Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
During a recent #BlogPawsChat one of the pet bloggers in attendance brought up a question along the lines of "What is SEO and why the heck does the pet blogger need it." Today I explore some of the reasons you need think about SEO (search engine optimization) and how you can define the keywords that best fit who you are, what your pet blog does, and who your audience is. At its most basic, the importance of SEO can be thought of as a way to hit the first page on a Google search.
What is your main goal for SEO aka your website or blog?
At the top level, your goal with search engine optimization is to get your blog "found" and to be first page news in the Google search. How you get there can be a delicate balancing act that starts with you understading why you're blogging:
- Are you blogging for fun?
- Are you blogging for profit?
- Do you have a product to sell?
- Are you a service provider to pet parents (pet sitter, pet walker, pet groomer, etc.)
Once you understand why you are blogging you can then determine who you are blogging for. This means you need to figure out who your target audience is.
- To whom do you want to connect?
- Do you have a niche audience?
- Are you a local pet business provider?
- Do you have a specialty?
- Are you an expert in a particular field?
Once you've sat down and determined the answers to some of these questions you will then want to think of "keywords" that describe who you are and what you do. Keywords are those terms you plug into the search bar when you're looking up something on Google. For example, if you're the "groomer to the pets of Hollywood movie stars" you may want to choose "groomer" "Hollywood" and "pets" or as starting points for your keyword optimization strategy. These words highlight your skill (groomer) for whom you do it (pets) and your geographic location (Hollywood). If you choose those three keywords as ones that relate to who you are and what you do. Do your own Google search and see what comes up. Are there other pet groomers to movie stars in Hollywood? Are you hard pressed to find any websites or blogs when you do that search? If so, that could work in your favor as there may not be any other groomers in that area that deal with Hollywood pets.
When you're considering what keywords you want to use in your blog posts and on your website, you need to think like the person who is sitting down at their computer and doing a search. You don't want to be obscure or vague in your search terms because your potential readers aka clients won't. They will likely search by geographic indicator and the type of service they're seeking "pizza shops in Western New York" is too vague, "pizza shops in Rochester, NY" more concise and will garner more relevant websites.
Consider your keywords carefully before you begin. Sprinkle them throughout your website and use them judiciously in your posts. What do I mean by that? If you're writing a blog post about "My vacation tips for traveling with a kitten" using the words (based on our previous example) "pet groomer" or "Hollywood" would not fit into that blog post and would be a form of "keyword stuffing" -- using non relevant words in a blog post simply to garner SEO searchability.
Don't let the idea of "having to have" keywords in every post scare you off from blogging. Keep in mind that SEO is enhanced by having relevant, current and ongoing content on your blog. You can also raise your blog's profile by commenting on other blogs and sharing your content over your social media platforms.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you're writing your blog posts:
- Have a searchable title but one that is relevant to your content. For example, this blog post could have been titled SEO Basics... kind of bland... changing it to SEO Basics for the Pet Blogger narrows the blog's focus and lets the reader know what the post is about.
- Use keywords in the post as long as they are relevant. Remember, though if you want to be known and found for a particular niche or topic, you want to focus your blog posts on that topic. ie, if you're the groomer to Hollywood pets, blog on that topic rather than blogging about "the top ten ways to cook a pineapple" stay relevant and focus on your blog's niche.
- Add photos. Readers like photos; they draw them in and may keep them reading.
- Add links to sites that relate to the topic on your post.
- Post on a regular schedule.