According to his official bio, Rand Fishkin is the Wizard of Moz. He’s the founder and former CEO of Moz, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Fishkin is a self-confessed addict of all things content, search, and social on the web, from his multiple blogs to Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn. With credentials like those, he is the obvious choice when it comes to educating bloggers about SEO.
Why Do I Need to Think About SEO?
In spite of the rise of social media, Google has grown from 3 billion queries a day to 6 billion queries a day in the last few years. Of these 3 billion queries, 20% result in clicks on advertising., while the remaining 80% result in organic website traffic. Traffic that is ours to capture.
In addition, mobile is growing fastest of all in terms of searches. Google has said that by the end of 2015 mobile search will surpass desktop search in terms of volume. But desktop is still also growing as well.
When it comes to technology (and SEO is a big part of online technology), there is always a massive advantage to being an early adopter. If your blog ranks today, people will be more likely to share its content, to link to its content, to embed its embed its content. And, given that Google search results are historically biased, all of these factors contribute to an advantage for your website. So, if you invest in SEO today, then it will be easier than trying to invest in a month, a year, or in three years. Get the early adopter advantage. It’s worth it.
According to Fishkin, SEO is a little bit like flywheel – its hard to get it into motion, but once you do, it perpetuates its own momentum. The SEO flywheel begins with publishing some content. Then amplifying that content through social media, through email. This helps to grow your network. And, by growing your network, a few more people find your content and follow it. That means you earn links, and other ranking signals. Which, in turn, means you grow your authority. So, the next time you hit publish, it will be even easier to rank. Eventually, you might rank more competitively for more competitive phrases. Then you earn search traffic. It’s all about turning the flywheel.
Tactical Tips for SEO and Blogging
Fishkin provided his eager audience with a number of tactical tips for when it comes to SEO for bloggers:
- Keyword research: this is all about semantic connectivity. Google is getting better at intent matching, so make sure that the search engine can match your blog with the keywords that you actually want to appear for.
- Start keyword research by brainstorming: think about the words and phrases that people commonly use to describe the broad focus of your blog. What searches would be most likely to bring you new lifelong fans? What are the searches relevant to your posts do you wish you had the #1 ranking for? If you had to make new content to reach the largest, most relevant audience to your blog, what would you write about? Then take these ideas and use tools to expand your ideas and align them with how people search. So, use Google’s KeywordPlanner. It will teach you how popular particular keywords actually are. Combine these with what Google is actually telling you in its autotype search. Eventually, you’ll end up with a list of targets. Then, make sure that you write for them.
- When writing a post, 3 minutes is all you need to perform SEO:
- Use tools or suggestion to figure which keywords to target
- Note some of the additional term and phrases around your keywords, and consider whether its worth including these as well
- Try to employ the keywords in the title of the post and the headline, and then more in the body in a sensible way. Write a headline that has both reader appeal and keyword targeting. There is no longer any need to optimise for keywords, or stuff them into the body of your content a million times over.
Image courtesy of http://moz.com/rand
When it comes to content creation, Fishkin has two top tips:
- Publish to help your audience: help your readers do something. Would this particular type of content hold up in a court of your peers? Is it right for your audience?
- Publish your passion: this type of writing is entirely self-indulgent and is usually written to share the author is thinking about at the time.
The all-important question that all content creators must ask is: who will amplify this content, and why? If you can’t answer this question, then don’t hit publish.
According to Fishkin, when it comes down to it, you simply need to make yourself proud. Do not let SEO get in the way of that. Make sure you feel confident about publishing your content. Just make sure that you delight your audience, that you serve their needs, while using the right terms and phrases, with the right keywords in your post title.
Publishing is neither the beginning nor the end. It’s the middle. First you must create your content. Then….
- you should do a little pre-publication outreach: solicit feedback or information or comments from potential amplifiers.
- you can hit publish
- comes amplification via social media
- post-publication outreach: ask potential amplifiers what they thought of your post
Don’t ignore the power of engagement – reply and respond to people.
The best links are not built; they are earned. What you should look for in a link:
- Strong ability to send relevant traffic to your website
- Editorial focus, rather than through money or trade
- Trustworthy source
Links to avoid include free blog directories, sites that solicit guest posts, and definitely sites that feature photos of 80s business people.
Chase links where people are linking to your content because they love it, and want to share it. Not links that are purchased or influenced.
According to Fishkin, there is one universal blogging truth: a lot of days are going to feel like you’ve ended up in purgatory or hell. You’re going to wonder why you keep putting in the energy and the effort. The thing is, every successful blogger has the same story: it takes years for it to build up and happen. The price of success is failure after failure, with the caveat that each failure is teaching you a valuable lesson.
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