Okay, so we’re all on the same page: the basics of SEO are not complicated. You need to include the right keywords, have quality content so people will frequently visit your site, and incoming links so search engines know your website is valuable. True.
Unscrupulous ‘experts’ often guarantee they can get your website to the elusive first page of Google for popular keyword searches. What many are really doing is rather sinister, and involves putting on a black hat. You can picture them rubbing their grubby little hands together, all to eager to use keyword stuffing, invisible text, and doorway pages as part of their arsenal.
This is just the type of activity that could get you dropped by Google sometime after said expert is paid and reaping the benefits of living the life of the digital outlaw. Sadly, also true.
That said there are many reliable SEO experts that know their stuff, and aren’t trying to rip you off. These are the good ones folks. Treat them well, but remember that this isn’t rocket science. They aren’t magicians. They’re mere mortals.
Here are some DIY Search Engine Optimization tips designed to get your blog noticed:
Use the Google Keywords Tool to select targeted keywords. The keywords you choose to use for your main heading, subheadings, bold font, text and tags are very important for determining how you will rank with the search engines. Aim for keywords that have Low Competition and a High number of Monthly Searches. That’s where SEO juice resides.
Write for people, not search engines. Use the advice in this post, but not at the risk of turning readers away. Put some of your keywords near the beginning or your title and in the body of your post. Search engines put more weight on the words that are higher up.
Use keywords in your title, but make sure they are reader-centric. The title should address a need and inspire visitors to dive into the post. What good is a keyword-rich title if no one is inspired to click on it? No good.
Use keywords in your description, tags and body of your post. Make sure your description is less than 165 characters so that the description that comes up in search results is not cut off. Add tags in the Post Tags area of your dashboard.
Watch your keyword density ratio. Don’t repeat your keywords too much in the body of your post. That’s called keyword stuffing and could get you in trouble with the keyword police. Don’t exceed a keyword density ratio of 5.5%. This means that your keywords shouldn’t exceed 5.5% in your post.
Use a sufficient amount a hypertext links and make sure at least one is placed near the beginning of the post. A good rule of thumb is to use one hypertext link per 120 words of text in the body of your post. Learn some basic HTML. A little knowledge goes a long way here. You will learn the power of using header tags correctly and keyword-rich “alt” attributes.
Encourage incoming links. Comment on other blogs that relate to your post and include a link to your post. Only do this if you’re adding value to the post you’re commenting on by the link. Use social media share buttons to make linking to / sharing your content easy.
Post frequently (2 to 3 times per week). This helps keep your blog fresh and entices search engines to index you more often.
Use Scribe to crunch the numbers and take the guess work out of SEO. Scribe looks at posts you’ve written, informs you of what your keywords are and gives you recommendations to how you can adjust your posts to make them more attractive to search engines, meaning your post is more likely to rank high on searches for specific keywords. This translates into more eyeballs on your blog.
Scribe analyzes your content (and gives you are score out of 100—if your score is lower than 100, it recommends how you can increase your score), and gives you access to link-building tools, options to cross-link the content in your own site, and find influencers to get help spreading your content across the net.
You can build Scribe functionality into your WordPress blog installing the Scribe SEO plugin.
The downside is that this service is not free. Plans starts at $17 per month and are plainly not affordable to the blogging masses. Plus you still need to do your homework to choose the right keywords that will help your site along. The good news is that if you’ve gotten this far in reading the post, you now know how to do just that. What additional SEO practices do you recommend to attract search engines to your blog posts?
Cartoon credit: HubSpot