New to SEO? Read from here.
Blogging is a lot of fun, but in order to be able to blog successfully, you need to be able to do more than just write. You need to learn the basics of SEO (search engine optimization), for instance. And SEO is a very tricky concept.
Simply put, we use SEO so that search engines can find our blogs and websites more easily. We also know that people aren’t inclined to go through tens of result pages when they are looking for information. They go through the first page, and maybe the second. After that, your chances of meeting that reader become pretty slim. But it is not always easy to end up on the first couple of pages, especially for keywords that thousands, or millions of people are competing for.
So SEO experts advise you to go after long-tail keywords (phrases that consist of 3 or more words). They recommend targeting keywords that have some competition (so that you know people actually want that information), but not so much that you will get buried under too many other sites).
For instance, what are my chances of ranking very high if I am writing an article on the actor Gerard Butler, called Gerard Butler? Just today, 1,554 people have searched for him (a result I got by using free keyword research tools). So, I have an audience. But how many results does his name generate on a search engine? Guess what: 10.100.000 results! Crazy, right?
Practicing SEO already? Try reading from here.
But I am not going to not include Gerard Butler in my keywords, just because there is so much competition. And I am not going to give up on a topic I like because the search engines say so. Instead, I will write the article for me and for my readers. Here’s how and why:
Keywords Selection and Tagging
The most popular keyword can also be the most relevant one. For instance, when I am writing about an actor (I have an entertainment website, so I cover actors and movies a lot), I get over a thousand daily searches, if not more. It is very difficult, if not virtually impossible for me to rank all that high with this main keyword. But I always include it. It is for me and my readers: Most websites (my blog included) have their own search engines. So when you arrive at my blog and type this name, you get all the posts about that actor.
You may have found me through other keywords. Maybe, you didn’t find me through search engines at all. But now that you are on my page, you will find a lot of relevant information. This is to satisfy readers. But also it makes my job easier, because I can track how many different bodies of work I have written on a given topic.
Search engines are your friends, but they are not your only friends. You get your audience from other sources as well, such as Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon, blog links on other blogs, blog communities, forums…etc.
– The Headlines:
We have been writers for a long time but we have been readers for even longer. So we have always known the importance of headlines and titles. Readers like the headlines to be exciting and clever. But they also need to give the readers a good idea on what the writing is going to be about.
So I try to include SEO keywords in the title. But sometimes I have an idea for a writing series and just don’t want to give up on creativity completely. One of the headlines I chose for an article series I was writing was more topic-related than SEO rich. Still, it managed to be one of my popular posts. You don’t always have to please Google. And sometimes pleasing yourself also ends up pleasing your readers, which will make Google love you even more in the end.
– The Number of Keywords
There isn’t a certain limit to this but of course the search engines aren’t going to take you seriously if you tag each post with 100 keywords. However, some sites come with limitations or limitation suggestions on how many keywords a post should ideally be tagged with.
Now, in generally, sticking to about 10-15 keywords might be ideal. But imagine writing a list post including 10 names. You will need to tag these names separately, and a lot more.
And exactly because of the reasons stated above (for your keywords and SEO actions), you will also need to add more specific, SEO-friendly and low-competition keywords. I try not to use more than 20 keywords for any given post, but I don’t mind going overboard on my own blogs.
So while it is great to stick to some basic guidelines, ignoring them when necessary might end up pleasing you and your readers. It is just a perk that happy readers will end up making you even more popular everywhere, including Google (and other search engines).