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SEO for Bloggers With Soul

This guest post is by Sarah L. Webb of S. L. Writes.

Maybe you consider yourself a serious writer who doesn’t have time for the details of how to boost SEO.

Why should you bother with that when you’ve launched a blog to help people and make the world a better place? Every post you write is packed with valuable information and compelling content. For you, that’s most important, and it should be.

However, it’s hard to change the world if you can’t reach the world, and SEO increases the chances that readers will discover this life changing blog of yours.

You still might think SEO is mostly fake and contrived and not worthy of a serious writer’s attention and time. You might view SEO as a spammer’s bag of tricks, even with Google’s efforts to make it harder to manipulate the system.

I understand that you’re a truly passionate blogger who wants to distance yourself from the kind of malignant marketing that clogs your spam folder. But there’s more to it.

Basic SEO practices are also good blogging and writing practices. More than just helping your site show up in a search engine, SEO can help improve a blog’s focus, readability, and value.

Here’s how it happens naturally.

Focus keywords: passion and niche

Keyword usage is possibly the number one strategy for bloggers, likely because it’s one of the simplest. But keywords have gotten a reputation for destroying perfectly good writing by making it annoyingly repetitive. That’s because spam writers pack keywords into every sentence, thinking it makes a difference.

Instead, the only keywords you need to focus on are passion and niche. Your blogging niche is probably your passion.

Of course those two terms won’t be your actual keywords. Instead, your keywords are the names of the category/sub-category that your niche falls under. For example, your niche and therefore your keywords might be rooftop gardening, comic book collections, or backswing.

This is far from contrived, and you’re probably already using these words because they’re the subject of your blog. It’s actually what your site is about and what your posts are about from any number of angles. The majority of your posts, therefore, and your titles, should naturally include these words on a fairly consistent basis.

If readers can’t tell what your blog is about, they probably won’t come back. If it’s clear that your blog is all about rooftop gardening, then rooftop gardeners will keep returning for more information. Otherwise, they’ll think you’re some sort of generalist blogger who once wrote about rooftop gardening on a whim.

So it’s bigger than keywords. It’s about the focus of your blog.

Still concerned about the quality of the writing? SEO can help improve the reading experience of your posts.

Titles and language: be direct

Honest, soulful, non-spam blogging is all about the readers, isn’t it?

Beginning with the title, SEO reminds you to tell readers exactly what to expect from an article. They shouldn’t have to read hundreds of words only to realize your post won’t give them what they’re looking for. Readers are busier than ever and they literally have a million other things they could be giving attention to. If you don’t respect your readers’ attention, they may never bother to read your work again.

It’s only fair that you don’t waste their time with misleading, ambiguous titles or introductory paragraphs that dance around the subject. More than likely, they won’t even click the link if the title is bad and isn’t somehow informative. You can still keep intrigue and shock, but the topic should always be clear and specific.

Another value of being SEO minded is that it reminds you to write in a clear, conversational tone. As the saying goes, “Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.”

This is more than search engine friendliness. Conversational language helps you connect with your audience and convey those brilliant ideas to the broadest, possible range of people.

Before you could ever think about the “how” of language, I’m sure you determine the “what.” What’s the value in everything you’re doing, and how does SEO help you improve that value?

Length and links: offer valuable content

When I’m grading student papers, I can estimate how well-developed or under developed the papers are by looking at the word count. Word count factors into the quality of writing because many students make strong claims, but they fail to support illustrate, or expound on those ideas.

For instance, students would probably say they can sum up this entire post in one sentence.

I can too: SEO can help improve a blog’s focus, readability, and value.

But if I had just stopped there, would you be convinced? Would you really walk away with a renewed perspective on SEO if I had left it at that?

That’s where elaboration comes in. Make a wonderful claim, and then tell readers how to apply it or how it relates to them.

Readers like posts that are packed with insight and helpful information. Being vague and general won’t give them that. Write it plainly, but also write it completely.

Include links wherever they’re truly relevant. Give readers the opportunity to continue learning beyond the single post they’re reading.

All of this is in line with your noble mission, not contrary to it.

