you can do to boost your SEO, but if you only do this to start, you’re well on your way to increasing your search engine optimization!
Jen Boyer owns Flying Penguin PR, an independent public relations, communications and social media firm specializing in branding, reputation management, publicity and crisis communications. She has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, marketing and public relations. In addition to running her company, she is a contributing editor to Vertical Magazine, the director of the American Heroes Air Show in Seattle, and provides social media support to several Deadliest Catch cast members. She’s also a helicopter pilot and a mom blogger.
P.S. It’s Mel again! If you’re looking for some detailed direction on how to use SEO for your blog, you should check out Kelby Carr’s Mom Blog SEO ebook. I have it and it’s excellent! (the link is an affiliate one, yo).