If you have a blog, you want people to read it. You probably aren’t writing just for yourself, otherwise you’d keep it offline. And you probably want more than just your mom and few good friends to read it. You want people to comment and share it with others. And you would love to have it show up in Google searches – say, somewhere in the first two pages, rather than the 200th page.
So how do you make that happen? It involves one part SEO, one part categorization, and one part engagement. In simpler terms…
Choose a good title. Search engines look for keywords, and humans look for uniqueness. So combine the two. Choose a title that will catch people’s attention – but also something that includes a key term from your post. Think about what people search for. If you’re writing about a better way to peel potatoes, the title “Losing Appeal” might catch people’s eyes, but probably won’t show up when someone types “how to peel potatoes” into Google. Find a creative way to combine the two, and you’ll have a stellar title.
Add a relevant, high quality photo. When you skim through your news feeds, what catches your eye? Photos, right? We are turning into a more visually-stimulated society, and bloggers must be aware of that, whether they like it or not. Find a photo that relates to your topic somewhere like photopin.com (make sure you properly attribute everything!), or create a simple graphic yourself with a site like picmonkey.com. Think especially of what your readers will be likely to share: a single ugly, brown potato? or a beautiful layout of multi-colored spuds? or maybe even a graphic with a picture and the post title?
Add text to your photo. Unlike humans, search engines prefer words instead of pictures. So click on your image, and change the title to something other than the default “IMG 25843.” Describe the picture in a few words. Also, fill out the alternate text. It’s a good idea to use the main key word or phrase that your post is about – or at the very least, your post title.
Add a call to action. At the end of your post, tell your readers what you want them to do with that information. Do they need to go buy their own potato peeler? Then share a “buy here” link. Do you want them to share their favorite potato recipe? Ask them to leave a comment. Do you simply want them to share the article across their own networks? Give them a tweetable phrase, and ask (nicely) if they could share it with others. If you don’t ask, they probably won’t do it.
Add some meta data. Most blogs have a basic meta-data setting underneath the section where you write your post. This is gold to search engines, so make sure you fill it out! It doesn’t have to be complicated. This is where your chosen key word comes in handy – make sure the title and description box both include your keyword. Those two things are what will show up in Google searches. So make them readable. Keep your title concise (it’s okay if it’s different than your actual blog post title) and limit your description to under 150 words.
If there’s a place to add meta keywords, make sure you fill that out too. Think about what questions people might ask that would lead them to your post. For instance: “better potato peelers, how to peel potatoes, things to do with potatoes, red bliss, food preparation.” You can also include your post’s category and tags here, too.
Share across your social networks. But don’t share the same exact thing at the same exact time across all your accounts. Vary the wording a little, or ask an open-ended question that will draw people to read your post – for instance, “How do you peel your potatoes? Find some great tips here!” And spread it out. Not everyone is around at the same time each day. A good rule of thumb is to share it once in the morning and once in the evening on places like Facebook and Google+, and several times throughout the day on Twitter.
Tell me something! How else could you improve your blog post visibility?
Image credit: scyther5 / 123RF Stock Photo