Saturday SEO Secrets: SEO for Blogs

by Amber on August 11, 2012

Because I write websites for a living, I tend to take SEO for granted. Incorporating it into my content (at least in my working life) is second nature to me.

SEO for blogsBut last weekend, I talked to lots of people who said they didn’t have any idea how to do SEO for blogs. Some thought it sounded scary. Others were game, and thought they might like to incorporate SEO into their blogs, but had no idea how to even begin.

So I’m going to teach you.

Not all at once, of course. But for the next little while (or forever, if you guys like it), I’m going to devote Saturdays to sharing SEO tips for blogs. Content-based fundamentals that work for all blogs. Mom blogs, coupon blogs, tiny blogs, giant blogs – the principles we’ll talk about here are genre and size agnostic.

Ready? Then let’s get started.

Lesson One: Good Keywords Don’t Exist

It’s true. If you’re trying to optimize (i.e. get your blog to show up on the first page of the search engine results) your blog for a single, specific keyword, you’re doomed to fail.

Why? Well, because people don’t search for single words. And that’s what a keyword is: the word (or words) people type into the search box on Google to find what they’re looking for.

Think about it. When was the last time you searched for, oh I don’t know, cake? That’s it. Just the word cake. Probably never, right?

You’re much more likely to have typed “chocolate cake recipe.” Or “best chocolate cake recipe.” Or “how to make a chocolate cake.”

That’s how people think. And search.

Here’s what you get when you search for cake:

the google search results page for cake The Google search results for the term “cake.”

Not very helpful, right? Unless of course, you actually are looking for the music group Cake. Or you have no idea what cake actually is.

But for a blogger trying to break into the top five search engine results, single word terms like this are practically useless.

Introducing Today’s Vocabulary Word: the Keyphrase.

Here’s what I want you to do. Whenever you start to think or say “keyword,” replace it with “keyphrase.” In fact, go ahead and erase “keyword” from your vocabulary. You don’t need it anymore.

A keyphrase is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the phrase that people type into Google (or their search engine of choice) to find what they’re looking for.

And picking the right ones can greatly increase your chances of being found.

What Makes a Good Keyphrase?

That’s going to depend on your subject. But, in general, your keyphrases should be:

  • Specific
  • Targeted
  • Steadily trafficked
  • Relevant to your post

So, not cake, but easy chocolate cake recipe.

Not Pinterest, but how to use Pinterest to promote your blog.

Not dresses, but blue retro dresses.

See what I mean? The more specific, the better. Not only will choosing really specific keyphrases make it easier for people to find your post, it will:

  • Reduce the number of sites you have to compete against
  • Increase the likelihood that the people who do find you actually want to read what you have to say

Those are both really good things. Things that will improve your rankings, increase your traffic, and lower your bounce rates.

So how do you figure out which keyphrases you should use? And where should you use them?

I’ll tell you. Next Saturday. To make sure you don’t miss it, you should probably just go ahead and subscribe now.  It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Until next Saturday…write strong and prosper!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

dusty earth mother August 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

Great Saturday idea, Amber! :-)

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Amber August 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Glad you like it! I think I’ll keep it up for a while and see how it goes!

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wendy August 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I heart you.
wendy recently posted..Let’s Get Physical Weight Loss Challenge

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Amber August 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Likewise. :)

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Jen August 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Ok, seriously! This is one of the first SEO posts I have read that makes sense to me. I have struggled with SEO for a very long time and basically forget about it.

But this… I get, I can do this.

PLEASE keep these posts coming!!!!!

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Amber August 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I’m so glad! I feel like a lot of pros make it more difficult than it needs to be. My goal is to make Seo less scary for all of us!

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Chloe August 14, 2012 at 1:02 am

Dang. Now Saturday can’t come quick enough. Thanks for this. I find the whole SEO thing very daunting.
Chloe recently posted..The truth about sex toys

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Amber August 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Lots of people do. But it doesn’t have to be! I’ll try and help as much as I can.

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Andrea August 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Love. I love this. I am 100% following you til forever. ;)

I think I found this link and info through Wendy, so I thank her and you both!
Andrea recently posted..From My Archives: The Challenge of Blogging

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Amber August 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I’m glad you liked it! I’ll try and make the next ones just as good.

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Christine September 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hi Amber!

Thanks to you now all I really want is chocolate cake. I’m reading through your article and get distracted, wondering where can I get a slice of chocolate cake from that’s near by?

BTW loved the article. I’ve been researching a lot about SEO and build up Actually’s Web Presence. We’re a Communication Design firm north of Toronto. Check us out if you have a chance. I’d love to hear your feedback on some of our blog posts. http://www.actuallywecreate.com

Looking forward to next week’s post!
-Christine

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Amber September 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I’ll bet you google could tell you where to get chocolate cake! Glad you enjoyed it! I’ll stop by soon.

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Kat September 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I am SO looking forward to your series, and have just subscribed to your blog! I have been reading books, articles and blogs on SEOt, and have been doing pretty well… I have a blog that markets Miche bags, and I was pretty consistently on the first page, and doing really well in Google images. Then this last weekend, I had more sales than in my previous best month — August – and i was ranked high on page 1 for my most important key word phrases. Now, I stopped searching at page 26, and all of my images are gone from Google images! A similar thing happened to me a couple of months ago, but not so dramatically, and I read about a “honeymoon” period, thought it was that, but now I am at a loss! Google has not blacklisted me that I can tell – but I have completely disappeared from their rankings. Please tell me you know what I should do?

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Kat September 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I am SO looking forward to your series, and have just subscribed to your blog!

I have been reading books, articles and blogs on SEOt, and have been doing pretty well… I have a blog that markets Miche bags, and I was pretty consistently on the first page, and doing really well in Google images. Then this last weekend, I had more sales than in my previous best month — August – and i was ranked high on page 1 for my most important key word phrases. Now, I stopped searching at page 26, and all of my images are gone from Google images! A similar thing happened to me a couple of months ago, but not so dramatically, and I read about a “honeymoon” period, thought it was that, but now I am at a loss! Google has not blacklisted me that I can tell – but I have completely disappeared from their rankings.

Please tell me you know what I should do? I really need the help!

Reply

Amber September 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I took a quick look at your site, and honestly, I think you might be over-optimizing a bit. Try using your keywords a little less, and varying your links a little. Or varying your keywords. Right now, they all have Miche in them somewhere…Google likes variety in anchor text. You might also consider throwing some posts up that are directly linked to your sales efforts…general fashion trends, style tips, etc. Remember, content is king! Hope this helps…

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Karen Klasi September 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I’m in a cold sweat because I have no idea what “bounce rates” (or anything else!) means!

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Kat September 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Thanks so much, Amber, for your suggestions! Could something so small lead to such drastic results? I will try this and continue to follow your series.
thanks!

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Amber September 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm

It can certainly help! Good luck!

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Lori Anderson September 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

This is a great start – looking forward to hearing more. I think I do some of this intuitively but I’d like to be more intentional now that I’m really taking my blog more seriously. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!
Lori Anderson recently posted..Fab Find Friday ~ Susan Sontag on Love

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Amber September 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm

A lot of it is, kinda, common sense. I hope it helps!

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