SEO for Bloggers: Keywords 101

Hey there, friends!  I’m excited to be back this month with some more of my best tips for you on growing your own blog.  As I chat with other folks who are also on this blogging journey, one of the common things that comes up is the topic of SEO for bloggers.  There’s obviously a lot to say about it, so I thought I’d break it down into a few posts and share with you what I know…starting with this one, SEO for Bloggers: Keywords 101!

SEO 101: Getting Found by Search Engines

Let me start by saying that just the name SEO can be daunting, right?  If you, like me, started your blog as a creative little hobby, chances are that you’d never heard of things like SEO and DFP and GA before you jumped into this world.  When you make the decision to transition from a pure hobby blog into something that can become a source of supplemental income, there are a LOT of things to learn…but they’re not really as difficult as they may seem.  Let’s break it down a bit and look at what we’re really talking about when we say SEO.

The What: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization

The Say-What-Again?: That means making the search engines find you first and put you near the top of their list when “Rhonda Reader” types in a word or phrase that has something to do with a post you’ve written.

The Why: The higher you are in the search results, the more likely that Rhonda Reader will click on your link, visit your blog, and become your faithful follower forever.

The Why-else: Besides the fact that Rhonda is now your new BFF for life, we all know that traffic=money.  The more page views and engagement you have, the more marketable you are to the brands you want to work with, and the more money you make from the ads on your page.  Yes?  Yes.

The How: The job of a search engine is to search for {obviously} and produce the MOST RELEVANT RESULTS for whatever a person types in the query box.

So.  What it boils down to is that we have to ask ourselves this question…

SEO for Bloggers

Our job is to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to discover that our post is the most relevant post on the entire internet about its topic.  For example.  Let’s say you wrote a post about how to make some easy DIY Stacking Bracelets.  Your job is to convince Google and its brothers that when someone is searching for instructions on how to make stacking bracelets, your post is the most relevant and best thing for that person to view.

How do we do that?  Well, there are a lot of things that go into optimizing your site, but one of the most important things to have working for you are KEYWORDS.

What’s a keyword?  It’s the word or phrase you think someone will type when they’re looking for what you’ve got.  So, for the post we were just discussing, you’d ask yourself, “What would I type in the search box if I wanted to learn to make stacking bracelets?” Or perhaps even if I just wanted to buy some?  Here are a few tips when coming up with your keyword.

SEO for Bloggers

Keep it short and simple, because if you get too long and complicated, the odds are much slimmer that anyone is going actually search for it.  So, “Stacking Bracelets” is going to get you better results than “How to make your own easy DIY Stacking Bracelets.” If you go more simple, your post will still be relevant no matter what someone types as long as “stacking bracelets” is somewhere in their text.  Focus on whatever it is that you’re literally writing about; don’t try to be clever.  Search engines won’t get it.

Once you have your keyword, here is a checklist to use to make it work for you and get your post found by those engines.

Keywords and SEO for Bloggers

Your keyword should appear in your title. Period.  That’s one of the first places search engines look.  Early on in my blogging career, I posted about a monogrammed pillow I made for my son and decided to be funny and call it “Pillow Talk.”  Of course, when someone searches for “Making a monogrammed pillow” my post isn’t going to be in the running, right?  It may seem boring for those of you who come from a creative writing background, but the best way to get found is to just call it what it is.  Are you making stacking bracelets?  Call it “DIY Stacking Bracelets.”  Writing about a recipe for pumpkin scones?  Call it…Pumpkin Scones.  This post you’re reading?  It’s about SEO for Bloggers, right?  So, it’s called…SEO for bloggers.  Help the engines.

Every image you include in a post should have a title and alternate text that includes your keyword/phrase.  If you’re in WordPress, click on the happy little “edit image” icon in the upper left corner of the photo or graphic.  If you’re in blogger, you have to do it via code {one more reason to make that switcheroo!}.  Every image in this post is titled “SEO for Bloggers.” Genius.  I know.  Why do we do this?  Because sometimes people search for images.  If I label every photo in my bracelet post in such a way that the words “Stacking Bracelets” are included, when someone does in image search for stacking bracelets, poof!  There’s my post.

