A friend of mine has been getting WordPress advice from me for years. Last week, my father passed away tragically, and she’s been so wonderful to me and our family – covering us in prayer and avoiding pressuring me for help (I don’t call it pressure, she does!). As I looked for the best way to answer her, I realized I hadn’t addressed this on my blog recently. I wonder how many of you might have the same questions? Here’s what she posted on Facebook:
“I’m learning how to choose SEO titles and headlines and how to write copy that gets found in search engines (as well as how to select the most spider-attracting words), but I don’t know how to add them to my site! Isn’t that SAD?!!”
Here was my response, and then I told her I would cover it in a post on The Richardson Copywriter:
“You’re thinking about it backwards, for one thing … spiders follow human behavior. Always write for people. We’ll catch up soon, don’t freak out:)”
SEO is search engine optimization, but don’t be fooled by the name. Search engine spiders follow human behavior, like I told my friend, and writing for robots won’t make you any money.
When it comes to writing your website material – pages and posts – if you don’t write for your ideal client, you’re missing the whole thing. You may serve anyone, but you ALWAYS focus your attention on your IDEAL client. You know, the ones who love you, keep appointments and pay on time without a fuss. Be honest, everybody doesn’t. Using your blog to talk them into being better customers or pushing your excellence on them won’t ever amount to anything. Go for the ones you want. They want you to be REAL. Good at what you do and able to prove it.
So what about those SEO titles?
If you’re going to do it right, do a little keyword research. In WordPress, follow the SEO tab on the top of your dashboard and find out if your word choices are helpful or not. Often, without trying, we write for ourselves. But our customers are not us, and when you do your research you’ll find the words people actually use right now, in your country, to find your products and services – may not be what you think.
Hint: Try to avoid ‘cute’ language that may not actually describe your services. People don’t read between the lines well. Be clear, and try to differentiate yourself from your competition without alienating your company from those who would find you among the same word choices.
Next, go into your ‘Settings’. Under ‘General’ settings, you need to make sure your site title includes the language most relevant to the perception you want for your brand. It might be your name. It might include a location word. It might include industry terminology. For instance, if you’re a speaker, you should consider: My Name, Motivational Speaker. This makes a connection between what you do and what people are looking for. Your tagline is also important from an SEO perspective. Use keyword language that is recognizable and relevant – not vague or cute.
Okay, now to discuss HOW to use keywords in your titles and headlines. Hang on to your hats. You don’t ‘ADD’ them to your site, friends, you simply use them in the right places!
After keyword research helps you narrow down the words you want to use by eliminating the language no one uses …
Use them when you post to your blog like this:
- One keyword or phrase in each of your page and post titles.
- One keyword or phrase in your topic sentence, body text, and closing.
- Use another similar word or phrase in a ‘Related Post’ at the end of your post, and link it to another blog post on your site. Your blog posts should link to each other naturally.
Use keywords on your pages like this:
- All headers. Widget titles, bullet point introductions, and navigation should all use keywords. Notice this post’s keyword choices are SEO, WordPress, keywords and blog. Go back and see how I’ve used those words.
- Location words should be tastefully used in sentences or a listing of service areas – NOT just randomly repeated in a box on your site (BAD SEO).
- NEVER keyword ‘stuff’ your pages. Use one or two per page in the same manner as blog posts. The same word overused is in poor taste and will never capture your reader’s attention. They may get a reader to the page, but if they bounce right off of it – you’ve negatively impacted your SEO.
- ALWAYS connect your pages using links with word use that naturally connects the pages.
ex: Discover how Our Company solves your problems here. (Link this to your Services page, and use ‘Services Page’ in your hover text.)
ex: Learn more about Our Company here. (Link this to About page, and use About Our Company in your hover text.)
So did this crash course in basic SEO help you? Leave me your comments below so I can fill in the blanks.