Search engine optimization is part art, part science, and always changing. To do it well you’ll want to get expert help. In the meantime, here are the basics of writing for SEO:
- First things first: Be sure to provide interesting, useful, focused, and well-written content.
- Determine the keywords and phrases most applicable to your content.
- Be sure people are actually searching on those keywords. SearchEngineWatch.com is one of many sites that can help you find popular keyword searches.
- Consider variants of phrases (the “Wag the Long Tail” approach). For example, if you’re writing about WordPress themes, you might want to check out WordPress themes, WordPress templates, premium WordPress themes, free WordPress themes, and similar variants.
- Use keywords and phrases liberally but appropriately throughout the copy.
- Use keywords and phrases in subheads and internal links.
- Check your keyword density (3-5% is recommended in text). KeywordDensity.com is one of many sites that will perform this analysis.
- General phrases are more important on home page; specifics more-so on internal pages.
- Be sure to use the meta description tag, which is what searchers see when links to sites (including yours) pop up on a search engine listing. Use keywords, and be persuasive.
- Every page on your site should have a distinct title tag that describes content (not: www.mysite.article.10-12-09).
- Interactive content can help produce inbound links.
- Keyword-rich captions for multimedia files can help produce inbound links.
- Learn to understand your site stats: visitors, referrers, keywords, time spent on site, bounce rate, etc.
- Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, not a “set and forget” project. You’ll need to make a regular practice of evaluating and tweaking your approach.
- Consider using a WordPress Plugin like All in One SEO Pack or SEO Scribe to help you remember and manage SEO functions on a post-by-post basis. Here’s info from SEO expert John Muldoon about a plug-in he likes called SEO SmartLinks.
Need more help? I like The Truth about Search Engine Optimization by Rebecca Lieb. The website provides a downloadable PDF with helpful links (download Appendix A: Resources).