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The Basics of SEO – And Why YOU Should Care

what bloggers need to know about SEO.jpg

No matter what update Google does – Panda, Penguin, Petunia, or Potato – good SEO is going to be the same. The best practices five years ago are still the best practices, and they will still be the best practices five years from now.

SEO is all about communicating with search engines. It’s about telling the search engines what you’re writing about so that the people who want that information can find it (and you).

It’s that simple.

Why Do YOU Need to Know About SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In short, SEO can help your site to show up closer to the top of search engine results.

SEO is a great way to get found, to broaden your audience.

Good SEO means that more people will find you. If they like your voice, if they like what you have to say, they’ll keep coming back.

What Can Good SEO Do For You?

SEO first came on to my radar in 2009. I started optimizing my posts, and I increased my traffic from search engines tenfold in 12 months.

From February 2009 to February 2010, I saw a 900% increase in traffic.

Need any more convincing?

The Basics of Good SEO

Good Writing

Are you tired of hearing that Content is king? It still is.

Write for your readers first. Write good posts that are useful. Write things that people will be searching for in the first place.

Make sure your writing is good, clear, and concise.

Think about SEO only after you’ve written a killer post.

Searchable Posts

Some posts are less searchable than others.

When I post craft tutorials and recipes, I definitely spend the time to include good SEO.

When I write personal stories, post pictures of my kids, or lists like Things I Enjoy, I don’t bother. The odds are low that anyone would search for those posts or that people searching would be interested in what I’ve written.

Write Good Titles & Headings

Your title and headings should reflect your post. Period.

The title and headings should not be cute, clever, or a play on words. They should reflect the content of the post.

The content of your post should include the keyword phrase – the words someone would type into Google if they wanted to find your post – often (but not so much that they’re annoying your readers or distracting from your message).

Use Smart URLS

The URL of your post should reflect the title, headings, and content of the post.  This is a really simple change to make, and it will help a lot.

This is a setting, usually called Permalinks.

Bad URL –
Good URL –

My URLs have the month and year in between the blog address and the post name. There are drawbacks to doing that, but it’s okay to have them in there.

Want to learn more about SEO?

I’ve shared the slide shows that I present at blog conferences. If you want more SEO help, read 10 Tips for Improving Your Blog’s SEO and 10 More Tips for Improving Your Blog’s SEO.


© 2011 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “The Basics of SEO – And Why YOU Should Care”

    • You sure can. Now, a word of warning. Don’t change it more than once. All of your existing links will break because you’ve changed your URLs. It’s still a good move to make, especially if your URLs were numbers or codes, but don’t keep changing it to see what you like best. 🙂 Make one change and be done.

    • Absolutely. It’s like being a mom in so many ways, don’t you think? Like, I can do this half heartedly and get it done, or I can spend the time and energy to do it perfectly. Sometimes, we don’t have the time and energy, and that’s the end of the story. But when you do have the time and energy, the payoffs are great.

  1. SEO sometimes feels like a game to me. I need to stop thinking of it like that and not to start looking at it as a way to improve my blog.

  2. Content, I can do. I’m afraid I pay so little attention to SEO that I’m relieved you put content first on your list. That means I can skip the rest, right? 😉

  3. Like Cindy, I’ve been a writer all my life and the story was my main focus. Foolishly, I filed SEO under a technical art–a study onto itself. And while it is, that doesn’t leave me off the hook for implementing all the tricks and doing the due diligence in each communication. This post is a good kick in the butt!

    • I’m glad. It can be a study in itself, but all of us can use some of the basics to bring in readers who are interested in what we have to say. At this point, roughly 60% of my page views come from Google. Can you imagine doubling your current traffic?

  4. Pingback: #SummerBlogSocial: Do I dare have goals???
  5. Thank you for this. I try to work on SEO, and then I sort of forget. all of the SEO type plug ins seem to make it more complicated than it really has to be, right? I’ll keep reading and working! Thanks for the time to put together the tutorials!

  6. Such a great post and so helpful. I am still struggling with good use of SEO but I’m starting with very baby steps.

  7. I’m learning lots hopping around to all these great posts. Thanks for sharing so much information! Now I’ve got a question that will surely expose my ignorance — How do you know what keywords people are searching?

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