Effective Keyword Use in Content and Titles Increases Readership

keywordsBlogging 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 bWP SEO by Yoast examplee 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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Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.cnet

Comments

  1. says

    Nina:
    You’ve nailed the perfect excuse that many writers have, including me. I am not only averse but allergic to anything that remotelydeals with SEO. It is not inuitive to me at all or fun or natural in any way. I find that using SEO and keeping it in the back of my mind as I write a blog post is quite the distraction. Of course, if I am to grow as a person, writer, and blogger, I must learn to change and adapt. With that being said, I am heeding the advice of a savvy coach that has been instructing me behind-the-scenes on SEO and its best practices. Quite a bear for me, but I am doing my best to learn.

    Your blog post pulls together the most essential elements and makes it easy as pie for writers to adapt and learn to like SEO. Well done.
    Amanda Socci recently posted..Receiving the Liebster Blog Award and Honoring Nominees

  2. says

    @Amanda Socci Sometimes good SEO is no more complicated than going through your blog post after it’s written, and substituting specific words or phrases for vague ones. For instance, I might write an entire post about some aspect of science fiction without using that specific combination. I might have used “sf” and depended on contextual phrases, which is easy to do if you’re not thinking about it. You just have to get in the habit of going back and seeing what you can change to be more specific.
    Catana recently posted..Know Your Constitution — Slavery and the 13th Amendment

  3. Nina says

    Catana,

    That’s a really good suggestion. Sometimes you really can improve your SEO after the fact with just a little effort.

  4. says

    @Amanda It doesn’t require a rewrite. Don’t you edit your work? All this amounts to is a very small edit.

    Also, I know it’s a personal choice, but I consider my blogging just as much a part of my writing as my novels and short stories. I’m a writer. Blogging is another aspect of my writing. It’s one I take seriously, and not only because it’s a major part of my writer’s platform. If I didn’t take it seriously, I wouldn’t have any content worthy of turning into a book.
    Catana recently posted..Know Your Constitution — Slavery and the 13th Amendment

  5. says

    Catana, of course I edit my work. I would not consider publishing a stitch before applying editorial eyes! That does not mean, however, that I am interested in rewriting or substituting words just for the sake of adding seo value. Doing so goes against the integrity I have for my work. Like you, I, too consider blogging to be part of my “overall package” of writing. It is part of what I do, but not all. I think we are intermingling issues, here. This blog post deals with seo. I have already admitted how much I dislike seo and how I’m slowly urning things around. I am not comfortable and not willing to edit my work just to add seo.
    Amanda Socci recently posted..Receiving the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and Honoring Nominees

  6. says

    @Amanda I didn’t understand that you actually consider the use of SEO a violation of your integrity. I don’t understand why it would be, but that’s obviously a very personal thing. Just let me say that maybe you’re somehow misunderstanding SEO, that you believe it requires you to do something that isn’t inherent in the work itself. It’s true that unscrupulous people use SEO that way. But If I’m writing a blog post about a science fiction topic, and I fail to include the words that would logically lead people to my post, then I’m limiting my readership unnecessarily. The words “science fiction” are not a distortion of the topic, they’re natural to it. Adding them makes perfect sense even if the issue of SEO didn’t exist.

    I don’t want to seem to be badgering you, so that’s all I have to say about the subject. I just hope that, in time, you’ll be able to look at it as a logical part of writing, not a compromise with integrity. Best of luck to you.
    Catana recently posted..Know Your Constitution — Slavery and the 13th Amendment

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