A No-Nonsense Guide to SEO and Content Creation for Bloggers

by Mack Collier

SEO, Blogging,  Content CreationTwo of the most common complaints I hear from bloggers, especially during #Blogchat is:

1 – I wish I could figure out how to post more often and create more content

2 – I wish I better understood SEO and how to optimize my posts for search

I’m going to show you a ‘trick’ that will hopefully help you with both of these issues.  First, we need to pick 3-5 Topic Buckets for your blog.  These are 3-5 key areas that you want to focus on with your blog content.  For example, my Topic Buckets for this blog are:

1 – How businesses and individuals can improve their blogging

2 – How businesses and individuals can better use Twitter

3 – How businesses can create and improve their Social Media Strategies

4 – How businesses can better embrace and empower their fans

5 – Catch-all (Facebook, Social Media Monitoring, everything I don’t want to blog about quite as much goes here)

Now the great thing about this approach is that notice since I have 5 Topic Buckets, if I just write one post a week from each bucket, I’ve got 5 posts for the week!  Or I could spread those 5 posts out over two weeks, so I have 3 posts for the 1st week, then 2 for the second week.  And if I wanted I could add a 3rd post in that second week, either from one of these buckets again, or maybe I want to let you know about a Live #Blogchat coming up, or an event I will be speaking at.

But once you’ve created your Topic Buckets, it makes it MUCH easier for you to organize the content you create on your blog!  And if you want to be super-organized, you could say pick 3 Topic Buckets for your blog, then write a new post for the 1st one every Monday, the 2nd bucket would be every Wednesday, and the 3rd Topic Bucket’s post would be every Friday!

So thanks to Topic Buckets, we’ve tackled the issue of how to create more content.  Really, the biggest issue you will have with this is deciding on what your Topic Buckets should be, and how many you should have.  I think 3 is the perfect number, if you get over 5, then you should probably consider spinning some of them off into a new blog, or eliminating some till you get back down to 5 or less.

Now, let’s talk about optimizing your posts for search and SEO.  Let me say up front I am NOT an SEO expert, the following is good old-fashioned ‘common sense’ advice that I learned by reading SEO experts, then experimenting with my own content here, and seeing what worked, and what didn’t.  This is 101-level stuff to get you started.  I would recommend that you try this, and then when you see the positive results, that will probably whet your appetite to want to learn more about SEO.

First, learn to write better post titles.  Seriously, this was the biggest improvement I made in my blogging this year.  But it goes beyond simply writing a ‘catchy’ headline, you need to seriously consider what words you use in your headline.  Because what you want to do is use certain search keywords and terms in your post’s title.

For example, lets say we want to write a post on how businesses can use Twitter.  Before you start writing the post or even the title, ask yourself ‘what would someone type into Google in order to find this post?’  Put yourself in the shoes of the marketing manager at a mid-sized company that’s trying to decide if her business should start a Twitter account.  Some of the things she might put into Google could be:

  • ‘How do businesses use Twitter?’
  • ‘How can Twitter help my business?’
  • ‘Does my business need to be on Twitter?’
  • ‘How do you get started using Twitter?’

You get the idea.  But notice she is Googling QUESTIONS that she wants the answers to!  Think about it, isn’t this how we usually use Google?  We have a question we want answered.  So taking the marketing manager’s questions in mind, here’s some possible post titles we could go with

1 – Four Innovative Ways Businesses Are Using Twitter

2 – Should Your Business Be on Twitter? Here’s How You Can Decide

3 – How to Start a Twitter Account For Your Business in 5 Minutes!

See how those post titles closely resemble what the marketing manager was Googling?  If you can use the same or similar keywords and phrases in your post title as what others are searching for in search engines, you will greatly increase your post’s chances of ranking high in search results for those words and terms.

Another tip:  Use your keywords as close to the start of the post title as possible.  This helps, but isn’t an absolute.  For example, the first post title of ‘Four Innovative Ways Businesses Are Using Twitter’ could be changed to ‘How Are Businesses Using Twitter? Here’s Four Innovative Ways’.  You may want to make this change because the term ‘How Are Businesses Using Twitter’ will be what more people are searching for.  Personally, I think the 1st version of the post title flows better.

Finally, use the same keyword/phrases in your post title, in the post itself.  Ideally, you want to use the keyword phrase, such as ‘How are businesses using Twitter’ up to 3 times in the post.  Or at least once at the start of the post.  You want to do this because this helps Google and other search engines correctly identify what the post is about.  Google will scan the post and if it sees the same or similar words and phrases repeating in the post, then it assumes that’s what the post is about, then when someone searches for those same or similar phrases, your post will rank higher in search results!

So that’s enough to get you started.  Start creating Topic Buckets for your blog, then start beefing up your post titles with the proper keywords and phrases.  I think you’ll be pleasantly pleased with the results you see!

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