Friends don't let friends blog without SEO.
I used to. I used to say "oh, I'll just write about whatever, and SEO will take care of itself." I used to not quite appreciate what it forced me to do: curb my creativity by having me write about/around a keyword that may not inspire me.
For a writer, SEO can be such a drag. It's like forcing a novelist to use certain words just because "the readers will like them" (not that that's what SEO is for). But with the more strategic approach I've had to take to content lately, I've somewhat renewed my relationship with SEO–just because, in the end, it's good business, and it makes blogging for business a lot more effective.
Why does on-page SEO matter?
The purpose of on-page SEO is to let search engines know what the page is about. It makes it easier to connect keywords that people search for with web pages that fulfill the searchers' need for information.
On-page SEO is the most basic form of SEO you can do, but it should be done consistently, especially on blogs. And this type of SEO is not technically demanding and requires just a little bit of knowledge about meta tags (but there's a ton of modules and plugins that can help you deal with the tags without even typing a bracket).
The 4 core elements of on-page SEO
On-page SEO has four main items:
- Image alt tags
Let's see an example with this other useful blogging post I wrote not too long ago:
The keyword for this post was, you guessed it, "blogging" (a rather difficult anf short-tail keyword, but a girl can dream). If you click on the link, the URL has "blogging" in it. Blogging appears in the title, within the content of the post, and in the image alt tag (that you can also see by inspecting the element in your browser).
Alt tags are basically the text that appears if the image doesn't load for a reason or another–it also is the text that a screen reader would read out loud, which increases your page's accessibility to person with visual disabilities.
To easily optimize a page, choose one keyword (a keyword can be a key phrase, remember) and use it in each of these four places. That's all you need to do.
Business blogging needs SEO
Sure, you could blog willy-nilly, as I used to. There's no law that forces you to use SEO anywhere on your website. But if you have any ambitions of your website getting found by searchers on at least a few relevant long-tail keywords, you will waste your money on design and hosting because nobody is ever going to find your website.
For businesses, blogging should be a strategic affair, with goals and objectives at the end of all that time you (or your staff) spend putting words on the screen. Without SEO, you're going to find it hard to achieve these objectives.
But remember: it's super-important to write for humans, not robots. See how I didn't stuff this post with "business blogging" in every sentence? That's because you probably would have stopped reading if I had. A keyword is just a guide, a signpost for a machine to flag your page and say "hey, let's put this page in X category". The robots aren't the ones ultimately making use of the information; humans are.
A simple shift
With just this simple shift in attitude, we're already seeing SEO results from my and my team members' hard blogging work. I must admit I was a bit in a rebellion against SEO, but in the end, what I really want is for my company to succeed and for my work to have contributed to that success. If I have to embrace SEO for that, then I'll happily do so!
For more on- and off-page SEO tips, as well as other ways you can make your website more effectively attract traffic, leads and sales, check out our free ebook on the subject.
Have you ever rebelled against SEO? Do you feel constrained by it or do you find it a useful tool? Share your thoughts with us!