To many of you this headline may have been scary or seemed unimportant and for many of you, SEO is another world completely. Every year we hear the rally cry that “SEO is Dead” and so on and so forth. While that fact of the matter is that SEO practices are constantly evolving and changing, SEO (especially SEO for your blog) is far from dead and while it may look different in the years to come, it is not dying.
Soothsayers Can Be Wrong
In classic literature, soothsayers are rarely, if ever, wrong. Especially in Shakespeare stories, you can pretty much bet that if a prophet, witch or soothsayer says something, it’s coming true whether you want it to or not.
The Internet has changed many things, but the believability and credibility of soothsayers is one of the things that has taken quite a beating in our time. Anyone with an Internet connection and half a brain can prophesy about coming trend deaths or expound upon the end of the world or whatever other crap they feel like. Most of those predictions are based on nothing more than hearsay and apocalyptic fear/desire. The rest of those predictions were given to the soothsayer by their stuffed badger while on an epic acid trip one weekend.
You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
Why SEO Is Safe……..For Now
SEO, or search engine marketing, is a marketing tactic, or rather a collection of tactics. More specifically, it is how we set up and optimally prepare our websites to be found by search engines.
Since we all still pretty much use search engines exclusively, and the number of new websites increases every second, and we want our readers to associate our blogs and website with what we talk about/sell/advertise, we all still need to understand the basics of SEO. And because of this base need for SEO knowledge, SEO is in no danger of being exterminated anytime soon. Until we start using our minds and encyclopedia’s to find information instead of search engines, we will still need to know how to market ourselves on said search engines.
“But Joey,” you exclaim pitifully, “I’m a writer, not an Internet marketer. I wouldn’t know where to being or even how to use SEO to my site’s benefit.”
Luckily you landed here and I’ll share with you the top 5 easy things you can do to spruce up your blog and not really have to worry much about SEO. Doens’t that sound nice? You’re welcome.
1. Don’t Worry About Keywords – That’s probably not where you expected me to start, but it’s important to dismiss some misunderstood notions before moving forward. A long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Interwebs, keywords were incredibly important because they told the search engine spiders (those little automated bots that crawl on sites and decide what content is there) what a site was about and what was most important. So, in the long, long ago, when you wanted to let Google know that your blog was about “Textile Manufacturing” you had to make sure you mentioned “Textile Manufacturing” on every page having to do with textile manufacturing. And the more you mentioned it, the more important you told the search engines that page was to “Textile Manufacturing.” Nowadays, Google and the other search engines have gotten wise to those tricks and have updated their algorithms mart enough recognize natural speech, which is how you should write. It’s best practice to include your main keyword in the title and within the first paragraph, but after that, just write normally and knowledgeably about your topic and Google will get the picture.
2. To Meta Data or Not To Meta Data - There are a few conflicting views on whether or not to fill out the meta data box on your blog posts and if you do, how to use them. Let met set the record straight. You won’t see huge benefits in search rankings for chosen keywords by stuffing them into your meta data descriptions, but you need to take that box very seriously. The meta data box is what is pulled from when search engines pull a snippet and when social networks show a preview of posts. You need to spend the time to make that copy very appealing, almost like a 140 character commercial for your post. Make it so enticing and entertaining that people who come across your post, HAS to read it.
3. Alt Attributes on Images - If you’re using WordPress, this is an easy step. Other blogging platforms aren’t difficult either in this step. Search engines can’t see images, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Images can be one of the most enticing things about your blog, but in order for search engine spiders to know what those images are, you need to be consistent and diligent about filling in those Alt Attribute tags in the images you use. Make sure to describe the image and try to work in a keyword related to your post. This is a quick step and only takes about 3 extra seconds when adding an image to get some SEO benefits.
4. Internal Linking - One of the biggest things talked about in SEO is “getting external links” pointing to your blog, but most of you aren’t professional networkers or PR professionals. External linking is great, but is’ not something you can handle while you’re writing, but INTERNAL linking most definitely is. Google spiders do a lot of complicated things, but one of the things they do it use internal links to find relevant and related topics within your website. By connecting related posts within your blog, you can let search engines know that your site is actually about what you say it’s about. So always try to find something to link to when you’re writing.
5. Link Text - Now that you know you need to link internally, the next step is preparing those links for maximum benefit. Sure, Google can see you’re linking between pages and they can read the keywords and content to see what those pages are about, but by adding appropriate keywords and text to the links, you’ll be telling search engines what those pages are about and when they get there and the content confirms what you said, you’ll get a little more of a bump from those spiders. They’ll start to love you. And you want the search engines to love you, right?
So, there you have it, the 5 steps you need to understand the basis of how to begin using SEO for your blog. All you need now is to take the time to apply them. Do you have any questions regarding SEO about things you’ve read or heard and still aren’t sure about? Ask them in the comments and we’ll see if we can’t help you out.