One of the great myths of our day is that search engine optimization (SEO) is a sacred secret known only to esoteric Internet gurus. It’s not.
I don’t want to belittle those who make a living by knowing the complexities of Google. Many do a great job leading companies past their static Website days and into a rich content present.
However, too many people try to dazzle with promises of instant search engine utopia. There are no tricks to make your site rocket up to the first page of a popular search—mainly because Google spends more time and money than you have to counter such tricks.
So, how do you build a platform for your writing in such a tangled Web? The same way you do with any writing.
- Write consistently: Consistency is more important than anything else on this list. When the audience knows that your site is updated on a regular basis, they’re more likely to return or follow your feed. They’re also more likely to link to your blog or site. Investing in a link to your site means that they’re recommending you to friends and readers. It’s not about always being profound; it’s about staying the course when other sites fade away.
- Make it unique: I suppose I’m a hypocrite on this, since this blog is in a crowded market, but one of my goals is to cover topics that other writing sites might not cover in a way that’s unique and non-threatening. Put your own stamp on what you do so that your writing stands out—even if there are thousands of blogs on a similar topic.
- Stay on target: If you are serious about ranking, then you’ll need to become an expert in something. People go to sites for specific purposes—to laugh, to get news, to see videos, to learn about stocks, to interact with others. When you read that list, I’m sure that sites you use came to mind. Be the big-fish expert in a small pond if possible.
- Don’t stuff with keywords: Writing in keywords to your writing can make your writing seem like artificial writing with little writing merit. I would always recommend that you write and edit for quality first—and only then go back to see if you can increase the keyword distribution without making it sound like some techno-pop song with a repeated phrase. Usually, however, if you deal with topics that people are interested in, your keywords will just fall into place.
- Tag it and spread it: Beyond those basics, make sure that you provide tags and informative headers for your posts and articles. These help search engines sort through what you’ve written and give you some control over what words you want to emphasize. Also, spend some time sharing what you’ve worked on through social networking sites—as you build relationships.
Disclaimer: I am not an SEO expert. Following this advice will not necessarily make you a Google champ, taller, have abs of steel, or find out who is searching for you on the Internet. But nothing compares to consistently good content.