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The Only SEO Your Blog Posts Need

This guest post is by The Blogger.

Okay, I know you’ve read posts about SEO, PageRank, and other things we bloggers should all know about.

This stuff is helpful, but it has come to overshadow some of blogging’s golden rules, like that original content is king. I doubt this fantastic blogger ever focused on “Search Engine Optimization,” yet her fan page is bigger than yours or mine will ever be.

All you really need to know about SEO are three relatively simple things and how they relate to each other. I’m talking about Keywords, PageRank, and backlinks. In this post, I’d like to explain how these three things come into play when you publish a new blog post. If you learn something by the end of this, post a comment and tell me.

1. Find popular keywords

To discuss keywords, we’ll began after your post is written, but before you hit Publish. I’m not here to tell you how to write posts. Everyone writes in their own beautiful way and you may be onto some new way of writing that is totally revolutionary and perfect on its own.

Keywords do two things, they describe your post and they make it popular. By popular I mean people are search these keywords in Google Search.

So here’s an example: You write a blog post on vacation spots in the Caribbean. Potential keyword phrases include “vacation spots Caribbean,” “cheap Caribbean vacations,” “best places to vacation Caribbean,” and anything else you’d imagine people are currently searching in Google. You need a way of knowing which keyword phrase is best and I’ve got just the tool for you.

The best keyword tool

Good news, you don’t need to imagine because Google lets you know for sure. Head over to the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool and try out some searches. Just plug in some short, two- to four-word phrases and see which are popular.

You have to try out a few searches to get the hang of this thing, so don’t get frustrated if your initial searches produce low results.

The Adwords Keywords Tool is totally amazing. It shows search term volumes and competition levels. Ideally, you want keywords phrases with low competition and ridiculously high search volume. This can be tough. Some phrases, like “cheap car insurance” or “purchase blog hosting,” are already totally bought out. Some phrases that aren’t popular at all are bought out. Weird huh? Google makes too much money.

But you’re not paying a cent here. Hooray!

Here’s an example of how I used the Adwords Tool: I just published a blog post on About Me pages and found “About Me page” to be a good keyword phrase for it. 246,000 people were searching that and competition was low—which is good enough for me! Some phrases get searched as much as 151 million times a month though. Impressive, huh?

Notes: Disregard one word phrases, those won’t help you here. Also disregard the website and category fields as you don’t need them for these searches.

Once you’ve found a good phrase, we’ll work on putting those keywords in your post title.

2. Put the keywords inside your post titles

WordPress.com estimates that 500,000 new posts enter their blogosphere each day. That’s just the .com. Factor in other platforms and we’re talking a couple hundred million.

But about 95% of these posts are mistitled. The post authors slap careless titles on their posts that prevent the posts from ever being found. Why would you want a blog post to not be found?

Now I know I talked about titling posts in my previous post—but I’m not some title guru, okay? Just bear with me.

Titles broken down, again

A blog post title consists of two parts: what you see, and what Google sees. What you see is the actual title! What Google sees is the permalink. You want those keywords you just chose inside the permalink. This tells Google crawlers what your post is all about.

One way to accomplish this on a WordPress blog is by going to Settings—Permalinks in your blog’s admin panel then selecting Post Name. You can also download the Custom Permalinks plugin, which gives you a bit more control.

Either way, take that post you wrote on “vacation places in the Caribbean” and put your keywords in the title right after .com/ or .org/ or .net/ or whatever. Separate them with a dash and be as simple as possible. Google loves simple.

Now, your blog post is keyword-specific. Sure, you can also put those keywords in the post body text itself—if you’re doing it right, they should already be in there! Don’t ever try to trick Google by mistitling posts, that’ll surely get your penalized. The point I’m making though is a lot more people will see your post if the permalink is done right.

3. Build PageRank through links

PageRank is your blog’s, or any webpage’s, relative importance on the web. It is measured by incoming links, which Google sees as “votes” for your content. That’s the simple part. It’s the recursive nature of PageRank that makes it so confusing. (Click through that link for a super-techy Wikipedia post.)

Building your rank

You build PageRank by getting links from websites or blogs that have high PageRanks themselves. Ideally this happens because folks just want to mention you!

What PageRank gives you is much, much more complex though. It allows your blog posts to rank well in Google and usually results in a lot more traffic. Perhaps most importantly opens new doors for how you can make money with a blog.

