Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guest Post: Professional Mommy Blogging

Today I'm pleased to feature a guest post from my friend Margo, over at Writer Mom at Home. I've also written a guest post over at her blog, so I hope you'll swing by and check it out! Without any further adieu, here's Margo with some awesome blog advice!

I am a professional writer. I create website content for companies, and I have done some professional blogging for different websites. Part of my job is to understand how to write content that search engines, such as Google, can find and index for their search results. I am also a mommy blogger, and using the skills I have learned through my work has improved my blog. And, as many blog readers have blogs themselves, I thought that I would share some of these tips with you.

Having a blog that people can find through search engines is one of the best ways to build up your number of readers. Unless you have a protected blog, meaning that you don't want search engines to send you traffic, a little search engine optimization (SEO) is a good thing. And it's really easy to do. These simple tips can get you started.

The biggest secret to SEO is the use of keywords, and chances are, you're already doing this. If you head over to Google, and you want to find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, your keyword, or phrase, is "chocolate chip cookie recipe" or "recipe for chocolate chip cookies". Keywords are what search engines use to figure out how to list your blog posts.

It is a really great idea to have a few keywords that you are using overall in your blog. For Type A Mommy, Elizabeth can use "Type A Mommy," "Stay-at-home mom," "best family recipes," or anything else that she feels really represents what her blog is about. Use these keywords often, in posts, pages, and other bits of writing around your blog. Use this same concept for your posts. Pick 2-4 keywords, and use them each 5+ times. Use them once or twice in your first paragraph, and then spread out through the rest of your post.

The reason that you are trying to use these keywords more often is because search engines look for repeated words when they are indexing your pages. So if you have "chocolate chip cookies" five or six times in your post, Google will realize that the post is about cookies, and not about something else. So, when someone else searches for chocolate chip cookies, your page will be listed, although probably towards the back of the list of sites. Unfortunately for many bloggers, the top search engine results go to the most popular pages. But there are ways to improve your chances there, too.

The first way, you are already doing as a blogger. Update often, using keywords in your posts. Search engines don't usually put old, outdated websites in their top search results. Also, keep blogging. Sites that are established will get a better ranking than brand new blogs. The truth is, thousands of new blogs are started every day. Most of them won't last more than a few months, and even fewer will still be regularly blogged on a year from now. If you keep blogging, you'll beat out a lot of other websites for better rank.

Use your tags and categories wisely. Search engines put a bigger emphasis on the words and phrases you use for these, which makes them a great way to use your keywords. If, like Elizabeth, you post a lot of recipes, a Recipe category is a good idea. Or you could even bring it up a notch, and use "easy recipes for busy moms" or "healthy recipes." If your blogging platform (Wordpress, Blogger, ect) allows you to use parent categories, you could have Recipes as a parent category, and then the more specific categories under it. Try to keep the tags you use on your blog to a reasonable number. I've visited blogs with over 50 tags. WAY too many. Settle for 10-15, and use them often. A post can have more than one tag, but it should only have one category.

Share the link love. If you are writing a post about child discipline techniques, for example, link to a couple websites for further explanation and examples. And when you post comments on other blogs, be sure to leave the URL for your own site, if it is asked for. If search engines see that your site has other blogs linked to it, they will boost your rankings. It improves your blog's credibility. This isn't always a sure thing, for various reasons, and it can be over done, but a link or two per post, to quality websites, is a good goal.

There are dozens of other ways to improve your search engine rankings, and a dozen reasons why it is a good idea. Especially if you run advertisements or affiliate programs on your blog. If more people visit your blog, your chances of someone clicking on an advertisement improves. More visitors also means more readers. Mommy bloggers are the new big thing, even if they aren't particularly new. Mommy bloggers are turning their large followings into book deals, speaking engagements, and more. It pays to build your number of readers, and search engine optimization can be a great way to do it.

When I first started blogging, I didn't know any of this. It took a few months of working as a writer, and being required to use keywords for my assignments, before I really got the hang of it. Give yourself some time to play around with these ideas. They definitely won't hurt your blog, and you might see a substantial increase in traffic to your blog if they are used consistently for a few months.

Anything I can clarify? Anything else you would like to know about using SEO in your blog? Please feel free to leave a comment below, and I'll answer any questions you might have!


Mrs. C said...

WOW! What an awesome article! This was really interesting and helpful. I'm new to blogging and I am trying to increase readership and make my blog read-worthy! A big thanks to Type A Mommy and Writer Mom at Home!

Rachel said...

Stopping by from SITS! Just wanted to let you know...I got a Honda
Odyssey and LOVE it! I had a really hard time coming to terms with getting a minivan, but I have every intention of getting another when my lease is up next year! Good luck!

Mommy (That's my name, don't wear it out.) said...

AWESOME advice!! Thanks!

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