Do you ever feel like you’re churning out interesting, high-quality content, but you’re not seeing the traffic or engagement you were expecting? As a blogger, I can relate. There are so many articles on the internet preaching the merits of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). But what is it, practically, and why, as a blogger, should you care?
Moz defines SEO as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” SEO can seem complicated and intimidating, but it’s really not. A few focused changes can have a dramatic impact.
SEO Expert Jason Tremere
I recently caught up with the multi-talented Jason Tremere. Not only is he a website and video coordinator; the Moncton, NB, resident is also a computer scientist, published author and fellow BlogJam 2018 presenter. I sat down with Jason to discuss the finer points of SEO and how it can help bloggers increase their reach.
Think like the user when you’re doing your keyword research.
Being able to anticipate user intent is key if you want them to find you.
“I know that everyone has Yoast installed on their WordPress site, but I don’t think a lot of people know what they should be putting in there for focus keywords,” Jason says. “At the conference (BlogJam 2018), I hinted that what you should do for figuring out the user intent. So, for something like BlogJam, “BlogJam” is not something people usually search for. What they’re searching for is blogging “conferences” or “blogging events.”
Jason encourages you to think about keyword searching as if Google was a library and you need help finding something on a topic. If it’s too specific, you won’t find what you’re looking for.
“It would almost be like walking into the library and saying, can you show me a book on BlogJam, and they’d be like, huh?”
Takeaway: Google is basically the internet’s librarian, and you need to know what your reader is looking for so they will find your content.
Make the most of Yoast, and don’t be afraid of using synonyms.
Google has evolved over time, and it can detect when you engage in keyword stuffing. But it will also pick up on synonyms.
“Getting a high volume keyword with low competition – that’s job number one,” Jason says.
“Getting your title and your URL to have that keyword in the same sequence, generally, is good. And then using permutations of it throughout. And usually when I do the keyword research, it will show me a list of the synonyms, so I use them throughout the titles. Just so you have some variance, so you’re not saying the same thing over and over … It just makes it easier to write, as well.”
Don’t forget about your alt-tags on images, too. “A lot of people just upload the image and then forget about that,” Jason says. Many people use the image search function in Google, and they may be missing your content if you forget this step.
Takeaway: Using synonyms helps with readability and creates variance, as well as ensuring your keywords are throughout your post engages more traffic.
Change up your SEO tools.
Most bloggers are familiar with Yoast, but there are a host of other tools you can use to boost your SEO. Here are some of Jason’s favourites:
Jason’s current favourite is SEMrush (the ‘M’ in SEM stands for ‘marketing’). While it goes beyond organic traffic into paid traffic, it helps him “look at competitors’ ads … where the competition is, and how much ad traffic they have.” While he admits it goes beyond the average blogger’s scope, it will show you all the keywords you rank for.
A key feature Jason likes about this tool is that it’s a comprehensive suite of 20 to 30 tools, including a site audit. “I find it’s a good consolidation of an independent audit of your site. And what I like about it is it generates this big PDF report where it tells you here’s what I found wrong, why it’s important, and how to fix it.”
- Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a free keyword search tool. This Chrome and Firefox plugin has improved substantially since its inception, and not only shows you your high volume keywords, but also the related keywords. “I find it’s pretty crazy what it gives you as far as content planning and the fact that you can check off the ones you like and just extract them as a spreadsheet later,” Jason says. Perfect for content planning.
SimilarWeb is also a Chrome plugin. “It can show you a snapshot of maybe the top 10 organic keywords your site ranks for but it also shows you which social channels you’re getting traffic from.” The tool generates the data into a bar graph of where most of your traffic is coming from.
What action to take now to improve your SEO
Even Jason admits that it’s easy to get caught up in all the little pieces of each tool, analytic, etc. Focusing on the fundamentals, including good keyword and competitor research, will serve you well in better connecting with your intended audience.
For more help writing better blog posts, review these five tips. And for more information or to connect with Jason, please visit JasonTremere.com.