Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Search Engine Optimisation Basics: My Experience

When you hear search engine optimization, what comes to your mind?

Search Engine + Optimization?
Writing contents to make them appear and rank on search engines?
Or even writing contents to outrank other ones appearing on search engines?
Whichever one you think, they are all correct. Therefore, search engine optimization, in my own words simply means writing contents and following simple rules that will not just make your topic appear on search engines but also outrank some or even all the other contents appearing on the search engine. Note that just two well optimized posts from your blog can actually push your blog closer to the top of search engines. But sometimes you may need more than two.
 Image result for images of seo basics
Firstly, I want you to know that SEO is not all about technical knowledge or coding or programming blah blah blah like some people and websites make us to believe. So, if you think I’ll be showing you some settings or codes to implement on your blog; or some magic dust you can spray on your blog and SEO will start working for you; just hit NEXT POST! SEO is time consuming and requires patience, but the reward is amazing.
Secondly, this is my own personal experience with SEO i.e I tried a few things and I was, and I am still able to outrank some blogs on search engines. So, this doesn’t mean that this is a professional and technical aspect of SEO which should work for everyone.
Thirdly, this MAY not work for entertainment and news bloggers because it looks like Google (and some search engines too) was paid by some top entertainment and news blogs to keep their blogs on their first page! Or simply because they see these blogs as unique blogs with unique contents and every other blog must have copied from them to paste on their own! Whatever be the case, search engines, especially Google, only favour few entertainment and news blogs. Plus, the competition in the niche is so high that if you do little or nothing, you will only be stuck with your social media traffic and probably a little spammin.  Well, if you are just lucky you can get yourself on first page if you do a little work.
Another unlucky group are the tech bloggers, but some lucky ones that rank are those that combine tech with some other things like tutorial, tips, tricks etc.
But other bloggers like business, relationship, fashion, health, lifestyle, beauty, sport, making money online etc can actually try it. I’m a lifestyle blogger so this actually works perfectly for me. Although, academic/education bloggers don’t have a problem because students or anyone searching in the field of academy is probably doing a research or assignment and may go through first page till the last page of the search engine!
Fourthly, this is a very very very very long post!!!! Sorry, SEO is so vast that teaching it can’t be broken into bits.
Okay, enough talk, let’s just begin!!!
There are many search engines but Google seem to be the most used. So, for you to win the heart of these search engines, you need to make your content appear enticing. When you meet the standard, you win their heart and luckily, you will find yourself on the first page.
To win their heart, you need to:
- Spy on them.
- check to see what they like and dislike.
- Then get to know their soft spots.

To appear on the first page, or to even rank at all, you need to start by learning about KEYWORDS. With the knowledge of keywords, you can actually control your space on search engines. Just know you can't really rank well without using keywords. No matter how many words you write in a post, without keywords in the title, url (link), description, or even body of the post, you can't rank well.

So, let’s start with learning keywords.
Image result for images of keywords
There are 3 categories of keywords:
- Short tail
- Mid tail
- Long tail

“How To Create A PayPal Account In Nigeria” is an example of a search query with three categories of keywords. {Search query is anything you type on Google to get an answer or a search result.}
So, let's divide that search query:

Short tail:
PayPal
PayPal account
Nigeria
How-to

Mid tail:
Create PayPal account
How to create PayPal account
Nigerian PayPal account

Long tail:
How to create PayPal account in Nigeria
Creating PayPal account in Nigeria

Note that short tail keywords have higher monthly searches and are usually around two to three words unlike mid tail and long tail which may have less monthly searches compared to short tail. Mid tail can be around four to five words. So, as a blogger, you need to carefully use some tools to monitor the searches and focus on what people are searching for. Search engine crawlers always set out for better contents than the ones ranking already. And when you know exactly what they want, you can beat others by giving more than they ever gave to the engines.

