July 16, 2020
If there is one phrase that sends a shiver down the spines of my clients more than anything else, it’s this: search engine optimization. As they admit to me time and time again, they know that using SEO to boost website traffic is one the best tactics for their business. Yet they allow themselves to get stuck doing no SEO because the whole concept feels so technical and overwhelming.
If you’re getting chilly just thinking about SEO, hear this: Using SEO tips to boost your website traffic does NOT have to be all or nothing. By starting to learn SEO best-practices, you can see immediate results on your website—and realize that SEO isn’t so scary after all.
Here are a few easy SEO tactics that you can implement all on your own.
Simply put, good search engine optimization relies on good use of keywords and phrases that people are naturally searching for on Google (or wherever else). That said, there is a sweet spot between using a phrase that isn’t already oversaturated in those search engines so that you can actually stand out.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be a big guessing game: Look at (or create) your free Google Ads account and navigate to “keyword planner” under tools and settings. Using this, you can analyze and compare different keywords or phrases related to the topic you want to cover in your post.
For example, before writing this post, I was able to compare “seo tips” versus “seo advice.” Both phrases have low competition, but “seo tips” beat “seo advice” in terms of search volume by 10x—so that was the clear winner for me.
Even better yet, Google recommends related keyword ideas that are worth integrating into your post. Like, for this one, it also pulled up the phrases seo tutorial, seo services, seo tips 2019 and more. Not only is that helpful for the post you are actually working on, but it can inform future posts on the subject.
All that said, SEO doesn’t start and end with Google—and I’m actually a big advocate for using Pinterest for search engine optimization research, especially as demographic information shows women aged 20-40 treat Pinterest just like a visual search engine. (Myself included!)
To do this, type a phrase into the Pinterest search bar. Then you’ll see additional words populate at the top of the results. Using the “seo tips” example again, Pinterest added the keywords of blog, blogger, business marketing, for beginners and more. It’s an even littler known fact that these words are based on the most commonly searched phrases from the past few weeks on Pinterest, so they will be extra timely!
Action tip: Spend five minutes on both Google and Pinterest doing keyword research.
Personally, this is my favorite SEO tip for bloggers because, well, the visual is pretty great. (Oh yeah, and it’s effective!) The “mullet approach” describes putting the business (aka keywords) in the front half of your headline and then saving the party (aka personality) for the second half.
Compare these two headlines…
I wish I had known these Facebook Ads tips when I was starting my business
Facebook Ads tips that would have saved me time + grown my business faster
Research shows people scanning headlines are most likely to read the first three words and last three words—so you are doing yourself a disservice if you are burying the key phrase in the middle.
By this point, you should also have a short list of priority keywords and phrases. Identify the one, super solid phrase that you are really going to cover in your post and MAKE SURE it gets top billing in your headline for SEO purposes.
Action tip: Use a headline analyzer like co-schedule to compare search engine optimized headlines.
Search engine algorithms are ever-changing, but one trend that has remained relatively consistent is that well-researched, quality blog posts outrank quick, fluffy posts every time. The reason why is simple: Do you think Google would have become what it has if search results delivered low-quality content? Nope—we all know, love and return to Google time and time again because its smart spiders manage to find the best content on the web.
According to research from Yoast, an online SEO tool that’s integratable with WordPress, blog posts that exceed 1,000 words are more likely to rank highly in Google. Beyond being more likely to share some legit insight with readers, these longer posts also offer Google more clues (in the form of SEO keywords and phrases) about what exactly you are covering. You can also include more elements that Google shows an increasing affinity for, such as videos, sub-headers, images and more.
Action tip: Outline your post to ensure you will include legitimately valuable information.
If you are someone who already struggles with a touch of writer’s block, how much do you think worrying about keywords is really going to help the words just flow onto the screen? Yeah, probably not a great idea. That’s why I advocate writing what you want to first—and then going back with an eye for adding SEO keywords you identified from your previous research.
For example, if you’re writing that Facebook Ads story, you might have a line of copy that looks like this: “I realized that advertising on Facebook was a game-changer.”
Then, when you are going through for keyword edits, you can revise that to include your primary SEO phrase—Facebook Ads tips—by saying: “I realized that Facebook Ads tips were helpful game-changers.”
You’re now thinking, “Okay, but won’t I sound like I’m trying too hard?” Not if you take a priority based approach to adding keywords by making sure you are including your tip options in the first few paragraphs—and not doing so at the expense of sounding natural.
During this step, it will also help your blog’s SEO to include links to previous posts as well as outlinking (with the “open in another tab” option) to credible third-party sources. Again, Google likes blog posts that seem valuable and links is a good way to do that.
Action tip: Aim to add your primary keyword to the first paragraph and then include 3-5 more keywords throughout the body.
See? SEO doesn’t have to be that intimidating beast so many of us have imagined it to be. Just start today, do what you can and remain committed to learning. There’s no downside.