You have finally started your blog and are looking to turn it into a business, but these three annoying letters keep popping up everywhere.
What even is SEO?
Isn’t it dead?
Relax! Search Engine Optimisation doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s most certainly not dead. It has simply evolved: gone are the days of keyword stuffing. Those little crawlers — the automated bots used by search engines to index data — have actually become pretty smart and can smell that spam from webpages away.
You must understand the basic principles of SEO if you want your blog or website to rank high on Google. However, SEO is really just common sense. You need to make your blog post enjoyable for both human readers — which you can easily do, since I assume you are one — and search engines’ crawlers — which, I’m going to make a bold guess, you are not. Not to worry: given their lack of human emotions, it’s very easy to think like one.
Do your keyword research when you’re creating SEO-friendly blog posts
You should be able to sum up your post in one long-tail keyword, which is just a fancy word for ‘a phrase consisting of three or more words’.
If you were breaking down the procedures to brew your own lavender tea, your keyword wouldn’t be just ‘lavender tea’. Your potential readers are more likely to Google ‘how to make lavender tea’. That’s your long-tail keyword. Make a note.
Now you can find some related keywords. How? It’s so easy peasy lemon squeezy that it sounds too good to be true. Just pop your long-tail keyword into Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer and you’ll find what users usually type when searching for the same topic (e.g. ‘How to make lavender tea from leaves’). Simple as that. As you build your confidence in creating SEO friendly blog posts there are more technical strategies you can explore, but for now, let’s keep it simple!
Integrate keywords organically into your blog post
We’ve already established that crawlers don’t like keyword stuffing, but I’m going to stress organically again because it’s very important. Your blog post must flow smoothly. Resist the impulse to chuck all the long-tail keywords one after the other without creating an actual meaningful paragraph.
You must sprinkle them strategically: in the blog title, the URL, headings, meta descriptions and image names, as well as repeating them organically in the body of the article, just as casually as I’ve repeated the word ‘organically’ in this one.
You still need to write quality content
Yes, you are here to learn how to please those little crawlers, but don’t forget that, at the end of the day, it’s not them who are going to share your blog post or subscribe to your newsletter: it’s us humans!
Your blog post must bring value to its readers. After reading it, they should always walk away with something.
Make it scannable
Had you bumped into this exact same blog post but without any paragraph breaks nor headings, would you have still read it? Probably not. I don’t blame you: you simply haven’t got time, and neither have your potential readers.
You need to make your blog post easy to scan so that they can figure out whether it’s the answer to what they were looking for, and crawlers can find it more easily. It’s a win-win.
Optimise images when creating SEO-friendly blog posts
You have found the perfect, Instagrammable and Pinterest-worthy pictures to go with your blog post. That’s great! Your human readers are going to be very impressed, but I’m afraid crawlers can’t see them, even if there’s text in the image.
What they can see, though, is their name. So ditch any lazy ‘image07.jpg’ and use relevant keywords instead.
Add a call to action
I assume you don’t want your readers to just read your article and then forget about it for the rest of their lives. You might want them to comment, share, subscribe to your newsletter, or follow you on social media.
Then add a question at the end to encourage discussion, have some ‘share’ buttons, link to older posts, or ask them to subscribe to your newsletter if they enjoyed your article.
The more people interact with your blog post and explore your website, the higher you are going to rank in the long run.
Choose the perfect title
You might have written the most impressive article since the birth of the Internet, but… who’s going to read it, if nobody clicks on it?
Your title should hook the reader in. For example, you can use long-tail keywords to state exactly what the blog post is going to offer (e.g. ‘The beginner’s guide to creating SEO-friendly blog posts’: it seems to have worked for you. Gotcha!).
You could ask a question, or state something controversial or unusual that your readers will want to check out (‘What no one will tell you about growing on Instagram’, ‘Why your beard needs caffeine’).
Listicles perform particularly well, especially when they include numbers or, even better, odd numbers — pun intended (e.g. ‘43 ways to cook pasta’).
Or you could address the reader directly (‘How you can quit your day job and live the life you deserve’).
How does this sound? I bet you can already think like a crawler.
Now, to stay true to my penultimate point, I’m going to slide in a cheeky call to action and ask you to let me know what you thought about these seven easy steps