How can people get excited about the wonderful stuff you have to say if they don’t even know you exist?
There are so many ways to connect with potential readers, and hopefully you’re already using some of them – posting on social media, you’re building an email list, etc.
This article is about one of the most simple and powerful ways to boost connection to readers on the internet, and that is getting found when people search online. Setting up your website so it can be found easily by the kind of people who will love your content is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to people in the industry.
Before You Start
Before we start, have you thought carefully about the current state of your website? Are you sure your website is providing your audience the best experience possible? Please see our post here, on that topic, and come back to this post once you are sure your website is up to date. This will help you in so many more ways than just SEO.
How to Get Found by Google (and other Search Engines)
The wonderful thing about boosting your SEO is that some of the most powerful and effective methods are easy and free. Many of these methods become intuitive when you know a little about how Google’s (or DuckDuckGo, Bing’s or …) mysterious engines work. It’s not magic – you type in a word or phrase (or tell Syrie) and the engine starts looking for it – but where? The answer is very complicated, but as a new blogger, there are a few important things to know.
Tip #1 – Your Blog’s Title
The number one place search engines look is in the title to your blog, (which people in the industry usually call the header). What does that mean for you?
Don’t write coy titles – before you start writing, take a moment, and think about what your readers will be entering to search on when they want to read something like your blog post, and then include that phrase in your title! Those words that people might use to search are called “keywords,” and keep them in mind, because they will help readers find your website and blog! You can see that knowing your reader helps you find the right keywords.
Tip #2 – What’s a meta-title and why should I care?
Another really important place that search engines look is in something called the meta-title – confusing isn’t it, see why the real title gets called the header? And that meta-title is in the code of your blog, so how are you supposed to get to it?
Fear not, WordPress users! A plugin comes to the rescue. There are at least 3 great plugins you can use for blog-writing SEO, including being able to write your meta-titles, and all three have good free versions, so choose one. All In One SEO, Yoast and Rank Math are all great. This is not the place to go into the pros and cons of each one, but in short, after you have installed one of them, when you go to edit your blog post you will find a lot of extra fields (read up about them!) but the most important is that meta-title, and it should include your website name, and before that a few choice words that are the ones you think people will be using to find this blog post or page.
Tip #3 – Images
Whew! That’s done! The next thing we should tackle is images. Users love images and slideshows, galleries and videos even more, so it’s great to use them – they don’t have to be polished or perfect, but they do have to be engaging, interesting and pull your readers in.
What helps the blind helps all your potential visitors.
The bad news is that search engines can’t see what’s in your pictures ( That’s a reason that you shouldn’t really put an important message in an image, unless you have it somewhere else, too ). But don’t despair. Go to your image gallery, and you’ll see a field called “alternate” or “alt” – that is the field that Google reads when it wants to see what’s in your image (it’s also the one that screen readers for the visually impaired use, so filling it out makes your images more accessible. Be sure that your “alt” fields are filled out for each image – describe the image, again using those same words that you think people will be searching for, those keywords.
Well, good! Just doing those things for each post will have a big effect on people’s ability to find you with Google (or another search engine). But if you still haven’t had enough, we have more SEO tips coming soon.
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