As you dive into the world of blogging, you will come across many terms that you’ve probably never heard before, like SEO. But what is SEO exactly?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which can be hard to explain. Using SEO practices can help your blog posts rank better in search results, which can get you more page views and eventually more customers or clients.
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What Is SEO?
There’s a lot that goes into answering the question, what is SEO? While SEO is shorthand for search engine optimization, it’s much more than hoping your posts get shown on Google. There are SEO best practices, which involve organic, genuine methods that help get your posts shown.
In the past, people could stuff words and phrases into the posts without logic, and they would reach the first page of search results. Now, you have to incorporate any special keywords and phrases into the next naturally.
What is a search engine?
The most common search engine has to be Google. If you ever need to look up the answer to a question, you probably used it. It’s a great way for potential music students to look for private teachers.
Students looking to upgrade their instrument can also use Google to find reputable dealers and stores near them. You might use it to learn about blogging for musicians.
Maybe you used it to ask, what is SEO? Perhaps Google suggested this post in your search results.
Other popular search engines include Bing and YouTube (though that’s specific to videos). These websites use the terms or words you search for to suggest resources that they think you’re looking for.
As a blogger or website owner, you can use SEO to improve your chances of your posts ranking well for their respective topics.
How does SEO work?
SEO involves placing keywords and phrases in specific places so that Google will register the post as being about that topic. A keyword is a word that people are searching for, and it can be a short phrase.
Keyword examples include:
- flute lessons
- flute lessons in (city name)
- flute teacher near me
- chamber music groups
- hire musicians
- content marketing for musicians
Whether you want to grow your teaching studio or your performance career, you can use the right terms to do that. However, you also have to put those terms in certain places, and make sure you include them naturally so that they don’t appear out of place.
You should include your keyword in your title, the first paragraph, a heading, and at least one other place in the body of your post.
Take this post, for example, and the keyword phrase “what is SEO?” You can find that phrase in the title, the first paragraph, and the first heading within the body.
That is completely intentional so that this post will hopefully show up when someone uses that search term.
Do you need special tools?
For the most basic use of SEO, you don’t need any special tools. However, some tools can help you ensure that you’re focusing on the right keywords and phrases. Other tools show you if you use the keyword too little or too much within a post.
I use WordPress hosted on SiteGround, and the popular WordPress plugin Yoast is a great tool. It shows me what I’m doing well on and where I can improve each post.
When I have an idea for a post, I use Google Keyword Planner to see if people are searching for that topic. If not, I can use synonyms to find more popular search terms. That helps me refine my topics so that I know they’re worth writing about.
For creating images and graphics to add to posts, I use Canva. It’s a free, online graphic design tool. You don’t need any design experience, and it’s super easy to use for your blog.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what is SEO, it’s time for some tips. The exact methods can and do change with time, but these are pretty standard tips to know about and use when optimizing your blog posts and website pages for search engines.
As mentioned earlier, a keyword is a word or phrase. Specifically, you want people to find your post over others when they use your chosen word or phrase.
It’s typically much easier to rank for a phrase than a single word, like flute. So consider using short phrases like “flute lessons” or “flute player” when forming keywords.
Once you have your keyword, make sure you put it in the title, your introduction, and a heading. If you add an image to your post, it should also be in the alt text of that image. Alt text is what Google reads, and it’s also a visual descriptor for anyone using screen readers.
The right title
Next, you want to choose an eye-catching, interesting title that includes your keyword. The title of this post shows that it’s about blogging for musicians and that it shares the answer to what is SEO?
Make sure that you don’t use a clickbait title. While those will attract views, you want to build trust with the people who click on your post.
The phrase “funny cat pics” may get a lot of search results, but this post doesn’t contain any of that. Stay on topic with your title so that you don’t mislead your readers.
Another important part of SEO is your post’s meta description. This is what shows up below your title when your post appears in search results. You should write a short description of your post including your keyword.
While Google can choose a random snippet of your post, you want to control what people see. Some people use meta descriptions to determine if a link is worth clicking.
So make sure your meta description is accurate and just as enticing as your title. That way, people will want to click and read what you have to say.
Images and tags
While not required, it can be a good idea to add images and tags to your posts. If you or someone else shares your post on social media, you can include an image that will show up automatically.
Images can include the title of your post, which can show people what the post is about. If you add an image, make sure you include your keyword in the alt text, which you can access with your website’s image editor.
Also, adding categories or tags can also help visitors find the topic they’re looking for when they’re already on your site. Then you visitors won’t have to scroll a long time to find what they want.
What is SEO? It’s a process or method of creating content so that Google will find it and suggest it in relevant searches.
Do you use SEO on your posts? Why or why not? Share your answer in the comments!