Welcome, internetters, to the age of Facegrams and Instachats. A time where shared (and overshared) information is completely ingrained into the social norm. I know this to be true. My baby sister snapchatted herself after accidentally driving a knife through her palm. It got some views.
And in such an age of sharing, it seems like everyone who is anyone is a self-described part-time, amatuer-expert blogger. Which is great! Blogging is fun and cool and an excellent medium for disseminating ideas on the webspace. It’s also an incredibly useful strategy for building a brand. But how do we freedom writers ensure that our content is actually being seen? How can we increase visibility for our word stuffs? Essentially, how do we SEO this bitch? Let’s examine.
- Use an SEO plugin. This probably goes without saying, but here we are. Most blog sites allow for plugin customization, so use this to your advantage. Utilizing an SEO plugin helps by streamlining the process of optimizing your blog posts, saving you from lost time and headaches. A good plugin to consider is WordPress’ Yoast SEO plugin, which allows for targeted keyword input, the addition of meta descriptions, canonical URLs and blog customizations for social media sharing.
- Find some keywords. Do your research. Try to nail down which keyword(s) will be most advantageous for your particular niche. You’ll want to avoid being too general at this point. Long-tail keywords (keywords with several terms) tend to get more conversions than generalized ones do. Consider: I write about antique headless animal dolls. Targeting the term “dolls” may get me some traction, but I’ll likely be pulling in a good portion of normal viewers who aren’t into weird shit (ie. probably won’t convert). However, choosing the more specific “headless animal doll” keyword will probably be more efficient at finding readers who are interested in what I have to offer.
- Use some keywords. Once you have your selected keywords, use them! Try to naturally work them into your posts. If you begin to notice the keyword when reading your work, you may have either included the term too many times or didn’t embed it naturally. Two instances of a keyword is a good, safe standard to go with. Maybe three times if the blog is particularly lengthy. Search engines will light up when they hit these keywords, but too many may cause them to penalize your post, so tread carefully.
- Optimize your images. Words are nice, but pictures can be nice, too. And if you’re thinking about including that cute snap of last night’s burnt mac’n’cheese for your “I Can’t Adult” blog, then you need to alt text the hell out of it. What is alt text, you ask? It’s just a brief description of what your image is to help the internet machine do search stuff. Without this little descriptor, search engines don’t “understand” images. Keep it succinct and specific.
- Don’t overuse tags. Blog tags are useful. They categorize your work and keep things neat. Unfortunately, bloggers often create a hot mess of tags that are either completely redundant or carry a heavy level of overlap. This should be avoided. When creating a tag, your blog actually makes a new page to house that particular category. Having multiple tags that reiterate the same idea such as “food,” “snacks” and “good eats” is unnecessary and could potentially lead to search engines pinging your site for duplicated content. Tag in moderation, friends.
- Internally link, if you can. Connecting your post to other pages on your site can help build a rich internal-linking structure for your blog, which search engines roll around in like catnip. If you reference a topic in a particular piece that you’ve covered in-depth in a previous post, link to it! The title of your blog posts can also be used to link back to itself (some blogs may do this automatically). To check, preview your post and try to click on the title. If your page reloads, voila! If nothing happens, no worries. Just A tag the title of your post in the editor. Think of it as the internal linking equivalent of a bingo free space. Huzzah!
Of course these are just a few simple practices to boost the visibility of your page. There are a number of other, more advanced strategies to help you further optimize your content, so don’t stop here. After giving these basic tips a whirl, venture back out into the cybersphere for more advanced techniques and continue to level up your SEO game. Eventually you’ll construct an optimization skill set that will help keep your content visible and viable on the interweb.