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.


Jennifer Chow said...

Thanks for reviewing these SEO tips with us! I also feel relieved to hear about your passive experiment. It makes me feel more confident in juggling both blogging and writing.

Melissa Pearl said...

Thanks for this great post. I'm looking forward to checking out further tips.
Awesome stuff :)

Robert Lee Brewer said...

It was great meeting you in Hollywood, Jennifer.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Melissa!

Mark Brunetti said...

Loved this article on SEO and how to get your works out there to a more mainstream audience....

was even inspired by it to post a little book recommendation on my blog about a book about indie authors and how to get your work out there...check it out when you have some time

webbdesign said...

Having high quality content is also key in improving your search engine ranking. Google's definition of how to produce high quality content is "Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content."

Julia Tomiak said...

See, I came, months later, because I'm interested in SEO, and I know you always have excellent, concise content! More proof for your argument! Thanks for sharing the results of your experiment. There is NO WAY I could post every day.

Jean Bridges said...

Thanks for this great article, Robert. I’m trying to learn as much as I can about SEO and I’m particularly interested in developing killer keyword strategies. I know that great content should be accompanied by excellent keyword tactics for a successful online campaign.