Does figuring your way around SEO make you want to pull your hair off?
SEO is a great way to drive website traffic. You can post nothing for weeks and still gain hundreds of views, even thousands. If you want to reap the benefits of SEO without going into the the technicalities, you’ve come to the right place!
1. Find out what people search on Google
For a first-timer, a quick search on Google AdWorlds will give you a quick idea on specific keywords that online searchers use. By strategically using these exact keywords inside your article, it will increase the likelihood that your site will be found. Bonus nugget point if you can embed the keywords into your post title.
However, you need to be careful not to over-optimize your site. Write for humans, not for the sake of manipulating search engine ranking. Google takes keyword stuffing as a serious offense, and will penalize or ban your website if they found out that you’re trying to dupe them.
2. Focus on long-tail keyword search
Don’t rely solely on popular keywords. Fat chance is those SEO keywords are used by everyone else and it only helps your site to appear at page 36 of the search results. To get that coveted first page, you need to look for long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are very specific searches with at least three words. For instance, if you’d like to write about entrepreneurship, you can consider using “how to become an entrepreneur in college” instead (see below screenshot from Google AdWords).
Its average monthly search may seem like a dismal 40, but here’s the good news: all 40 of these could be yours! Moreover, as these are very targeted search terms, people who arrive at your site will find the content especially relevant to their needs, and will be more likely to engage with you.
PS. The ‘Competition’ column on Google AdWords is for paid searches, not organic SEO. To assess SEO competition, try to Google the keywords beginning and ending with quotations (e.g. “how to become an entrepreneur in college”), which in this example returned only two pages despite the ‘High competition’.
3. Make use of headings
As headings are usually used to summarize key points into a nutshell, Google gives a higher weight for keywords in headings than the paragraphs following it. You can also utilize the headings to capture the different ways that people may use to search about the topic you’re writing about.
For instance, if you’d like to write about your experience travelling in Taiwan, you may want to categorize your content with headings containing various long-tail keywords (e.g. places to visit in Taiwan, the best foods to eat in Taiwan, where to stay in Taiwan) in order to capture maximum traffic.
4. Use internal links and embed your keywords on it
Get rid of the old click here. Every time you do that, you waste an SEO opportunity.
Whenever you want to refer to one of your old posts, put an appropriate long-term keyword into the hyperlink. By doing that, you’re helping Google to understand what the page you linked to is about. Do yourself a favor and give your old posts some SEO boost every now and then.
5. Build a content hub
This is a powerful SEO strategy that I learned first-hand.
When I first started writing my suggested Taiwan itinerary page, it was just a little summary for visitors to glance through before clicking on individual links that attract them most. Just within weeks, it turned into an SEO gold mine. It shot up to Google’s first page for keywords as common as “Taiwan itinerary” and has sent me lots of easy daily traffic.
The idea of a content hub is simple. By having a central post that leads to other more detailed readings, you can collapse various rich keywords into a one-post summary without having to spam your readers. Moreover, as a content hub, it becomes your default link whenever you want to refer to an old post discussing the subject, which strengthens the content hub’s SEO very consistently.
Most important lesson of all though, always put readers first.
It’s those little efforts aim at helping readers, be it through useful content or user-friendly content structure, that will win you readers. SEO is just a tool to help you get discovered, but traffic will eventually dies down if the readers aren’t benefited.
There are much more that you can do, many of which may require at least some basic understanding of HTML. I’ll share more SEO tips in my future posts.
So there it is… it’s easy and you don’t need to be a tech geek! If you have other easy-breezy SEO tips, feel free to share.