Quick, what are the three words or phrases you think best sum up your blog?
- healthy eating
- easy recipes
- vegetarian dinner ideas
- strength training exercises
- quick workouts
- fitness for busy people
Now go do an experiment. Do a Web search for those phrases. Is your blog in the first few pages of results?
The problem is, just like the Bing commercials, there is search overload — and with so many things being added to the Internet every day, it can be hard to get your awesome content to cut through the clutter and crap.
OK, back to the dilemma. Enter SEO — search engine optimization.
SEO is one of those jargon-y phrases that a lot of people like to throw around, but few really understand. And that’s because while there are some tricks and tips you can do to increase how well your blog does with search engine traffic, there’s no magic formula. Frustrating, huh?
I learned so much during Matt (No Meat Athlete‘s) Fitbloggin’ presentation, and later, the webinar he gave on SEO for bloggers. I realized that I had all the tools to help boost my search results, but I wasn’t using them.
I have a premium theme (it’s a Studiopress child theme on the Genesis framework), and it comes with some special fields that allow me to give an alternate title and short description for search engines. They allow me to have a fun title for you, and an SEO-friendly title for Google.
My recent post on using StumbleUpon to promote your blog is called “The Most Important Sharing Tool You’re Not Using.” I called it that because I thought it was a good tease for the content inside — and, to be frank, I thought it might entice some people to click through their feed readers.
But for SEO, I gave it an alternate title: “How To Use StumbleUpon To Increase Blog Traffic.”
Not cute, but better for people who might search for that phrase.
In the month that I’ve been diligent about filling out the custom fields, my search results — and overall traffic — have increased in a significant way. And that’s only for about 50 posts!
So, I’m assigning myself some homework. I’m going to take Matt’s advice and go back to older posts, especially the ones that have a lot of information in them, and adding in new SEO titles and keywords. I’m getting rid of posts that are no longer relevant or may be draining my results.
And you, my dear readers, get some homework too.
If you are self-hosted and have a premium theme:
Use the tools that your theme offers — from SEO titles, keywords, descriptions and more. From this day forward, take some time and fill each section out, and see how it affects your search engine traffic. How are people finding you? Are your SEO tweaks working:
If you are self-hosted and don’t have a premium theme:
Consider adding a plugin to unlock some SEO features — I have heard good things about the All in One SEO Pack and WordPress SEO by Yoast. Each allows you to do some of the same things that a premium theme is designed to do, but are free!
If you are not self-hosted:
Go back to some of the posts that you think could do well in search engine results. Maybe it’s a post with tips that you gave for picking the best running shoes, or one where you talked about how to order healthy meals while in restaurants. Re-read your work and see if you can update it at all. Make sure that it’s still accurate, and if you have information to add, do it. If it’s a hot mess, consider unpublishing it and starting from scratch.
And since I’m by no means the expert in SEO, here is some additional reading for you to do.
- SEO Copywriting (via Copyblogger)
- 4 Tips for Writing SEO-Friendly Blog Posts (via Mashable)
- How to Improve Your Writing and SEO for Better Blogging (via Kikolani)
OK, the teacher has spoken. Now go out and get your work done!