SEO with soul

Unfortunately, a system put in place to measure the value of sites so that Google could deliver the best value to its users has been hacked by people trying to make a quick buck. But like any form of technology, a few people who abuse the system don’t make the system inherently worthless. Like Facebook, Twitter, and television, it’s about how you chose to use the tool, and the kind of value you bring to it.

If you’re a regular at ProBlogger, you’re probably someone who uses technology for legitimate, even charitable purposes. Your good intentions should lead you to an honest use of SEO. I call it SEO with soul.

So I urge you not to let the spammers keep you away from a great thing. Take back SEO, and show the world how to do it right.

Sarah L. Webb teaches writing at the University of Phoenix in Louisiana, is working on a collection of architecture poems, and blogs about books on writing and other off topic issues at S. L. Writes.

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Comments

  1. Dhruv Bhagat says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Recently, Google is coming up with its latest algorithms and yeah, it is the most difficult thing to survive on top links. These basic SEO tips are the brilliant and one should not concentrate in buying paid links and all. Every thing you do should be natural and after doing regular blogging, you will surely be on top one day..

    • I agree! If it’s not natural, the success won’t be as enjoyable.

    • Joe says:

      True friends, blogging is time we step back like the old days, just a simple post without excessive optimization, maybe this could be an option terbik of raging Google

    • Tom Edson says:

      I agree totally with blogging and doing it in a natural style, not just posting spam all over peoples blogs. I am a writer for a financial company Golden Financial Services where they offer credit card relief programs and I help with their blog. http://nomorecreditcards.com/credit-card-relief-programs/
      There is always so much to talk about in the credit card world, so it makes blogging come out very natural. I mean we all have credit card debt, right?
      Anyways I wanted to add a word about buying links, its horrible. Link farms are also something that bloggers and SEO experts need to stay AWAY from. Google is getting smart and pays great attention to links, where they are going and coming from. If its not natural, Google will see that and it could hurt your ranking. In all of our businesses there is much to talk about, so keep it real.

  2. Samuel says:

    I love how you talk about keywords first, right off the bat!

    Keywords are one of the best uses in SEO that you can take advantage of.

    Use your keywords as an opportunity to present your excellent content too.

    Plus, try to focus more on long tail keywords which can be much more easily ranked for.

    Always do your best with the content and SEO takes its part in presenting your content to those searching.

    Thanks for the wonderful article Sarah!

    • Tony Moly says:

      Yes I agree with you. Long tail keyword is more and more important nowadays, since there are thousands of new website launching everyday, so competing in short keyword seems impossible for individual. Finding a niche along with some long tail keywords which have rather low traffic, yet targeted, is the key to be successful in any online fields today.

      Thank you for your useful post, Sarah!

    • Thanks for the advice on long tail keywords. Sounds like you’re right on track!

  3. Sarah,

    Thank you so much for this post, it somes up beautifully my own approach and philosophy to SEO. It’s easy to become cynical from spam and swamped in advice, but by focussing on clean, clear, relevant content and writing with authority and passion, we can hack through the overgrown jungle of irrelevance.

    A timely article!

  4. Great great post, Sarah

    Thank you. SEO is a little easier for me, because I write about dogs (my passion), but it was hard at first, because I felt like I was drowning in keywords. I love your spin on SEO; it was easy to follow and understand. I like to SEO up each post and now I’m working on doing the same for my guest posts too.

    Thanks again for a new perspective on SEO.

  5. Brankica says:

    Hi Sarah, this is the first post I’ve read that you wrote. Definitely going to check out your blog after this comment.
    I absolutely agree with you about this. People feel like they have to do SEO no matter what and it makes their writing worse, but at the same time, what ever niche you are in, if you use the language of that niche, you will be “doing SEO” because you will write about them. You will keep mentioning the words that someone else will stuff in wrong places.
    Great post.

  6. Kevin says:

    Traffic from google is great and it’s free, but it’s really hard to get if you don’t do SEO. Focusing on the right keywords is the best way to do that. I really like what you said about passion and niche. You’ll have the right keywords if you just use keywords from your niche.

