As creatives in the entertainment industry, we tend to focus more of our time on the creation of our works rather than how we are going to get our work seen. However, it’s important not to neglect those marketing tactics that can help you if you’re serious about getting your work seen by the most amount of people in your target audience and having your voice heard. One of those tactics we tend to not pay attention to is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
If you read my previous marketing basics article, (I suggest you read it if you want to learn about the key marketing terms you need to know), you’ll know that SEO is the strategy used to make a business’ website rank higher on search engines primarily through the use of keywords. If content creation and blogging are a part of your marketing strategy, this is something you want to invest time in. For, the stronger and better your keywords, the higher you will rank and the greater the exposure your articles will receive. This is essential if you have a monetized site; as the higher the number of views, the higher the net profit you will receive.
So how do you apply an SEO strategy to your website and find the right keywords? Let me break it down to you bread and bones style.
There are two types of SEO you should be aware of:
- Off-Page SEO
- On-Page SEO
Off-page SEO concerns marketing tactics (SEM) used to have a higher PageRank score and have your website rank higher on search engine pages (SERP). The primary tactics used to build up your off-page SEO are:
Link-building is when you or someone else shares a link to your website on other websites and platforms.
There are plenty of “Link-building hacks” out there, but a lot of them are outdated and sleazy. However, you can still use link-building responsibly in order to build your PageRank score and increase your SEO. For example, if you guest post on a third-party website and you share a link back to your website (With permission by the site owners) or by having someone source your article/website in an article they wrote. Additionally, these two ways are great to increase your site ranking on search engines and your credibility.
Social media is a great way to build up your online reputation and site ranking. I personally use Linktree to direct traffic from my Instagram to my websites, latest articles and other social platforms. Ex: https://linktr.ee/pierce_kyla. The great thing about Linktree is that you can sign in with your Instagram account and add multiple links. You can even customize your titles and rearrange the order of your links. Also, you get a custom URL that you then can copy-paste into the website area of your Instagram bio or other social platforms, without affecting your character count. Additionally, any changes you make on Linktree will automatically sync, so no need to change your URL.
Furthermore, social media is a great way to market yourself and connect with your audience. For, if people are liking, commenting and sharing your content, you’ll have a higher chance of someone sharing and/or viewing your website/articles.
Social bookmarking refers to when you share a link to your website or promote your content on online platforms, such as forums like Reddit or Quora. If you don’t overdo it and find a balance between offering value to the community and promoting your content, social bookmarking can increase your site ranking and your engagement significantly.
On-page SEO concerns all marketing tactics you can employ within your site to improve your site ranking and build your domain authority. The primary tactics used to build up your on-page SEO are:
Keywords & Tags
Tag is just a fancy word for a keyword on blogging platforms. In order to have your articles seen and ranked for a specific keyword, you’ll want to have about 10 per blog post (This is what I follow, but feel free to experiment. Just don’t post more than 30, or search engines will penalize you for being spammy.). These tags should also be a combination of short and long-tail keywords.
In order to know which keywords/tags you should use, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the keyword directly related to the content within your article?
- Will a potential viewer/reader who searches this keyword find what they are looking for within the article?
- How much competition is there for the keyword? You can do a quick web search to find out.
- Are some or a given keyword mentioned in my article, meta description and article title?
- What keywords are my competitors using for similar content and how well are they performing?
- Does the keyword have low, medium or high competition? If you are just starting out, it’s best to aim for keywords with medium competition.
Once you answer these questions, you will have a better understanding of which keywords you should select in order to reach the maximum of views on your articles.
User-friendly & Responsive Website Design
If your website looks like a fossil from the days of Windows 98′, it’s time for an update. For, your site design has a huge impact on how your audience views you and your work. If your site looks like this, it will be perceived as being an unreliable source of information, sketchy and tasteless. All very flattering adjectives that you don’t want to be associated with. Instead, you should opt for a clean, minimalist design with an easy to use the navigation bar. You also want to have a website with a responsive theme, meaning that it will adapt according to the device the viewer is using without losing its formatting and quality. This is especially important nowadays, as the majority of your viewers will most likely be using their cellphone.
