You’ve probably seen them – blog posts that are so obviously written to be SEO-friendly that they are practically unreadable. Keywords pop up in the most awkward places, that the posts lose their authenticity and appeal just for the sake of getting attention. Like a toddler at the supermarket, throwing a tantrum. Yeah, you hear the kid, but do you want to hear what he’s screaming about?
Using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is tough, unless you’re an expert. There are a lot of mixed messages as to what works and what doesn’t, what drives traffic and what makes people think, “Hey, that was a cool read!”
The whole point of SEO is getting people to find you, without a search strategy your website is like a having a billboard in the desert. It’s not easy to be found in the interwebs! You can type in any keyword and Google will come up with about a million pages of related sites. Good luck getting into the top two pages, which is about where most searches end!
You have to stand out, if you want your blog to be found and read. That’s why you need to come up with the perfect mix of being unique and being search friendly. The competition for any given keyword is cutthroat to say the least. So what do you do – focus on attention, or on value? Which will generate a) the most traffic and b) the most lead conversions? Here are five proven ways to incorporate SEO-friendly keywords into your blog posts, provide value AND drive traffic. Win!
1. What are you writing about? No, no, wait, don’t tell me the whole story. Narrow it down to two or three words that represent the essence of your message. An example would be, a post about what it was like to start blogging.
Most people get stuck thinking SEO is all about the title. Yes, the title has to be an attention-grabber, but it’s not everything. The title should be derived from your keywords, which are the distilled version of your idea. Let’s say you distilled your idea into these words: Begin(ner), Blogging, Experience.
How to Start Blogging
How to Begin Blogging
Starting to do Blogging
12 Things I Learned About Beginner Blogging
My Beginner Blogging Experience
Okay. So now you have ideas for the title and some keywords to sprinkle throughout the post.
2. Find out which of these keywords get the most attention – BUT ARE NOT OVER-SATURATED. Start by typing in a keyword, and see what Google comes up with. Important: your results will be influenced by your past search data so you might want to do this in a private browser window and make sure your browser history is clear before starting.
Example: You type in, “how to start blogging” and Google might come up with “beginners”, “for money”
Use the Keyword Planner tool on AdWords. Here’s the tool and a tutorial (you will need a Google account to use this tool). Enter a few of your title ideas, click on “Keyword Ideas” and sort by “Average Monthly Searches” – this will give you an idea of how many people are looking for info on “How to Start Blogging” or whichever title you chose to enter. It will also give you more ideas in the form of additional keywords.
Some keywords will have much higher search volumes than others. But… if the traffic is too high, that keyword is over-saturated, and you’ll have a hell of a time standing out from the crowd. Pick something with a moderate amount of monthly searches (100+) but not tens of thousands. Then you’re more likely to end up on the first or second page!
Separate your words with a dash, so that the search engines can differentiate between words.
The permalink is called the slug URL. Make sure it’s something that has your keywords in it. The title can be changed later, but don’t ever change your url. Just choose it and be done with it.
4. Choose your final title. Remember – make it catchy, without making it sound SEO-stupid. Make it interesting and relevant so that people will click on it. Your title and your slug URL must have something to do with the content; otherwise you’ll just turn people off with your sleight of hand (it’s like clicking on an email link for “Make money from home” that turns out to be a sleazy pitch for ED meds). Really?? It happens all the time! Don’t be that person!
But more than avoiding being deceptive, you want to build trust. Be you. Establish rapport with your readers by giving them a headline that sparks interest, but doesn’t claim to be something it’s not. Hook, but don’t (ever) mislead.
Now, your title and your permalink have to have something in common. So, your title could become something more interesting than “How to Start Blogging.” It’s true, but is it interesting? Not really. Play with some ideas: “21 Tips To Jumpstart Your Blogging Experience” or “A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging.” Let’s say you like the second title. So your title is, “A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging” and your permalink is, how-to-start-blogging. Now, if you type in ‘how to start blogging” your title would come up, and come ON – how enticing is that, right? Of course, you’d click on that! Sounds funny, interesting, entertaining… another win!
5. You can use WordPress plugins to provide title tags and meta descriptions so people who are about to click on your link can get a brief glimpse of what to expect (it’s the info below the link, that you see on Google). You can get flexible with these and change them on a per-post basis from within the WordPress post editor.
Most of all, when you get down to the nitty gritty of writing your post, be sure that your keywords are authentically placed, as if you were writing like a normal person writes and not a spam-bot. Just share your passion for what you do, using choice keywords!