So of course, people manipulate PageRank. In the bad old days of blogging, you could setup a niche site with three articles on it, get some good backlinks from already-established sites, and your traffic would soar. You’d be on Google’s top ten for whatever Keyword phrase you focused on! Not anymore. Yet backlinks are still very important.

Best PR tips I can give you

So you’ve written your post, you’ve found great keywords to describe it and to put in your permalink, and you’ve titled that bad boy. The post is done.

Here’s what you can do with your blog post to build PageRank effectively:

  • Get it linked from a news site: I was fortunate and got my first blog mentioned in the Huffington Post early on in my blogging career. This brought tons of new folks in, and the link itself was a huge Google-vote for my site.
  • Get your post in link round-ups: Lots of blogs do weekly features where they recommend five or ten article links for their fans. Ask a site manager to get on their round-up and offer the same in return.
  • Use link-text wherever you can: A raw link in a blog post is good for SEO but a link on good anchor text is better.( Anchor text just means the words you place a link on.)
  • Focus on one or two posts: A couple of posts can bring massive traffic that will then view other posts. Instead of getting every article linked, try to get your best two posts linked several times.

PageRank is a bit odd. Once you have it, you don’t need to focus as much on it because your articles should already rank well in Google, and chances are people are linking to your organically. But before you reach this point, it’s work, work, work.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think SEO has gone too far? Do you even bother making SEO tweaks anymore? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

The Blogger is a 25 year old guy from New York who answers about 150 blog questions over his first coffee of the day. Read his full story here. You can find him on Twittersubscribe to the club, or ask him a question at his blog and he will answer right away.

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Comments

  1. aprillins says:

    Link from famous news sites better than have many links from hundred thousands of crappy websites

  2. Paul Salmon says:

    With regards to the competition in the AdWords Tool, I believe it reports the competition for the advertisers of that keyword, not the competition for searches. So in terms of competing in the search results, I don’t think the competition column has any useful information.

    • The Blogger says:

      Hey Paul,
      Remember, competition among advertisers results in high competition in Search. You’re probably not going to rank for those highly competitive phrases without investing money.

  3. shubham says:

    keyword is the most important in a post and if we are using high quality keyword then it is sure that our post will be going to be love by Google and this is what we all need.

  4. Links from sites like Huff post are definitely better than getting links from other random sites. I think that today you need to worry more about quality of your posts. Link building is important – but not like before.

    • The Blogger says:

      Right Bash because Google altered the algorithm. It’s a slight increase in post length topic quality and under weighting of back-links.

  5. Ben Troy says:

    I believe keyword phrases generates quality traffic for website, when some one searching for keyword phrase in search engine it means that person is looking for things which he need. Here we have great opportunity to gain business.
    I am using google insights but never tried so deeply

    Thanks for sharing interesting information

    • The Blogger says:

      Use it Ben! It makes posts much more valuable in the long-run. Thanks for stopping by to comment and good luck with your business.

  6. christine says:

    I wrote on my old blog for about 2.5 years and never gave a second thought to SEO or keywords. I’ve just recently (like, yesterday) started a brand new blog with an end goal of making some money from my writing. Your blog is SO HELPFUL for those of us who are basically still total newbies. I’m definitely learning that spending some time on SEO and keywords is definitely worth it.

    • The Blogger says:

      Nice Christine. It’s fun starting anew isn’t it? Dear Blogger at this date is only 3.5 months old too…

      SEO really isn’t magic but you’re right, it’s worth it to get a few practices down. Hope this helped. More soon. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Jef Menguin says:

    This suggestion make sense to me. For those websites which have many visitors from Google, tweaking the permalink is really useful.

    What I do?

    I ask my clients the keywords they used when searching for services that I offer. I used those keywords.

  8. Mi Muba says:

    Very viable tips; but remember while searching keywords you have to keep in mind how much is their worth for Google Adsense because there are hundreds of keywords having thousands and thousands of monthly searches but their Adsense worth is very less. Similarly if a keyword has monthly search is 1k it is not enough you have to see where from this searches are. The geographical background of these searches also counts a lot. For example if someone in Amercia click on leadership keyword it pays you more than $1 in some cases while the same word if clicked by a visitor of a third world country it would credit hardly $0.02 in your adsense account.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on such an important topice.

  9. Ken E Baker says:

    Thanks. I’ve tried Adsense, and the amount of information is absolutely staggering. Thanks for the advice on the permalink – I need to go check this on my site to see what is happening over there. Great article, by the way – please keep them coming.

