Here is a quandary that you might have experienced as a lady of the internet who cherishes her blog.
To optimise your blog for Google, or to create poetic posts that resonate with your audience, and demonstrate your creative flair?
It’s a hard balancing act to master, and as someone who’s optimised website copy for local businesses – including my own – I know the challenge of appealing to machines and to people.
You want Google to love your website, but you also want people to enjoy reading the damn thing too and keep coming back for more of the good stuff.
So what’s a blogger boss to do? How do you get ranking for search terms, while writing in a way that’s grammatically correct and appeals to your readers?
Truth bomb: the only way to get on Google’s radar is to invest some time in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Truth stink bomb: SEO changes all the freakin’ time. Just when us SEOs think we’ve mastered each and every of Google’s algorithm updates, BAM! They make some more changes and we’re left to rethink what we’ve already learned.
But here’s the thing – optimising your blog for Google has never been more important.
And I’ll tell you why.
It’s not because keywords are king (they’re important, yes, but not KING).
And it’s not the amount of links you’re leaving on other blogs (this is an ancient SEO tactic which DOES NOT WORK today, so please, don’t do that!).
Google cares about how much you care for your audience.
Yes, Google is smart, and it is judging you like a snobby English student. If you don’t demonstrate that you have empathy for your audience, he won’t invite you to the popular kid’s lunch table.
He’s fickle, but all is not lost.
The key to getting on Google’s radar?
Create more quality content.
What’s quality content?
Back in 2011, Google created a few key changes to their algorithm. They gave it a cute name – Panda – and it was created to get crap content off the internet. This means that Google has been working to punish uncaring keyword stuffers (that’s cramming your page with keywords in places that doesn’t make sense), content mills which create multiple versions of the same page, and websites with high bounce rates. It seems a bit harsh to punish those with high bounce rates, but Panda figures that if people aren’t sticking around, the website’s probably a real flog. They don’t care if their audience’s needs aren’t met.
So how do you show you care?
If you’re new to blogging, there’s one thing I can’t stress enough: do not worry about ranking #1 right now. Just focus on creating content, experimenting, seeing what resonates, and working with that.
There’s a few keys to show Google you care, and they’ll work for newbies bloggers, semi-experienced bloggers, or bloggers who just need a refresh.
Everyone can write. There, I said it! Everyone can write. Everyone does it in their own unique way, and what is ‘good writing’ for one person might not be for another. But there are a few common themes that run through all ‘good’ writing, and that’s grammar, spelling, following a logical sequence, legibility and clarity. If you need to brush up on your English, I highly recommend Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. To keep your blog posts typo-free, I recommend printing them off so you can see clearer. Use fonts that are easy to read, and make use of headings to break up large chunks of text.
Remember: if you write well, it shows that you’ve considered your audience and what they’d enjoy or need. Do this, and you’ll have one very happy Panda.
Truth bomb: your audience has likely heard it all before from bloggers who don’t care. Don’t bore them – interest them with a twist on old-hat topics.
For example, I could have written a post on Blogger Boss all about how to create quality content. Instead, I chose to focus on empathy and showing you care. See what I did there?
Otherwise known as Mobilegeddon, Google’s Panda update back in 2015 requires websites to be mobile-friendly. If your blog isn’t mobile-friendly – that’s ‘responsive’ in geek speak – your blog’s ranking will likely be affected.
Why? You know that everyone is glued to their phones these days. Don’t you care if your reader’s get crabby when they have to zoom in on your web page because it doesn’t fit their phone screen? You don’t want that for your readers, and I don’t want that for you, either.
And there’s really no reason to not have a mobile friendly website in 2016! If you’re about to start up a blog, opt for a mobile-friendly template, always. There are dozens of WordPress templates you can edit yourself. If you’re building landing pages, it also helps to customise these just for mobile too. Show you care with just a little bit of extra work, and you’ll certainly see the rewards on Google.
There’s not secret sauce or dirty tricks to chumming up with the Panda these days – just take care of your audience, be the good person that you are, and focus on quality over quantity.
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Hey there, Madeleine here. I'd love to help you!