Some people say that SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is dead. The issue is still up for debate, as much of the contention is based on the way people define SEO (some believe it has merely evolved, while others think the changes in search engine preferences completely killed it). That being said, it really doesn’t matter which side of the argument you support: at the end of the day, you’d still want to have high page rankings in search engines if you want to be considered the resource in your niche.
Whether you’re an independent blogger running a site focused on a specific topic you’re passionate about or a writer running a blog for a business, you need to know how to be at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). In order to do that, you have to follow the SEO rules that remain relevant despite the changes in search engine algorithms.
Tip 1: Know Your Keywords
It’s amazing just how much some bloggers scoff at this step. To many writers, the very idea of writing an article based on a popular keyword is frustrating in that it limits the scope of what they wish to write. This is especially true if they’re working with long tail keywords – keywords that narrow the focus of a particular topic. But the fact of the matter is that the very act of concentrating on very specific aspects of a topic makes you look like a real authority when it comes to the subject matter you’re discussing on your blog.
If you know exactly which search terms are considered relevant to your topic, then you improve your blog post’s chance of becoming a relevant resource for searchers – which, in turn, gives you a higher position in the SERPs and makes it easier for people to discover your blog.
Tip 2: Know HOW to Use the Keywords
Using keywords for your blog posts doesn’t mean that you have to shoehorn it into a sentence every chance you get – that may be true in the past, but things have changed dramatically since. Try to think of the situation as something like a virtual office arrangement: apart from a few rules like being accessible at certain times, it’s a pretty flexible system. In order to make your blog post SEO-friendly, you only need to place your keywords in specific points within the piece.
- The title
- Anchor text (where you attach a link to a related post)
- Image file names (if you’re using images for the post)
- In some of your heading tags.
- Possibly the first paragraph and at the last sentence
Again, the point of doing this is to help the search engine crawlers know that you’re focusing on a specific subject matter within that post. This makes it much easier for the search engines to recommend your article to people who are looking for resources pertaining to the topic you just wrote about. In fact, it also makes it much easier for those same people to determine if your post or your blog is relevant to their interests. If enough people decide that your article is a great piece, they just might share it – which further contributes to your reputation as a blogger.
Just remember that using keywords is only half the battle – you also need to make sure that your blog post is really helpful, really entertaining, and really well-written. At the end of the day, you still need to impress your readers. The search engines just help get the readers to you.