When posting your creations online, the idea is to have them seen. In that regard, Google is your friend. Bing if you’re on a brand new PC before you download better third-party browsers. Yahoo if you’re old. DuckDuckGo if you’re shifty, suspicious and paranoid. Search engines, basically.
If the internet was a wedding service, search engines would be the ushers, directing the guests on where to go. You should have the ushers seating guests where it works to your advantage. And I realize the usher metaphor didn’t stretch as far as I thought it would, but we’re not gathered here today to discuss metaphors. We’re here to talk SEO – Search Engine Optimization. And unlike when I’m doing metaphors, you should pay attention when I’m discussing SEO. I am the Dalai Lama of SEO, also known as the Michael Jordan of SEO, the Michael Fassbender of SEO, the Michelangelo of SEO, the Mohammed Ali of SEO, the Lwanda Magere of SEO, the Meryl Streep in the first act of The Devil Wears Prada of SEO among other colourful titles and I’m very excited to be sharing my secrets with you all.
1. Tags and keywords
Tag your posts before publishing to make your site more organized. It keeps your similar posts together and makes navigation much easier. Search engine bots going through your site have a better chance of ranking your content higher if they can move easily from one page to another.
Charity really begins at home.
Apart from using keywords in the main text, tags can also serve as keywords. Use search engine suggestions to pick keywords and phrases to use in your posts for higher rankings.
Use keywords in the alternative text (not to be confused with caption) of your images.
2. Meta title & meta description
You should see these in your editor when you scroll down a little. They’re what appears in the search results. Make your title catchy and informative, same for your description. Get your main topic across in the first 100 characters of the meta description. Use positive buzzwords in your meta title such as “best”, “top” etc.
If you don’t set these, the search engine will choose a snippet from your text, which may not be the best preview for people searching for content. Take power into your own hands with meta descriptions.
Break your posts into sections with headings whenever possible* like we do on this blog. In the context of SEO, search engines pay attention to how users interact with search results. If a user clicks on a link to your site, sees they cannot find what they’re looking for fast enough and go back to the search results, the engine flags your site as unhelpful and moves it further down the rankings.
* Obviously limited to things like lists. You generally shouldn’t be doing this in creative writing.
4. Optimize site loading times
As stated in the previous post about web design, you should have a blog with as little burden as possible. Get rid of excessive moving parts e.g. widgets and unnecessary media files. Search engines will rank sites with slow loading speeds lower.
5. Update old content
Old content could be affecting your rankings since search engines look for what’s most relevant at the current time. Update content that is not constrained by time e.g. recipes. Add keywords that are currently relevant. Switch up the words in the post to give it new life as far as search engines are concerned. It’s basically your older content giving returns, and that’s how investment works.
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6. Google Search Console
Use this invaluable tool for analytics purposes. Whenever you’ve published a post, submit it to the console. Apart from alerting Google’s bots of new content, it shows you which keywords you’re ranking for so you can strategize.
It’s simple to use, and you can access it here.
Those are the basics of search engine optimization. I, the African elephant of SEO had fun sharing these tips with all of you. It’s always easy to overlook, but it’s important for keeping your blog visible. If you have more ideas, let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for daily content.