11th Commandment: Thou shalt not write a blog post that hast not been optimized for SEO.
I hear so many different things about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Don’t do this, do that, don’t do that, do this instead. Half of what they talk about is perpetuated by what they heard someone else said. Where do you find expert advice?
If you’re thinking here, you are wrong my friend, so very wrong. I really don’t concern myself with SEO much, as my more astute readers have probably noticed.
There’s a few reasons for that, one is that I am no expert. Nope, not at all. Sure I know a few things, but that’s about it. The other reason is that I just don’t really bother doing it in my blog posts. This is one of the few that could be considered “SEO Optimized”…at least in part.
I should, I know how, I just don’t. This is definitely one of those “Do as I say, not as I do” type posts.
I’m going to tell you the few things I know, these are done by most people, even by those who disagree with most SEO practices.
1) WRITE FOR YOUR READERS, NOT FOR THE SEARCH ENGINES
That’s pretty self-explanatory. Who are you trying to reach? Readers. Who are the search engines trying to help? Readers. If your content is written for search engines, all the traffic in the world won’t help your blog become popular, you must have good content.
Not having an optimized blog isn’t good either, but it’s far far better than having a blog that’s easily found and even easier to forget.
2) USE LONG TAIL KEYWORDS
This is not the place for me to teach you how to research keywords. If you are getting ready to write posts, you should already know how. Long tail keywords are simply 3 or 4 word (or more) keyword phases. For example the keywords “easy seo” is short, the long tail keyword phrase I chose is “7 steps to easy seo”. This ranks better in the search engines…if people are looking that specifically.
And in case you’re curious, no I didn’t research those keywords when I went to write this post. I should have, but I didn’t.
3) USE THE KEYWORD(S) IN THE TITLE OF YOUR BLOG POST
Not every title has to do that, some titles can be written to be interesting, fun, enticing, controversial, etc. Overall though, those type of titles should be sprinkled throughout your other seo optimized titles.
Most people agree that the sooner you use your keywords, the better.
4) USE THE KEYWORD(S) WITHIN THE FIRST COUPLE OF SENTENCES
In keeping with using your keywords sooner, most people agree that you should use your long tail keyword phrase in your first couple of sentences. Part of the reason for this is that your first few sentences may used as part of the description in the search engine results.
If you have the ability, the keywords should also be used in your meta tags (title and description). I’ve heard that Google completely ignores the meta keyword tag, but it’s not going to hurt to have it.
5) USE THE KEYWORD(S) WITHIN THE POST ONLY WHERE IT FITS IN
This is where one of my biggest failings is. Not that I overuse keywords, but I under-use them. Basically it means that as you proof-read your post, there’s places where you can put your keyword where it doesn’t affect the way your blog reads or flows. If it makes it awkward, take it out, if it doesn’t (or helps) put it in.
Where my problem is, as I stated, is there’s places where I could use the keyword and don’t. I just don’t think about it as I write and if I was doing it proper, I’d go back through looking for where I could put it in.
For example, under point 3 I had this sentence: “Overall though, those type of titles should be sprinkled throughout your other seo optimized titles.”
Normally I would have just put “Overall though, those type of titles should be sprinkled throughout your other titles.” or “other optimized titles.”
See the difference? The first sentence doesn’t affect the flow (and maybe increases the readability a bit) but increases the keyword density (the number of times your keyword phrase is used) and though the other sentence would have worked, it doesn’t help with seo.
6) USE THE KEYWORD(S) IN YOUR ANCHOR TEXT
Ah yes, the mysterious “anchor text”. So if I was linking to some site (or back to this site from an article or comment on another blog/forum) the anchor text is the words you actually click on.
For example the link <a href=”http://sweatyshop.com/136/7-steps-to-easy-seo-my-way”> 7 Steps To Easy SEO My Way</a>
Shows a clickable link that says 7 Steps To Easy SEO My Way
This is what you want, your keywords in that text. And if you vary the text a bit in different places, that helps a bit…or so I’m told.
This is much better than having your clickable link say “click here for more information”
7) USE THE KEYWORD(S) IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH
I don’t know about this one. Not everyone has claimed you need to have your keywords in the last paragraph, but it does fit in with the other steps, especially if your last paragraph has a link.
Of course I haven’t talked about creating backlinks (links on other sites pointing to yours), that’s important for Google rankings, but isn’t actually SEO (with the exception of using your keywords as anchor text).
Are there other things that could be done? Sure. Do they help? Perhaps. They don’t hurt as far as I know, whether they help or not I honestly can’t say.
In any case, I hope this has been helpful for those of you who know less about SEO optimization than I do, and if not, well, it was good practice for me anyway.