A few weeks ago I decided to try to learn more about SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization. I sat down and read article after article. I watched videos on SEO. I wanted to learn how to be an SEO master! I wanted to do it perfectly and know what I was doing. But very quickly I started to become overwhelmed. I decided to take what I learned and move slowly and in small steps. In that way I could learn as I go and really work to implement the practices. I started immediately with my existing personal blog and within weeks I could see a definite improvement in my site traffic.
These first steps can be done easily and quickly without changing anything on your website/blog. You can do it without spending a single penny for a consultant, paid website or any fancy app.
The first thing that I did was to research keywords. There are apps and websites out there that will help you find keywords that would be relevant to your website or YouTube channel. I can not attest to them because I went with good old fashioned research which was free. I sat down at my computer and I pulled up google, YouTube and Bing. I started to type in words and phrases that pertained to my sites and I let the predictive text finish the phrases. Predictive text will complete the phrase/search with the most popular searches. So when I put in a few words from my website, I was given a list of the most common words and phrases that people look for. For example, if I typed in the word weight, I might have seen the phrases weight loss journey and losing weight. Voila I now had a much better list of keywords for my sites!
After I got my keywords, I went a bit further. I researched phrases that people look for. For my personal weight loss blog that mean using things like "how do I lose 100 pounds" and 'losing weight after age 40". This generated more focused phrases to help narrow down someone's search and therefore keyword phrases that I could use to be found by them. Once again, I popped the phrases into google and as I typed them in I was able to see various other options that were a bit more searchable then my original intent.
How to use Keywords
So now that I had my keywords, what in the world was I to do with the keywords? What good was it going to do me to know the keywords if I didn't know how to use them. I dug deeper into my research to find the solution.
The first and easiest way was to pop those keywords into the tags and keywords areas that are built into most sites. YouTube, Weebly Blogger and Wordpress all have the option to add tags and keywords when you publish an article or video. It is imperative that these highly searchable keywords that actually pertain to your post/video end up in your tags. You want people to be able to find your work and tags and keywords are a great way for them to find you!
The second way to use keywords is in the actual content of your post. If you are writing a blog post, make sure that you are using your keywords and phrases in the opening paragraph and closing paragraph. The search engines specifically search these two highpoints of any article written. Use the keywords wisely in those paragraphs!
If you are posting a video on YouTube, make sure that your keywords are in your description paragraph. Give the search engines every chance to find your content!
Length of Articles for a Blog for Optimal SEO
While I was reading about SEO, I found various articles about the magic number of words for a blog post and the perfect number of minutes in a YouTube video for optimal search engine results. There is definitely an algorithm in how things are decided. My gut instinct tells me to write what I need to say, film what I need to show and be clear and concise and let the rest happen accordingly. However, I was able to find actual numbers that are widely recommended for the length of these two outlets.
The consensus was 1000 to 1300 words. Everything indicated that the longer posts would struggle to retain readers interest and the shorter posts would not be flagged as worthwhile content due to the lack of words.
I have seen similar advice for the length of YouTube videos with the magic minutes being somewhere between 8-12 minutes.
Writing posts in a different Format for SEO
I used to write all of my posts in standard format. I would write and break for a paragraph and then move on. But as I researched SEO, I began to see the importance of breaking down the article into smaller segments. This is done for a few reasons. First, it breaks down the information so that people who are busy can quickly get through the article. But secondly by breaking it down into segments, I can add titles and headings for each section, which gives me another opportunity to add SEO keywords!
These are the very first and very basic tips that I used to as my first experiments to grow my blog and learn proper SEO. I didn't change my content. I didn't change the look of my blog. I made these simple changes that didn't cost me a dime. And as I reported in a previous post, the visitors to my site doubled almost overnight! What a small investment with a huge reward! There are plenty of other SEO tricks. I am working to become a master at these basic simple steps before I leap into the next change. But so far, I'm liking what I am seeing!
A few weeks back I vowed to make an effort to really learn about growing my online presence. I had been reading about ways to start a side hustle. I had been researching ways to make a few extra dollars. I had been trying to figure out a way to live the life that I wanted to live, financially free to follow my dreams and aspirations. I had already dabbled with many of the ideas over the years. I had written an e-book, I had a youtube channel and I had a blog that had been around for 14.5 years. I had started all of these things as a hobby. I had never really tried to promote myself or my work. I never even tried to do the most simplest of things to grow my internet presence. At the end of June, I vowed to change that. I few weeks ago I wrote about that vow. I wrote that I was going to commit time each day toward building my online hobbies into a side business.
Setting a Financial Goal while building an Online Side Hustle
Before we begin I would like to say that I would LOVE to be able to live off of these things that started as a hobby. That would be the ultimate goal. But I am not expecting that to happen anytime soon. I wanted to set a first goal for myself. My mind kept coming to the figure of $300 which would be enough to cover my car payment. But that seemed high and lofty, considering my typical monthly revenue on adsense has been between $5 and $10. I haven’t even made it to my first $100 payout yet! My amazon affiliate links are similar, I don’t generate much at all, months can go by without any revenue being built, much less paid out. Therefore, you can see why $300 seemed like a lofty goal. With that in mind, my goal is to make $100 extra a month. I will go from there to see what happens next! But seriously, $100 a month is pretty nice. $1200 a year. Yes, $100 is my first monthly goal!
Research SEO to drive traffic to your Site
The first thing that I did is that I googled SEO. I had heard of SEO plenty of times before. But I knew NOTHING about it, much less how to correctly enact it. In case you don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, this is the process that you can create a blog or a youtube video so that it can be easily seen and found by others on the internet during internet searches. SEO is the methods one can utilize to get traffic to their site.
I read constantly the first few days. I took notes. I will not go into detail in this post. Maybe someday soon I will write an SEO post for the Uninformed (as I certainly have been) as I continue to learn and fine tune my own sites. But let me just touch on some of the most basic of ways to optimize your SEO. There are quite a few ways that you can format a blog post to make it easier to pop up on internet searches. Keywords are very important and they should appear in various locations. GOOD keywords and phrases is even more important! The more I read and did my research, more that advice and ideas rained down upon me. I was going to go into overload mode. So I stopped with those most basic ideas. I decided to take these ideas to my own personal weight loss blog, my personal journal that chronicles my journey. I decided to apply some of these principles to my upcoming posts. I wanted to see if there was any effect on my statistics if I changed how I was doing things.
The Results of better SEO to boost traffic and income on a blog
I didn’t do a whole lot different. I still posted the same type of content. I just started to think more about my tags and keywords. I made a conscious effort to make sure that my keywords were included in my opening paragraph and my closing paragraph. I started to formulate my posts so that they were in shorter sections with headings for each section. I tell you, nothing major in terms of changes. My regular readers probably didn't' even notice a change. I decided to give it three to four weeks before I really looked at the statistics of my blog. That time has come.
As you can see from the graph above, my blog was pretty level in terms of how many visitors that I was having each day. Then, right around the first of the month, my numbers almost double That is an incredible jump for VERY little work! There can be no other reason for this jump other than my changes! I will definitely call that a win.
These early steps to taking control of my finances by learning to turn my hobbies into side hustles have been a success. My efforts on my personal blog made it very obvious and clear that the changes that I have made and what I am doing, is in the right direction! This is a learning process. I am constantly looking to adapt and adjust and grow. That is necessary if I am going to live my dream and become financially independent. I am on the right path now! I however think maybe I am ready for the next chapters in the SEO book. What else can I implement?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.