For today's installment of the editors' blog, we'd like to introduce you to Jesse Merkel, one of PolicyMic's most prolific pundits.
Jesse is one of our leading conservative pundits, and in the short time that he's been writing for PolicyMic, he has produced some of the most viewed articles on the site. In addition to his stellar writing, that's because he's become an expert at Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. In basic terms, Jesse has learned what keywords he should be using in his headlines, teasers, and articles in order to ensure that his articles are getting maximum traction on popular search engines like Google.
As such, we asked Jesse to compile a short video tutorial explaining to the PolicyMic community how he thinks about SEO, and how he manages to produce such highly viewed stories. Below, he shares his thoughts and explains the method to his madness.
A quick note from us: SEO is critical to how we think about headlines, which is the reason we wanted to showcase Jesse's awesome video here. If you've ever published on PolicyMic, then you know the editors often change headlines (and sometimes, you give us some heat for it). Our intention is to always try to get you the most views on your article by inserting key words and phrases which we think people are searching for at any given moment. We have internal analytics and metrics to carefully test these phrases, and we settle on the phrase that we believe is most likely to help your article appear high up on Google search results. That said, we realize that sometimes it can be frustrating as a writer to have your headline changed. We try to strike a balance between preserving pundits' original intent and maximizing their views, but we are very open to feedback and are more than happy to change our proposed headlines. If you ever have a question or believe we've made a mistake, just reach out by email, we'll be responsive!
And now, meet Jesse Merkel:
1) What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is a collection of techniques that can be used to help make a specific webpage become more visible on the Internet. One of the primary ways this can be accomplished is by elevating the rank of a website in the results generated by online search engines. SEO is a form of Internet marketing that can help one to move websites up in the rankings organically, as opposed to non-organic methods, which are typically paid advertisements.
One of the most tried and true SEO techniques is the use of keywords in articles. A keyword can be one word, or it can be a phrase. If you are stuck looking for ideas, there are several great places to look for keywords: 1) Facebook – Look for repetitive subjects and posts; 2) Twitter – Trending topics; 3) Google Trends (www.google.com/trends/); 4) Yahoo’s Trending Now Top 10
2) Helpful Hint #1. Don’t mix up keywords. Some people try and do this to try and draw people away from other subjects, but in the end it can end up doing nothing. One keyword may appear relatively high up, while others may appear several dozen pages back. If you’re going to use two or more keywords, make sure that they are all on the same subject.
Good Example: Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, And The Upcoming 2012 Election
Bad Example: Mitt Romney is The Dark Knight: How Romney is No Bain
Many people will search Google for ‘Mitt Romney,’ ‘Barack Obama,’ and ‘2012 Election.’ There will probably not be too many that Google the name of a prominent politician along with the title of a summer blockbuster. Sometimes people can get lucky with this approach, but most of the time it is more reliable to keep on one topic in the title.
3) Helpful Hint #2. The number of key words and phrases that one uses should be between 2 and 3 percent of the overall content. Articles and blogs where the keyword is not mentioned enough will fall behind in the search engine results. If you mention it too much, Google could filter it out as nonsense.
Typically this could average out to between six to seven keywords for every three hundred words. This also makes it easier to write something that makes sense. If you start injecting keywords in every other sentence, an article can start feeling forced, and lose its coherence. Good pieces, whether they are blogs, reviews, or journalistic style reporting pieces, are always better if the text flows well. The pieces that audiences will connect with the most will always be the ones that are more conversationally written.
This is the ultimate balance with SEO, mixing in the right keywords and phrases without making the piece sound like a complete train wreck. This kind of writing takes months to get the hang of, so don’t be discouraged if at first your hits don’t go out.
4) Importance of Social Media. Another thing that can help with SEO is having links that lead back to your piece across the Internet. Every time you post the link to your article on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter or some other website, the likelihood of an article appearing higher in the search engine results can increase.
With these simple tricks, it’ll be much easier to increase your overall visibility on the Internet.