SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It includes things you do both on and off your blog to bring traffic to it. All of the traffic techniques we’ve discussed thus far have been “off-page SEO,” which is aimed at bringing traffic from other sites. In this module, you’ll learn the very basics you need to know for your blog about on-page SEO.
On-page SEO revolves around keywords. These are the search terms that people are looking for when they use a search engine like Google or any other platform that provides a search function. You have to determine which keywords (or phrases) your potential readers are searching for in order to get this web traffic.
The best keywords are:
- Relevant. They describe what your website is about and what the person using Google is searching for.
- High Search Volume. Ideally, there are many people searching for this term, which means more opportunities for traffic.
- Low Competition. This means that the keyword isn’t already used extensively by a million other websites around the world.
It’s difficult to strike this balance between high search volume and low competition. To get started learning about keyword research, focus on relevance and look for keywords that have at least a relatively high search volume.
How to Choose and Use Keywords
You can start by brainstorming. Ask yourself, “What would I type into Google in order to find a blog like mine?” Start making a list of these ideas both for your blog in general and for each specific blog post you write. These are keywords that fit the bill of being relevant. You can also try searching some of these in Google just to see what comes up. You may see blogs that are similar to yours.
There’s a better way to find keywords and this is to use actual data provided by Google itself. This is called keyword research. It involves conducting research on the keywords from your initial brainstormed list to see if they have a high search volume or not.
There are sophisticated premium programs you can use to discover a wealth of keyword data, but you may not need them. All you need are a few good keywords to use in your writing. Here are three free keyword research tools you can use:
This is Google’s keyword tool, which uses its own data. It’s free and easy to use. You enter in your ideas and it will give you data on the keywords as well as suggestions. You’ll need to first sign up for a Google AdWords account, but that’s free and you don’t have to run ads to use their tool.
SEMRUSh is similar to Google’s tool but it lets you check out your competitors’ keywords. If you enter the URL of a competitor or blog similar to yours, it will show you what keywords they use and offer ideas.
Keyword Tool is another similar tool but it’s simpler and more stripped-down.
Keywords should be used naturally in your blog posts, their titles, descriptions, image ‘alt’ text (accessible by clicking on the image), and anywhere else you can use them. What’s important is that you use the words naturally, varying the way you phrase things. Don’t “stuff” your content with keywords. Stuffing makes your blog difficult to read and can also get you penalized by the search engines.
Categories and Tags
Categorizing and tagging your blog posts offers additional SEO benefits. Create a handful of categories and categorize each post accordingly. You should have a few different categories but don’t create too many. Make them general enough that you can organize all of your blog posts into five or so.
When you post a blog post, you can also add tags. Tags tell the search engines what your blog post is about so that they can send traffic to it. Tags are like keywords; they’re words and short phrases that are possible search terms. You can give each post several tags that are relevant to its content.
One more option for boosting the SEO power of your blog is to get an SEO plugins. These are programs that you add to your site which give you SEO benefits or automate SEO tasks for you. If you’re using a blogging platform, see which SEO plugins it offers for free, such as WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- Brainstorm and research some keywords that will support and optimize your blog content.
- Identify categories and tags to help people find your blog post, based on your keyword research.
- Pick one blog post to optimize for SEO. Select a relevant keyword, edit your content to include the keyword in appropriate places, and make sure it is in a relevant category. Be sure to include an image with a keyword in your ‘alt’ text for the image.
If you’d like, install a plugin for SEO and use it to guide the optimization of your blog post.