This is my face every time I think about SEO!
I’ve been blogging for several years, and as any good blogger knows, if you want the search engines to actually give a damn about what you’re writing, then you need to incorporate SEO. What is SEO? Well, it stands for Search Engine Optimization and is basically anything you do in order to get more organic (non-paid) searches from search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc – but mainly Google). If you are great at SEO your blog/website/etc will rise to the top of the rankings for specific keywords and you will receive lots and lots and lots of traffic to your site day and night. If you suck at SEO (like I do) the search engines will basically ignore you and forget you even exist.
At this point, I’m going to assume that everyone has a basic understanding of SEO and ways to increase your optimization. If not, take a few minutes to look around the internet and then come back, I’ll wait………………….
……………ok, good. Now that we’re all back together, I want to tell you how I’ve been screwing up the SEO on my blogs/sites/etc for YEARS and I didn’t realize it until a couple of weeks ago!
I’m A Moron
While there are lots of ways to increase the Search Engine Optimization for your blog/website/etc, one key way is by making sure you have a description and keywords for each of your posts/pages. This way when search engines are looking at your site they can get an idea of what each page is about (using the keywords) and display a short description (description) that shows up in the search results. If done correctly, it can make your site look attractive to potential visitors and show off a little bit of your content. If done incorrectly, it could be blank or missing information. When you don’t fill in the keyword/description information, the description will be taken from the first 160 or so characters of text on that page – which isn’t always what you want.
For example, here’s the homepage of AspiringBlogger.com and how it shows up in search results:
Now, it may not be awesome, but it’s exactly what I wanted to show up in search results. I will work on it a bit in the near future so that more of the relevant information shows up, but it’s decent in my opinion.
Let’s contrast this with my “My Finances” page:
For this page, I obviously didn’t put anything in the description field – because this just took the text from my page and has pasted it for you to see. What you can’t see is that my keyword field is also blank. This means that the search engines (Google in this case) have no idea what this page is about, so they have to use the text that’s on the page to guess instead of using keywords to guide them and turn up more relevant searches.
Of course, I don’t mind too much if my “My Finances” page isn’t showing up all the time in search results – that’s not a huge deal. I’m putting out 2 articles a week, so that’s really what I want everyone to see. Well, I haven’t been putting in keywords/descriptions for those either!@#!!@#!@#!#@ NOOOO!!!! It’s like I’ve been going to class, writing an essay, and then forgetting to turn it in so the teacher can grade it. If I don’t put in keywords/descriptions – it’s very hard for people to find my articles through search engines, and they make up a large portion of website views.
Fixing The Damage
Obviously I have some work to do to correct my mistakes. I need to go back and add description/keyword data to all my previous articles and also update/add all of my static pages (My Finances, homepage, etc) to make sure they have the best possible chance of being found. On the one hand I feel like a moron – because I definitely should have figured this out YEARS ago. It really frustrates the crap out of me, but at this point there’s nothing I can do other than correct it and make sure it doesn’t happen going forward. On the other hand, I’m just glad I figured it out now – because I could have spent many more years blogging without having a clue that I wasn’t being effective with my SEO (or at least this one piece of it). I am barely scratching the surface of SEO, so if you’re a guru, let me know because I have lots of questions!
Have you dealt with SEO issues on your blog/website/etc? What steps did you take to fix it? Has anyone tried hiring someone to work on their SEO? If so, what were the results?