Part Four

SEO Basics
SEO is often thought about after a person has set up their blog or website. But, SEO best practices are bred into the site or blog as it is being developed, designed, and updated. We’re all about the SEO here. Our training class, SEO Launch Secrets, will be available May 11th, 2010. Remember that you can still get your early bird coupon by entering your email on the sales page.

What the heck is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engines are an excellent source of completely free traffic that continues to pour in for years to come but it usually takes a long time for a brand new site to begin getting traction in the search engines which is another reason why it makes sense to consider it from day 1. Here is an important point – ANY blog can build up a significant amount of search engine traffic over time even if that blog does not naturally lend itself to SEO. Why? Simply due to the sheer amount of content that gets posted to a blog.

If you create a few good articles every week (say 3), that really adds up over time. In a year you will have around 150 posts! Every single one of those posts can rank in the search engines and even though they may not all be individually optimized for specific keywords, they WILL bring in some traffic.

Backlinks… Learn it, know it, live it!

This lesson covers SEO basics and covers on-page optimization (making sure that your post is optimized towards your chosen keywords). However that is only one half of the SEO process and is arguably the least important half.

If Google has two pages that are equally optimized towards a keyword then how does it decide which one to rank higher? There are many factors but one very major factor is the backlinks to the page and these are simply links from another website.

Over time you will want to grow your backlinks as much as you can as this helps you rank higher and higher. With I must admit that I rarely pay much attention to on-page SEO as I tend to just write what comes to mind without really worrying about keywords. But over the last year or so we have attracted thousands of backlinks which means that whatever we do choose to write about will still bring us search traffic because this blog ranks well for terms in the posts.

You don’t need to worry too much about building backlinks at the beginning, but you do want to know how to do the basic on-page SEO so that when you start to create your first few posts you can be sure that you are getting it right.

SEO is a massive subject and is an industry in itself. SEO consultants will often charge companies thousands of dollars to optimize their websites because of the power it has to draw so much traffic.

Optimizing Your Posts For On-Page SEO
The first step in optimizing your posts is knowing what keyword phrase you want to target. It is possible to target more than one but much more difficult. Now one thing that I would emphasize here is that as a blogger, particularly if you are starting out, if you have no idea about what keywords you want to target then just don’t worry about it as its best to concentrate on writing good content rather than thinking about search engines. But if you’re writing a blog about digital camera’s for example and writing a post about a particular model then it makes sense to optimize that post to the model of the camera as that is something that would be searched on in Google.

This list is taken directly from SEO Launch Secrets. It covers where you need to place keywords in your article posts:

1) The title – at the very beginning if possible. This is the single most important element.
2) The post content – you need to make sure you are writing about what you want to target! Don’t overdo it but make sure it appears a handful of times throughout the post. Ideally, your keyword phrase will appear at the beginning, middle, and end of the article. The more the better, but no more than once per paragraph.
3) Tags – WordPress and other blogging platforms allow you to add tags to posts and this is a great way to add keywords to any post.
4) The URL – if you are using WordPress then this is very easy to do because it has a feature to allow you to convert your post title into the URL and we have a video that demonstrates how to do that later in our SEO Launch Secrets course.

These are the most important places to put your keywords and this is all you really need to know when you’re starting out. By the way if you don’t know how to do this stuff don’t worry because soon in the course I’m going to be getting onto the technical stuff and we have a bunch of free videos that show you how to do this technical stuff.

What if you already have an established blog?
If you already have a blog and this is the first time you have thought about SEO there are some things that you can do to tweak things. One thing that you should NOT do is change your post URL’s because Google will still be indexing the old ones and if you change them you will have broken links.

However what you can do is change your titles and the copy text in your posts. One mistake that people often make is putting their keywords at the end of their title rather than at the beginning. For example, if you are targeting the phrase “make money blogging” which is best out of these two titles:

– 10 Great Ways to Make Money Blogging Today!
– Make Money Blogging – 10 Killer Ideas!

The latter title is more SEO-friendly as it puts your keywords at the beginning so you can go back and tweak old posts in this way if you like. You can also check through the post itself making sure the keyword appears a few times and if your blogging software supports tags then make sure you tag it with your keyword.

Once you make changes it can take a while for Google to pick it up and act on it so don’t expect results overnight!

Note that if your URL’s are not optimized then it is possible to restructure them to better ones and do something called a 301 redirect to tell Google that the link has changed.

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