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When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation, I find that people generally fall into two groups. Group one thinks of SEO as a complex and baffling mystery, never to be understood. Group two is sure there must be some simple trick, an easy technique or silver bullet, that can boost their site to the top of page one on any search engine. Easy.
I’m here to tell you neither of those things are true. Search Engine Optimisation is not overly complex, but it’s not easy either. There are no shortcuts. Search engines rate your site based purely on the value it can provide to their user. The concept is simple. The execution is a little more involved. In the end, it comes down to this:
Long hours. Frustrating work.
Anyone selling a ‘guaranteed’ quick-fix solution for your SEO requirements is either lying to you or is fatally incompetent. In either case, these kinds of operators are to be avoided. At best, they will fail. At worst, they will succeed in having your site eliminated from Google search results altogether.
One ‘silver bullet’ that is often mislabelled as SEO, is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEO and SEM are different and separate. SEO uses organic methods of optimising your website or blog to appeal to search engines. SEM is paid marketing, where you pay Google to put you at the top of the page for certain keywords. SEM is expensive so you should weigh up the pros and cons before you go down that path.
So, SEO is no cakewalk, but there are loads of simple things site owners can do for the benefit of SEO. One such thing is blogging. Blogging is often underrated and dismissed as unimportant when it comes to search engine optimisation, but to overlook blogging is to miss a huge, highly valuable opportunity for boosting the quality of your site for search.
What about Blogging SEO?
Blogging is a brilliant SEO tool. When blogging SEO is done right it has the potential to drastically increase the value of your site for search. It does so in a number of ways, but here are three main ones:
Careful and appropriate use (but not overuse) of keywords in blog posts will get your site recognised by search engines. Your site will be viewed as more relevant in relation to search terms matching your keywords.
Each blog post counts as another page on your website. Once you start blogging regularly you will find that your site becomes quite a catalogue of pages full of valuable information rich in carefully placed keywords. Need I say more?
Regular blogging signals to search engines that your site contains new and current content that is relevant to search terms matching the keywords you have carefully used throughout your posts.
If other websites contain links to your blog this is another indicator to search engines that your site is a trusted authority. This is called backlinking and it’s next-level SEO. Let’s talk about it some other time.
So how do I blog?
How long is a piece of string?
Each blog post should be 600 or more words in length. Longer is better. Ideally, each post will include one or two pictures. Choose a topic and two or three keywords (preferably relating to the theme of your website) and start writing. Be conversational. You will be surprised how quickly you cross the 600-word threshold.
It is worth noting that there is very high competition for some keywords and search engines may expect your blog post to be considerably longer than 600 or so words, potentially even thousands of words. If in doubt, do some research or even consult a reputable SEO professional.
How do I structure my article?
Use short sentences and paragraphs and try to keep it simple. Sometimes less is more. Also, as a general rule, you should never edit as you write or you will never finish your article. Instead, write your article to completion, go have a cuppa, and return to your laptop with fresh eyes to tackle your editing.
What about links?
Your article should include two types of links. First, your article should link to other locations within your website. Second, you should include links to external sources. How will I know when to include a link to an external source? Easy:
If you quote or reference another website in any way, include a link to the source. If you even mention another website or article, include a link to the source. Your article can include as many links as it takes to make sure your article is properly referenced.
An important note about keywords.
Do not overuse the keywords you have selected. Use each keyword 2-4 times but no more if you can help it. Some search engines will view excessive keyword use as an artificial attempt at boosting SEO, and will actually penalise your site’s ranking.
Should I worry about backlinks?
Backlinks refer to links to your site from other websites. For example, when you post a link to your website on Facebook or Twitter, those are backlinks. Every time you post a blog article, be sure to share it on your social media accounts. That, my friend, is the absolute minimum amount of effort you can possibly put into creating backlinks.
When it comes to backlinking, social media really comes into its own. If you don’t have at least three social media accounts, you need to rethink that. Each social media platform reaches a different age demographic. If you are resistant to social media, then ask yourself: “Do I really want to die on this hill?”
You’ve got this!
If I can do it, you can totally do it.
You don’t know it yet, but you’re a writer. Starting your article is the hardest part, but once you get started you will be surprised how easy it is to write an informative, well-structured article that attracts the right kind of audience.
Just remember, you are an expert in your field. Nobody knows your business like you do.
Blogging SEO is something you can do yourself. Give it a try. Or, if you would rather poke out your eye with a blunt stick, consider finding a reputable writer to create content for you. Prices can vary, so do your research.