As another part of my small business series, I’m going to delve into some SEO tips and tricks. I’ve tried paying for SEO (at high cost and low return) and then finally taught it to myself. End realization: For any smaller operation, doing it yourself is 100% the way to go.
So! Here’s my Search Engine Optimization How To post!
Search Engine Optimization How To
For my examples I’m going to pretend I have a website that sells sewing patterns for handmade clothing. I use WordPress as my website builder.
Part I : Choosing Keywords
It’s pretty easy to make a blog post SEO friendly. The tricky part is choosing a keyword that is actually going to get you some visits. This first part will show you how to choose a good keyword.
Sign up for a Google Adwords account. You will need to enter your credit card but don’t actually need to make a purchase of any Ads. You just want to use one aspect of the account, the Google Keyword Planner.
Think of a relevant blog post topic that would draw in an audience that might also be interested in buying your patterns. An example would be “Handmade summer dresses”.
Navigate to the Google Keyword Planner page. Enter the general topic you want your blog post to be about in the top box, the one labeled “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”. For this example I put in “Handmade summer dresses”.
I don’t usually bother to enter my website but you can if you want Google to have a quick look over it and use it to suggest ideas to you. If you only sell to a certain country, you can limit the audience to that country (but I don’t usually do this).
Under Keyword Filters, I also usually click the “Competition” box “Low”. This is simply because I am lazy. After I write a blog post that is really strong for SEO, I don’t want to have to do anything like backlink it and such. If there is a lot of competition for the keyword I’m using, other people are probably putting in effort to get their posts and pages to the top, which means mine will not make it.
But if you think you’ll put in the effort, by all means go for the “Medium” ones too, because they often have more people searching for them.
Click Get Ideas and you’ll end up at an ugly page like the picture below (click for larger version). You’ll want to navigate to the tab under the graph that says Keyword Ideas, which I’ve pointed out with a yellow arrow:
Scroll down the list of Keyword suggestions until you find one or two that are relevant and have a decent number of monthly searches. I usually aim for one that has at least 50 monthly searches, but the more the merrier. For example, this post you are reading uses the keyword phrase Search Engine Optimization How To, which returns over 12,000 searches a month but somehow still is only Low competition. Unless you are already a Fair Ivy reader, I bet that’s how you got here 😛 However, posts I make on handmade goods are usually only for 50-100 monthly searches.
Ok. I’m going to choose the keyword “How to Make Summer Dresses”, which has Low competition and has about 70 searches a month. If you don’t see any that work for you or have decent monthly searches, try a new search term in the top box.
Part II : Wordpress SEO Tutorial
Head on over to your WordPress dashboard. If you don’t have it already, install the plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Create a new blog post. In the title, put your keyword phrase. Make sure your permalink also has the exact phrase in it, like below. If it doesn’t look like this, head on over to Settings → Permalinks and make sure the structure of your posts is either
Scroll down and find the box labeled WordPress SEO by Yoast. In the Focus Keyword box, put your exact keyword, “How to Make Summer Dresses”.
In SEO Title, include the exact Keyword and any other words you want to show up. This is the title that will appear in the google results. In the Meta description, also make sure you include the exact keyword but make it a compelling description that will make people want to click through. See my example below:
Save your draft. When the page refreshes, you’ll see a little colored dot next to SEO in the Publish box on the right:
When writing the post, your goal is to make that little dot green. If you click the “Check” link next to the colored dot, it will show you in detail all the problems with your post’s SEO quality. It will be a bit overwhelming, like this:
But obviously you haven’t written anything yet, so not to worry! Start writing your post, keeping in mind the things that the plugin is looking for.
Here’s a couple of quick pointers:
- Use the exact keyword at least a few times in the body of the post.
- Have at least two pictures, and for their “Alt text”, use the keyword. This is also good in case someone Pins the image, because it’s the image description that will show up—so make it a complete sentence, like “This fantastic post shows you exactly how to make summer dresses, step by step!”
- If possible, use a header that contains the keyword. If you look at this post you’re reading right now, I have two H2 headers. Both of them include SEO keywords.
- DO NOT make the post all spammy. Make it an actual blog post. If you just keep writing “How to Make Summer Dresses” over and over again in a poorly disguised way, Google will not be happy with you. The plugin should also tell you if you’ve used the keyword too much.
- Also, don’t panic about making all the little dots green. I never manage to get them all green. Just do as many as humanly possible while still having a well-written, useful post for your readers.
- Once you get comfortable writing good SEO posts, you can try and include multiple keywords in future ones. The way to do this is to just change the keyword in the “Focus Keyword” box, and see how it checks out when you hit Save. You don’t want to remove your original keyword from anywhere else, but you can use the SEO checker to see how your new keyword looks.
- Make sure you casually include information in the post or in the sidebar about what you sell or do, so the reader can take action rather than leaving your site when they’re done.
That’s it for the basic intro! NOTE: It takes at least 6 months for Google to crawl your page and integrate all the changes, so after 6 months you may start to slowly see a response. Don’t expect anything soon than that—so remember, this is the long game!