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!
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