So, how do you outrank those already ranking?
To snatch the search engine spotlight from them, you need to do better than them.
Not blakhat because search engines are really frowning at that now. So, its better you do the one that will take you there and keep you there. 
Image result for images of seo basics
First, you need Webmaster tools and guidelines (go to www.google.com/webmaster and register then add your blog). You will also need Google Keyword Planner, Google trends, Semrush and Seoprofiler or anything related.
So, let's say my niche is Sports and I want to write internationally. I simply use Semrush or Seoprofiler to check out sites that are already in the sport niche. Get to know what they are ranking for and look for searched keywords to post better contents to outrank them.
Note that using only short tail keywords may not get you anywhere close to first page. You can't rank for many short tails with just some words. For instance, if I search for PayPal, I’ll get lots of result and most of them are just old sites that Google have always favoured so outranking them is almost futile. But when you use mid tail or long tail keywords like creating PayPal in Nigeria, you will make progress. If you rank for some well searched keywords, trust me, search engines will favour you in other keywords on your blog.
After getting the keywords from the sites through Semrush, sort them out and take them back to Google Planner to know the actual monthly search. Then sit down, get some or most of the keywords that are around 1k monthly searches. Take each of them to Google. Type them in one and see the sites ranking for them. If the keyword competition is high, you may need to drop that one. It’s better to stay with low or medium competition keywords. After that, check the contents of those high ranking sites to know how much they've written. You need to know who you are competing with, what exactly they have done and what they are doing. Most importantly, who they really are - are they well known brands or just common bloggers? And how great are they?

For instance, searching a keyword like how to create PayPal in Nigeria will first show you the PayPal site (www.paypal.com) and the other sites following maybe sites that have said something about PayPal in Nigeria. Now, if you want to rank for that keyword. Just check out what the site following PayPal has written. If you are into “copy and paste”, mere copying and doubling the number of words the guy has on his page will put you ahead. If you don’t “copy and paste” just get a clue about what he’s saying and write you own post making sure you write better (this actually works for me like mad). But if the content on the blog ranking for the keyword is bulky or it's their homepage or has the keyword in their domain name; you might not be on first position for the keyword, but might still be on the first page. But if the site ranking for it doesn't have the keyword in their root domain, you sure can rank for it.
E.g.
Keyword
How to create PayPal account in Nigeria
The site ranking for it maybe paypalaccount.ng or something close. The site only has PayPal account in its root domain. But it will rank for the keyword because no other site has it as a domain too even though people must have written about it. There are many keywords that people haven't written content on, yet Google must find a site to rank them on. Google even uses comments on posts to rank them (I’ve seen such in my stats report)
So, what if the sites ranking for the keyword don't have them in their root domain, post title or url (link)? Or the content on the sites are not lengthy or they are just scantily explained? It's a good indication that you can rank for it. The good thing is that, if you are lost at any point, you can use your Webmaster tools to find your way back.
So, after checking to see the mistakes or flaws the high ranking blogs are faced with, you can try the following:
- check how many words are on the site ranking number one, and like two others. If it’s not much, plan to write more than they've written, with better keyword optimization.
- get more keywords to add to the main keywords. To get more keywords, use Google search results first. Example, type PayPal in the search bar and you will see suggestions like PayPal account; PayPal support, etc just get them all. You can also scroll down the page and get the related searches. You should have not less than 20 keywords after that. The lengthier and more keyword filled your content is- the more worthy it'll appear to search engine crawlers. While making the post, remember to insert those gathered keywords at appropriate places. Note that a post can rank for over 1000 keywords so this is an advantage.
- Make sure your title is different (not completely) from other titles you find ranking for the keyword. Also include the keywords you want to rank for.
- Make sure the keyword(s) appear in your link before publishing. This is because, some platforms like blogger don’t allow editing of links after publishing. The link is actually very helpful here because without a good or complete link, you can't rank. For instance, www.rosyomeje.com/creating-paypal-account-nigeria or www.rosyomeje.com/how-to-create-nigeria-paypal-account or www.rosyomeje.com/paypal-account-creation-nigeria is a good link even without the stop words like “in” “the” “and” etc. You can have a perfect link without them. To write a link for any keyword, make sure the first or first two words that begin it has high searches. Like PayPal and Nigeria have high searches so placing the both first will do you a lot of good.
- structure your post well. Start with and introduction of the keywords (talk about PayPal, when it started and when it came to Nigeria); you need to be vast in the knowledge of what you want write on; or simply do research. Then state some other information you want to add (like the benefit of using PayPal in Nigeria). Then you can state step by step ways to create a PayPal account in Nigeria.
- Make sure the keywords are in the post description (this one helps me a lot). The search description is what most Google crawlers use to pick up your post, so try to make it contain all the keywords you used and some likely search queries you imagine people will type.

