Search Engine Optimization Tips
November's PHLBlogger event was a Search Engine Optimization workshop hosted by Emma & Christina of SEER Interactive. The PHLBloggers filled a conference room with pen, paper, and laptop ready to learn. I couldn't believe how much they were able to cover in 90 minutes. Not only that, but they actually have a website devoted entirely to bloggers called AmpliFound, which is absolutely worth checking out. Here are 5 tips I am going to add to my routine to kick you off.
Do Keyword Research Before You Write The Post
If you're not familiar with keyword research and wondering why should I have to do that?, take a second to think about how many different ways you can google the exact same search term. Here are three examples of things to consider.
- If you knew you wanted to host a party about search engine optimization and wanted to know what was the most popular phrase searched about search engine optimization on the main search engines, you could type in the words search engine optimization on Soovle resulting in a list of top searches on Google, Wikipedia, Answers, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, and YouTube. That was how I found out to call this post search engine optimization tips and not 5 tips about search engine optimization.
- If you knew you wanted to write a post about bridal showers, but did not have a clear specific topic you could type in the phrase bridal shower on Ubersuggest to get a list of phrases that start with the words "bridal shower" sorted alphabetically by the next word. It also sorts by top overall searches, which shows me that bridal shower invitations and bridal shower games are the two most searched phrases.
- If you wanted to have a sale to get rid of things around your house, would you call it a yard sale, a garage sale, or a tag sale? Here's the thing, it doesn't really matter what you would call it, the question is what everyone else calls it. The best tool to use for this is the Google Keyword Planner, which you can find in Google AdWords. Google AdWords can quickly tell me that garage sale has 33,100 searches per month, yard sales has 22,200, and tag sales has only 1,900. When I originally tried to make a Google AdWords account it wanted me to start a campaign, but one day it let me bypass the screen and gain access to all the tools. I wish I could tell you how I made that happen, but hopefully it just happens right for you the first time.
These keywords can be used in titles, descriptions, body text, image alt text, and more. If you're a self-hosted wordpress user, download the Wordpress SEO by Yoast plugin, it's a must. Otherwise, you can go into the html code and put in the meta data there. (You'll have to google that separately for more information.)
Use Header 2 Format
Up until this workshop I didn't use any other type of text in my blog posts except paragraph text. I knew search engines searched for meta titles and meta descriptions (among other things), but I had no idea that text labeled as header 2 was factored in. Therefore, if you want to really emphasize something or divide your post into sections you should use header 2 text and not just bold your text like I had been doing.
Set Up A Google Alert
This was an interesting concept to me. Set up a Google Alert on yourself to see if anything comes up with your name on it. This will give you a good idea of what's going on around the internet with your name on it. I have it easy because there aren't too many Chrystina Noels out there (there are a few though), but if you have a more frequently used name, you might want to set up an alert for the name of your blog, your name, and a specific topic that you talk about. I was shocked how many places on the internet I was found that I didn't know I was listed, for example here about greeting cards for men and here about Christmas centerpieces.
Write More Guest Posts
One thing I didn't understand about search engine optimization was that you need to build authority around your brand, which now that I think about it makes a lot of sense. The more links you have distributed across the internet, the more authority you have. The more other people with authority mention you, the more authority you have. Now, this can absolutely be done in a sleezy way, or it can be done in a more organic "I really love your blog and I think I have some great content that I could add to it, I would love to write this guest post for you" kind of way. (Not exactly like that.) This authority also comes with just generating good content. If you create good content these are things that people are going to want to share, hence, building authority.
Become Familiar with Twitrland
I had never heard of Twtrland before this workshop, but I had a heck of a lot of fun searching it after the fact. You can search anybody's Twitter handle and find out what they're talking about, who they're talking to, what tweets get the most engagement, and if they're a power player. There are a few ways this could be useful:
- You can search yourself to find out what the most engaging topics you tweet about are.
- You can search yourself to find out who follows you with the most followers.
- You can search someone else to find out who they're talking to online so maybe you can connect with them too.
And that's just the beginning. The things you can do with this tool seem to be endless - and that's just the free version of it.
Thank you again to SEER Interactive, Emma, and Christina for letting us crash your space and giving us more insight into the ways of the blogging world. We had an absolute blast.