By Elizabeth Boardman The Milspo Project, Co-Founder & President
If you blog regularly and you still can’t seem to drive traffic to your website, you may have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) problem. Many great writers remain undiscovered due to their lack of SEO knowledge.
SEO is important because it is how your customers, potential employers, or followers find you using search engines like Google and Bing. For many bloggers or businesses, search engine traffic could quadruple the amount of people visiting their sites, so here are five SEO tips for beginners.
1. Choose Blog Post Titles Wisely – While a catchy title is cute, and often practiced in print journalism, you are better suited choosing a title that is a common search phrase. A title like “Mt. Mitchell Middle School Changed Me for the Better” can easily be transformed into a SEO-friendly title like “5 Lessons in Compassion Learned from Teaching Middle School.”
Before you post, think about what audience you are trying to reach and what search phrase they might use to find your article.
2. Rethink Keywords Categories – Many bloggers believe that using millions of keywords leads to organic search engine discovery and ultimately maximizes SEO. The truth is that search engines do not strictly read metadata, and Google doesn’t even recognize keyword meta tags anymore when crawling through a site, because they consider over usage to be a form of keyword spamming. Since tags will help readers navigate your site, you do not want to get rid of them entirely. One method for eliminating keyword clutter: limit the number of keywords used for tags to 10 or less.
3. Organize Your Website – A website cluttered with broken links, too many images, and a plethora of banners is a bad equation. Ideally search engines should crawl through your blog with ease. To improve overall site navigation and flow, get rid of old content, and delete broken links and unused images.
4. Practice Proper Pagination – Pagination for a blog is a way of organizing and archiving posts by breaking them down into multiple pages. “Pagination is particularly helpful for usability because housing all your blog posts on a single page that scrolls endlessly isn't a practical or user-friendly approach. A single page with hundreds of blog entries would undoubtedly hurt load times too,” writes Ken Lyons in a Search Engine Watch article.
“It isn't just blogs. Search engines practice good pagination practices as well, so take a page (or a post, if you will) out of Google's playbook.”
5. Content is King – While this might seem obvious, it is surprising how many bloggers overlook this simple rule. First and foremost, keep your content original. Secondly, give your content girth. No one wants to read something that is unhelpful and lacking substance. Lastly, if your want your post to be found in search engine results, consider using popular search engine phrases within your piece, in addition to your post’s title.