With that said, you can go ahead and drop the post. Before you know it, you will begin to rank for that keyword and search engines will begin to crawl your site more often.

Here’s a tip for entertainment and news bloggers.
No matter how long the article is, writing without keyword is almost a wasted effort in 75% of the time. In entertainment and news blogging, there are different types of articles; Killer and Filler. Your daily breaking news or news brief are filler articles to keep your readers busy and your blog up-to date. But there is nothing stopping entertainment or news bloggers from writing killer articles once in a week. This can give you an edge over others. If you are wondering what to write that'll come as your killer post, get a creative topic and write on it. Eg “guess who” “know your celeb”, here you can pick one celebrity weekly, make some research on them and write about their lifestyle, professional life, family, challenges faced and some things readers would find interesting. You can also write comprehensive articles on a selected number of upcoming stars. With time you'll be ranking for each celebrity. I bet you Linda Ikeji and Naij don’t do this. You can even bring up a remarkable event and ask who broke the record; at the end of the post you can give your answer. Just be creative.


Bonus
Factors That Can Kill Your Blogging Career

1. Slow Websites: The common saying that “patience is a virtue” does not apply online when it comes to surfing the web. I can say it’s quite the opposite. To keep readers on your blog, the speed of your page is very important. A slow website will only result to your loss of conversions from visitors who are currently on your site, this in turn results in loss of potential readers and fans and even money.
Image result for images of factors that can kill blogs
Some factors which can make your website slow include:

- Too much ads
- Too much content on homepage
- Unoptimised pages
- Uncompressed https
- Javascript issues
- Website layout (this is very important because visitors mainly scan through the contents rather than read them)
- Too much flash
etc.

In 2010 Google added site speed to the list of parameters for determining site rankings, now the speed at which someone could view the content from a search result would be a factor. This boosts your site’s SEO and ranking which definitely increases conversion rates and more clicks.
A slow website MAY not be able to achieve good Google ranking and SEO conversion.


2. Web Hosting plan: Actually, your hosting account depends on the price you are ready to pay. The truth is a cheap hosting account could lead to low page-speed performances. As seen today, a blog starts with little or no traffic and gradually begin to have very large traffic. It is important to know when to upgrade a shared hosting plan or migrate to a virtual server. Having the right hosting account and company to power your blog will ensure you maximum uptime and vice versa.


3. Uninteresting Content: Many bloggers spend most of their time making their homepage interesting and the rest pages uninteresting. According to Forrester Research, in 2012, 54% of internet users found websites/blogs through search engine results, 32 percent through social networks, and 28 percent said that they found websites through links from other websites, so your homepage visits is not more important than what’s behind it. Homepages are not a blog’s main entry point for now. It is vital to note that articles, blog posts or any other content that you add on your blog is also attracting traffic, which means every post should be interesting. Always use words everyone can relate to when posting, this makes your content more interesting and relatable.


4. Inactive Blog: Much traffic to your blog will reduce when readers find only old, outdated information and no new posts. If they have nothing new to read, do you think they will visit again? The answer is NO. It is very important to have at least a juicy post on a daily basis.
It’s also important to maintain a balance between posting too much and not posting at all. Posting less frequently will make your readers lose touch with your blog. It is much easier to keep a loyal reader base when they have got information to read about each time they visit your blog. A reader’s intention of visiting your blog is not to look at the design or layout, but rather it is to find the solution to something or be informed.

Okay, I think I’ll stop here for now, my finger aches already!!!
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About Me

Model, Computer Techie, PR, Social Media Marketer, App Developer, Freelancer, Blogger! . . . Oh, I forgot to add Social Worker! Plus, I like writing my thoughts down! . . AND . . I LOVE making new FRIENDS! . . . Contact me on social media -- Rosy Omeje

5 comments:

  1. OMG... This is what I have been paying thousands to learn!!!!

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  2. This is good Rosy! Thumbs up!!!

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  3. OMG!!! This is simply amazing!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Am just wowed by this post,it's really helpful.Keep the work going.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! Nice work here. I've learnt new things....thanks for sharing !

    ReplyDelete

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