Well, maybe not 10 steps (that sounds rather involved). More like 1o things (and I mean easy, breezy things) that will get your post higher rankings on Google. And who doesn't want that? Anyone? Anyone?
I thought not.
Ahem. Without further ado, here are 10 easy things you should do to, for lack of a better term, "SEO" your post:
1. Make sure your post is at least 300 words. Anything less than that gets you a "ding" from Google for not writing enough. Seriously.
2. Do not (and I mean PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT) embed a photo at the top of your post. The code for the photo interferes with Google's ability to crawl your first paragraph. Instead, use the "featured image tool" at the top right or embed your image a few paragraphs into your post.
3. Make sure that your title is at least 40 characters long. No, I don't know why. Because Google wants it that way, okay?
4. Front load your titles. This means you want to shove your keywords as far up to the front of your titles as possible. So, if my keyword is "Chicago Cubs," my title should read "Chicago Cubs sign Crappy Leftfielder," not "Crappy Leftfielder signed by Chicago Cubs."
5. Edit your slugs. If you missed Amy Guth's fantastic SEO lesson, the part highlighted in black is your "slug."
Edit it to take out articles and to front-load your keywords. Make sure there's a hypen in between each word and that your slug doesn't exceed 77 characters.
6. Pick good keywords. When we say "keywords," we really mean "keyphrases;" 2-5 words that narrow down your subject matter for people who are searching Google and Bing. While I'm probably not going to rank very high on Google for "Chicago Cubs," "Chicago Cubs Spring Training" is a much narrower option that I have a better chance of ranking for. Choosing keywords is worth a blog post in and of itself, but here's a good article that explains the art of choosing keywords.
7. Create links. If appropriate, link back to other posts you've written. Google reads a post the same way a person would, and you'll get a few points for referencing your other works.
8. Write for your readers, not for Google. Despite all its stupid rules and algorithms, Google really does want you to write for your readers, not for search engines. In fact, Google will penalize you if your post appears "overly-optimized" for search engines. So while you need to make sure to work your keywords in here and there, don't let us affect the quality or flow of your writing.
9. Make sure your first paragraph is 2-3 sentences with some keywords up in there. Really. It's important.
10. Check your work with a tool like Yoast, but don't let Yoast rule your life. Google is smarter than Yoast, and Google can do things Yoast can't, like figure out that "Lima., OH" and "Lima, Ohio" are the same thing. Google also knows what colons are. So . . go Google. Bottom line: If you know that you've got it right, don't worry about what Yoast says.
Filed under: SEO