Think SEO: Day 23 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

Believe it or not, we barely have more than a week left of this challenge. Let’s make it a super great final stretch!

Think SEO

For today’s platform-building task, slow down and think a little about SEO (which is tech-speak for search engine optimization, which is itself an intelligent way of saying, “what gets your website/blog to display at or near the top of a search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.”).

So this task is actually multi-pronged:

  1. Make a list of keywords you want your website or blog to be known for. For instance, I like my Poetic Asides blog to be known for terms related to poetry and poets. This blog is more focused on topics like blogging, platform, and other business-y subjects. Think big here and don’t limit yourself to what you think you can actually achieve in the short term.
  2. Compare your website or blog’s current content to your keywords. Are you lining up your actual content with how you want your audience to view you and your online presence? If not, it’s time to think about how you can start offering content that lines up with your goals and the needs of your target audience. If so, then move on to the next step, which is…
  3. Evaluate your current approach to making your content super SEO-friendly. If you need some guidance, check out some of the tips below. There are very simple things you can do with your titles, subheads, and images to really improve SEO.
  4. Research keywords for your next post. When deciding on a title for your post and subheads within the content, try researching keywords. Google them ahead of time to see which sites appear in the results. When possible, you want to use keywords that are searched a lot but that have relatively low competition. These are the low-hanging fruit that can help you build strong SEO for your website or blog.

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SEO Tips for Writers

Here are a few things to keep in mind that will really help you build better SEO on your site:

  • Pick a main keyword (or phrase) for each page. If you’re wondering, the main keyword for this page is “Think SEO.” Once you pick one, here’s how you handle your post:
  • Include the keyword in the URL. You’ll notice that the URL for this post has “think-seo” in it.
  • Place an image with the keyword as the title of the image file. I actually didn’t do this for this post, but it does actually help. A lot. Separate words in your keyword phrase with underscores.
  • Include the keyword in the title of your post. The closer to the beginning of the title the better; look at this post for reference.
  • Include the keyword early in the actual post–preferably in bold or as a header. Look at this post for reference.

If you have an SEO plugin that requests a Focus Keyword, include it for that specific post. Also, remember that specificity is super important for SEO. Pick one focus for each post, and you’ll be on the right track to building SEO.

If you have a chance to link to the post in the future, try using the keyword as the hyper link. For instance, I really help out my keyword for Day 14 with a link like: Create a Time Management Plan, because that was the keyword for that day’s post. Check it out if you don’t believe me.

There are more advanced things writers can do, but these tips will get you ahead of most writers and bloggers right out of the gate.

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roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He regularly blogs at the Poetic Asides blog and writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He also leads online education, speaks on writing and publishing at events around the country, and does other fun writing-related stuff.

A published poet, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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Catch up on the first three days of the Platform Challenge here:

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95 thoughts on “Think SEO: Day 23 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

  1. ConnieCockrell

    I write my blog for my readers, as a way for them to get to know me and to provide them with free teaser content. So keywords that seemed to apply to me were: Random_Thoughts (my blog title and indicative of the fact I may talk about anything), Readers, Personal, Stories, Sharing. From those keywords I developed a whole longer list of other keywords that work with those primary ones.

    I think my content fits the keywords I just listed.

    Making my content SEO-friendly is a bit more of a challenge. I’m not sure how WordPress creates the URL or if I can modify it. I’ll have to check that out. However, putting the keyword in the title and within the beginning of the post and bolded should be quite easy to do.

    The last tip, to research keywords for my post, should be quite easy to accomplish.

    I’m excited.

  2. L.C. Rooney

    I use the Yoast SEO plug-in on my WordPress blog, and I’ve been very happy with it for my blog posts. I hadn’t paid enough attention to the SEO for my homepage, however, so this assignment was not only helpful but timely. I’ve made a few adjustments and will be tweaking it some more over the next few days. Thanks!

  3. Carli Fierce

    Getting caught up. As important as this is, I didn’t put a lot of thought into it. I mean I try to steer away from vague Blog post titles, like “Cool stuff I did”, but I will be more mindful to add SEO words in the title, the first sentence and add headings (never done that before)

  4. randinha

    Hmmm, this is a work in progress — especially concerning keywords for the entire blog. Without a carefully defined blogging niche (yet), I’ve been mostly relying on my name + writer as a keyphrase.

    Honestly I was hoping the niche thing would come up earlier in the month, since that’s the fundamental problem I face with platforming. Perhaps that was the idea behind Day 1’s task, but I had a hard time getting any focus from it because there are too many possible directions.

    (I guess things are starting to come into focus, but sloooowwwwwwwwwwly…)

  5. Allison

    Okay. I updated the url’s to my blog and I’m nowhere turning up on the search engines. Guess it might take time. Using a picture might be tricky. Ellen DeGeneres is the focus of my blog posts. I’d have to find one that I can use legally.

  6. tracycorral

    SEO seems part art and part science. I have a post written, but am struggling with making the heads/subheads SEO-friendly. I think I’m going to have to rewrite my post. GRRRR!

  7. DRZ

    Google keywords used to be my go-to, but apparently it is no longer free?! I could have sworn I used it less than a year ago. Apparently now you can still use it for free, but you have to make a Google AdWords account (and ads cost money, but you aren’t obligated to create an ad).

    Anyway, disappointed with that. Google Trends is still a good tool and it’s free, without needing to create an additional account, but I don’t think you can look up keyword competitiveness. https://www.google.com/trends/

    Now I’m off to research options beyond google….Any ideas?

  8. azlatic

    Good, good stuff today. My list is made, and this will make me reconsider my titles moving forward. I’m also adding key words to my posts, and will definitely start titling my images with much more precision.

  9. Majida

    For the last hour I have been trying to change the headings, sub headings by using key words but to no avail. I guess I will have to get the plugin to help with that. I think I have to spend a little more time on finding key words etc. Thanks for posting the analyzer. I changed key words according to that for the interview blog but not much help. I guess this is my cry for help. Anyone who has figured out please let us know. Thank you. Thank you also to Mr. Brewer for bringing the points to our awareness.

  10. lmurban20

    SEO is definitely not my strong suit either, but I did just sign up on lynda.com. This is one of the topics I plan to see if there’s some sort of course or webinar available so I can learn more about it.
    For now, I think I may some basic ideas for seo keywords related to my blog in general: short stories; poetry; life lessons; weight loss journey – https://lmurban20.wordpress.com

    1. tracycorral

      Lynda.com is a pretty good resource. The tutorials are generally pretty good and they do break the information down into bite-sized chunks. The company I worked for had an account and I was able to learn all types of different softwares.

  11. G Hesslau Magrady

    Novice question.
    I have a poetry post. The poem’s title is “Crossings (photo prompt).” For my Weebly “advanced” settings, there are three boxes: Permalink, SEO Post Title, and SEO Post Description. I think I want to include key words Poetry, Photo Prompt, Crossing, Bridges. Would that be accurate? And what do I type in each box?

    I have the same question for my “Autumn’s Myth (madrigal)” post, where I think I want to include key words Poetry, Madrigal, Autumn, Mythology, but I don’t know how to fill in the boxes.

    1. Majida

      Hi G, please let us know when you figure out the answer to your question. I added picture still it didn’t help bring my article in the first three when I searched it on Google:(

  12. clarkatniles

    All this information will take time to digest, but I know it’s worth making the effort. At the least, I can start with researching key words for my next post, which is Monday. Thanks, Robert, and all you other posters who have shared experiences and encouragement!

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