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Here marks the halfway point of New Year, New Blog (fondly dubbed NYNB) – a year-long blogging project embarked upon by Taylor and I to dive headfirst into twelve different pieces of the blogging puzzle…one theme a month, but two tidbits on it within said month. While our hope all along was for it to be this big sharefest of information for other bloggers, turns out we are learning so much ourselves in the process – it’s kinda nutso. Now, SEO can be HARD. For July in New Year, New Blog, we’re diving headfirst into the basics of SEO to help you conquer the beast and optimize your content!
A little not-so-shameless plug before delving into SEO; you should really become an NYNB VIP. Yup, there’s still time! I’ve participated in a lot of blogging classes and consultations in my near two-years of blogging thus far, and let me tell you – this program is a steal. For just 18 buckaroos – that’s the price of 4 lattes, maybe 3 if you count Starbucks pending price increases – you get four quarterly eBooks, exclusive content with additional tips and tricks, printables, social media networking group access, discount codes for more classes, consultations and sidebar ad spaces with our favorite blogging superstars to rev up your game even further. Plus, you get us as a resource to ask questions on whatever you could possibly want or need in Blog World, and if we don’t know the answer right away, we’ll figure it out for you and point you in the right direction.
We are slaving over this project and are essentially handing it out like flyers on the sidewalk in center city NYC. Don’t. Miss. Out.
And if you do opt to join the party, you’ll get eBook’s 1 and 2 sent straight to your inbox *today*. That’s 86 pages of information on everything from correctly reading Google Analytics and creating your social media strategy, to building your personal brand and being more efficient with your work time. If you’re convinced, click here to become the VIP that you are.
And now onto SEO. S(E)o what’s so important about it? Let’s get into the basics to find out!
SEO. It’s like the really cool girl that walks into a party in a red dress and instantly earns the eyes and attention of everyone else in the room. All the guys want to know her, all the girls want to be her – she’s mysterious and elusive, and seemingly unattainable. Can we all just agree that this is SEO to a T? It’s the bane of bloggers’ existences, because we all know we have to have it – and we’ve gotta be *good* at it – but in an internet of trillions of things, it’s seemingly impossible to really get it right and optimize everything on most days that end with “day.”
SO, SEO. That’s Search Engine Optimization, and we’re about to break it down into a few basics to make it a bit less intimidating. If only the aforementioned lady-in-red came with a life manual, right? We’ve got three tips to help you approach the beast that is SEO in a way that won’t make you want to a.) pull your hair out, b.) cry, or c.) both.
WordPress SEO Yoast
This WordPress plug-in is probably the simplest way to get introduced to SEO – if you don’t have it, stop what you’re reading, open a new tab, and go to your plug-in directory stat! You absolutely must have this in your plug-in arsenal if you want your SEO to be up to par and easy as pie.
…have you downloaded it yet?
Alright good – glad we got that straightened out. You’ll notice Yoast at the bottom of every blog post from here on out. You’ll also notice a little “SEO” label under the list of essentials before hitting “publish” on the righthand side of your screen. Take note of the color of the dot next to “SEO” – it has to be green for you to be good to go!
At the base of your posts, your Yoast plug-in will have four tabs: General, Page Analysis, Advanced, and Social. General will hit most birds with one stone; Yoast is fabulous because it gives you little hints when your SEO is lacking, besides giving you additional tips on how to improve when your colored bubble is yellow or orange. Get everything to green – that’s the lucky (or should we say, smart?) color!
Your Snippet Preview is showing you how your post will show up in search engine query results. Make sure your SEO Title and Meta Description are easily understood, clear, and clickable to increase your chance of getting higher in search results, as well as getting those clicks that ultimately lead to viewership!
Your Focus Keyword is that keyword that really represents the gist of your post. That handy dandy tracker below shows you how relevant it really is to your post.
Your SEO Title is the big blue title in your Preview – how your post will be titled in search engine results.
And your Meta description is the short and sweet paragraph right below the bigger blue title, also appearing in search engine results. It should clearly describe what’s coming and entice your readers to click for more (le duh).
Tools like Google AdWords and Google Webmaster Tools are great aids in helping you uncover what people are searching for, and its relevance to your content. If you’re actually purchasing ad words, this process might be a bit different, because more blatant strategy is involved – you have the choice to buy more heavily search, more expensive, but also more generic terms, or you can snag words that are a bit more narrow and specific, and maybe more likely to lead directly to you…but that less folks might be organically searching for online. The possibilties go on and on, so for now we’ll stick with a few pointers on keywords.
Your permalink – those words after your post URL that seem to be (or at least should be) descriptive of the post – needs to be keyword rich. In WordPress, change your link at the top of each post by clicking “Edit”:
Remember: Nobody likes spam. There’s no need to go all bonkers on your keywords within WordPress…think basic and elementary, but all-encompassing. If you write a post featuring inspiration for a twenty-something’s winter wardrobe organization, do not – that’s do not – write 15 different versions of those words in different arrangements together and call them keywords. That won’t help your case!
Think about what you’d Google and reverse engineer it to write your post title and content. It can be far too tempting to come up with elusive, mysterious, or even misleading titles in the hopes of raking in the pageviews. But here’s the issue (besides it being purposely misleading, which could cost you followers in the long run): Google doesn’t get elusiveness. Google doesn’t understand or appreciate crafty alliteration, creative metaphors, or sassy puns. So leave them out of your optimized content! Make it easier on web crawlers by clearly presenting the gist of your content. Maybe you just tried what you think to be God’s gift to hand-cream-wearing humanity. This stuff is hydrating, creamy but not greasy, and has a light scent that you just love. It’s great for moisturization and has ointment to heal cracked skin. Which title is better (for SEO, people): “God’s Gift to Femalekind” or “The Best Hydrating Hand Cream – Grease free!” The former might get a few more curious clickers, but the latter positions you for people who are deliberately looking for your content. Anyone Googling for “best hand cream,” “hydrating hand creams,” “grease free hand creams,” as well as combinations you put together through Yoast and your other optimization methods…they’re more likely to be led straight to your website, where you’re delivering a comprehensive, compelling, flat-out fabulous review of what you consider to be God’s Gift to hand-cream-wearing humanity. BOOM SHAKALAKA. And that’s how SEO is going to rock your world.
That’s all for now…stay tuned for another SEO-packed feature later this month with more tips and tricks and all that jazz.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned about SEO?
Now go off, be free, and enjoy the heck outta your Friday.