When I first thought of writing this post, it was just going to be a list of the minimum items to include with every blog entry. I wanted to keep it simple. Many bloggers get hung up on what to do about SEO that I think it hinders them from posting as much. Everyone says you have to do _____ for the best optimization. And it changes all the time.
Also it needed to be for all bloggers not just for those with fancy plugins. Those on wp.com and Blogger need to know how they can optimize their sites too.
Then Google did it again. They just came out with a new “algorithm” change. And it’s a big one, especially for bloggers. More later on that.
So I still want to keep this simple like a check list. That way us ag bloggers can focus on what is important and that is writing and publishing our posts. Follow these steps and you will be doing just fine.
SEO Bare Bones List:
1. Post frequently: at least once a week Search engines give priority to relevant, up-to-date content.
2. Keywords: Don’t think about individual words because you won’t rank for them. Keyword phrases, three to five words long are what you should be targeting. Use Ubersuggest.org for ideas. Keep this simple, don’t over think it.
3. Title: (also called Title Tags) Use keywords in your title. Only about the first 65 characters in said title will show in google search.
4. Meta Description: for those without the plugin- The first 150 characters in your post will be displayed in the search under the title. So make those first 150 characters count (ie. keyword phrase)
5. Headings: use Header 2 and Header 3 for paragraph intros. Tells search engines those words are important to article.
6. Links: Incoming links are like gold stars to your site. Higher ranking sites are optimal. Take advantage of guest posting when you can. I wrote a post on 5 insanely simple backlink locations. Even internal linking helps. Always link to other posts where relevant.
7. Speed: how fast does your site load? Slow sites get dinged. Most of the time it is because of too large file size images. Keep your image files small. Check your sites speed at Pingdom.
8. Images: Always Always rename the file of your images. DO NOT leave it as DSC0093. Rename it before you upload it to your site. And also fill in the Title and alt text fields. Use your keyword phrase when possible.
There you have it. What I call the Bare Bones of SEO. These are 8 simple steps all bloggers can use to give their sites a boost in search engines.
If a new farm blogger asks you “What about SEO?”, you can send them here. [click to tweet]
Google’s latest update- They have shut down the keyword search tool (except for those using Ad Words). And you won’t know what keywords visitors are using to find your site when they search through google.
I recommend using Ubersuggest along with following your popular posts. This combination will give you good direction.
**Update** WordTracker is a great tool to use to find keyword combinations. Just sign in with your email and a password to start using right away. Confirm your email for a larger keyword list. You don’t have to sign up for the trial to use the site.
in future episodes will cover
content ideas, Why farmers should blog, compressing videos and images for fast upload, basic seo, page design, categories and tags, What’s important for agbusiness sites, advocating for ag industry, plugins or software reviews
Have your site featured by using the microphone on the left and send your guest intro. I’ll include a link in the show notes.
A blog that is separate from a business site is like a long distance relationship. Everyone is frustrated. Joining the two can be a magical, beautiful thing. Even Hub Spot’s research shows that businesses that blog see an 88% increase in leads over those who don’t.
If your ag business or organization has different URL’s for your site and blog, you should seriously consider putting them under one roof. Here is two compelling reasons why:
1. It’s confusing
for you and your customers.
Which one do you put the time in to update? Which one do you promote in your social media bios? Do you send customers to the blog to read a post first. Then send them to the site for your phone number. Are you expecting customers/members to remember two website addresses? If they see one site’s URL in print will they say, “Hey, I thought their site was something else.”
The objective is to keep customers/members focused on doing business with you. Why would you send them to yet another site to read your articles and updates?
Also do you really have the time or inclination to maintain two different sites?
2. A blog will bring your website to life.
Much like how a wife brings class, sophistication, and virtue to a marriage; adding a blog to your business website will benefit in many ways.
With each post published a new page is added to your site. This fresh and updated content signals to search engines that there is new information that people may be looking for. Isn’t it more important that they come to a site where they can quickly find everything your business or organization has to offer in one place?
Just as essential, potential customers will see there is a human connected to the site. A static business website can be a lifeless, online brochure. A personal touch is given to a site with every blog post that answers visitors questions, every picture that shows there are people who want to help, every video that displays how work gets done.
Will you let a single article sum up your farming heritage?
Someone tweeted a link to this article saying how proud of her family she was. And the lady should be proud. The article talks about the closing of a dairy farm and interviews the brother and sister who grew up milking cows by hand.
When I read it, I thought how sad if a single newspaper article were the only record of their family farm history. Yes, most families will have a few scattered pictures. But what about the stories. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our great grandparents would have kept a journal of everything that happened in their lives. Keeping a blog on your family farm will be such a tremendous blessing for generations to come.
When I see pictures of my grandpa farming, I wonder what he did for his daily chores. What were his struggles farming during WWII. How did he teach his sons to run the equipment. No one is around to tell those stories any more.
At my farm’s website, I don’t worry so much about unique visitors or page views. I’m writing for my kids’ kids.
I’m not overly concerned about advocating for agriculture. I’m telling future generations about their heritage.
So if I publish a popular post or someone from the city learns about farming from my site, that’s great. What is more important to me is that my grandchildren’s grandchildren can read the story about how their ancestors organized the harvest of a widow’s crops. Or the time we tried to save a favorite cow.
And that is one of the reasons I created this site. I try to make creating a blog or website easy for farmers to tell their story for future generations.
Really. How sad would it be to have a newspaper article be the only written record of your farm’s history.
Leave a link to where you’re keeping a journal about the story of your farm.
We are taking this site in a different direction. I have other websites that I am working on.
Together we will discover
1. how to reach an audience
2. make strong connections
3. get your message out
If you would like to join us to see how this can improve your site. Join the email list to be included. It's at the top of the page. :D