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I was at table 1

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help your blog get to No. 1

If you’re like me, then search engine optimization (SEO) is something you know about, you know is important, but you just don’t have the time to take on one more blogging task. I write three blogs and I guest post regularly for Dog Culture dot Net and Girl Power Hour as The Fur Mom; trust me when I say that I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by blogging all too well.

I’ve been blogging since 2009, but I didn’t start taking SEO seriously until 2011 and I was blown away by the difference it made. People were finding my blogs when they searched for the keywords I used in my posts. I’m not an SEO guru by any stretch of the imagination, but what I learned (combined with good timing) helped me reach a page rank of 2 in two months with my third blog, Keep the Tail Wagging and I’m excited to share a few tips with my fellow bloggers.

5 Quick SEO Fixes You Should Stop Ignoring

SEO Fix #1 – Keyword Research

Keyword research sounds like a ton of work and it doesn’t have to be. I use the free Google Keyword Tool to help me find the best Keywords for my blog posts. My goal is to find a Keyword with low competition with between 2,000 and 8,000 local/global searches. I don’t want to compete with the big blogs and I want a chance of being found (appearing on page 1 of Google) when people search for specific keywords or phrases.

Google Keyword Tool

I’ll select my Keyword/phrase first, then when I’m finished writing my post, I pop on over to the Google Keyword Tool to find the best phrasing. For example, if I’m writing about Life’s Abundance dog food I’ll check to see how many people are searching for “Life’s Abundance dog food,” because that’s who I want to target with my blog post. If the local and global searches are around 100, then I’m going to scroll through the list Google returns to find a phrase that has more searches. Maybe it’s “Life’s Abundance pet food”, or “is Life’s Abundance a healthy pet food.”

When I decide on the keyword or phrase that I want to use, then I go back and adjust my blog post to include it several times (without making it look spammy); my goal is for my keywords to sound natural.  There’s a fine dance to this step and it seems overwhelming, but when you get into a rhythm, it’ll become part of your process and it won’t hold you up at all.

SEO Fix #2 – Put Keywords in Your Image Captions

So isn’t this one a little obvious? And is it true that I didn’t think about doing this until someone made the suggestion? YES! If I’m using my own images, I take the time to add a caption that has one of my keywords or phrases. It’s a great way to add yet another keyword without having your blog sound unnatural to a reader. I also learned that many readers will scroll through a blog post, reading image captions and paragraph headers to decide if they’re going to read the full post. These are great places to capture their attention.

Johan and Dogs Playing

became a Life’s Abundance Pet Food Field Representative, because I want the best for our dogs

SEO Fix #3 – Use the H1, H2 Tags

As you read this post, you’ll see that I have used H2 tags for each paragraph title. When you do this, you’re telling Google “hey, this is important” and I’ve been told that Google will agree. You’re also doing your busy readers a favor by allowing them to quickly scroll through and skim a post.

I don’t know about you, but I’m crazy busy and I love to read other people’s blogs, because I learn a lot and it’s fun to connect with other bloggers. I’ve found that by helping others scan my posts, they’re more likely to comment. A fellow blogger mentioned my “to the point” writing style in one of his blog posts.

SEO Fix #4 – Google XML Sitemap

A web designer and SEO consultant recommended that I get a Google XML sitemap for each of my blogs and I sighed. Then I sighed again and put my entire body into it. I get so frustrated when I learn that I have to do ONE MORE THING to get my blogs noticed. Well, I didn’t follow the advice, because it looked like Google was getting my posts just fine.

A few months later and after getting this advice from several people, I started using the WordPress Plugin that created a Google XML sitemap and was stunned by what I learned. New blog posts from Adventures in Blogging were hardly being indexed. There were tons of posts that seemed to have slipped through the cracks.

If you’re a WordPress blogger, then I highly recommend using the WordPress Plugin, if you’re not a WordPress blogger, visit XML Sitemaps dot Com for tips on how to get started.

SEO Fix #5 – Comment Comment Comment

Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs. The links back to your blog are great! But you’re also building a connection with not only the blog author, but the other people who read your comment too. I’ve gained followers who first found me through a thoughtful comment I left on another blog. It’s worth taking the time to do this, I promise.

When Linking Back to Your Blog, I alternate between three methods of adding a link that depend on the blog I’m reading.

  1. I include the link to my blog in the Name/Email/URL section when leaving a comment.
  2. When including a link, I don’t just put the main link, instead I direct them to a specific blog post.  Even when a blog uses CommentLuv, a WordPress plugin that rewards people who comment by allowing them to promote a recent blog post, I may still include a post specific link.  I’ve discovered through Google Analytics that people who come to my blogs through a specific link stick around longer than people who just come to the main page.
  3. I may also add a link in the body of a comment if I want to direct someone to a specific blog post; when I do this, I only share links that are relevant to the discussion.

There are many other SEO fixes that are equally important and not so quick, but I understand (because I’m living it) that it’s difficult for us to manage a life, a family, a job, blogs, and SEO. Keep in mind that SEO is not a set it and forget it process. This is something that we should all consider when writing a blog post. Don’t let it be your overwhelming thought, it’ll spoil the fun you’re having, but if you’re interested in your blog being found, then give a few of these quick SEO fixes a shot. Be consistent, be committed, and have fun!

All images shared were taken by Kimberly Gauthier.

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