The previous post in this series discussed the newbie blogging mistake of not writing for a niche. Now, I’m going to talk about the one thing that can be both a gift and a headache for bloggers: search engine optimization (SEO).
If you’re just starting out with blogging, it’s easy to focus on only the text of your posts and overlook everything else. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for those who enjoy marketing), blogging is not just about writing.
Don’t Avoid SEO
Every single post that you write has to implement SEO best practices in order to help reach its maximum potential (i.e. getting as many people as possible to read and engage with the post). This way, it has a better chance of ranking well/high when someone Googles the topic of your post.
Many, and I mean many, factors affect your SEO. You can start with the basics:
- Write up a descriptive, clickable headline that includes your keyword(s)
- Make your post keyword-rich (not keyword-heavy) from top to bottom, including sub-headings and anchor text
- Generate a solid, simple permalink that contains a keyword
- Ensure that your meta description and images’ alt-tags contain the keyword(s)
As you can see, keywords are key here. However, there are several other things that positively affect SEO, such as: a mobile-friendly site, good backlinks, social signals and a site map. To learn more about these, see the related content at the end of this post.
Don’t Write Purely for SEO
Avoiding SEO is one thing, but going overboard with it can be just as bad. People can easily tell when a blogger has forgotten about them and written for only Google because the post will read as if it’s talking to a robot: unengaging and unimaginative.
Writing for only SEO purposes is a waste of time for everyone: your readers, who won’t be coming back to visit your blog; Google, who won’t rank your post well anyway, because no one will share or link to it; and the blogger, who spent precious energy writing the post.
So how, then, do you find the balance between keyword stuffing and zero SEO appeal? It’s actually quite simple: first write for only your target reader, and then optimize for SEO. Start out by concentrating on what your audience wants and forgetting about Google. Then, using the keyword tips mentioned above, go through your post and tweak it accordingly to appease the search engines.
Got any SEO tips to share? Please feel free to post them in the comments. If you’re interested, here are a couple of more SEO resources to help you out: