Search Engine Optimization for Bloggers
November 8, 2017 by Rachel Smith
Over the past few decades, search engines like Google and Bing have been creating and perfecting automatic algorithms that rank websites. They deploy “spiders” (aka bots) to “crawl” webpages and check for different indicators that determine whether your site is of any value. This process allows search engines to develop indexes that are then used to provide users with content that is most relevant to what they searched for.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the art of ensuring those spiders are happy with what lands on the web. As search engines continue to evolve, as do the rules and trends surrounding SEO. And while it may sound intimidating, there are a few (so far) timeless SEO strategies you can use to keep your blogs relevant and searchable.
Keep it Genuine
When it comes to publishing content online, aiming for originality is one of the best SEO practices to follow. And while “original” or “genuine” doesn’t necessarily mean “brand new” (although it certainly can), the content of your blogs should add something to the conversation online, not repeat it word-for-word.
Original content could take the form of adding your voice and opinion to a topic, looking at something from a new perspective, or even delivering it to a new audience. Make sure that you consider the photos, videos, graphics, and plugins that you use throughout your blogs, too. These elements can help you naturally draw more attention from your audience and further drive your SEO efforts.
Readers, and those website-crawling spiders, can tell when the only goal of your blog is to boast your search engine rankings. So, before you even start writing or researching for your blog, establish a set of objectives for how you are going to make sure your content is genuine.
A good way to start is by asking yourself these questions:
- What is your blog going to be about?
- What do you want your blog to accomplish?
- How is your blog going to be different?
- Who is your audience?
Do Your Research
Keywords might just be the holy grail of search engine optimization. These are the words and phrases that people type into search engines to find websites and content that match what they are looking for. In short, keywords serve as the linchpin between what people are searching for and your content.
Because of their significance, it is important to include keywords throughout your blogs and maybe even more important to put time and effort into keyword research. Luckily, there are numerous sites out there, like Google Adwords or SEMrush, that cater to helping you determine which keywords are the best for your blog.
These keyword research tools basically work as keyword thesauruses. You type in a keyword (or a few) that are related to what your blog is about, and these sites will spit out additional words and phrases that Internet users are using to find related content. Further, most of these sites will tell you which keywords are used more often, or are more competitive, and result in more leads.
Spending time on keyword research will help you figure out what people are searching for and where your content fits in.
Sprinkle. Don’t Stuff.
While quality keywords are a reliable way to get those spiders to notice and rank your content in search engines, it is imperative that you do not engage in keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of packing a blog or website full of keywords to manipulate a site’s ranking. While this black hat marketing practice used to work, search engines have since become smart enough to recognize when this is happening. In fact, stuffing your blog with keyword after keyword will hurt your SEO and can actually result in your content being unranked or penalized by a search engine.
This is why it is important to use keywords in moderation. You want to sprinkle keywords throughout your blog in a way that will feel natural to the reader and catch the appropriate amount of attention from those spiders.
Consider using your keywords in the following places:
- Introductory sentences
- Concluding paragraphs
- Anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink)
- Title tags
- Meta data
While arranging keywords throughout a blog post isn’t an exact science, strategically placing a few will do the trick.
Don’t Forget the Link Juice
Another way to promote your search engine optimization is by including external and internal links throughout your blogs. External links take users to content outside of your page, while internal links are used to link users to additional content (like a previous blog) on your page.
Just as with keywords, make sure that you are not stuffing your blog with link after link. Both external and internal links should foremost be used as a tool to provide your readers access to related content.
Finally, you want to make sure that you are sharing your content with your audience through as many avenues as possible. This could include places like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and related forums. By doing this, you will increase the likelihood that your content is backlinked, meaning someone links to your content on their sites. Backlinks are especially valuable because they serve as a “vote of confidence” from another site. However, is important to build backlinks naturally, never purchase them.
Each of these processes created “link juice” (ranking power) and show search engine spiders that your content is valued and relevant.
In the end, it is important to remember that when your writing content for the web you’re writing content for humans AND computers. While your first priority should always be to provide your human audience with genuine, original content, if you really want your presence to be known on the web, you have to make those spiders happy, too.