Last Saturday, I did a talk at a local conference, PhillyHomeHer14, called Crayons and Paper SEO. The title was sparked by my favorite blog teacher, Crystal of Crystal and Co., and cofounder of learntobloghangouts. Crystal and Kelli (of 3 Boys and a Dog) host a weekly Google+ hangout called #learntoblog which has expanded into a Facebook group, and now a forum on their learntobloghangouts site.
I started implementing Crystal and Kelli’s tips for SEO last November. At first, my approach was so basic. I just filled in the meta title, keywords, and meta description, and filled in the alt tags for my images. I started out with 19,000 pageviews monthly for October, going up to 40,000 in November, and 143,000 in December thanks to 2 posts going viral.
Since January my pageviews have remained 40,000 to 60,000 depending on the month and my family commitments. Thanks to my SEO work, search remains one of the top ways new readers find my blog.
Crayons and Paper Guide to Basic SEO
SEO is a deliberate action to help Google and the other search engines find your fabulous content. While ranking higher in search takes more work than I talk about here, getting started with basic SEO will help your content do better in search. Basically, you’re giving Google a guide for finding great stuff on your site instead of throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks.
Not Every Post Needs SEO
You don’t need to spend a lot of time doing SEO for every single post. The following posts don’t need much SEO work because they all have a relatively short life.
- linky party
- more personal posts (if you want to be known for these, then do work on SEO for them)
- wordless wednesday type of posts
- deals, coupons – these have a short life
Do basic SEO: meta keywords, title, and description, alt tag for image.
Posts to SEO
Focus on the following posts when doing SEO. These types of post have a long life in search. If you want to be known to brands, your sponsored posts need to be focused on a particular brand to help you build authority for that brand in search. Your evergreen content should be written with 2 focuses: pillar content for your readers and authority content for search.
- Core Content – Recipes, how tos, Crafts, and Tips
- Sponsored Posts
You should be consistently working on 3 to 5 keywords. My strategy is to use 3 keywords for core content and 2 for seasonal content. My goal is to build authority in 3 areas along with taking advantage of trending topics seasonally. Since I’m only working on 3 to 5 keywords, I can use a gazelle-like focus instead of trying to do too many things at once.
Start with Google Webmaster Tools to decide which keywords to research. Look at which keywords bring readers to your content. Look for search terms that general enough to be turned into many different types of posts and specific enough to give you a focus when writing posts and guest posts for other bloggers.
Your keyword can be one word, 3 word phrase, or a long tail keyword. Most people do 2 to 3 word phrases – a noun with one or two modifiers. Use the Keyword Planner, a free tool, to research your keywords. The keyword tool shows search frequency over past 12 months and gives you suggestions for keyword ideas.
What you need in a keyword: high demand, low supply, good profitability.
Places to Put Your Keyword
To use your keyword effectively, make sure you include it in all of these areas in your post. When including the keyword in the post content, write as organically as possible. Do not stuff the content with the keyword since Google’s algorithm will recognize keyword stuffing and penalize your site.
- Image SEO
- use your keyword in your file name and the alt tag
- Since Pinterest pulls the description from your alt tag, use your keyword in a description in this tag
- Pinnable Image – make sure the keyword appears as text on the image, file name, and alt tag
- URL for post
- Post Title
- Meta Title and Description (160 words) for post
- Anchored Text within 1st 150 words linked to landing page
- use the first 150 words of the post for your alt image tag if it works and the meta description
- Every 150 words or so in your post