The SEO Puzzle

I am like you, trying to puzzle out what in the world will get my page read, found in search…even listed in search. And that all boils down to learning about SEO.
I am writing this for people like me. We don’t really get the complex, insider details about how to optimize our site or posts. But I work very hard to read and implement the advice of those who do understand. I try to get cues from the way large sites are changing to become friendlier to Google. Especially post Panda and its other Google update personas.

What Are Some Big Changes On The Horizon?

Some that make me hopeful that it will become more about the writer and the reader, and less about those who game the system.

Here is a short list of what may be changing:

  • Optimizing for mobile will be more important
  • Localizing will add value
  • Author authority and Google authorship
  • Detailed and data rich articles
  • Fresh and well-researched
  • Or mature and reliable

Now, the question will be how the search engines define some of those qualities, but some of what we bloggers can improve are:

-Connect our work with Google authorship.

-Connect with Google Local.

And, of course, improve how we write posts and articles. This is probably going to mean changes for those of us who picked up bad habits in the meantime.  I have always written carefully for my garden site, Ilona’s Garden, but some of my other work has suffered from sloppiness. The garden site has always been the mother ship since the early days of Geocities, so it sees the improvements first, like switching to responsive design,  working on keywrods, etc.

Oh, About Keywords

 

Apparently they won’t figure in as much, or maybe at all in the switch to well researched and relative content. That is something that some of us will appreciate. Yet, all of the information is rather arcane in the light of the fact that Google doesn’t reveal its secrets and SEO experts work at guessing what the next step will be. But what I’m giving you is the insights they have been building over time.

These are pieces of advice that I am going to actively follow, some which I have already been implementing.

You might want to read this article

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I Want To Be Rich, I Want To Be Famous, I Want A Blog!

rich n famousYou are smarter than that… but the headline grabbed you. What fool says things like this? Well, from a TV ad I saw recently, and from lots of stuff I read online, there are many such fools. But not you, and if you read on I will tell you things that I know about this. Things that will help you if you are just starting out. You’re looking at what you think are my proofs, aren’t you? The proof is in the pudding and all that…  “If this blogger is so knowledgeable, why doesn’t she (first lower indicator and expectation arrives with gender- I’ll share on that later) have lots of hits, lots of comments… at least a blip on the horizon?

OK, here’s is part of what you learn from this post:  some things NOT to do, which can be just as important as the things you should be doing. Number one….

Things NOT to Do

(1)  If you change your website url…. people will no longer find you, and worse case scenario (like here) is that you will have to start all over again. In a much tougher competitive environment.

(2)  Second mistake I’ve made… but on purpose… is that I haven’t updated this blog. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it for a long time, and I was busy working on my other blogs. So this one just sat and became the sandbox for theme problems or tryouts I worked on, again, for the other blogs. The inverse rule: what you must do when you blog, is update regularly. You must write content. a blog cannot thrive if it is set up like an old static website. In fact, online activity has changed so much that websites cannot simply sit there without updating and lots of new content being created. The people who surf and use the web can no longer waste their time on sites that don’t care. Lack of updating on some sort of regular basis (it can be monthly or weekly or daily) is showing indifference.

Alright… that is enough for now about things I learned the hard way. Let’s talk about things I know now, and that you will hear from some very successful bloggers if you dig around finding their secrets of success.

A blog has to be marketed. This is what those promises of making an easy website and getting found in the search engines don’t tell you honestly. It is a lot of work and you have to sell your blog and your writing. You will be in the process of branding, creating your own brand. Like Coca Cola hopefully, but that is part of what sets your blog apart from gazillions of others that are populating the web. If you work very, very hard to write and create a beautiful website, it will not be read unless you market it. There are many things to do in this, but for this post let’s just promote the idea, in case you weren’t aware how much this matters.

A blog should have an adequate, nice looking theme (design or style). right now this one is very plain, but that is all right. It has many features in the backend where the work of functioning resides, it is pleasant looking in the way it uses the page space, and the navigation works well. Believe me on this. I have sites where I didn’t begin with good navigation and although I had been aware of this, the themes sometimes didn’t work well with what I was trying to do, either. It is hard to fix this. Not impossible, but try finding a theme that makes it easy for you to show off your pages and your posts to the readers… don’t make them dig for the information they need.

Be SEO friendly. This goes along with the importance of marketing. The search engines are what people use to find your posts and thus, your blog, which will make you famous, if not rich. Well, it will help put on on the map anyway. I bet you use Google, or if you are an iconoclast, Bing, to get here. Because I sure am not linked from anywhere. Not even from my own blogs yet. (SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”).

  • Before you do anything change the url structure you use. If you are using a wordpress blog… or even a joomla cms or anything that has goofy numbers and no search terms or key words in the link, Change It Now… you will be so grateful someone told you about this early. Make it pretty- something that includes the post headline, etc. maybe under the category. Do it now before you have lots of posts and changing it cause weirdness in the way wordpress finds your posts and the solutions tell you to do scary things like change your htaccess file.  Don’t know what that is? Just change the url structure now. Please. This is found ( in WordPress) under “Settings” and “Permalinks”.  More info on that.
  • Learn about SEO,  copywriting ( which is what you do when you make your headline interesting, your post readable, and other good things like that). You can find helpful information on site like Problogger and Copyblogger.  Google, itself, will helpfully tell things that will help them serve up your site more easily.
  • Learn how Facebook and Twitter can be used to market your blog and grow community. These are two aspects that not only make blogging more fun for you and interesting for your readers, but are two easy ways to market without as much time, money, or expertise as some of the other methods. If you don’t know about this side of the social media coin, it is not a steep learning curve, just one of the steps that many people use now for online communication.

Of course, if you would like it to be just you and and your blog, forget everything I’ve said here.

And, oh yes, I almost forgot. If you are a woman you must work much harder to have a high profile blog. But maybe “Mommybloggers” break the rule.

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