Your keywords should appear in your meta description.  What’s that?  It’s the little one or two sentence-ish blurb that appears right underneath a title when you do a search.  Like this:

seo3c

{not gonna lie, I was pretty excited that when I went to google and did a search for “stacking bracelets” this showed up on the first page.  Whew, street cred.}

If you use WordPress, you can download plug-ins that I’ll tell you about in a minute which allow you to customize your meta description, which I always do.  That way you can make it say exactly what you want.  But if you don’t have a plug-in or if you have blogger {*cough, cough, switch*}, the first sentence or two of your post will automatically appear as the meta description.  Sooo, be sure if that’s you that you include your keyword as one of the very first things you say in your post.

Speaking of which, be sure to mention your keyword several times throughout the body of your post.  This just helps the engines out by showing them, “oh look!  This post says “SEO for bloggers” five times!  It must really be relevant to that.”

Got all that?  Now.  Let me make it uber-easy.  WordPress users, meet your new best friend: Yoast SEO.  It’s a free plug-in.  Download it.  Fall in love with it.  Bake it cookies.  Here’s how it works:

SEO for Bloggers

There’s a place to enter your keyword, enter your meta description, change the title if you want {but you shouldn’t have to if you’ve put your keyword in the title like I told you to!}, and a spot where you can preview exactly how it will look in Google.  There’s also a handy little checklist that shows if you’ve done all you can to optimize your post.  Also, at the top of your dashboard, where you schedule your posts and publish them, you’ll get a little light that appears as red, orange, yellow, or green, depending on how well you did placing your keyword in all those places.  If you have a green light, you’re good to go!  See?  Told you you’d fall in looooove!

Well, I think I’m out of time and room on Steph’s blog for today {thanks for letting me come by and ramble, Steph!  Love ya!}…more to come next month!  For now, go download Yoast and get busy using keywords!

Hugs & Glitter,

siggy

Comments

  1. 1
    Stephanie says:

    I honestly think this is the best post on SEO I’ve read- very basic, but very informative! Nice job Amy!!!!

  2. 2

    Rhonda Reader. Too funny. This IS a great post on SEO. One of the easiest (and funniest) I’ve read yet. Depending on your theme, you may already have built in SEO functionalitl. Thesis, for example. Thanks so much for this. I’m ready for more.

  3. 3

    Super clear and easy to follow and just what I needed–thank you!

  4. 4

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m pretty new to blogging and have been trying to figure the whole SEO thing out. This is the most simple explanation and example I have seen.

    ~Cheryl
    http://snaps-of-ginger.blogspot.com/

  5. 5

    Thanks for making it so clear! Great post.

  6. 6

    So helpful! Very clear and specific. Thank you!

  7. 7

    I’ve read a lot of articles about SEO and they make it seem like this crazy scary thing that intimidates me. This is so basic, and such good tips. Thank you!!

  8. 8

    Great post for new bloggers, I have had my blog through blogger for a few years and I am in the midst of switching. I was wondering where you created your blog through first? WordPress, Weebly, etc? I just bought a domain name through Go Daddy, but I just am not sure where to go from there! Looking forward to hearing from you! And great tips!

  9. 9

    Thank you thank you n thank you for making this soooo simple…. i intend on starting my fashion blog soon…your knowledge has helped me immensely….
    see you around
    God bless
    Cheers
    Jas ..

  10. 10

    Ten minutes ago I didn’t know what SEO was. To be honest, I knew what it was but I did not understand how to worked. Now, I feel like KING OF THE SEO WORLD! And you made some compelling arguments on why I should switch to wordpress, but for now I am going to keep my bloggers account.

    Thank you for sharing all your knowledge! I especially liked the shot of Yoast SEO – it looks pretty cool, that is if I ever switch to wordpress. ;)

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