SEO jargon can be overwhelming. All you need to do is reach your audience, right? You’ve built a beautiful website and you’re blogging regularly, so don’t let all that content go to waste! A few simple points of SEO knowledge can tighten up your content so search engines, and your target market can find you and understand what you’re all about. Follow these five tips to make your blog better for SEO.
1. Think About Your Keywords
In point of fact, it’s important not to get too hung up on keywords. Research reveals that emphasis is shifting to searchers’ intent, not so much the keywords themselves. And it’s important to remember that to a living, breathing audience, keyword-stuffed content is obvious and unreadable. Still, the discreet use of keywords remains an important part of SEO, and it’s one of the topics that bloggers ask about first.
Keywords operate best in the first and last paragraphs, and in the headline. To avoid redundancy, look into Latent Semantics Indexing (LSI). It’s easy to find synonyms that search engines will understand. For example, instead of using the term “horse trailers” over and over, you could note that you specialize in “equestrian vehicles.” Google will get it, and you will broaden your keyword cache, making your filly wagons easier to find.
2. Organic Backlinks Are the Best
Everyone’s abuzz about backlinks, the links on other websites that direct traffic back to you. There are many ways to go about getting these links (not all of them ethical). The best and most foolproof way is to let them happen organically. Google scrutinizes your “link portfolio,” and a collection of unseemly or ill-gotten links can incur you a penalty. This will do the opposite of what you want your SEO efforts to do.
The best thing about organic backlinks is also their biggest problem: they’re effortless. They arise naturally from other bloggers, journalists, and companies who link to your site because they want to share your content. So how do you take a more proactive approach? Here are some do’s and don’ts of garnering backlinks:
- Pay for links
- Hire a black hat SEO agency or use black hat tactics
- Leave comments on other blog posts with your link
- Reach out to other blogs you genuinely connect to and offer to write a guest post
- Have your company hire a white hat SEO agency
- Promote your blog by building relationships with relevant people in a genuine way (more on this later)
As with many things, the slow hard road is the best one.
3. Localize Your Content
Remember that you have readers all over the world. And if you don’t yet, it’s an important goal. But a global reach doesn’t get very far if your readers in Patagonia don’t understand your content. There are some valuable localization companies available to help solve this problem. In addition to simply translating your blog, localizing finesses your content into something that looks and sounds natural to the location where your content is appearing. The last thing you want is an awkward Google translation sending the wrong message to thousands of readers overseas!
As a bonus, localizing duplicates your content for every region that you serve, making you more visible to search engines.
4. Collaborate With Other Bloggers and Micro Influencers
This is an expansion on building backlinks, but the goal here is not to gain a link. The goal is to expand your sphere of influence and build meaningful relationships with people in your niche. Write guest posts for other blogger’s sites, comment, follow, and meet for coffee if you’re in the same city! Things will come off some of these relationships. For others, it won’t. Don’t force it. See what clicks.
For more efficient results, zero in on social media micro influencers who post content relevant to your niche. Initiate relationships with them. Consider the difference between reaching out to individual horse lovers, versus reaching out to a well-known rider. A celebrity rider might have thousands of horse loving followers on social media. If they decide to shout you out on Instagram, you’ve reached thousands of horse lovers just by building one relationship.
5. Be Authentic
Content is king. There’s no way to fake authenticity, and authenticity is the hallmark of good content. Keep yours to a high standard that’s easy to read, and easy for search engines to understand. Write clear, structured posts with relevant headings and subheadings. Don’t think so much about SEO that you lose your human audience. Remember, search engines work for people, too–the same people you are trying to reach. Authentic content that means something to people, and not just Google, is more important than any SEO tactics. Without it, the tactics become moot.
A few simple SEO tactics can go a long way for your blog and your company. But remember that these tactics should work in service of authentic, meaningful content, and never at the expense of it. When you’ve mastered these steps, there are ever-deeper levels of SEO that you can explore. It’s a fascinating field that we are all helping to create and develop in real time, with every passing day and every passing search. But for now, try out these techniques on your blog and watch your traffic rise!
Brian Oaster writes content for translation services company Day Translations from Central America. He has worked all over the world as an arts educator, English teacher, basket exporter, rare book dealer, fortune teller, and as the first mate of a private sailing yacht. Educated in the visual arts and an avid reader of news and literature, his focus is on international arts and culture, world religions and global politics.