For a lot of bloggers and entrepreneurs, SEO is the bane of their existence. If you’re looking for some quick ways to supercharge your SEO without the headache of trying to understand the subject in extreme detail, or the befuddlement of lots of complicated jargon, here are 5 super-easy tips to transform you into a bona fide SEO Growth Hacker:
#1 Don’t Rely On The Green Light
If you use Yoast SEO or a similar SEO plugin you’re very likely trapped in the belief that all you have to do to achieve good SEO is make that damn light turn green.
This is not true!
There’s a lot more to SEO that the green light, and in actual fact a lot of the tactics you need to employ to get that green light will actually damage your SEO, not to mention the quality of your writing.
For a fuller explanation check out my post on the God Off going on between Google and SEO plugins!
#2 Optimise For Long Tails And Head Terms
When it comes to keywords you’ll hear a lot of talk about the best type to use, and how you should be using them. This is a complex question, but the short answer is that it’s important to optimise different pieces of content so that your overall content marketing strategy is geared towards both long tail keywords and head terms.
For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology:
‘Head Term’ Keywords
Head Terms are the single words or short phrases that are most often associated with the term ‘keyword’. They tend to cover the core areas of your business, for example, mine would be ‘copywriting’, ‘content marketing’, ‘blogging’, ‘vlogging’, and ‘corporate storytelling’. They can also refer to your industry or role, like ‘copywriter’, ‘content marketer’ or ‘freelance blogger’.
Long Tail Keywords
Long Tail Keywords are longer, more complex phrases that use three words or more. They’re a lot more specific and allow you to target subsets of people interested in your head terms. For example, a lot of people might be searching the term ‘content marketing’, but not all of those people are my ideal clients.
They may be fellow content marketers, researchers looking up the term, or any number of people who have reason to search for the phrase but don’t actually want to learn content marketing or hire a content marketer. The term ‘how to hire a content marketer’ is a much better one to optimise for, because it targets people who are specifically looking to hire someone like me. Likewise, ‘how to use content marketing in your business’ is a search term that would be used by people looking to learn from someone like me.
Long tail keywords are also a lot easier to rank for, as they generally don’t have the huge levels of competition as head terms. For example, one of my areas is vlogging, but trying to rank for that single word alone is really tough. My blog post on starting a vlog is instead optimised for the long tail keyword ‘start a vlog for your business’ and it’s got a great ranking!
When you’re optimising your content you need to have a really good mixture of keywords, so that you have some content that will draw in people searching for head terms, and even more that is specifically targeted at very specific long tail keywords.
As with so many aspects of content marketing, it’s all about balance.
#3 Learn To Love LSI
Part of the reason relying on the green light on Yoast is such a bad idea is that it requires you to stuff keywords into your post as many times as possible.
This is a very bad plan.
SEO has evolved a lot since the early days, when keyword stuffing was standard and exactly what you needed to do to rank well. These days, it’s all about Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI.
It sounds very complicated but it’s actually very simple. Take a look at the keyword you want to rank for and brainstorm different versions of it, as well as related words and phrases.
LSI doesn’t just look at the number of times a term appears in a post, it looks at the content of the post as a whole and uses related words, phrases, terms, and expressions to decide what the post is about.
You don’t have to stuff your keyword in, all you need to do is ensure your post is well written and peppered with words that relate to your keyword.
#4 Make The Most Of Your Alt Text
One good thing about Yoast SEO is that it reminds you to set Alt Text on your images, which you should absolutely be doing. But rather than simply adding your keyword to the Alt Text, make the most of it.
There are a few things I do as standard when adding Alt Text:
- Copy the full blog title and paste it into the Alt Text
- Add a description of how the image relates to the post
- Follow it with any related keywords or phrases (packing in that LSI!)
- If it’s for a static page or evergreen content I often also add my business name, or my name, or one or more of my head terms (e.g. Hazel Butler, Freelance Content Marketer And Copywriter, The Write Copy Girl).
#5 Make Your URL Your Keyword
The URL of every blog post defaults to the title of the post with any ‘stop words’ removed. For example, this post will default to:
That is very cumbersome and not particularly helpful. URLs work best if they are three or four words long, so change your URL to your keyword. In the case of this post, for example, the URL is actually:
Short, simple, neat, tidy, and (most importantly) SEO friendly!
If you’re looking for more awesome SEO advice or tips on content marketing in general grab the first chapter of my new book, Divine Blogging, absolutely free…