Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has seen a lot of changes in the last few years and even more in the last few months. In fact it’s changing so fast it’s hard to keep up with it all. Do you need to? Some might say no, that all you need to do is keep generating tons of quality content and SEO will naturally occur; but there is still some art to making that content more easily digested by your readers and the search engine spiders and a few worthwhile techniques to attract the spiders in the first place.
I don’t care what your blog is about unless it’s relevant to me
That’s what the average person would say if they could tell you the truth. There’s too much to read out there to subscribe to a blog that has no focus. If your content wanders all over the map people may not want to come back regularly for more. If they never know what they’re going to get they just don’t bother. Search engines are the same way. They want to see consistency in messaging, frequency and inbound links from well respected and relevant websites.
Keyword research and targeting
Hopefully you sat down and thought about what you were going to write about before you started blogging. How does it relate to the audience you want to reach? Josh Peters covered this in his post on the convergence of search and social. He said:
“Every person has a bag of keywords that they find interesting and worth their time.When you know what those keywords are and you build accessible, quality content and conversations around them then search engines and people know what you’re about and if you’re something (product, service, etc.) that is worth their time.”
I totally agree–with the addition of this. Think about what your blog is about. If you have lots of interests it’s better to have different blogs rather than cramming all your favorite hobbies and random thoughts into one blog. Once you choose a topic, take some time to really think about key words and phrases people would use to talk about that subject. Spend some time looking for the phrases that really resonate with what you want to talk about. Speak in the natural language of your readers instead of trying to pack in keywords and you’ll find your posts more readable and more indexable.
One easy way to get a clear picture of those keywords is to go to one of several keyword tools. We like the ones from Wordtracker, SEO Moz , Google and especially Wordstream’s Long tail keyword tool. Now do some searches and see what terms people are really looking for. Don’t stick on just 1-2 words either. Think bigger. What sentences do people use in a question when they are looking for your topic? You might also consider using a tool like Hittail.com to see what search terms people are using to get to your site and even get suggestions on content their algos think will bring you more traffic. Here’s a nifty infographic from them all about those pesky longtail keywords. Oh, and if you need help doing that research, just let us know. We do social SEO for many of our clients. Just ask.