Ever wondered how content gets ranked on the first page of results in Google, Bing or Yahoo? And ever wished your own blog posts would get included in these results more often ?
Among internet workers, the technical term is “search engine optimization” — or how a person writes a web article in such a way that it shows up on the first page of search results for a specific term.
When I say “a person” I mean YOU. Yes, you and all internet publishers have some control over this process.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an industry to itself, and in many ways, its own science. I am not going to get into the nitty-gritty of SEO for you, but just offer some general advice on how to hopefully help your blog posts perform better in search engine results.
Choose specific words, especially in blog titles.
The blog title matters SO MUCH. Search engines are basically robots that go out and “crawl” the internet, looking for new content to rank and organize. And the first thing they “see” is your blog title. If your blog title is vague, a search engine won’t know how to rank it.
See the difference here:
“Some Good Coffee I Had on My Trip”
“My Foamy, Delicious Cafe con Leche in Havana, Cuba”
That second headline has keywords in it that are searchable — “cafe con leche havana, cuba.” This is a term that is probably searched fairly often by savvy travelers headed to Cuba who want to find the best coffee.
The first headline? Not only is it boring, it doesn’t have any strong keywords, so search engines will go right past it, thinking, “meh.” Likewise, there are very few real people out there searching for terms like “good coffee on trip” which also reduces its power as a blog title.
The ideal blog title balances flair — words like “delicious” and “foamy” — with specific and practical keywords, so you have a blog title that’s not only fun to read but also ranks well.
Keywords matter in other places, too
It doesn’t hurt to repeat “cafe con leche” and “Havana” and “Cuba” throughout your post, including the photo captions. Each repeated use tells the search engine “Hey, this post is truly and sincerely about cafe con leche in Havana and not a bunch of other stuff.” The caveat? You don’t want to go overboard and bore your readers to death by saying “cafe con leche” over and over. Moderation in everything, dear readers.
But some perspective is necessary (as always!)
While it’s not a bad strategy to try to increase the amount of traffic you have via search engines, keep in mind that the internet changes all the time — rankings go up and down based on all the massive amounts of content being published at any one time. As always, your primary motivation should be to blog because you enjoy it and not because you want worldwide fame.