Saturday, March 6, 2021

How to Apply SEO to Your Blog – One Blogger’s Process


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As writers we all have our own unique way of doing things. The same is true of bloggers, we know that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a critical part of any successful blog, but the application can be different for each of us. I thought you would like to see this blogger’s process of applying SEO to my blog. 

Steps to SEO for My Blog

1. I begin with the topic I want to write about. I’m going to use today’s post as an example. I decided I wanted to share how do SEO for my site. 

2. I work on the title. Some bloggers write the title last. I’ve found—for me—by having an already focused and keyword-rich title it helps me keep my post on track. For this post, I began playing with possible titles and I plugged them into various search engines to see what content came up. 

I began with clever titles, because that’s my default as a writer. But clever titles are usually poor choices when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. 

A Quick Lesson on Blog Titles
Titles need to reflect the full topic of the post. This is not time to be clever or too generic. Here are some things to remember.
  • Your readers will evaluate your post's content based on the title. When a title is misleading or even ambiguous, the reader can walk away feeling cheated.
  • The blog title must stand alone—with full context—when shared on social media. For example with this post, I began with A Peek Inside My Mind. At first glance that seems like a pretty good title for someone who is reading a post on a writing site. But what about those doing a search in a search engine or reading the text in a social media update? For them it’s misleading and generic. A better title would be: Get Inside the Mind of a Blogger. But even that falls short. The point of this post isn’t my mind, it’s observing how a top blogger applies SEO for her site. What makes sense to a reader who has the full content of a blog is much different from what makes sense without visual clues and context. As I realized what my true focus was, I came up with this title: How to Apply SEO to Your Blog – One Blogger’s Process
  • Side Note: the creative side of my mind hates practical titles. I want to write clever titles that intrigue readers to keep reading. So I often find myself bargaining…with myself. I promise my creative side that if she’ll allow a practical title, I’ll let her be as creative as she wants with bold headings and in the body of the post. (don’t judge, it works for me LOL)
  • The title should contain a phrase that someone would type into a search engine to find the content in your post. This means it should contain your keyword phrase for your entire post. Otherwise, no matter how clever your title is, no one will ever find the post to read it unless they’re already subscribed. As I was brainstorming titles, I refined and set my keyword phrase as How to Apply SEO to Your Blog. It’s not clever, but I can see many people typing that into a search engine. That’s the final piece of the puzzle and when you get it right, will immediately move your post up in a search engine search. 
3. I refine the keyword phrase. As stated in the section about titles above, I set my keyword phrase during the process of finding a title. I also find a secondary keyword phrase. In this instance, I have two secondary keyword phrases. SEO for Bloggers and Blogging for Writers.

4. I write my post. Now that I know my post’s focus, I can write to that focus. This will also enable me to use my keyword phrase naturally throughout the post and add authority and credibility to the post when a search engine ranks the content. When I write the post, I use Microsoft Word. This also allows me to have a backup copy of a post if anything happens to erase it.

5. I refine my blog’s formatting. I don’t insert anything except bold headings into the word document, I wait until I load the post into my blog to apply most formatting. BUT, I have my formatting firm in my mind. Formatting in a Word document doesn’t translate well into the text editor found on your blog.

Formatting includes:
  • Bold Headings: these should reflect the focus of the blog.
  • Bullet Points: an easy way to make information easy to scan and simple to digest. Bullet points are used when the information may be applied in any order.
  • Numbered Lists: same as bullet points. Numbered lists are used when the information is best applied in a specific order.
  • Length of paragraphs: paragraphs should be short to avoid large blocks of text, especially on small mobile devices.
6. I copy my finished post into the compose window of my blog. At this point, I apply the formatting I want in my finished post.

7. I insert my tags into the post.
These include, but aren't limited to:
  • The Blog Post Title
  • The Main Keyword Phrase
  • The Secondary Keyword Phrase(s)
  • My Name
  • My Blog’s Name— as opposed to the title of the individual post (My blog’s name is The Write Conversation)
  • The Blog Post Author’s Name (if it’s a guest post)
8. I create the featured image. I look for an image that’s copyright free (I use either www.Pixabay.com or www.Unsplash.com). I also embed the title in the image. This increases the click-thru rate on social media. I save the finished image with the title of the blog post. 

So I have two files on my computer: 
  • a word document file with the title, How to Apply SEO to Your Blog—One Blogger’s Process.doc
  • an image file with the title, How to Apply SEO to Your Blog—One Blogger’s Process.jpeg
By saving the image with this file name and uploading it to my blog, I again reinforce the credibility and authority of the content when ranked by a search engine.

9. I check & optimize any hyperlinks. Many bloggers are unaware that hyperlinks used correctly can add SEO ranking. Hyperlinks show up in a search engine search—but only if the linked text is searchable. For example, often we'll see hyperlinks used this way:
  • To learn more about choosing the best blog post title CLICK HERE. The hyperlink would be on the words, click here. The problem with is that no one I know of types CLICK HERE into a search engine to find information about blog post titles. So hyperlinking those words wastes that link. 
A better way of linking this would be:
  • To learn more about CHOOSING THE BEST BLOG POST TITLE click here. Someone might type in a search about choosing the best blog post title, so now that hyperlink will benefit your overall SEO score.
Bottom Line
SEO is important to getting your blog found in a generic search. There are multiple ways to achieve this, but I've given a look at how I do it. This is my step-by-step process I use to apply SEO to my blog. I’d love to answer any questions you have and hear how your process works for you. 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLE

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.Connect with her on her website, through FacebookTwitter and on Instagram.

19 comments:

  1. Edie,

    Thank you for this important article--even for people like me who have been blogging for years. I'm sure I will be adding new details to my blogging process as I study and apply this information. With Gratitude,

    Terry
    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

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    1. Terry, thank you! That means a lot coming from an expert like you! Blessings, E

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  2. Edie. i am still learning about SEO. i appreciate your teaching here. Thanks.

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    1. Clella, I’m always happy to help! Blessings, E

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  3. Wow Edie, thank you for sharing all this valuable information. I really appreciate all the specific details. Definitely one for the reference file. :)

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    1. Sometimes it helps to get technical! Blessings, E

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  4. Great tips! Thank you for the information.

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  5. Edie, I'm learning, learning, and learning! Thanks for all the help you gave to me in your post this morning. I really appreciate this great information.

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    1. Diane, We’re all still learning and refining our process!
      Blessings, E

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  6. This is outstanding, Edie. I love having it all in one place for referral. Thanks so much!!

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    1. Julie, I’m so glad it’s helpful! Blessings, E

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  7. Edie, your information is always so helpful. And hearing and reading it over and over reinforces the concepts in my mind. Thank you for taking the time to share these elements.

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  8. Thank you so much for clearing the muddy waters of SEO. I even made notes!

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  9. This post helped me understand SEO better and gave me wonderful ideas. Thanks, Edie!

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  10. That was so helpful, Edie! Just the help I needed. Blessings!

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  11. As usual, this post is so helpful. Informative and relevant. Thanks, Edie!

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