Through my experience as a company blogger, I would ultimately be acquainted with SEO. And I would take what I learned in order to optimize posts and pages on my website.
With that in mind, for the tenth and final assignment in the Blogging: Branding and Growth course, I had to make one SEO-based change to my website.
What Is SEO?
For those who don’t know, SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It is a marketing discipline that focuses on getting the best organic (unpaid) results for specific pages on search engines. Google is the top search engine, followed by Bing and Yahoo! at a distant 2nd and 3rd.
Search engines will use those tags to help users find posts and pages in searches that might serve one of three purposes:
- To inform;
- To navigate, and;
- To facilitate a transaction (like a purchase).
For example, do you want to know who last won the Pulitzer Prize? Do you want to get directions to a restaurant? Or would you like to compare prices for headphones? Those three things encompass the basic purposes of making searches.
How do search engines work? It’s complicated, but know that when you submit a query in a search bar, search engines will give you results based on the words you use.
That’s where keywords come in. When you fill out the “tags” field in your post editor, those are basically keywords.
Depending on what you have on your page, certain words may be highlighted on the search engine results page (SERP).
What Did I Do Prior to Taking the Branding and Growth Course?
I did a number of things. And many of the things I did are shared as tips on WordPress.
On March 10, 2016, The Daily Post’s Chris Smith shared his thoughts in the post entitled, “How to Publish Posts that Search Engines Will Love,” AKA Six SEO Factors You Should Know. The post mentions titles, excerpts, and there is a like to the Portent Tool for anyone included to create meta descriptions.
What are meta descriptions? As the post says, these are short summaries of pages and posts. They act as rich text snippets you see when you search for something and see the results. Speaking of the excerpt feature:
On WordPress.com, we populate your meta description in two ways. First, you can specify your meta description by using the excerpt feature. This works on all posts, but not all pages: only certain themes offer page excerpts (as of this writing these are Sela, Sequential, Edin, and Motif).
And now, the Lovecraft theme allows them, too!
As I mentioned in the second assignment for this course, I updated my about pages to include excerpts. That option wasn’t there earlier this year.
What Did I Do for This Assignment?
I just made two quick changes to my home page, although more needs to be done. For now, I made a slight change to my tagline and I finally added an excerpt.
My old tagline was “Finding a Voice in a Limited Space.” I switched out “Limited” with “Crowded.”
Here is the text that is currently on my page:
I’m an aspiring artist and writer with a lot on her mind. I like discussing politics and entertainment but I often need to go beyond 10K characters.
I kept this under 155 characters to kind of act like an excerpt.
For the actual excerpt, I lifted the text and changed “10k characters” to “2,500 words.”
What Will I Do to Continue Building My Website Based on SEO Principles?
I have a few ideas, and I will start with a keyword list. There’s another post by Chris Smith entitled, Grow Your Traffic with Keyword Research (July 7, 2016). These tips were extremely helpful and I will use them to create my list.
That reminds me of my audience. Before, I said that I wanted to reach out to Millennials. I want to expand my intended audience to 3 groups, especially due to the types of wonderful people from the blogging community who regularly consume my content and the types of content I like to consume. As such, the three new groups will be:
- Educators (Present and Retired)
- Aspiring Artists
- Socially-Conscious Bloggers
There may be some overlap there, but I would like to appeal to these three groups, with a special focus on generations. Of course, any readers are welcome, but this might be a winning content strategy for me in the long run.
Eventually, I will need to improve my home page and banner. The text on the home page will later be replaced and I will add an image to have a proper landing page.
So, that does it for this course. This was the part I was most eager to start on, but this is a work in progress.