A few months ago, I wrote, I Threw SEO to the Wind, on FuelYourBlogging.com. Upon your initial glance at the title you might guess that the article was about totally ignoring SEO and writing the type of content you want to write. You'd be right, in part.
However, towards the end of the post, I revealed that I do in fact optimize my posts, I just do it a little differently from what an SEO expert might suggest.
Here's a glance at how I optimize my posts:
I write first, SEO second
I generally write a post first, with my readers in mind. Sometimes I start with a working title and sometimes I don't. I do this because I find that whenever I start trying to do the research first, I end up spending too much time looking for keywords that I might not even use and then by the time I'm done, I've lost the motivation to write.
So I write first, then I use Google's Keyword Tool to see if I can find some keywords that both relate to what I've already written and also have a good number of searches.
Here's a glance at the keyword search that I conducted for this post:
I reversed the Advertiser Competition so that the lowest competitive terms appear at the top. I try to choose the keywords that have the smallest bar (lowest competition) but also have a decent amount of global monthly searches.
Keep in mind that "decent" is a relative term, I try to shoot for keywords with at least 500 global monthly search volume but, sometimes that's not possible. Notice that the keywords "seo for bloggers" has lower competition, but only 210 searches. However, "seo for blogger" has only slightly more competition, but with 1300 searches. So which do you think I'd choose? (Hint: take a look at the title of this post then take a look at the link.)
It's really important that your keywords appear in the title, but don't force an awkward title.
Here's what I do:
- I create a catchy title that makes sense to humans and then I use the keywords in the permalink instead of the title. So, that means you are seeing "SEO tips for bloggers" in my title, but if you take a look at the permalink, you'll see " SEO for blogger" the keyword with the higher amount of searches.
This is a good alternative to creating strange titles that no one wants to click on.
- I add relevant tags and make use of my categories - this is really helpful in pointing search engines towards posts.
- I go back and find areas throughout the text where I can add or replace synonyms with the keywords. But I don't over do it, if it doesn't sound natural, don't do it. It won't make the post rank any better and it could potentially get penalized by Google. Aside from that, it will also really annoy readers.
To really get noticed in search engines, you need to write more than one post with those keywords.
Here's another tip:
- Write a Series of posts that contains those keywords. You can do this over the span of several days or you can create an ongoing series that you will revisit every week. This will signal to search engines, that your blog regularly attends to those keywords and it will begin to send visitors to you in greater numbers.
I really recommend a weekly series that you set aside one day out of the week to dive deeper into. The benefits go beyond SEO - they create consistency and suspense for your readers and keep them coming back to see what you'll do next week. A series will also reduce the thinking load - when it comes time to write, you already know what you're going to talk about, making it easier to sit down and write that post.
- Consistently produce high quality content as often as you can and take cues from analytics. Even if you don't do a good job of optimizing your content, you'll still find that Google will often send visitors to your site via some strange long-tail keywords - you can take cues from that and actually start producing content based on those keywords, that is if they relate in a logical way to your niche and your blog's focus. I particularly like this method, it's given me new ideas that I hadn't thought of and because I went ahead a produced a post, the next visitors that Google sent were able to actually find what they were looking for.
If all else fails, get help. If doing all of this creates too much stress or if you find that you get so distracted with research that it stifles your writing, you might want to consider using SEO Software, such as DIY SEO that can automate the process for you.
It really won't benefit you or your blog to totally ignore SEO, but it shouldn't rule or restrict your writing either. That's why it's important to take a "write first, SEO second" approach and do what you can to optimize what you already have.
So how do you optimize your content? What tips do you have to add?
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