Pagerank seems to be one of those little things that many writer-bloggers ignore. Maybe it’s because Google keeps changing the game rules, maybe because so few authors understand pagerank, or maybe because in the hectic life of a writer (must put down words, no time for anything else) it seems a tiny detail in the world of blogging.
It is not.
Pagerank is your SEO report card and if you are scoring a goose egg on pagerank, one thing is not happening. The search engines are not sending traffic your way.
Yes, I know. I gave you five sneaky ways to get website traffic, but if you are in this for the long haul you need every edge you can get. Securing a page rank is one edge. Some authors understand this better than others. Chuck Wendig has an immensely successful blog with a page rank of five for his main site and four for his blog. Kevin Hearne a page rank of four, which is pretty darn good on the Google end for a non-corporate blog. Obviously Kevin had someone do all the shiny SEO thingies to get the blog to that pagerank. The first actual author’s blog on Google, which is on page two is Advanced Fiction Writing which has a page rank of three. Now if someone is looking for author blogs who do you think is going to get that traffic?
Well, not Chuck. (Sorry, Chuck) And not Kevin, despite that page rank (Sorry, Kevin). The winner here is Advanced Fiction Writing who took the trouble of crafting the blog title around what, class? (Holds hand to ear)
What? I didn’t hear you.
Google claims keywords aren’t as important as they once were in their algorithm, but they are dirty liars.
Keywords are your main weapon is getting noticed on the vast sea of words we call the internet.
So what are you going to do with keywords?
Find them and use them.
I can show you how to find popular and useful keywords but then it is up to you to use them. And I’m telling you upfront it’s going to go against your author’s brain. But more on that later.
What is a keyword you ask? A keyword is search term used by people looking for content on their browsers. All keywords are not equal. People use certain keywords more than others. What you want are the most popular search terms. And here’s how to get them.
First go to this website:
Google Ad Words: Keyword Planner and sign in through your Google account. (Don’t have a Google account? Get one anyway.)
You will be presented with this form:
Put in your website address and let Google search your site for the words you use most often. These are your keywords. Download and open the csv file, sort by “Avg. Monthly” column and here you will see how many times people search on those words.
Now for the second search, what people are actually searching for. I used the words “writer, storyteller, ghostwriter, blogger, freelancer, fiction” and here is what I got back for the top twenty-five search terms:
Now how does your keyword list stack up to that list?
Yeah, I thought so.
But it’s okay. It’s fixable.
Now chose three (though you can use more, but let’s make this manageable) keywords out of the top ten that you feel most comfortable using. And you will be using them. In every single post.
No! Your author brain screams. Must. Use. Variety. Must. Not. Repeat. Words. Arrggghhh.
I remind you that this is blogging, not creative writing, a totally different animal that look like a duck, quacks like a duck BUT is not a duck.
Get over it.
Think of using keywords as an exercise in creativity.
It won’t hurt. I promise.
And here is the thing. Search engines are stupid. They count the number of times you use a keyword in your post and gauge your post’s authority on the number of times you use that keyword. In blogging, repetition is not uncreative. It is paramount in building your website’s rep with the search engines.
Use two or three of them in your “site identity” (for WordPress Users), use at least one of them in your post title and at least of three them in the body of your text.. Then when you pop in your tags, put them there too.
And for God’s sake, please use them in your alt titles for your images.
Do this and you’ll be on your way to building your pagerank.
Want to see how many times you are using your keywords and figure what other words you can stick in your tags? Go to Text Analyzer, a site that will count your pretty words for free and give you some handy lists. Hint: you can use phrases too. Use your nouns, now. I didn’t have say that, did I?
Next in #Howtoblog: Directories
Typewriter keys published under a Creative Commons license issued by flickr user Steven Depolo
Screenshot of Google Keyword Planner page used under U. S. copyright provisions for Fair Use in commentary.
Chart by Starry Night Graphixs.