    You also brought up something that I have been working on in my writing – making sure the reader knows what the post is about from the title. I used to have vague titles. I’ve been trying to avoid that lately. I want to make it easier for readers to get into my posts and I want to make it easier for the search engines to find me.

    Spending a little energy doing a few SEO tweaks can help your content quite a bit as well as make you easier to find on google. Thanks for the good article.

  7. Write with soul with the focus on a specific set of keywords and write with the style like you’re talking to a good friend sharing excitement and passion is the key. Gaming Google definitely doesn’t work but writing for the consumer is the present and the future of SEO content writing.

    I’m going to share with with my Twitter followers.

  8. Shelby Roth says:

    This is helpful write up Sarah!

    Thanks a lot for this post with the approach and philosophy to SEO. I really loved the idea in your tips with tittles and language, very important part of blogging… we need to focus forward and positively to avoid misunderstanding in our writing. You have actually inspired and encouraged me so far…thanks for sharing!

  9. Hi Sarah.

    I want to agree with you on this. People have different perfection about SEO and they actually want to be as much competitive in terms of keywords. I think passion and niche is the best and thanks a lot I have got a new break-through. I enjoyed your points, very inspiring and educative…keep up!

  10. I have reason to believe that good SEO could boost your writing of course if blended with a writer who does his writing with authority and passion. A suitable article for the same I would say. Sarah, I really like the fact that you focused on SEO!

    Thanks

  11. I like your point of view about SEO. The outlook is that of a writer and truth is that no good writer can do without SEO. So the point here is that we get to learn the do’s and don’ts when it comes to the same. Very informative post I must say. Thanks.

  12. Reed Nixon says:

    I completely concur with your article Sarah. Although, if you are so much into it; you should blend it with articles from Google. Do research and come up with an article that is unique and lovable by your readers. I also like the fact that you reiterated on key words and long ones at that. This will also ensure exceptional material/content!

  13. nial fuller says:

    Good writers who are also experts in their chosen field will generally attract long term loyal audiences.

  14. Christina says:

    Completely agree with this article of SEO! Lot of new changes has come in SEO, those are very tuff to follow up! Content is king in SEO & valuable link are always help in SEO ! I’m happy to read this article & I’m more close for SEO after reading this article.

  15. Frank says:

    “Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.”

    How about: “Don’t use a big word when a small one will do.”

    :-;

  16. Hi Sarah,

    Excellent post. I think bloggers should do SMO rather then SEO because they have a lot of posts and they can not do SEO for all of them. :)

    Thank you

  17. It is so difficult to get started in SEO but when you understand that you can be a real person and not a “robot” and still get some link juice, things happen more naturally.

  18. Brad Jones says:

    It has been quite a while since I have been here I must admit, problogger is a great source of not only information but enjoyable reading too. I have been telling people since I can remember that the only way to be is honest. In my perspective the way that SEO or marketing is pursued really says a lot about a person or a company. If they are simply attempting the quick link, spamming specific words throughout their article, and by the way, Sarah you have written a superb article here. I enjoyed and learned which is exactly what I look for….as I was saying in my perspective doing the blackhat or non-accepted style of trying to get your site found is just as bad as selling someone a computer that doesn’t work, or trying to get them to by a virus program to replace a perfectly good program they have already purchased. Not to mention robbing a bank, while there is definitely different levels to the severity the principle in my mind is the same, still dishonest and unethical.

  19. Ravi kumar says:

    I am truly with the writer’s side. People should concentrate on their content while posting, they should do some research work for title in term of good SEO.

    Great Article motivates us.

    Thanks

  20. Hi,

    I think bloggers are SEO experts because after having too much experiments on their blogs they usually have too many experience. They should work harder on blog !
    Thank you

    Zane

  21. Jessica Deva says:

    Sarah,

    The content of your post was useful and thoughtful but what actually made me want to comment was: WHOA, this lady can WRITE. You have a marvelous writing style, both fluid and concise. I learn so much from reading the way a good writer chooses to put a sentence together, or sets up a narrative. I will definitely be heading over to your site to read more.

    Cheers!