Day 8 Blogging Course: Social Media & SEO πŸ“‘

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Today we're going to expand on yesterday's topic of increasing traffic by honing in on social media and SEO, or search engine optimization.

And we're going to do this by looking at the world's most popular search engine, Google, as well as the world's most popular social network, Facebook. We are also going to talk about a platform that is something of a hybrid between a search engine and a social network, Pinterest.

Yes, there are other search engines out there such as Bing and Yahoo. And yes, there are other social media platforms out there such as Instagram and Twitter.

But I am going to focus on Google, Facebook, and Pinterest today because these are the ones that I believe that these are the most important platforms for most new bloggers to master.

Below I have given you what I believe to be the most important tip for each platform. This advice in and of itself will not make you a social media or SEO guru, but it will put you leaps and bounds ahead of the vast majority of bloggers.

G 1. Google: Aim to Rank for Long-Tail Keywords.

Google traffic accounts for between 55% and 80% of most blogs' traffic. Let that sink in for a second.

And quite frankly, unless you're on the first page for a given search term, you may as well be the last. OK, that's not entirely true, but it is mostly true. The top five results on Google get 75% of the total clicks for a given search.

But here's the deal. In all likelihood, you're not going to rank for popular, one-word keywords like “money” or “parenting” or “baseball” or whatever broad topic your blog is about.

So what are you to do? Aim to rank for long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is a fairly specific phrase that is way less competitive SEO-wise than popular, one-word keywords.

Examples of long-tail keywords include “how nurses can make money from home”, “parenting an adult special needs child”, and “best youth baseball clubs in Chicago”.

If you search, say, “how nurses can make money from home” (without the quotes) you will see that on the first page, there are links to various blogs: websites put up by people like you and me who made it to the first page of Google. The first page is not dominated by megasites like Forbes like it would be for “nurses” or “money” but rather by bloggers like you and me.

You see, these bloggers accepted the fact that they could not compete with other sites for keywords like “nurses” or “money,” and so they targeted long-tail keywords.

OK then, so how exactly do I craft my blog posts to target long-tail keywords? Here are some pointers:

  • Consider using long-tail keywords as the title for your blog post. For example, creating a blog post called “How Nurses Can Make Money From Home” wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
  • Even if you don't think that you want to use your long-tail keywords as your blog post's title, you can still put the long-tail keyword in your blog post's meta description. I recommend you use Yoast SEO and follow its tutorials to learn how to update your blog's meta description. There is a premium and a free version of Yoast SEO, but I have been getting by just on the free version.
  • Use your long-tail keyword (and similar words) throughout your blog post. Don't repeat it over and over unnecessarily, but be sure to keep coming back to it throughout your content.

πŸ‘ 2. Facebook: Remember the Four I's.

When it comes to Facebook, you want to create shareable content, that is, content that your viewers will want to share with their friends. That is how you will get the greatest traction and organic reach on Facebook.

So how do you make sure that your content is shareable? You have to remember why Facebook users share content. You see, when the average Facebook user shares your content on their personal Facebook page, they typically want to accomplish at least one of the four actions below, which I call the four I's.

  • Inform: they want to inform their friends about some topic.
  • Identify: they want to identify with a particular group or ideology.
  • Instigate: they want to instigate controversy.
  • Impress: they want to impress their friends.

Your goal is to come up with content, images, and headlines that will serve at least one, and ideally more than one, of these goals.

So put yourself in the shoes of one of your readers and think to yourself, “How can I craft something that they will want to share with their friends?” And remember the four I's!

πŸ“Œ 3. Pinterest: Use Vertical Images.

I had no idea how to use Pinterest when I first started blogging. I was under the impression that it was strictly reserved for 1) recipes and 2) wedding planning ideas.

Boy, was I wrong. Pinterest is one of the best traffic sources for bloggers, especially new bloggers! You see, with Facebook, your post will appear in a news feed for only a very limited period of time. But with Pinterest, content that was pinned years ago still shows up in people's searches and home pages! This makes Pinterest an extremely valuable traffic source and one that you should invest some time into mastering.

And the first step to mastering Pinterest is making sure that you have Pinterest-friendly images for every post. And by Pinterest-friendly, I mean vertical! You see, vertical images perform way better on Pinterest than square or horizontal images.

If you're not familiar with why this is, I suggest you create a Pinterest account, scroll through some Pins, and notice which ones catch your eye more. Chances are, they will be the vertical ones! In general, the taller your image is, the better!

🍝 Next Time: My Secret Sauce

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