At the core, SEO consists of making your content easy for search engine spiders, most notably Google’s, to crawl and index. If that last sentence sounds like gobble-dee-gook, don’t worry. It takes a little while for SEO jargon to make sense (and, after doing this for ten years, I can still find my head spinning sometimes!). Picture this:
- You post a piece of content on your blog
- Google sends out “spiders,” meaning programs that travel the web in search of content to “crawl” (read)
- A certain percentage of this content is “indexed,” which means that it is categorized and potentially available for Google to return as a result when people search on relevant topics
- Let’s say that someone searches on Google for “writer’s block.”
Optimizing Your Content
Now that you understand the big picture of how Google indexes content, it’s time to do some reverse engineering. “Optimizing” your content is a fancy way of saying that you make what you publish online search-engine-spider-friendly, making it easy for Google’s spiders to find, “understand” and categorize your content.
Step one of optimization: you conduct keyword research to see how people are searching for the type of content that you’re writing. A free way to do that is to use Google’s keyword planner tool.
Simply sign into the tool using your Gmail account. You’ll see this screen.
Here’s another concept to consider. The term “writer’s block” is competitive (meaning, it can be difficult to rank well for that term because lots of people have that same goal), so it’s better to choose longtail terms (three to five words each) that aren’t as competitive. But, be sure to choose longtail keywords that other people actually use, rather than ones that you hope people use.
I quickly found, using our hypothetical example, that 90 people per month search on “how to overcome writers block.”
Come up with a list of keywords that you’d like to target for your blog, going after longtail terms, and then watch for more SEO information in this column.