Why Listen to Me about the Steps to SEO?
Look at that title! Sounds all authoritative and stuff. Sounds like I’m trying to be an expert or something! With all the real experts like Neil Patel in the world, why would you want to listen to my advice? Why would you want to use my four steps to easy SEO? I can give you two reasons.
First, the “secret” I’m about to share is something you either should or are already doing.
Second, you can measure whether or not my advice is working easily and directly. You don’t have to take it on faith. The impact this “secret” will have on your blog is easily measurable. I’ll talk about how to measure it in the next installment.
Amazingly, there are only four steps to implementing this approach to SEO!
So, what’s the “secret?”
The Secret to SEO Isn’t a Secret
I remember in the early days of search engines how some sites would pack keywords into metadata to boost their scores. For a while, that worked, but that approach had two fatal flaws. First, it was something the Googles of the world could identify and block, meaning that a technique some sites invested in was wasted. Second, even when it worked, readers would get to the page and find it didn’t have what they wanted. They’d been tricked, and even if they didn’t consciously realize it, they resented it.
That’s not the way to build an audience!
The secret to good SEO is not to use a gimmick. The secret to SEO is not to fool your readers. It’s actually the opposite.
The secret to good SEO is simply this: Write stuff for your readers.
No, seriously. That’s it. The rest is just measurement.
Does this “secret” technique work? This is a capture from the first page of Google’s search results for “campione episode 12 review.” I’d say that counts as a success!
But please think carefully about what “for your readers” means. It means you put them first. When you site down to write, you ask yourself what you have to offer that would most interest them. You ask yourself how you can format that material in a way that would delight them.
All of the techniques that Google search uses are designed to measure precisely that. Google wants to show people pages that they love so they continue to use Google. You want to tie into that so that when Google prospers, you prosper.
I can offer you four steps to put your readers first, which is the same thing as saying I’ll offer you four steps to better SEO.
Four Easy Steps to SEO
I was frankly shocked when The Lost Otaku DM-ed me in Twitter back in January this year. The message said my little site here had some of the best anime-related SEO they’d seen. I didn’t know it at the time, but Alexa.com has some free tools you can use to measure that kind of thing. Google also offers a plugin, also free, that’s called LightHouse. You can use those against your own site to see where you stand. But I just had to check!
I am still amazed that what The Lost Otaku said was true. My site’s SEO didn’t suck. In retrospect, though, I’ve been writing for years, and writing for my readers was always part of my writing philosophy, so that played right into SEO.
But wait, you might say. Campione! is an old title. Does this approach work for new series? This is a screen capture of where my review for Listeners episode 12 shows up. It’s still on page 1 of Google’s results. But you’re right — it’s not as high. I think it’s because there’re more competition that have either higher traffic, better links, or both.
We can break down the factors that helped into four easy steps to achieving better SEO.
SEO Step 1: Focus Your Site
I try to focus this blog on the theme of celebrating anime. I want my readers to have an have an idea of what the site’s about. If it’s something that appeals to them, I want them to know they can come back for new content that’ll be similar, at least in theme. I want them to know they can trust the site to deliver the content that interests them.
This is part of branding, but that word has become too overloaded. I prefer to think of it as building trust.
Put another way, when people think about celebrating anime, I want them to think about this site, and I want that association to be a positive one.
SEO Step 2: Organize Your Posts
Second, I try to organize the material in a way that people can read in a hurry. We can lament how little time people spend reading. I know I do! But it just is what it is. If we ignore how our readers want to read, they won’t visit us. So, I try to lay things out in a way that they can tell at a glance what they want to read.
- Quick Summary
- Best in Show Moment
- Other Posts about This Series
- Other Sites
- This Site (Crow’s World of Anime)
Recently, I’ve tried to add a quick navigation menu to the top of my posts. That reflects the three main sections and subsections. It also plays into SEO Step 3, below.
The readers know exactly where to go to read what most interests them. So does the search engine.
SEO Step 3: Make Site Navigation Easy
Once someone’s on my site, I hope they thoroughly enjoy the post. For example, if they read my review of Campione! episode 12, I want them to think, “Wow, I loved that! I want to read more!”
I want to make it profoundly easy for them to find more Campione! content on my site. That’s why you’ll see the third section called “Other Posts about This Series” and the subsection called “This Site (Crow’s World of Anime).” I list all of my other review of the same series. In all honesty, I used to feel self-conscious about that. It felt like I was tooting my own horn.
Which is a strange phrase if you think about it. Wouldn’t grabbing someone else’s horn and trying to toot it be considered rude?
That aside, it’s not self-aggrandizing. It’s helping the reader find what they want to read. Remember: we’re trying to be reader-centric here!
SEO Step 4: Make it Easy to Find Others’ Content on the Same Topic
I started adding links to other bloggers’ posts about the same series I was reading. Why? To help my readers find similar content on other sites. That might seem unusual. I mean, do I really want to send people away from my site?
I think it makes perfect sense for two reasons.
First, I want to give the reader a great experience. If they read my content on Fruits Basket Episode 2 Episode 12 and exhaust all of my content, I don’t want them to feel disappointed. I’d rather provide links to other sites that also reviewed the series or episode.
If my goal is to give my readers the best experience, then I want to point them to other bloggers who also have great content. I want my readers to associate the feeling of “hey, this is cool!” with my site, and this seems like a good way to add to the experience.
Second, I honestly think the posts to which I’m linking are interesting and valuable in their own right. I want to draw attention to them. This is not a zero sum game, after all. If a reader leaves my site to go to another, I haven’t lost a reader. I honestly think this is a case of a rising tide lifting all boats.
It turns out there’s another reason this is a good idea, and it’s something I didn’t realize until I started trying to measure how I’d achieved good SEO. I’ll write more about that in the next installment.
TBH, These Should be Called the First Four Steps
For the first several years of Crow’s World of Anime, I used these four steps to better SEO to produce articles. It was accidental, but my SEO wasn’t terrible. I reached a readership quite a bit larger than I’d anticipated, and I really hope that those readers were happy with the content and come back to visit.
Then I started trying to measure how these things contributed to my success, and I realized that “Oh, those four steps to better SEO are a good start.”
In the next post, I’ll tell you what I learned from my wife, who is very wise in the ways of social media and methods of attracting an audience. The good news is that since my focus was already on the readers, the additional steps I needed to take were simply refining what I was already doing. Everything I changed represented a natural progression that improved SEO while also improving the reader’s experience.
Which just makes sense, since that’s what SEO is trying to measure.
And the bad news? Surprisingly, there wasn’t any. It was all good news!
What have your experiences been with SEO? Do do four steps I presented seem sensible to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Other Posts about This Series
Other Anime Sites
- GEEK NABE: What is SEO, and how to tell Google your keywords
- GEEK NABE: How to boost your blog’s Page Authority and Domain Authority
- Anime Shelter: This One Is For All Anime Bloggers Looking For Google SEO Tips
This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)
- None Yet!