SEO: Do you blog for Google or for your audience?

How to you strike the perfect balance between writing something that your blog readers will enjoy, but that also gets ranked highly on Google? Why are some blogs more popular than others? From my experience of blogging and from reading countless other blogs, I believe there is a real art to writing the perfect blog, and of building blog traffic.

Watch my (first ever!) video blog over onĀ BritMums about my own experience of fine tuning blog writing and SEO for my website about everything child friendly, ReallyKidFriendly.com, and read below for my tips on how to improve your own blog writing.

Let’s say you’ve learned invaluable techniques on how to potty train a child with autism. It’s a subject that’s close to your heart, and you want to share your tips with other families so that they can learn from your experience. You write an informative, engaging blog post about it, tweet about it a few times, and post it on your Facebook wall. Great – but who actually benefits? No matter how socially gifted you are, your circle is limited, and the number of people in your circle who find themselves in need of your advice at that particular time is fairly small. How will other parents and carers outside your circle find your blog post?

This is where SEO comes in – using a few simple tools and good judgement, you need to optimise your blog post so that the people who need it most can find it, whenever they need it. This doesn’t mean you need to subject your blog to a team of SEO experts, or even that you need to sacrifice the quality of what you’ve written by adding in carefully placed keywords. Yes, it’s true that those things will help improve SEO, but they will also make your blog feel a little wooden, and will begin to alienate your loyal readers.

 

The best balance, in my opinion, is to have SEO in the back of your mind, but not let it get in the way of writing good content – an article that will genuinely be informative, useful, heartwarming or entertaining, depending on your style. In practice this means:

Focus on specific themes

Choose a handful of themes that go together, and try to stick to those. In the example I used above, your blog or website might focus on 2 or 3 themes such as Autism Spectrum, Special Needs and Parenting. While it’s okay to stray from those topics every now and then, your audience will feel more comfortable knowing what to expect, Google will like your blog that much better, and your blog will likely begin to perform quite well in niche categories of blog ranking websites like Wikio. As a blogger, you will also have more credibility when you write about your theme on bigger sites like Squidoo or Yahoo Answers.

Write good content

Good content encourages your readers to talk about your blog, link back to you, share your articles, comment on them, and give you the occasional #FF on Twitter. Invaluable.

Use good SEO plug-ins

SEO can be a bit of a pain, but is absolutely essential. However, if you spend too much time thinking about it, chances are your blog will begin to feel less real and as though you are writing for Google and not your audience. With traditional websites, SEO can be pretty painful – I know this from experience. To give you the most control over your SEO, I would highly recommend using WordPress, in conjunction with a good SEO plug-in. Of the many powerful free SEO plug-ins out there, I personally prefer Platinum SEO pack. This particular plug-in lets me write custom “meta tags”, that is, custom keywords, description and title for each and every post or page, and this has had a marked effect on my organic traffic for search engines like Google.

Write a good title

Clever, intriguing titles work wonders in print, but don’t work very well for online content. You need to think about how the general public will be able to find your article, and how – as they sift through hundreds of matches – they will know it’s relevant to them. Try and use a keyword-rich title, or use a good SEO plug-in that allows you to display a nice title on your blog while giving Google a juicy keyword-rich title.

Were these tips useful? What other SEO, content writing or blogging tips would you give to other bloggers?

Please leave a comment below!google search