Using SEO to Make Your Blog Easy to Find - dummies

Using SEO to Make Your Blog Easy to Find

By Amy Lupold Bair

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the art of maximizing your blog’s potential to be found by search engines. If your site is succeeding at search engine optimization, your content is likely to appear high on the list of results that a search engine returns. In a similar manner, if your site falls short in the area of SEO, your blog will likely appear a few pages into search engine results. The goal of SEO is for your blog to be found by people conducting searches of words and topics related to your content.

Understanding SEO

SEO can feel a bit like an elusive magic formula to bloggers hoping to climb up the ladder of search engine results. For bloggers already investing time and money in other aspects of their craft, it may seem like just one more task in a growing to-do list. The main trick to maximizing your blog’s search engine potential is understanding how SEO works in the first place.

Because such a large proportion of Internet traffic comes from search engines such as Google and Bing, it’s important to help those search engines locate your blog. The content on your site, from the words you use to the titles you give your images, can either make your blog more visible to search engines or bury it.

Imagine search engines sending out millions of tiny, information-gathering spiders to “crawl” every site on the web. These crawlers return to the search engine and report on what they’ve found. They’re hoping to provide one very important piece of information: How well does this website answer a search engine question?

Although the information about SEO can fill an entire book (Search Engine Optimization For Dummies, 5th edition, by Peter Kent, John Wiley & Sons), the important piece to know is that you have the power to decide what those search engines will find when they come crawling at your door.

Creating an SEO-friendly blog

Perhaps you’ve gotten to this point and you’re wondering if you’re blogging for yourself, for your readers, or for some nameless, faceless search engine. You should not be creating content simply with the purpose of charming those crawling search spiders. There are some ways, however, that you can make your already awesome content more appealing to the search engine results.

For starters, search engines still prefer words over images. Carefully crafted images are a key component to blog post sharing in the age of popular sites such as Pinterest. To help those images do their job in pushing your blog to the top of search results, be sure to always utilize the “alt text” field when uploading your images. Think about what words readers might search for that would drive them to your post and use those keywords in your image description.

alt text
Utilize the “alt text” field when uploading images to help search engines locate your blog.

Speaking of keywords, you may not be sure where to start when selecting search-friendly wording for your posts. A variety of keyword tools are available to help you select the best search engine–friendly words for your blog content, including the following:

Utilizing SEO tools

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t throw in the towel just yet! Free WordPress plug-ins are available to meet your SEO needs. Search engine optimization plug-ins are some of the most downloaded on the Internet, so know that you are in good company! Here is a small selection to get you started: