I am kind of a nerd and enjoy learning more about the techy and analytical side of blogging so I recently did some serious reading on SEO (search engine optimization) and why it’s so important. SEO is important because it’s the thing that helps you play the long game in blogging. Let me give you a personal example.
First things First: SEO is not as complicated as you’d think.
Google (and other search engines) are in the business of getting you the information you’re looking for when you search online. They also want to find the best and most relevant content for you.
So let’s pretend you want to create a Gmail account for your child. Obviously, you want it to be safe for them to use. You don’t want any weirdo emailing your child. (But the weird cousin is probably ok).
You go to Google (or whatever search engine you use) and type in something like:
That is an actual screenshot of my own website’s analytics. You see, in March of 2015 I wrote a blog post about how to set up a Gmail account for a child and I continue to get over 250 visits to my website per day just from that blog post! How does this happen?
S. E. freaking O.
As I mentioned, SEO helps you play the long game. I know we all love it when we share a new blog post and it gets tons of shares and our website traffic goes up. But if your traffic only spikes when you have a new post, you are not going to able to build a tribe/brand/business from your blog.
What do you want? 600 hits to your website on one day or more than 600 hits per day, EVERY DAY, per blog post?
You want more traffic, consistently, over time. The best way to do this is through good SEO.
Ok. Back to how SEO isn’t all that complicated.
So the reason I keep getting traffic to my website from that one blog post is because that blog post is FULL of keywords. Keywords are the things people type in search engines like Google. By the way . . . I recommend you use the Yoast SEO plugin to help with your site’s SEO. For this blog post, I used this long tail keyword:
I WANT people to find my blog because they are typing in similar keywords to my keyword. Let’s look again at what keywords and phrases people are searching for that land them on my blog:
Here is my blog post title: How to create a safe and secure Gmail account for your child.
- 3 out of 4 of the search terms included “Gmail account”-check. Got that in my title.
- All 4 said either child or kid-check. Got that in my title.
Now we move to the actual blog post. I won’t bore you with copying and pasting full paragraphs from the blog post here, but I will tell you that I mention these phrases over and over again in the post:
how to set up gmail account for your kid
set up gmail account
gmail account for your kid
safe gmail account
gmail account for a child
So when the search engine’s crawlers are looking all over the web for the keywords someone typed in, they will see that my blog post has tons of them! This means my blog post is probably something the user is looking for. It’s far more likely to show up on the first page of results.
Now, there is one more thing I did to increase my SEO power for this blog post. Check it out:
Do you see it? My “alt text” description for any images used in the blog post is also chalk full of the keyword(s)! This is a step a lot of bloggers forget. They create these awesome blog posts full of good keywords, and then their images are tagged with a description like, IMG_4027 or pic 1, pic 2, etc.
Don’t do that to your blog!
If you’ve put in all of the hard work to make sure your blog post is SEO friendly, ensure that your image descriptions are up to snuff.
Alright, folks. That’s my version of SEO. There are others far more qualified to discuss SEO and if you’re into that, I recommend this ebook by Yoast. Or you can read a very long, detailed post on SEO from the folks at SumoMe.
The basic gist of all of this is . . . when you’re writing a blog post, be sure the blog post is about one particular keyword or keyword phrase. Then be intentional about working that keyword into your title, blog post, image description, and metadata (excerpt). Try being more intentional with your SEO and see what happens!