What YOU can do to increase your SEO

What YOU can do to increase your SEO

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  1. SEO has been a buzz word for the past few years, and seems to be increasing important as more and more businesses rely on the strength of their web presence. If you haven’t heard a lot about it, or just don’t really know what it means, I suggest you start with the article, ‘What is SEO anyway?’ by Sarah Vallieu.

    Search engine optimization may seem like a daunting concept, and you may think you need to hire people to do it for you. But the truth is, there are many things you, as a writer, can do yourself to increase the chances of your article being seen. Much of this goes back to the idea that writing for the web is different from writing for print. But don’t worry, it’s not that different.

    Rule #1: Search engines can only read text.

    This is the first, and most basic rule to remember. When setting up your own blog or website you might be tempted to create some great looking logos or headings as graphics. Why not? It will look great on your site, and you can keep all of your branding cohesive by uploading the same graphic. But, since search engines can only read text, uploading that graphic may mean that the title of your blog or article never reaches a search engine.

    Rule #2: Titles need to be descriptive.

    If you were taught to write for print, specifically newspapers, you may have written titles based on space limitations, catchy phrases, or titles meant to catch the readers eye and encourage them to continue on. This doesn’t work on the web for several reasons. First, the readers are different. When someone picks up a newspaper, they are looking to read some articles and catch up on news. When a reader types something into a search engine, they are looking for quick answers, and will likely skim titles and articles rather than actually reading them. Not to mention the fact that search engines wont know what you are talking about.Along these same lines, the title of your article should also appear in your page’s title tag. Without going in depth as to how this title gets there, know that this title tag ranks very highly in search engines so a little extra research on the topic wouldn’t hurt.

    Rule #3: Utilize tagged headings.

    When writing for the web it is generally best practice to break up an article into smaller sections using headings (like I did here). Some writers may already do this, but still do not utilize tagged headings. What is a tagged heading? Well, the easiest example to give you is the formatting available in Microsoft Word (up by the ‘font’ settings there should be a drop down menu that will say ‘Normal,’ this can and should be changed to ‘Heading 1,’ ‘Heading 2’ etc.).

    Needless to say, these headings, like titles, should be descriptive. Try ‘Today’s Healthcare News’ rather than ‘Today’s News.’

    Rule #4: Use descriptive link text, not just ‘click here.’

    I know it’s an old rule to label links ‘click here,’ and some market research tells us all that people are more likely to click those links, but for search engine purposes you’ll want to try a more descriptive link title. An example of this is in my first paragraph, where I linked to Sarah Vallieu’s article. The link text in that case is the title of the article. It’s not that the search engine wont find the title of the article somewhere else in a story, but that the link including that text counts as more in search engine world. This can be difficult to understand, but just trust me on this one. And if you’re still married to that ‘click here,’ you can add it after the descriptive text. ie. For  the article, ‘What is SEO anyway?’ by Sarah Vallieu, click here.

    Rule #5: Use common phrasing.

    Use the words and phrasing that people will be using when they visit a search engine. Some people who are worried about this like to search for keywords; which you can do using tools available on Google. I would argue that it is more effective to conduct a search yourself. And by that I mean write your article, then visit a search engine and look for related articles. Make note of what keywords you use, and the wording these articles are using.


    These are just a few tips for search engine optimization that you can do yourself.

    If your interested in the topic and want to learn more, or are an advanced web user and want to figure out the techy side, there are plenty of resources available. I would suggest that you do your research, come back, and share it with us.

    A lot of the information provided in this article were ideas from Ian Lurie’s ‘The Unscary, Real World Guide to SEO Copywriting,’ which you can purchase here. (See how I did that?)

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