7 SEO Tips

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about making your site attractive to the search engines. There are many factors that determine whether or not your site will come up on the first (or 2nd, or 3rd, or 57th) page of Google’s search results.

seo tips

Many of these factors are completely out of your control. However, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of landing in a favorable spot. Here are my SEO tips.

1. Understand keywords

If you’re the one searching for something, keywords are the main terms you use in your search (ex. how to blog). If you’re a blogger, keywords are the words spiders associate with your web page (each blog is made up of many web pages). If this is still confusing, revisit this post.
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2. Use keywords

Think about how someone would search for the information on your site and use those keywords in your domain name, your posts, your pages, your permalinks etc. This will increase your chances of getting associated with those keywords by the spiders, and (hopefully) land closer to the top of the search results. For example, if someone wants to start a blog, they might type into Google, “how to start a blog.” So, I’ve deliberately used that exact phrase in some of my posts, pages and permalinks.
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3. Don’t use too many keywords

Some people use keywords in an unnatural way in the hopes of improving their SEO. Well, search engines can see right through this tactic and will often tag a site as spam when they see “keyword stuffing.” If you just write normally for humans, you won’t have a problem.
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4. Use long tail keywords

Long tail keywords have 3+ words in them. (Actually, they’re more like a phrase than a keyword, but hopefully you get the point.) Long tail keywords often return better search results for real people and are therefore more useful for bloggers.

For example, my daughter and I were looking for items she needs to make paper beads, specifically glaze. When I searched, I didn’t use the term “paper beads.” Instead, I used “best glaze for paper beads.” The latter returned much more relevant results.

For bloggers, short keywords with one or two words (like “dog” or “cake recipes”) are very difficult to rank for these days simply because there are so many sites competing for them. So the tip here is to try to use keywords that are longer. Use phrases.
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Once you’ve published a post, never change your permalinks, either in Settings –> Permalinks or on individual posts or pages. Doing so can cause broken links, thereby hurting your SEO.
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6. Use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast

The WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast gives you a lot of SEO functionality without you having to think. It’s a solid plugin and it’s free. (Here’s how to install a plugin.) Here’s Yoast’s documentation for the plugin.
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7. My absolute best SEO tip

I hear from a lot of bloggers who worry about SEO. Many times they ask me what they should do to improve their SEO and what I do to improve mine. Here’s the deal: I hardly spend any time on SEO.

Write great content. Excellent content is the only thing that has consistently withstood the dramatic algorithm changes I’ve watched over the years. You just can’t go wrong with solid, original, high-quality content. (That’s not just me, Matt Cutts (of Google fame) says it.) A lot of people spend a lot of time and money on SEO but the truth is, writing good content on a regular basis, in the long run, will be best for your SEO.
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The bottom line

Is SEO real? Yes. Is good SEO helpful? Sure. But if you’re like me and you’ve got limited time to devote to blogging, stress less about SEO. Note the tips above, but most of all, write good stuff! Write helpful stuff! Get involved in community. Be authentic. Build relationships and let your great content work for itself.
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