Blogging Basics for Aspiring Authors: Lesson 4
Most writers are keyword averse. They simply don’t want to learn about keywords or keyword phrases, think about keywords or keyword phrases or deal with anything that has to do with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). No way, no how. Yet, learning at least a little bit about how to use keywords and keyword phrases effectively in your content and titles will increase your readership, which means your traffic, enormously.
Learn It. Use It. Forget About It.
Here’s the thing. As with most stuff we have to learn as writers, like grammar and punctuation, at first it seems foreign and difficult. After we have used the rules and the structure for a while, it gets easier. In fact, at a certain point we stop thinking about these things at all and just use them naturally, or organically, as we write.
SEO is the same. If you just learn a bit about keywords and practice what you learn, eventually it becomes habit. Then you just write.
That’s why my suggestion to you is this: Learn it. Use it. Forget about it. Of course, the latter suggestion isn’t literal, but you get the point.
Think of Keywords as Search Terms
Here’s what you need to know about keywords and keyword phrases. They are the words people put into search engines. If someone wants to find information on the Internet about how to train a dog, they will put “dog training,” which is actually two keywords, or “how to train a dog” or “tips on dog training,” which are keyword phrases, into Google, Bing or Yahoo. If you have written a blog post or blogged a book on this topic and used these keywords and phrases often, your website (blog) should come up in the search engine results. This means something you wrote, or the home page of your blog, should show up on the #1 search engine results page (SERP).
How Keywords Increase Readership
Every blogger dreams of being somewhere on that first SERP. Why? Because if your post actually is relevant to the search being conducted, the searcher will click on your link and show up at your blog to read your posts or your blogged book. Whoo hoo! A new reader.
The more new readers you have, the better. Subscribers and repeat visitors are great. But every new reader who shows up organically from a search means a potential new subscriber or loyal fan. These all turn into potential readers for your blogged book and potential buyers for your published book.
Most people searching on the Internet don’t go past the first SERP, though. How do you get on that first page? Simple. You write blog post content and titles that contain search terms—keywords—that readers of your blog might search for on the Internet. And you do this often.
Pretty simple, right?
Helpful Tips to Use Keywords More Effectively in Blog Content and Titles
There are ways, however, to use keywords in your content and post titles to help move you up in the SERPs faster—or maybe I should say to help you get “noticed” by the likes of Google. Here are a few tips:
- Come up with one primary keyword or keyword phrase for your blog post. What is the main topic of your post? What are you writing about? That’s your keyword or keyword phrase.
- Use that keyword or keyword phrase in the title of your blog post. Make sure your title is intriguing, captivating, exciting, etc. It must make people want to click through and read your post. If your title is boring, no one will click on the link. Writing a title can take almost as long as writing a post, especially when trying to fit in your keyword or keyword phrase.
- Use your primary keyword or keyword phrase in the text of the first paragraph of your blog post. This helps with the indexing of posts by the major search engines. It’s also great content strategy because it lets your readers know immediately what your post is about. Yet, you still have to be creative and provide a good lead to each post that grabs readers and makes them want to read on.
- Use your primary keyword and keyword phrase, as well as a secondary keyword or keyword phrase, throughout your post. I tell you this with caution because you do NOT want to “stuff” your post with keywords or keyword phrases. If you do, you’ll discover that this hurts, rather than helps when it comes to SEO. In fact, Google will penalize you for such efforts. Just write great content that is focused on your subject matter and include keywords when appropriate. If you do this, you will naturally fill your blog post with tons of great keywords related to your topic.
The point really is to stay focused on your topic. If you write about your subject, you will fill your content with keywords and keyword phrases that potential readers search for on the Internet. Your blog posts and your blogged book will be relevant to their searches, and they will click through to your blog.
One last tip: If you are using a WordPress.org blog, try using the WP SEO by Yoast Plugin. It’s a really helpful tool for learning SEO and keywords. Not only does it give you feedback, it also gives you a place to write a description of your post that will appear in search engines—and that is filled with keywords and keyword phrases. (I did not recommend this in my book because I did not yet know about it. I now recommend it more than any other SEO plugin.)
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