This Writer's History With SEO
I have made several attempts to understand search engine optimization (SEO), and I've gotten as far as understanding that I need search engines to find this blog and my website. It's the keyword research that I found so confusing. I tried going to those on-line tools that are supposed to help you find the best keywords for the text you're using, but then I would get bogged down on whether or not I should use the most obvious keywords because everyone uses the obvious keywords, and it appeared that I shouldn't be doing that because that would mean I was competing with lots of other people using the same keywords. At least, that's how I understood the situation. And did I have to use those on-line tools every time I created new material? In case you haven't noticed, I blog nearly every day.
I've tried to get serious about the labels at the end of my posts, trying to avoid using Gail the Center of the Universe and Gail goes on and on because who ever looks those up? But otherwise I've pretty much pretended SEO doesn't exist.
Then I stumbled upon this guest post by Alexis Grant at My Name Is Not Bob, Not Bob being poet Robert Lee Brewer. Grant writes about 3 SEO myths that scare writers. Check out "#3 You have to put a ton of effort into identifying the right keywords." "While you can spend a lot of time on keyword research," Grant says, "using tools like Google Trends to help you figure the best keywords for your topic, it's absolutely not necessary. Instead, take five minutes and just use your brain." That usually means trouble, in my experience, but Grant suggests doing something simple and not very troublesome at all--asking yourself what you would type into Google if you were looking for the article/essay/blog post you just wrote. Then try to put some of those words in your headline.
If you go back to Myth #2 in Grant's guest post, you'll find a list of places to put keywords in addition to headlines--your first paragraph and subheadings, for instance. Because I read this post, I used a subheading in yesterday's Time Management Tuesday post, and included the words "write every day," because that phrase could be one writers look for on Google. Yes, and that's why I'm using subheadings today.
More SEO Information For Writers
In still another post, this one on SEO tips for writers, Brewer points out that writers need to be careful to use keywords naturally, otherwise they'll damage their content, turning off readers. Updating content regularly is also important so that your site doesn't appear abandoned to the search engines.
The tips for writers post also suggests that headlines be specific because people look for specific words, not vague, general ones and search engines pay attention to headlines. For that reason, I've changed today's headline twice.
Pretty much all I know about SEO I've learned from a poet.