If you have articles on your website, you should organize them into categories. This way, it will be easy for your site’s visitors to find the content they are looking for. That being said, a common mistake I see many people make is to treat categories like tags, often placing one article in several categories with names like “Popular Romance” or “Kindle”. This is something you want to avoid, as it doesn’t actually do much for your SEO and can make the blog or article section of your website very messy.
In relation to blogging, here’s the difference between tags & categories:
Tags: Hashtags and/or keywords that are associated with your article (Ideally 10 per post). Ex: Introduction to SEO, SEO for beginners and What is a tag?.
Categories: An eye-catching name and/or section used to sort your articles on your website. Ex: Monday Marketing & Branding 101, Tuesday Writer’s Block & Inspiration & Freestyle Friday.
So if you only take one thing away from this article today, please let it be this.
Optimized Website Speed & Page Loading Rate
A lot of people lead busy lives, so they don’t like to waste precious time waiting 5 minutes for your website or article to load. Also, your load speed is one of the factors that search engines use to determine your site ranking.
The optimal speed you’ll want to aim for is 1.5 seconds or less per load. In general, if you use an on online blogging or website platform, this is taken care of for you. However, if you notice your webpages are loading slower than usual here are a few things you can verify:
- Your WI-FI connection: Is it running slow?
- Your computer or device: If your device is running on a low battery or almost reached it’s full storage capacity, it might bug or have a slower response time.
- Do you have too many programs or tabs open? Close them and try your website again.
- Too many images: You can either remove some or reduce their resolution to 72dpi, the optimal resolution for screens (However, PNG’s at 300dpi offer the best resolution).
- A slow server
- Too many plugins: If you have too many plugins or add-ons on your site, remove the ones you don’t need.
You can also use the following tools to verify your site’s speed and keep it up to par globally:
- Content Delivery Network
- Google’s Page Speed Insights
Optimized Articles & Consistent Content
It no secret that without compelling and consistent content, none of these other ways to optimize your website for SEO (Except for your website design) will have much of an impact. So you want to make sure that the content you put out there offers value to your target audience, is free of grammatical or syntax issues and is optimized with keywords. Additionally, if you want your article to rank higher on search engines, you’ll want to make sure it’s around 1K-1.5K words in length. You’ll also want to make sure you have an optimized title, meta descriptions (Between 100-150 characters long), tags, and excerpt. Moreover, you’ll want to use heading tags (H-tags, labelled H1-H6 by importance) to increase your article’s visibility on search engines.
Furthermore, you’ll want to use eye-catching and intriguing titles for your articles. However, you want to avoid clickbait and use titles that reference the majority of the content within the article. In addition, you’ll want to use some tags and keywords in your title in order to increase the chance of it being seen and ranked higher on search engines.
Anchor Text, External & Internal Links
Anchor text is a piece of text that you attach a live link/URL to so that when a viewer clicks on it, they are brought to a separate page within your website or a different site.
You could also use external links in your works cited page of your articles. Just make sure that the links are credible sources and not bad links, or else you will jeopardize your site’s score.
Optimized URLs & Domain
URL’s are direct links that appear in the upper search bar of a web search engine and/or page. They lead directly to your website (Aka your domain) or a page on your website. In order to optimize them to rank higher, you’ll want to avoid URLs with parameters (Those super long URL’s with a bunch of numbers and symbols at the end). Instead, you’ll want to use static URLs, which are shorter and have the name of the article you wrote as its path. Ex: www.kylapearson.ca/front-page. If you use platforms such as WordPress or Adobe Portfolio, you’ll have the option to use static URLs and in some cases, to customize them.
Thank you so much for reading this article! If you found this article helpful, let me know in the comments below! I also post-marketing tips every Monday, so be sure to follow this blog if you don’t want to miss out!