Search engine optimization or SEO is not as difficult or as daunting as you might think. To be honest, SEO is time consuming, but not difficult to learn or to perform on your own websites and social media pages.
SEO is the practice of using keywords and search terms to increase organic traffic to your website. (“Organic” means naturally appearing in search results without paying for ads). For example, if you were looking for natural food stores in your town, you might type "natural grocers in Lithonia." Google begins to recognize "natural grocers" as a search term when scanning for results.
Now, the store websites that show up in the top 10 results based on that search term ("natural grocers") are rewarded with high-ranking SEO status. As a result of SEO, potential customers are exposed to their natural grocer business through a free Google search. This type of organic online marketing is ideal for small businesses or start-ups with a low cash flow.
Another avenue for organic marketing is blogs. Although the excitement for monetizing blogs has leveled off over the years, it is still a popular way to generate interest in your brand and drive traffic to your website.
In fact, food bloggers have mastered the art of promoting paid products and services to their social media followers while offering valuable free blog content. Let's consider this flow by taking a look at the vegan brand, "Sweet Potato Soul".
The creator, Jenné Claiborne, posts cooking videos to YouTube. However, if you want the full recipe for the featured dish, you must follow the link to her blog that is in the description box. When you land on the page with the recipe, you will encounter a long blog article with affiliate links and subtle mentions of her cookbook that contains this recipe along with delicious others.
Well, since you like her social media videos, and this recipe, you might as well buy the cookbook. Do you see how you just moved from watching free content to paying for a product that you found on a blog post? What a genius, low-pressure sales funnel!
So, there is great potential to grow your business through blogs. However, without proper website SEO, your content will remain forever lost in cyberspace with all the other millions of ghosted blog pages.
To increase your chances of getting found on Google, I outline the 10 specific steps that I have personally taken to optimize my blog by incorporating sound SEO principles.
10 Steps to Optimize Your Blog for SEO
1. Before you begin to write a blog article, consider your purpose. Why are you writing about this subject matter? What do you want readers to do after reading your blog? Your blog writing should answer a question and provide information that readers are searching for on Google. Since Google begins indexing web pages that contain 300 or more words, your blog articles should be at least 300-500 words long.
2. Research SEO keywords on Google. In the search box, begin typing a word related to the subject matter of the blog and follow Google’s suggestions for related searches. Pay careful attention to the “people also ask” box in the middle of the page, and the related searches at the very bottom of the page. Use these Google generated SEO keywords and phrases in your writing.
3. Make good use of titles and headings. Use SEO keywords in your blog title and secondary headings to increase opportunities for Google to index your blog.
4. Insert SEO keywords in the body of your blog article. Do not stuff an excessive number of keywords in your blog just for the sake of getting found on Google. Instead, use 3-5 well-placed keywords and phrases throughout your writing in a way that sounds natural, not spammy or salesy.
5. Do not neglect titles and headings. Include SEO keywords in the main title of the blog and throughout the subheadings in the body of your article. Whenever possible, style your main title as an H1 header html tag and your subheadings as H2 html tags to make it easier for Google to index.
6. Use appealing images at the beginning of your blog. If appropriate, include screenshots, charts or other illustrations to break up the text of your blog post. Remember to write alt text descriptions for each image and insert a link to your website, products, and services within the image.
7. Insert external links to other authoritative websites. Always include a link to other articles or outside sources that you used to write your article. Also include links to social media pages since these get ranked higher and faster on Google.
8. Include a brief bio at the end of your article. Let people know who you are and what you do. Include a link to your main website or to your LinkedIn profile to increase name recognition across the internet.
9. Update the SEO blog settings through your webhost provider. Make sure to complete the meta description (or description) section, the URL slug, title of the post, categories, and SEO keyword tags. Basically, fill in all of the sections that your webhost provider offers for SEO.
10. Share your blog articles to social media, especially Facebook and LinkedIn. Since these are considered high web authority platforms that Google regularly indexes, posting your blog articles to social media can potentially increase your SEO rank on Google.
Remember, the key to getting found on Google and to drive traffic to your blog is effective SEO. The extra time it takes to perform proper SEO is worth the investment, especially when it means increased sales for your business and more influence for your personal brand.
LISTEN TO THIS BLOG ON YOUTUBE:
Want to see these steps in action? Watch the "How to SEO Your Blog Post Tutorial" on YouTube.
Ashan R. Hampton is a long-time English instructor turned entrepreneur. She is also a proud graduate of the Donaghey Scholars Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock under the direction of Dr. C. Earl Ramsey, Emeritus. Through her company, Onyx Online Education & Training, she offers online writing courses and print books for academic and professional development to individuals and corporations. She is also a prolific published author of several books on a variety of topics. To find out more about Ashan's work, visit www.arhampton.com.
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