When Jim and I presented She Said, He Said Live for the first time at WordCamp Chicago last weekend, we had an interesting discussion with audience members about blogging and search engine optimization (SEO). We liked the conversation so much that we decided to incorporate it as a topic for this week’s #shehechat (Thursday, 8 p.m. CST on Twitter).
I don’t know SEO
I’m not even close to being an SEO expert. However, I’m an editor for this blog so I’ve been determined to learn as much about it as I can. I work mostly with WordPress and I’ve found that, compared to other publishing platforms, this one is more tailored to achieving acceptable SEO.
WordPress builds SEO-centricity into its design. If you aren’t using a theme or plugin that adds options for categories, tags and meta descriptions, you are missing the SEO train. But it’s about more than just filling in those boxes. It matters what you put in them and that is sometimes why I struggle.
I subscribe to Scribe
In our She Said, He Said Live presentation, I said that my favorite WordPress plugin was Scribe SEO (affiliate link) It’s no accident that my favorite plugin is focused on something that I don’t know much about. The reality is that it’s the most helpful to me so that’s why I picked it.
Scribe reminds me to fill in those custom title tag and meta data boxes. It suggests that maybe if I added a hyperlink to my content, the SEO would be better. It can even suggest different words to add into the meta data. These might be simple things, but Scribe is a tool I’ve found useful as I learn about SEO.
I write differently for the web
While I still have a lot to learn, I have figured one big thing out. I’ve mentioned that I have a long background in print media. Well, I can say that the way reporters write for print is not the way they should be writing for the web. A question came up during our presentation as to why newspapers’ websites have such bad SEO. I answered that it was because they were too often copying and pasting content from their print version onto their websites word for word.
Writing for the web is just different. To give just one example, take a basic headline I’ve seen a thousand times in different newspapers around the nation: “Popular downtown club to close this month.” Well, that’s very nice for your print subscribers who might have been following the story over a period of time, but do you think Google is going to pick that up in a search? A good web editor might change it to something like: “Downtown Milwaukee club Anonymous to close Aug. 31.” Do you see the difference? Google now has a city, venue name and date. Google likes.
Look what I’ve done
As much as I don’t know about SEO, think about what I’ve done in this post. I’m going to let Jim take care of the SEO work, but I can pick out these key words for the meta data: SEO, blogging, WordPress and Google. Plus, I have an affiliate link (gasp) to Scribe SEO. I bet Google will like.