    Out of interest, you mention getting your post linked on a news site – how did you manage this with Huff Post?

    • The Blogger says:

      Ken – Huffpost did a roundup on the 6 best entertainment websites for college students in the US…

      Well I guess someone said something about Adsense :)

  10. J. Delancy says:

    I’ve hardly ever taken S.E.O seriously. Every time I look around Google is playing with its algorithms, so I’ve decided to just focus on creating the best content that I can.

  11. Graeme says:

    Is there any point in using paid keyword tools such as Market Samurai? There are a bunch of them out there, but do they offer anything which the free Google one doesn’t?

    • The Blogger says:

      Sup Graeme,
      Yeahh, something I’ve debated too. Market Samurai will give you pretty exact words you can inject into your permalinks, post tags, in the post itself, in internal links, and other SEO rich spots. But I think with a little intuition the Google tools is plenty good enough.
      Thanks for commenting man,
      Greg

  12. I tend to focus more on the quality of writing than on the SEO these days, but having a well structured site is definitely one of the best things you can do to improve rankings IMO.

  13. Ryan says:

    I believe SEO has gone too far. Everywhere I turn I hear something new in the world of SEO that I have to do. It gets tiring after a while. Personally, I’ve had major success without SEO when I first started blogging back in 09′. I did put links into my posts but that’s about it. I usually just commented on blogs, forums and participated in the blogging community. I quickly gained a good following.

    I took some time off and came back to blogging a few months later to start in a new niche. I then found out about SEO and thought I’d try it to see if I would have more success…that was far from the truth. I completely set my site up the right SEO way and I found no success. That was Until I started participating on the blogging community again. SEO was unnecessary to do in my opinion.

    You’re just wasting your time with the more advanced side of SEO. The simple SEO tactics is what bloggers should be doing anyways.

    • The Blogger says:

      It’s gone WAY too far Ryan and I’m glad you pointed that out. I bet those first few folks who realized they could pwn SEO really made it big…

  14. Hamza Sheikh says:

    I am agreed with you! You are so right on this tactics. I am already working with these tips, and almost getting lot of traffic to my blog with working only on the trends and most searchable keywords. But I guess, making backlinks with specific keywords are now old age, and no more people involve in such kind of activities after the launch of Penguin. What do you say?

  15. Sarah Linden says:

    This article is a HUGE help, specifically #1 Find Popular Keywords. Thanks for always writing in simple terms for us newbies!

  16. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Incredible guide on SEO for blog posts Greg. Getting featured on sites like Huffington Posts is what most bloggers dream about.

    Thanks for writing on this here.

  17. Jacko says:

    I think website builders focus on SEO has gone too far.

    The firms who sell SEO service to people say you can’t do enough to optimize your site for search engines.

    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing HOW to improve PR.

    • The Blogger says:

      Hey Jacko,
      Yea…watch out for SEO services and vendors. A lot of that you can do yourself. Or feel free to ask me because I don’t charge a dime ;)
      Thanks for the comment,
      Greg

  18. Brian says:

    Thank you for the post. Especially after Penguin, it’s really troubling to choose right backlinks to create and people say that even the priority for article marketing is decreased. That’s a really good article to see the ways to improve PR

  19. Hi TB<

    I like SEO but never go overboard. Stick to the basics.

    Note the keyword in the title, and 4 times in a 600 word post.

    Once in the first and last paragraph, twice in the body.

    Once in the permalink of course and you're good to go.

    Beyond that, solve problems, write for people and you will gain more readers.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Ryan

  20. Each day we seem to be finding new rules to SEo. However, keywords are the most important as they determine the rate of competition for a given article.

  21. Shelby Roth says:

    Very informative information! This is amazing idea and I think using superior keywords would bring a light to your writing at the same time attract the attention of Google of which at least all bloggers needs. I’m ready to work upon your tips here, they sounds so useful and helpful to me. Thanks for sharing!

    • The Blogger says:

      And thanks for commenting Shelby! I’ll admit some of these tweaks I write about above are small ones. They won’t blast your blog into stardom. But they are absolutely crucial in my opinion. Namely, getting accurate keywords in the permalinks. Let me know if you have any more quesitons…

  22. I’m glad at least SEO brings out new feeds and this sounds so helpful and useful rules we bloggers should all know about! I most especially knew about keywords which is very important and thanks a lot I have got a break-through knowing much about PageRank, and backlinks; very crucial too. Thanks a lot for sharing! I look forward into applying the same.

