Meet SEO, your new best friend. The “It” Girl of the Internet, she’s everywhere: Google, Yahoo, Bing, even Ask… SEO, or search engine optimization, is the one you need to know… and the very thing to get your small business blog going places!
All weird personification of Internet terms aside, SEO truly is a marvel. In simplest terms, SEO is the process of changing websites or webpages visibility in search engine results based on specific terms or even just words found on that website or webpage. It works for everything: online stores, blogs, your personal profiles on various social media. Ever tried to Google yourself? It isn’t surprising that when you do that, the top results are always for social media: that’s because your name, as you post, like, and comment, is an effective SEO term!
So now that you’ve got one SEO experience under your belt, how can you effectively apply it your own small business blog? By boosting your blog to the front page of all search engine results, your new pal SEO won’t let you down, and you’ll be impressed just by how easy it is.
Think of it like tagging!
While SEO technically existed before social media tagging came along, newbies to the concept may better understand it by viewing it in comparison to a hashtag. SEO and hashtags are alike in that both use a word or short phrase to sum up the content in question and make it easy to search; so if you’re already familiar with tagging, you know that by adding a hashtag to a post it makes it searchable on that platform. Some tags get so big that they actually cross over into SEO territory, like #IceBucketChallenge or #BreakTheInternet. Search for them and you’ll see that they’re everywhere!
Unlike hashtags, you don’t necessarily need to put tagging in your blog posts to make them searchable (although some blog platforms, like WordPress and LiveJournal, do offer that option if you want your blog to be discoverable on those websites). Let’s say your small business blog focuses on the shoe industry, and you want to write a blog post about affordable designer shoes. Already you have your SEO term—”affordable designer shoes”—and from there you can get to work.
Just a Little Bit Extra
In theory, the most effective SEO tactic would be to use your SEO term as often as possible: this would ensure the likelihood of your blog post and its respective blog making the first page of any search engine, but I can also guarantee that would make your writing seem as annoying as possible. For example, this would make me want to tear my hair out:
Affordable designer shoes are great when you want to wear designer shoes but can’t afford them. With affordable designer shoes, you can look glamorous without breaking the bank, and the purchase of affordable designer shoes won’t weigh on your conscious.
Let’s try something that feels a little more natural.
Affordable designer shoes are a great addition to any frugal fashionista’s closet. You can look glamorous without breaking the bank, and the purchase of affordable designer shoes won’t weigh on your conscious.
See how the first example feels rigid and repetitive? Both examples are only two sentences, but the second one says the same thing while cutting back on the excess and awkwardness. Additionally, you’ll notice that the second example uses “affordable designer shoes” only one less time. I recommend writing what feels natural and going back in later to add your SEO term, so you can carefully see where it works; at the end of the day, though you do want to push your SEO agenda, it’s quality that matters overall.
You’ll quickly discover search engine optimization is no big deal. If you’re a writer maintaining a blog, with that skillset already under your belt, adding in SEO will be a simple, easy addition. And I totally get it: when you’re writing a blog post, sometimes SEO seems like the last thing to think about, but with a little practice, it’ll come naturally!