As an internet marketing strategist, I have to help businesses big and small figure out how to get found online.
I didn’t start out as a marketer, mind you. My origins were actually a lot more artistic — as a piano teacher and choir director mainly. And would-be composer. I had to figure out, through a lot of trial and error, how to get found online.
As a solopreneur, I actually found it was much easier to get noticed that it is to get a large company found. There’s just so much more competition for companies. You’d think it would be the opposite, but think about this: most mommy bloggers (or daddy bloggers, or family bloggers as I’ve taken to calling them) start by just sharing stuff they know about.
That sharing goes mainly to people they know. And with social media, rings of contacts with like-minded writers help expand things much faster. It’s a very communal operation, and a very supportive community. That means SEO, or search engine optimization, is actually less important.
Google’s not looking for you, but it doesn’t matter. Everyone else is.
So why worry about SEO at all then?
Well, one of the primary reasons we want to look at SEO as bloggers is that it’s a very good indicator of how our content is working.
Good SEO, especially in 2018, is about providing quality content. That should preferably be content that answers a specific question, like “how to sew curtains” or “how to make baby food.” Those are great SEO titles.
Gone are the days when super-specific lists of keywords and phrases were necessary to turn up in search results. Now, the emphasis from the big engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing — the last two are actually the same engine now) is on quality user experience.
Meet those goals, and your SEO will be dealt with. Miss them, and there’s a good chance your search results will mirror your organic traffic from other sources…which may not be good.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Make Titles Relevant
Don’t use quirky or esoteric titles. Keep them direct and to the point as much as possible. If your article is about paint colours for the nursery, say that. Don’t allow your creative imagination to drift elsewhere.
This is just as important for the reader as it is for the search engines. They need to know what you’re talking about so they’ll have a reason to read the post (or click the Pin).
Keep Paragraphs Short
Keeping your paragraphs short is also important to good readability. As weird as it sounds, you should be aiming for no more than a middle-school level of comprehension.
I know, I can get really wordy too. But the thing is, that readability has as much to do with how well your page looks on mobile as it does with delivering your message.
Yoast SEO for WordPress has a great readability score. It also lets you plug in a short description to see how it will appear on search results. If it snags your keywords, even better!
Back Off on the Popups
I know it’s tempting; because you’ve seen all the pros do this too; but having a multitude of popups is really frustrating for search engines.
The reason? They obscure your text on mobile devices.
One popup, that’s easily closed, on all of your devices is all that’s needed. Use it to either generate subscribers to your blog or offer your freebie. Don’t use it for every single offer and list you have. Promote those separately.
Be Mobile Friendly
Picking up on a theme here? 2018 is the first official year that Google will be actively punishing websites that aren’t mobile friendly.
It’s also the first year that stats on all of my clients’ websites have reflected more that 50% (in some cases it’s over 60%) of their traffic from mobile devices.
That’s huge! So, if Google would delist your website for not being mobile friendly, why would your readers feel any differently?
Here’s the good news: most WordPress templates are now mobile responsive, meaning they work on both desktop and mobile platforms. But they don’t all work perfectly out of the box. Make sure you check multiple devices to see how your content and links look, and get a pro to make the adjustments you need. It’s worth it!
Stay As Fast As Possible
Along with the mobile optimization factor, you should look at your website’s speed. Oftentimes we bloggers get excited about just uploading images and videos, and never think about how they react with various browsers.
And then we find out it takes too long to load, and people are dropping off before even reading your content.
Run your website through a speed check (like GTMetrix), as well as a mobile performance test (like Google’s), and see what the results are. If it’s not good, send the report over to a professional and get a quote on increasing speed.
That’s a few hundred dollars well-spent, because while you may not be trying to list on Google, the better your website performs overall, the better your chances of getting ranked above even more popular blogs that run a lot slower.
I don’t mean use social media. Yes, I run courses on this (as do many other bloggers out there). What I mean is, be actively conversing with other bloggers. Comment on their posts. It’s a community.
But absolutely crucial is that you must be linking to other blogs as well. In a perfect system, they’ll link back to you. But linking to and from other relevant content does more than just make everyone feel warm and fuzzy.
Google likes to see active websites that do relevant things. When you trade links, you’re demonstrating that there is a live person there. On top of that, you gain reputation in the business, you give and take traffic, and you ultimately increase your website’s authority.
Get those links going, but make sure there’s a reason for them. You don’t want to just plop a link in a page with no context. A list of great recipes from other bloggers, however, with links to their actual recipes: that?s a golden ticket!
Getting found online is a combination of producing quality content, running a fast website, and staying active within your network. While there are many more technical factors involved in true SEO, just taking these few easy steps can really help propel your blog up the results pages while also enhancing the experience for your readers.
Have you had any experiences (good or bad) with your website’s performance or SEO? Let us know in the comments below! (If you have any questions or need help, hit us up with a PM on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pinwarriors.)