  23. Rahul says:

    Keywords are always immensely helpful for your articles to get maximum number of hits or views. Google has a logic that is completely based on SEO keyword searching method and therefore I m sure all the aware bloggers often use google keyword searching tool to get an idea which keywords can be the best suitable for their posted articles.

  24. Well Greg you’ve actually made seo look easier. Well i too think that this is what matters. For me the post title comes the last. After over a year of blogging i can guess what’ll be popular and frame it accordingly. Make it easier for them to find you. How do you know that 95% post titles are bad?

  25. I actually didn’t know about the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. It seems to me like an antidote for competition and I am planning to use it the next time I get the feeling that I am not sure of the key word I am supposed to use. I actually enjoyed reading about the links and everything herein! It is very enlightening; particularly for those of us who had no idea about some of these features of Google. It is an eye opener for bloggers especially the starters.

    • The Blogger says:

      Glad it helped Tabetha. I use that tool all the time, it’s so weird how similar phrases get drastically different search volumes.

  26. tony says:

    Content is King . Correct . Thanks

  27. rick says:

    Great post! Short and to the point with truly valuable insights. One process I use in evaluating keyword phrases for titles and use in post is to simply search the phrases in Google. If no ads appear on the results page, I know to change up the phrase. I am no expert by any means but the more competition for keyword phrases means more revenue per click.

  28. Kevin says:

    I wish I had focused more on keywords in my initial efforts online. My first couple websites might have been more successful.

    Thanks for the reminder of the basic things that I can do to improve the SEO of my blog.

    I do think that you need to proceed with caution when using the google keyword tool. Use it for ideas, but remember that it can sometimes be misleading. I also like to find out what my competitors are going after and making money with. That way I can know for sure if the keywords are worth targeting.

  29. Daven says:

    That’s been more or less the method I’ve used since the beginning of starting my website a few years ago. Great content + carefully worded titles/urls + lots of original, quality text. I don’t actually do anything much beyond that (don’t seek out links from anyone other than au naturel) and have developed great search rank and get loads of traffic from search (nearly half a million visitors per month these days from search). It’s taken a long time to get here, but it really works.

    That being said, I have a friend who started his similar website about the same time and mostly follows the same model except he does target and acquire links from quality sites for his posts and homepage. He currently gets over 1M+ visitors per month from search, so done right, there does seem to have its merits. But he also put an amazing amount of work into that. I didn’t have to do anything. :-)

  30. Sofia says:

    Wow, that short post just answered all my SEO questions in a language which I can understand! I now feel like going back and changing titles and permalinks. Is that a good idea? It feels like cheating to change history in that way. I’ve only been running my baking blog since April. Also, the way I now understand it the title itself isn’t what matters in order for people to find a post when googling but it’s the permalink. Is this right? So if my post is about chocolate cake and this is in the permalink but the title is yummy cake, people will still find it when searching for chocolate cake? (I realise this is a bad keyword choice but just using it as an example).
    Thank you for a very informative post.

  31. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article, and I most admit that I enjoyed it all the way. I want to appreciate the way you explained finding popular keywords using Google Adwords. If you ask me how my blogging has panned out, I would tell you that it has been challenging and not encouraging due to poor traffic. Thanks a lot again, I need this kind of post to increasing my blog traffic.

  32. Gossipo says:

    thanks for such a nice and neat article. u r right about using Google ad words tool for keyword research although some articles suggested to use word tracker. I tried to use it but it didn’t gave me better ideas to implement over keywords. so personally I like Google ad words keywords tool

  33. I have learn several good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make the sort of great informative website.

  34. cham says:

    Focusing on the best posts is a great idea. It’s really tiring to optimize all the post only to find out that you are only distributing thin efforts to each. Thanks for this idea.

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  36. Brad says:

    Yes! Finally something about ipad 2.

  37. M. Danish says:

    Hi,

    i am beginner in SEO and confused what to do to get higher rank in google,bing and yahoo
    website: http://www.chicagolimoexpress.com
    blog: chicagolimoexpress.blogspot.com

    can any one tell me what is the best way for SEO, ill be grateful to you.

  38. Taran says:

    I got some great information it will help me lot.Thanks for sharing great stuff.

  39. Colm says:

    I am just starting SEO on my new site..I am just focusing on a few high quality links a day. I have been offered 1,000 links for like $5.00 but you get what you pay for I guess!