Data-Driven Blogging and SEO Assistance: A Few Important Tips
Sharing your thoughts through blog posts is among the most efficient ways of getting published nowadays. You can do this even without shelling out any dime; just use ready-to-use platforms like Blogspot and even Facebook.
Publishing your work is one thing, but actually getting your target audience to read it is entirely another. There is a lot of content on the internet – some of it really good – that never reaches the sector of the population that it is poised to help or interest. And this is simply because their authors do not know how the search engines or the Internet works overall.
In a nutshell, search engines like Google run through a never-ending series of data input, data interpretation, indexing, and retrieval. These processes are organized through mathematical algorithms (i.e. a series of programmed instructions) that are controlled by the platform owners. With this, it is important to make sure that your content can easily be traced by the organizing algorithms. You do this by doing a little bit of search engine optimization, but there are a few really important points about this method that you need to take note of.
Use keywords, but don’t obsess over them.
Think of the web as a big library. In the past, books in the library were indexed so that it was easy for the librarian to access them. Usually, they were indexed according to topics so that all science-related publications were in one place, all fictional novels were in one place. The person who did the indexing didn’t have to read the whole work to know what it was about. They could just look at the title, and perhaps quickly examine the table of contents to make an informed inference that that publication was about a particular topic.
In the same vein, proper keyword use is a good way to have your content indexed properly by search engines. Each topic that you write or create content for can be represented by a keyword or a handful of keywords. Make sure that you have your main keyword in your page’s URL so that the search engines can easily “see” it. Use highly relevant keywords in your content’s headings, again for visibility.
You cannot easily trick search engines. They are now “smart” enough to semantically cluster keywords together and know if there is something off with your usage. Your main keyword and the keywords you use in the headings and even the actual text should be semantically related. Years of data analysis have already taught the machines which words usually go together.
With that, there is now no need to use keywords (as in the exact string of terms) over and over again. You can mention it one or a couple of times and you are good to go, as long as your discussion in the text relates semantically to the main topic. In fact, you should avoid keyword stuffing at all costs now!
There are companies that specialize in helping others regarding the proper use of keywords and the whole process of optimizing pages for search engines. Do research about such companies near you before you choose one to work with.
Understand user intent
Slight variations in the keywords can mean a significant change in how they are interpreted by search engines. For example, someone who searches for ‘basketball shoes’ is interpreted to be looking to buy a pair of athletic sneakers. However, someone who searches for ‘best basketball shoes’ might be doing research about shoes. The main intent is to know, which may or may not lead to a purchase decision. What does this imply?
If your page is informational, then be sure to target the right keyword and adopt the right tone in the text. Also make sure that other elements in the page and how they are laid out point to the same to-inform goal. A page that has a catalog of products but with a lengthy article at the bottom can “confuse” the search engines. Is this page informational? Or is this page commercial? The search engine may decide that it is neither and drop the page altogether. Trying to hit two birds with one stone is not always a good idea as you can see; you might end up not hitting anything!
As much as possible, have your own unique website.
It will be difficult to locate or index you when you only write for a column in a newspaper as opposed to when you publish your own book. In the case of the former, you will have to compete with the topics discussed in other columns contained in the news publication.
The same is true in the online world. When you write your blog in a blogging platform like Instagram or Facebook or Blogspot, your content can get buried in a pile of varied content within that platform. Though the search engines still have a way to locate you, it will still be better to just have your own domain and publish within that domain. This way, you gain not only better visibility but also more control over how your data and content is curated and presented.
Generate external links.
Besides the inherent quality of your content, search engines also take a look at the impact that you have on the rest of the online world. Are other sites citing you in their content? Do they use your content as a reference? If they do, then your authority– at least as far as your niche is concerned– is established.
But getting other websites– reputable ones, at that– to consume and link to your content is not always easy. Sometimes you need to ‘sell’ your work by contacting them and letting them know what you have. But this is an effort that will surely pay off.
Making sure that you get read or at least seen by your target audience is important if you do not want your efforts to go to waste. The tips shared here are just the general ones, but they should be enough to get you started.