Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3 Reasons Why SEO Matters: Improve Search Engine Rankings

This is why SEO matters: If you want to improve search engine rankings, there are two ways to make that happen, and both techniques have to work together. First, you have to write amazing content. Second, you have to employ sound keyword strategy.

I spent last weekend in Hollywood, California. It was a great trip for two reasons:
  1. I was able to take a bunch of goofy tourist photos.
  2. I was afforded the opportunity to help people understand the importance of SEO.
View from hotel room included the HOLLYWOOD sign.

3 Reasons Why SEO Matters

Here's the brick wall I usually hit when explaining the importance of SEO. Most writers are allergic to numbers and statistics. Some writers are completely against structure (these writers often fight against the idea of using outlines).

However, if they're going to get the most bang for their buck online, writers (and all professionals) need to optimize their websites for search engine. Here's why:
  1. SEO leads to discover-ability. Most people who need to know the answer to something now go online to find the answers. Sites that aren't optimized for search engines will not display in the search results. If your site isn't on the first page of results, it's pretty much invisible. In fact, most sites that aren't in the first 3-5 spots on a search page will receive fewer than 5% of all clicks on a given search.
  2. SEO leads to higher traffic. A common method for measuring success on blogs and websites is to look at traffic. That makes a lot of sense. One good method for increasing traffic is to post a lot of new content, but it takes a lot of effort for each new page or post. Any even better method is to post content that receives as much (or more) traffic on day 365 as the day it was first posted. This can be accomplished with great SEO.
  3. SEO leads to improved content. Many writers point to content as the reason they object to learning SEO. They argue that targeting keywords leads to stilted language. Let me agree for a moment: Yes, it can. In such cases, keyword-loaded posts with stilted language do not perform well in search engine rankings. It takes a combination of great keywords and great content to consistently rank on page one.

Improve Search Engine Rankings

I'm only writing this post because I've seen the power of SEO first hand. I've spent the past two years experimenting with content on this blog, including increasing posts, linking to social media, and optimizing for search engines. Some experiments have worked; others have failed; and I try to share everything with my awesome readers.

As many long-time Not Bob readers know, I was posting nearly every day through the first five months of 2012. I'd driven traffic to my blog to new levels through many strategies mentioned in my 25 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic post. Then, life got in the way, and I was able to run a different type of experiment--a very passive experiment. I was able to see what my Not Bob traffic would be like without new content.

This is only my 2nd post since August 7 and 10th since May 31. In fact, I didn't even post in the month of September. Traffic on my blog actually increased during the months of June through September (October is still in progress) by 44.8% in 2012 over 2011. In the month of September (in which I didn't make a single post), my traffic increased 41.4%.

I'm not sharing these stats to make your eyes gloss over or to boast. I want to emphasize that the traffic to my blog in my absence was not due to new content. Instead, it was mostly through new readers finding me while searching for answers online. My combination of solid content and great keywords helped increase my traffic while I've been away.

Use SEO to Improve Your Platform

Whether you're a writer or business owner (and really, freelancer writers are business owners), search engine rankings are essential to your success online. Lucky for you, I've developed a 30-day challenge for improving your online platform. It's completely free and--from the testimonials I've received--completely effective in jump starting your process. 

Over the 30-day plan, I cover many tasks, including better SEO. I encourage you to start taking the challenge today (or this weekend) if you haven't yet.


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Check out these other helpful Not Bob posts:

And if you want a way to improve make a super investment in your author platform, check out the latest offering from Writer's Digest: Author Platform Consultations. There are three different levels--from a basic package (that is anything but basic) to an 8-week program that involves 30-minute consultations each week. Click here to learn more.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What I've Been Up To

If you only know me through this Not Bob blog, then you've probably been wondering what the heck happened to me. The truth is that I've been busy with all the other not-"Not Bob" stuff I have in my life. This blog has become so successful that I haven't had to worry too much about traffic slumping (even as I've focused on other projects).

That said, I haven't just been sitting around doing nothing the past few months. In fact, I'm hopping on a plane tomorrow morning to work the Writer's Digest Conference West event in Hollywood, California. I'll be speaking on a panel (Hardcore Author Marketing) on Saturday. If you can attend, please stop by and introduce yourself.

At an Ohio pumpkin farm with two of my boys.

Last month, I worked as a member of the staff for Writing Away Retreats, which is an amazing event for writers put on my Cicily Janus. Cicily assembles a wonderful staff (agents, editors, authors) and brings them together with what feels like a hand-selected group of attendees. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these events, I highly recommend it.

As a poet, I've had a few poems accepted recently by MiPOesias and The Pedestal Magazine. Since I have only made a few submissions all year, I consider this an incredible achievement. A lot of my poetic energy has been focused on putting together a full-length poetry manuscript, which I'm hoping to start submitting in November.

As a blogger, I've been busy too (though, yes, I know, not here):
I've been working so much in WordPress recently that it feels weird to have such a clean admin experience with Blogger now. (It's kinda nice.)

If you're interested in blogging, check out this excerpt of a tutorial I recorded for Writer's Digest sharing my 50 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic. It's sort of like my 25 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic post--but it's twice as long and comes with the authoritative sound of my voice.

Hmmm... there are other things I've been doing, but this post is already so terribly long that I'd recommend keeping up with me in small chunks. For instance, you could follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer or find me on Facebook as Robert Lee Brewer. If you prefer, I'm also on Google+ as Robert Brewer.

I'm not going to make any promises about increasing my blog frequency here. It's on my to-do list, but the more important list is always my to-done list (as in this post is nearly to-done). If you want to stay on top of future posts that will help with writing, blogging, publishing, parenting, or whatever else I decide to address, then sign up for e-mail updates over on the right.

In the meantime, check out the following Not Bob posts from the archive: