The Real Answer for How to Optimize Your Blog for SEO
With so much information being published online, there’s understandably a lot of competition when it comes to being seen. Search engine optimization (SEO) promises to help people be seen online - whether it’s a website, a piece of content, or a video demonstrating the right way to slice an avocado without losing a digit. Unfortunately, so many SEO tactics only focus on making Google happy. From keyword stuffing to strict formats that leave little room for creativity, finding “soulless” content online is becoming more and more common.
But isn’t that the only way to be blogging for SEO success?
Not only is Google getting smarter (over-optimization is one of the fastest ways to waste your time and lose your ranking), but so is your audience. People are sick of finding information that isn’t actually made with them in mind. And, since the next bit of information is just a click away, if they feel like your content is like a vampire from Buffy (human-looking but blood-sucking) they’ll be quick to take their business (their money, their loyalty) somewhere else.
Want to avoid repelling your audience with SEO content?
New SEO tips recommend creating content for people first. (Imagine that!)
Google’s algorithms are getting smarter and smarter. They can tell which type of content is actually providing value and which has be created simply to try to take over page one. Factors like how long people stay on your page and how often it is shared play a huge role in how your page or content is ranked. If people find your page through a Google search but then leave immediately, it tells Google that they’re not finding what they want.
If your content doesn’t engage real people, if it’s not well-written, if it doesn’t make sense - then people will leave. And Google will drop you faster than Buffy dumps Spike. (Although if you’re a Buffy fan you’ll feel like she was with him far too long in the first place.)
So, if you don't want people feeling like you don't want them on your website, this is how you actually create SEO friendly content.
- Don’t write for SEO. Knowing how to optimize your blog for SEO is different than only creating content for SEO purposes. While you can let some great keywords guide your brainstorming, you should never create content while only thinking about SEO. Your audience (and Google) can tell the difference.
- Know your audience. What does your audience need to be happy? What are they talking about? How can you connect with them? The content you create for your blog needs to have personality so that people can tell you’re a real person. Ask yourself this question: If you were at a party with your ideal customers, what would you want/need to say in order to get their attention and start a genuine conversation?
- Provide value. This one’s huge. If the content you’re creating doesn’t actually help your audience, why would they spend time with it? Whether you’re teaching or entertaining, your audience should come away from your content feeling like they didn’t waste their time.
- Edit. Mistakes in your writing make it look like you don’t care. Think of your blog like your home. If you’re inviting people over, wouldn’t you spend at least a few minutes tidying up? (Or, in my home, throwing my kids’ toys into nearby closets and baskets as fast as possible.) You don’t have to be a writing expert to catch the most egregious errors.
- Be consistent. One of the best ways to improve your blog’s SEO is to post consistently. Like Google, your audience loves fresh content. Don’t let your blog go stale by only posting on it when you have time. Make your blog your priority and you will be rewarded.
SEO shouldn’t be sleazy or cheap. Put thought into what you write so that your audience actually gets something out of it. The more you put your audience first, the more Google will want to send people your way.