I was chatting with my friend Fadra last night over Twitter about something I get asked about all the time.
It’s the same thing I had just been talking to Rachel Healy, the Garner Citizen’s web editor about earlier this week. We set out to rank for the phrase “Best Newspaper in Garner” and after about a month, they were #1. The reason I bring that experiment up is, that phrase became a stake in the ground that they could drive towards. With a particular phrase in the back of your mind, you can start to see places you can wedge it in. Rachel told me that when applicable, she tries to use that phrase when talking about the business end of the newspaper so that it will be associated with it. They also added it to their footer as a constant reminder of what they are always trying to achieve.
Rachel told me that last year, they didn’t really have any particular phrases they were aiming for. I understand that as a newspaper that’s not their primary focus, but as a business it needs to be in the mix.
Ok, now back to Fadra’s question. Her blog lives at the domain allthingsfadra.com, so obviously she has that phrase locked up, but wanted to rank for other phrases that she was writing about.
The problem with a blog like Fadra’s is that she writes about a lot of different topics. Search engines probably don’t see any real “authority” from her blog. So how does she overcome that?
That doesn’t mean Fadra can’t write about potty training, falling in love and passports all in one blog, it just means you have to do a little extra work. First off, define a handful of categories you want to write in, not dozens. It will help you stay focused. If you want to go wild, you can use tags. If you are dying to write about the new tires you bought, but they don’t fit in any of your categories, guest blog at a new tire blog and link back to your home blog. Trust me that other bloggers love guest bloggers and it exposes you to new readers.
Think of the keywords you would love to actually rank for, and target them. Write those words down on a yellow sticky note and put it on the wall next to where you write. There’s no reason you can’t keep the fact that you really want to rank for “peaceful moments” while writing about potty training – there is some ability to link them.
You have to decide what stakes you’re going to plant in the ground. SEO is all about focus. Without a plan, you won’t get there.
Knowing some of the technical details will help. Knowing that the title tag doesn’t have to be the same as the headline of your post, or that you can edit the permalink url of the post. All 3 of these items working together can help a post perform better. Look at this post as an example.
Title of the page: Improved Rankings for Mommy Bloggers
Headline of the post: Getting Better Traffic
Splitting those 3 items up, and using slightly different words helps a little, but it usually also helps me rethink exactly what I’m trying to say in the post.
Knowing how good your aim is will help you get better. I suggest a great free tool from seoMoz called the Term Targeter. You give it the url, and the keyword you THINK you’ve targeted, it gives to a grade.
The mother of all SEO factors is still people linking to you. If I link to Fadra’s super sweet love story that will make you smile with relevant anchor text, that helps. If I link it this way, “See part 2 of Fadra and Sean’s great love story here” – not as helpful.
So what’s the big finish to this long-winded post? SEO is a process, and when you move your blog to the next level you need to think more about it.