Last week, I received a phone call from a reporter for the Harrisburg Pennsylvania newspaper, The Patriot-News. He was looking for an “expert” on using online petitions to impact change on big business and he wanted to interview me. My first thought was how did he find me and my second thought was that I had just published my blog post “What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?“ Hmmmm…. I must have optimized that post well.
For starters, Dan Miller (a reporter from the Patriot-News ) was writing an article about Kim Binaso-Stwalley from Dillsburg PA. Kim had launched an online petition on change.org in hopes of convincing SouthWest Airlines that they should not discontinue daily nonstop flights from Harrisburg International Airport to Orlando FL. He wanted to include different perspectives as to whether or not Kim could successfully implement change through social media.
Dan had searched online for someone who wrote about social media and he had come across my article. In my post, I had used Netflix, Bank of America and United Airlines as examples where online petitions have helped fuel movements to impact change on big business. What was interesting to me was how did he find me. What keywords had positioned my post high enough in the search results that he wanted to interview and quote me for his article. Let’s take a look at how I optimized that post for the search engines.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Knowing Your Keywords,
The keywords that I optimized my article with included:
- Social Media
- Online Petition
- Customer Service
- Viral Video
- Netflix, Bank of America, United Airlines
Where Did I Use the Keywords?
#1 – Keywords in theURL of my Blog Post
If you looked at the URL address of my article, you would see:
In my “permalink” settings in WordPress, I have “Post name” selected. (Prior to WordPress 3.3, this was set using custom structure and entering “/%postname%/.) My title, including some of my featured keywords, are part of the URL and one of the first things that the search engines are going to find.
#2 – Keywords in My Images
Images are not “seen” by the search engines. So, it is especially important to take advantage of the data fields that are available to you in WordPress. In the screen capture below, you can see that I have incorporated keywords into the title, alternate text, and description. If I used captions for my post images, I would have included them there too.
#3 – Keywords in the Title of my Post and Headings
Heading tags are used to give special significance to words. They’re usually formatted to be bold and in a larger size font. In most WordPress themes, the title of your post is formatted as a “Heading 1”. You also have heading tags 2 through 6 available to use.
Each subsequent heading tag has less importance. Search engines recognize the importance given to headings. (For more information, please read “4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress Blog”.)
#4 – Categories, Tags, Custom Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords
To help optimize your blog/website, I recommend using a theme that has SEO built in or use a plugin such as WordPress SEO by Yoast or the All in One SEO Pack. These plugins will simplify entering meta tags and descriptions.
You should also be incorporating keywords into your content. Of course, you need to do this judiciously while at the same time writing good content that will resonate with your readers. It’s a careful balance between optimizing your website for SEO, while not abusing keywords. Practices such as “keyword stuffing” can result in being penalized by the search engines.
So, what do you think? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised to find your content linked to unexpectedly? How do you go about incorporating SEO while staying on point and adding value? Can you think of other opportunities to incorporate keywords like in the “Read More” text? We can all learn from each other and I’d love to hear from you.