So you finished your latest training article. It’s a real masterpiece, this one. Hours of research, outlining and writing all combined into 1,000 words of brilliance. But once the final edits are done, what are your next steps?
Have you considered how this article is going to get found on the world wide web? Don’t make the same mistakes that newbies make; step up your game and make your article SEO friendly!
What is SEO?
SEO is short for “search engine optimization”.
It’s the simple process of getting your writing found by people who are searching for a specific thing.
Here's an example: You're shopping at the grocery store for all of your Paleo foods and you run into a CrossFit buddy. He's dripping in sweat, pale and mentions something about "Dude I think that workout gave me rhabdo".
You have no idea what that is so you fire up "the Google" and type in "What is Rhabdo?"
Google spits back a bunch of articles written on that exact topic. It chooses high-quality articles that contain information pertainining too ... you guessed it - rhabdo.
That's a simple example of what SEO is all about.
(In case you're still wondering, here's an explanation of rhabdo).
Here's the big take away - people are searching for answers to their problems, questions and concerns and will be much more likely to find your article if you take the correct steps to make your writing SEO friendly… otherwise it will forever live in solitude in the undiscovered abyss of the internet.
Why is SEO important?
Hopefully I've convinced you that you need to learn the basics of SEO if you ever hope to crush it online. SEO is important for no other reason than to drive organic traffic to your website. This means the more SEO optimized your writing is, the easier it is for someone who is searching for that “thing” to find it.
Effective SEO is a multi-level approach: keywords, content and link building.
How To Pick The Right Keywords For SEO
Keywords are the terms, words or phrases that your audience is searching for. For example, if you wanted to learn about SEO you would probably start with something like "how to seo", "seo for beginners", or "what is seo?".
A couple things to keep in mind when choosing your keywords:
- Your aim is to get the on the first or second page of the search results. If your article doesn't land on those two pages it likely won't be found.
- Use shorter phrases as these are searched more often.
A good place to start, even before writing an article, is to ask yourself, "What are people searching for?" Use an organic or thoughtful assessment. Base your keywords on what you see in reality (questions you hear people ask in your gym, common questions clients ask you, etc), and assume internet land aligns.
A second option is to use a keyword planning tool. Google Keyword Planner will do the trick while you're just getting started.
And if you have the time here is a great guide that covers in detail how to do keyword research for your next article.
How To Build Inbound Links For SEO
Here is some low-hanging fruit for you:
- Post to your blog regularly - pick a schedule and STICK TO IT NO MATTER WHAT.
- Write content that is highly shareable.
- Share every article you write with 10-20 people. Tell them that they can repost your article if they include a link back to your site.
- Link to other blogs on your blog.
- Write guest posts. Some blogs will even let you link back to your own site (<--- shameless self promotion).
- Create a resource list. Aside from being highly shareable and interesting, resource lists are great because they will generally contain lots of out bound links (and if you link to someone else's stuff, e-mail them and let them know. They might share it!).
The SEO Checklist
So now that you understand what SEO is and why SEO is important, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. There are literally millions of resources out there for a person to choose from when it comes to learning about SEO. I’ve taken the time of distilling the important, easy to follow steps into a simple checklist.
The next time you are thinking about publishing an article, refer back to this checklist and make that baby SEO optimized!
- Is your content fresh, relevant and at least 500 words in length?
- Is there a unique and relevant H1 tag?
- Have you used the primary keyword in the page headline?
- Have you used the primary keyword in at least one page sub-headline?
- Did you use the primary keyword in the body copy in a natural and compelling way at least three to ten times?
- Check for misspellings and poor grammar.
- Did you include relevant internal links throughout your content?
- Is your site mobile friendly?
- Are there relevant captions for your images?
Be sure to download and install the Yoast SEO Plug-in for your WordPress site. It’s a great tool that will make your life 10x easier. Trust me!