Wednesday Wisdom is a series of blog posts on This is Lit about the different content marketing strategies you can use to crush it in the blogging world.
So you’ve been at this blogging thing for a while now and you’re pretty regular with your posts. You stick to a schedule, you share all your posts on social media, and you try to interact as much as possible with other bloggers too.
And yet, your views never match your expectations.
I know first-hand how disheartening it can be when you put so much effort into writing and yet don’t get noticed online.
This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the strategies you use to make your website rank well on search engines. Essentially, you use certain tactics to try and appear in the first page of a search engine’s results.
Sure, your content is great, but it’s not going to help if you don’t use the actual words your audience is interested in and searches for.
How do keywords figure here?
A key word when it comes to SEO is, well, keyword. Any word your audience uses to search for the information you provide is a keyword. You need to use more of these in your content so that when someone enters a phrase in a search engine, it knows that your site has these keywords and pulls it up.
Does adding a few keywords immediately make me popular?
Nope. Not at all.
The Internet has a LOT of content creators and competition is pretty heavy. So if you’re a book blogger who reviews young adult books, just using “books” as a keyword isn’t going to land you in the first page of search results. This is where you should go for longer keyword phrases–called long tail keywords–such as “YA book blog” and “YA book reviews” in your pages.
How do I find topics to write about using keyword research?
Keyword research is not just about ranking well on search engines. It also helps you understand what your audience actively looks to you for.
Your next blog post can be hiding in the phrases people use to land on your blog. It can help you come up with related posts your audience wants, products you can promote, and ads that’ll bring in some revenue.
For example, I once found out that a lot of people landed on one of my blog posts because it had a Warsan Shire quote. The keywords used were variations of “Warsan Shire quotes” and “Warsan Shire poems”. So I wrote an entire post with my favorite poems of hers: 9 Warsan Shire quotes that will speak to your soul.
And lo and behold, this post did decently on the blog.
How do keyword research tools work?
When you search for “books”, the search engine you use records it to know how many people search for it. Keyword research tools collect this information and tell you how many people search for particular keywords. While they may not be 100% accurate, they do make a pretty good guess.
Which keyword research tools should you use?
Like all best services, the best keyword research tools charge a monthly fee. Since a majority of us use WordPress.com, you should know that their Business plan has a built-in SEO tool. If you use WordPress.org, there are a number of plug-ins you can use, including the original WordPress plugin, Yoast SEO.
If you don’t want to spend for SEO, there are a number of free tools that’ll give you insight into keywords. I personally love the free version of Google Analytics. Its reports are insightful and really helpful. I also use keywordtool.io, which allows you to type a single keyword and get a list of long-tail keyword suggestions.
Additionally, here are a few free tools I’ve found helpful in some way or the other in my blogging journey:
These are just the basic things you need to know about optimizing your site. I’m by no means an SEO expert, and I learn something new about SEO everyday. That’s exactly what you should do too. As content creators, we should all know at least a little bit of SEO. There are so many free tutorials and courses out there that you can take up to understand SEO further.
Happy optimizing! 🙂