Navigating the complexities of search engine optimization (SEO) can feel like diving into a rabbit hole of industry jargon and specialist techniques. Freelance writers like me often see this intricate world as a never-ending endeavor of trial and error. It’s easy to question if you are doing enough or too little.
But in my experience with optimizing my blog posts and website, I have learned that SEO combines patience, a bit of creativity, and a whole lot of constant learning. My SEO journey has been nothing short of enlightening, offering me profound insights.
In this candid article, I will share my lessons learned from months of applying SEO best practices. Experience is the best teacher; this statement rings true with SEO.
Join me as I discuss five revelations that can help you optimize your web content for search engines.
Keywords are the backbone of SEO. They are the terms that potential visitors use to search for content. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what your target audience searches and how they are phrasing their queries.
When I started with SEO, I thought the more popular the keyword, the better. However, I quickly realized that generic keywords are too competitive to attract my target audience.
Instead, I learned to focus on specific phrases users will likely use. For example, instead of “freelance writing” as a keyword, I would use “freelance writing rates in the Philippines.” It’s more specific, less competitive, and likelier to attract the right audience.
Add internal and external links
Links are like the blood veins of a website, connecting different pages and guiding visitors through your website. Incorporating internal and external links in your content is another crucial aspect of SEO I’ve learned.
Internal links connect different pages on your website. They help visitors to read related content throughout your site, improve navigation, and enhance the user experience. A well-structured internal linking strategy can encourage website visitors to explore further.
External links, on the other hand, connect your content to other reputable sites. They serve as a vote of confidence from other sites, enhancing your credibility and authority. However, I’ve learned to be selective with my external links, ensuring I only link to high-quality, relevant content.
I’ve learned that linking is more about quality than quantity. A few well-placed, high-quality links can have a more significant impact.
Think about your URL
Your webpage’s URL is more than an address; it’s an essential element of your SEO strategy. A well-structured URL can enhance your website’s visibility and user experience.
When I started publishing blog posts, I didn’t pay much attention to my URLs. However, I soon realized a clean and concise URL is easier for users to remember and for search engines to get clues about my content.
Today, I keep my URLs short, descriptive, and free of unnecessary characters. Rather than depending on the default WordPress settings, I use a slug generator to create my URLs. I also include my target keywords to reinforce the topic t. A good URL is like a good book title: it should give users a clear idea of what to expect.
Write a compelling meta description
A meta description is a short snippet describing your content in search engine results. It is your opportunity to sell your content to potential visitors and persuade them to click on your link.
In the beginning, I underestimated the importance of meta descriptions. I thought they were just a minor detail that did not have much impact on SEO. However, I soon realized that a compelling meta description could increase my click-through rates.
I learned to write engaging meta descriptions that represent my content. I also include my target keywords in the meta-description to enhance my content’s visibility. Your meta description is your content’s pitch. It should be compelling enough to convince users to click.
Deliver valuable content
Good content is the cornerstone of SEO. No amount of keywords, links, or meta descriptions can compensate for poorly written content.
In years past, SEO was about stuffing keywords and links. However, I realized that search engines prioritize content that provides value. Search engines like Google and Bing want to deliver the most relevant, useful results to users, and that is precisely what your content should do.
I’ve learned to focus on creating content that satisfies my readers’ needs and interests. I also strive to keep my content fresh, as search engines favor up-to-date content. Content is king in SEO. It’s the foundation upon which all other SEO elements are built.