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For most people, SEO and blogging are inextricably linked, but the truth is many bloggers don’t have a clue about the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimisation.

To your everyday blogger, SEO is just a whole heap of scary, geeky crap – who wants to stress about links and keywords, when all you want to do is write?

Rand in action

Rand in action

I’m guessing that’s why the Problogger Rand Fishkin presentation ‘What Bloggers Need to Know About SEO in 2014′ was chock full of eager ears.

There wasn’t room to swing a sausage.

And yes, even though I like to think of myself as a bit of an expert when it comes to all things SEO, I did pick up a thing or two (or twelve).


So I thought I’d quickly share them with you.


1. SEO is still worth the investment

Yes, with the rise of social media, apps and content marketing, it would be tempting to think we no longer need SEO, but with search queries on Google reaching 6 billion a day and 80% of clicks going to organic results, it’s clear that SEO still matters.

Google also suggests that mobile searches will surpass desktop searches in 2015 – so a well-optimised responsive site is the way to go.


2. SEO is like a flywheel



Just like moving a heavy flywheel – getting SEO started is tough. It takes a lot of effort to start any kind of movement, but as you keep working the momentum grows.

But working on your rank today earns you more traffic, more links, greater brand awareness and possible press coverage –  all these things will help you continue to rank in the future.


3. You must understanding the language your audience uses

Rand gave a great example of the commonly searched term, ‘Great Barrier Reef tours’. He then showed how a major tourism site had decided to optimise their site for ‘Great Barrier Reef trips’ instead. This resulted in a wretched 125 ranking position.

Understanding what your customers are likely to type into Google is essential.
Yes, Google is getting better at intent matching, but it will never be perfect – you have to give it a helping hand.


4. Great keyword research involves three simple steps

Step 1: Brainstorm

  • What phrases are your customers using?
  • What phrases will bring you lifelong fans?
  • What relevant phrases do you wish you had #1 ranking for?
  • If you had to write content to reach the largest, most relevant audience what would you write about?

Step 2: Research

  • Use tools to help you (he recommended a new one to me, Keyword Tool and suggested SEMrush for more advanced research).

Step 3: Refine

  • Create a list of target keywords and narrow it down by difficulty, traffic, why it’s important and how easy it is to write about.

5. Content marketing is about two simple things

First, the content should help your audience, but second, it should be about something you’re passionate about.


6.  Consider who will amplify your content and why

Think about the best place to share your content – who will take your content and share it with their readers? Consider this before you write. Then follow up after.

Writing the content is just the first step – sharing it is important too.


7. Don’t try to be perfect

I’ve been banging on about this for years, so it was lovely to hear it from the expert. Keyword density is a myth. Don’t stress about your keyword use, and don’t fret about creating a perfectly optimised page.

(If you want to learn more on this, read Rand’s post here).

Instead focus on:

      • Publishing content you believe in and feel confident about promoting
      • Delighting your audience with content that fulfills their needs
      • Ensuring your site is accessible and makes it easy for search engines to match back to the users keywords and intent

8. Don’t build links – earn them

The kind of links you should go after aren’t from crappy directories, or auto publishing sites. Instead the best links come from blog rolls, endorsements from friends, colleagues and people who love your site.

Some more reading on this:


9. Break the SEO rules (sometimes)

Ignore keywords

Don’t feel you have to always follow the rules. Feel free to occasionally:

  • Ignore keywords completely
  • Publish quietly
  • Ignore outreach and let them come to you
  • Just focus on what you love about blogging


10. Don’t fret about the odd bad link

If you didn’t create the link Google can usually work it out, but if you did create it, use the disavow tool and you’ll be all good.


11. Installing a WordPress SEO plugin isn’t a silver bullet

Yes, plugins like Yoast rock, but while they’ll help you with some basic optimisation and coding stuff, they’re not going to do your SEO for you.

Sadly there’s a bit more too SEO than just installing a plugin.


12. Never give up


Many bloggers give up when times get tough and traffic doesn’t appear to be growing, but Rand advised us all to stick with it. Great things can and will happen.


Of course there was more, much more, and you can view Rand’s entire awesome presentation here – this is just a summary of bits that stood out for me.


kate and rand

I was lucky enough to grab Rand at the end, give him my awesome SEO cookie and ask him a few questions about Negative SEO.

I found him to be a charming, engaging chap with a great way of explaining complex issues and making them understandable.

Oh, and if you’re keen to get stuck into SEO, MOZ is currently offering 30 day free trial.


Over to you

So what do you think of the advice above? Were you at the presentation? What stood out for you?

I’d love to hear from you (Oh and if you liked the post, please share).

Did you like this post?

confessions of a misfit entrepreneur with Kate Toon

You might like my book ‘Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur | How to succeed despite yourself’ – buy it online here.


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