The Diaries Episode Four: SEO For Dummies
In today’s post we are going to talk about the highly discussed (and probably most feared ) aspect of blogging: SEO. I know for me, as a new blogger was extremely intimidated by search engine optimization - especially at the very beginning.
I definitely did the blogger equivalent of hiding my head in the sand and hoped that it would just go away or work itself out on its own.
But after finally decided to read down and do my research, I had a little bit of an epiphany which helped me to embrace SEO as a friend and work smarter not harder.
In this article we are going to define what SEO is, learn a different SEO approach and then go over some free tools and strategies you can use to get started.
What Exactly Is Search Engine Optimization?
When discussing search engine optimization, traditionally experts are referring to strategies which apply to search engines. For the purposes of our discussions, when I’m discussing search engine platforms I am referring to the big three: Google, YouTube and Pinterest.
Of course there are more platforms than these three and you can definitely use the strategies discussed here when working with those other search engines. In fact, you even use these SEO strategies on your social media accounts. We’ll talk about
The technical definition of search engine optimization is the systematic utilization of key words and phrases to optimize your content in order to increase the likelihood of receiving organic traffic to your website by means of the various search engine platforms.
Another Way To SEO
So now that we know what SEO means, I’m going to share with you my own definition which made it easier for me to put it to practical use. I look at SEO as the language or manner of speaking each search engine prefers in order to push your content forward and attract organic traffic to your website.
In order words, it’s the love language that each platform prefers.
Free SEO Tools
With SEO clearly defined, we can now talk tools and strategies to get our content seen. My favorite free tools for keyword and key phrase research are Google Trends, Keyword Generator, and Pinterest Trends.
Also as I mentioned previously, SEO concepts can be used for social media as well and in that arena, my favorite free tool is Instagram Hashtags. We’ll come back later in this article to talk about SEO and social media.
1. Google Trends
This is a website where you can enter a keyword and it will provide you with additional key words and phrases.
In addition to these initial results, Google Trends will give you some additional statistics to help you identify the best keywords and phrases for you to use.
First you’ll be provided with a keyword difficulty score. This ranges on a scale of 0-100 and tells you how hard it is to rank in SEO for a particular phase. Second, you will be given the organic search volume of each term. This will tell you the popularity level of each term. And lastly, Google Trends will provide you with a last updated date which will tell you how recently this information was updated.
2. Keyword Generator
Like Google Trends, Keyword Generator is another free keyword research tool. It too provides for you additional keywords and phases once you enter a term. And it also assigns a difficulty score to the generated results.
3. Pinterest Trends
Like Google Trends, Pinterest Trends provides you with additional related terms as well as the topic search volume. However, it’s focus is based on the phrases which are being used primarily in Pinterest. This means that you can generate a different set of fresh SEO terms and phrases.
In addition to Pinterest Trends, within Pinterest there is a specialized search bar located in the Pinterest Ad Generation screen when you access the platform from your desktop. Once instead the Ad Generation Tool from your desktop, you will notice a field which asks to you input your topic or keywords. Once you do that, Pinterest will give you additional searched terms by pincers as well as their search volume.
Again this is an excellent want to find more natural keywords and phrases to include in your content and increase the SEO effectiveness of your post.
Effective SEO Strategies For Beginners
As a new blogger, you want to concentrate on a Keyword Difficulty Score of under 50 —with the sweet spot being between 20 to the low 40s. By focusing on keywords and phases with a lower difficulty score, you limit the likelihood of competing against the powerhouses within the blogging community.
An additional factor which works in tandem with a Keyword Difficulty Score is your website’s Domain Authority Score. Every website is given a DA score by each of the search engines. The DA score represents how reputable each site is. So a powerhouse website like The York Times could have a DA score of 97, whereas a new blogger cold have a DA score of 2.
When deciding what traffic to display in their search results, platform would first display all of the articles of websites with highest DA scores and then work their way down the list to to the ones with the lowest DA scores.
That’s why The New York Times appears on page one of Google and small bloggers end up on page 1,436.
In order to increase the likelihood of a new blogger’s content ranking higher in a search result, we need to select keywords with a low difficulty score (this means the big sites are not using them) and a high search volume (which means the terms are popular).
One strategy to avoid when integrating keywords into your content is Keyword Stuffing. Keyword Stuffing is when a writer just includes phrase after phrase and word after word of keywords without trying to string them together within a structured paragraph.
None of the search engine platforms like to see keyword stuffing in your content or your website’s metadata. So always craft natural, well written sentences and paragraphs in your content.
SEO And Social Media Tips
Just like each search engine has a love language, each social media platform also has a love language which will help to get your content seen. So on Instagram and Twitter, the current love language is hashtags. On Facebook hashtags don’t work. On YouTube, the important information is contained within the video thumbnail, the video title and video description.
A way to increase the likelihood of your content being seen on Twitter is by looking for trending hashtags. Instagrammers should also look for hashtags with an appropriate volume. So smaller content creators should generally stay away from very large hashtags and instead look for ones under 500,000.
How To Incorporate Keywords On Your Website
There are plenty of places on your website where you can and should incorporate key words and phrases.
You should always include them in your blog titles and subtitles. You should also organically include them throughout your entire blog post. This is one of the reasons why you want to use all of the tools listed above as it will create a large variety of phrases you can pull from. This will help to keep your content from sounding repetitive and robotic.
Don’t forget to also include keywords within the metadata of any photos that you include in your post as well as within the metadata supporting the actual blog post itself. While you and your readers will not see these descriptions, the various search engines will use this data to categorize and rank your content.
For more information regarding Blogging SEO, please refer to the additional resources listed below.