I remember joining the blogosphere some years back as clueless and idealess as anyone can ever be. All I knew was to write an article and have it posted. I never knew or even bothered to know what constituted a good article let alone Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Well, that was then and I have paid dealing for my ignorance. However, that does not mean you have to go through the same. In this post, we are going to look into SEO from a beginner’s perspective.
Every serious blogger out there will tell you that nothing matters more than internet traffic. It is the lifeline of every blog and website. I mean, posting your ideas to non-existent online audience is fruitless in every sense of the word. How do you get traffic to your website or blog? SEO is your best bet.
|Google Launching its Image Search In China – Public Photo via Wikipedia|
While it is normal to be obsessed with internet traffic, quality matters. Paid web traffic or traffic exchange schemes will not generate income for your business or be generous enough to share your blog posts. It is no more than a means to improve Alexa ranking. Remember you need natural traffic and must formulate good SEO Strategies to achieve that.
Again, readers generated from Search Engines are what you need most. This means you must understand the basics of SEO; know what keywords are and how to use them.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is making your website, webpage and articles to rank higher than similar pages in search engine results page (SERP). In other words, you tweak your site and its contents for it to appear on the first page of a given search engine when certain words or phrases are sought.
It is paramount that you do not confuse Organic SEO with Paid Search Results. The former requires hard work, good SEO Strategies and thorough Keyword Analysis while the latter only needs money. All you have to do is pay the Search Provider to display your pages anytime one types matching keyword(s) or key phrases. SEO is about improving your page’s ranking the ‘natural’ way.
Keywords are the bedrock of SEO and the earlier you appreciate that the better. Also known as the ‘search term’, a keyword points to that word or phrase an internet user types into the search engine. For instance, someone may type the word ‘blogging’ on Google, Bing or Yahoo and get millions of results.
The higher you rank in the SERP the better. Even appearing on the first page of SERP means a lot to a blogger since there are higher chances of one clicking your link.
Not all search engine users type single words, some key in a whole sentence here referred to as Key Phrase. ‘Effective blogging tips, ‘how to cure acne the natural way’ etc are just some examples of key phrases people search for. You know what SEO is and better you now understand what Keywords and Phrases are, it is time we moved straight to Keyword Analysis.
Keyword analysis means finding out what words or phrases drive traffic to your blog or website. Yes, it is that simple. As mentioned before, Keywords are the only way you will market your site. Key phrases and words are the only way you will get the much-needed exposure.
Unless you analyze the keywords, you would not know the nature of the audience your business is appealing to let alone how to retain better. Like most new bloggers, I never know any ting about Keyword Analysis.
So, imagine how lost I looked when I ‘discovered’ Google Analytic and Alexa. Not only did I find that most readers immediately lost interest as soon as they landed on my site. That is, if the Bounce Rate I saw on both tools was anything to go by.
Again, I had very little on the main keywords i.e. ‘blogging templates’ and ‘how to remove cellulite’. Sadly, the high bounce rate also meant the blog posts were not exhaustive enough, of low quality and uninteresting to read. Here is a short video to make Keyword Analysis even clearer:
You may be wondering whether to write then visit analytic sites like Alexa to know which keywords bring you traffic or to determine which keywords should bring you visitors. My answer is; take charge of your writing and control who visits your site by having what we call Target Keywords for your domain.
Having target keywords is a no-brainer. You need to fix certain words in your article for the search engine bots to find them with ease. Do not overdo it, as search engines can be so unforgiving at times.
Here is what should guide your choice of Keyword(s) or Key Phrases:
In an attempt to outwit the search engine algorithm, most webmasters started stuffing trending keywords in articles that got nothing to do with the said keywords. The temptation to add iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S 5 was strong that some bloggers have ended up adding them on insurance articles.
The thing is; the readers will see your article with irrelevant title and will not click it. A higher bounce rate is the fate of that awaits your article should you add an irrelevant keyword to your title. In short, irrelevant keywords are the enemy of SEO.
Two things determine if a keyword is relevant or not. That is, Content and Location of the target audience. Is it beneficial if you marketed what you did not sell? Your guess is as good as mine is it is waste of time. It is the same case if you sell location- based products to people who do not need them. For instance, selling a SIM card for an American Carrier AT&T to a Kenyan audience is pointless.
It is goes without saying that your keyword must fit in naturally and be relevant to your audience. Anything else is self-defeating.
There are ways you could know how popular a given keyword or Key phrase is. Using Google Adword, or Google trend among other services, you can see which keywords are on demand and write on them. You must pick a keyword that stays popular for a long time.
I can remember writing about Nadia Santini the Italian Chef. She was so popular in 2013 because she won the coveted Chef of the Year Award. However, I failed to include in my estimations that the good lady wasn’t going to be a celebrity for long. Today, my once popular article is listed among in the archives.
Whichever tool you use for Keyword Analysis, always look for the ones that have been popular for at least a year. This will help you determine whether a keyword popular enough to write about.
The keyword ‘blogging’ and the key phrase ‘night blogger’ may lead you to the same page but the competition is not as high in the latter as it is in the former. Granted, typing the word ‘blogging’ will give you millions of results. However, other ranking factors will not allow your blog post on a nice topic like ‘premium blogging tips’ to feature on the page of SERP.
|SEO Experts attending a WorlCamp -Public Image via Wikipedia|
You may want to pick less competitive keywords to better your ranking. Believe it or not, it is almost impossible to make to the first page is you write on generic keywords like ‘smartphone’ ‘backlinks’ ‘SEO’ ‘career tips’.
The top position will always feature established sites like About.com, Techradar and TechCrunch, WikiHow and Wikipedia etc. The secret is to pick a key phrase like ‘smartphones for young Kenyans’ and watch yourself ranking higher than the aforementioned sites.
In summary, you need good SEO strategy to market your website and thus attract quality traffic. Again, you must be conscious of what most page visitors to your site love by doing a thorough Keyword Analysis. Finally, always write on less competitive keywords and key phrases as opposed to generic ones.
It is my hope that this piece has been helpful. Please feel free to share more on SEO strategies and Keyword analysis via the comment box. Otherwise, good luck with your online endeavors.