Three Ways Good SEO Ensures Readers Find Your Blog

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a set of tools and techniques for increasing a blog’s likelihood of being noticed by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, etc. Effective SEO helps search engines categorize and index blogs with accuracy and speed.

SEO must be used accurately. There’s a happy medium between coming across spammy and writing content no one will ever see. Good SEO ensures readers will find your blog. Here are three ways to use Search Engine Optimization to your advantage:

1. Write interesting and concise post titles using keywords.

Search engines pay special attention to blog post titles. Titles should clearly state what the post is about both to be useful to readers and to grab the attention of search engines.

Cute post titles might catch a reader’s eye, but often don’t get the post read. When busy or pressed for time (and who isn’t?) potential readers don’t have the leisure to click through to posts with cute titles without a good sense of the usefulness of the post.

Tip: People love “top ten” lists.

2. Write keyword-rich content.

Use keywords in every blog post, but always write with your readers in mind. Keywords should not be overused. Not only does it make for poorly written copy, it can also get a blog labeled as spam by search engines and destroy your credibility.

Search engines lend more weight to the leading words in a post. Placing keywords near the beginning of a post makes it more likely to rank well. It also gives readers a strong sense of what the post is about. The first couple of paragraphs are essential to holding readers’ interest.

3. Use keywords in anchor text.

Linking out from a blog not only provides readers with additional information but builds relationships with fellow bloggers. Most times it’s obvious where to place the link — names of individuals or organizations for example. Sometimes an action word makes a good fit for the anchor text. Whenever possible, keywords should be used. A keyword linked to a well-written post on another site gets brownie points with search engines.

These three ways to use SEO may be kinda obvious or already known to some of us, but they can be a good starting point for those new to blogging. The main things is to always keep the reader’s needs foremost while writing posts that are engaging and useful.

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Thinking about Post Titles, Keywords and SEO

Redesigning The Sky’s the Limit has caused me to think more seriously about not only the look and feel of the whole site but the look of individual posts. There have been a few problems nagging me over the months, and now is the time to address them.

I could be doing a better job at writing post titles and at SEO in general. I want to strike a balance between creating headlines that are useful to you and headlines that feature good keywords.

I’m also revamping the categories and tags. I’ve created categories as needed while attempting to keep them simple. The problem is that they’re not very concise. My tags are a mess. I’ve used both singular and plural variants of some words; I’ve hastily added others that weren’t well planned. There’s always going to be a plethora of tags, but I need several strong keywords which I can utilize over and over in the mix.

A friend who knows about SEO once offered to teach me some things. I hope she meant it, because I’m about to take her up on the offer.

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National Novel Writing Month 2009

This is NaNoWriMo’s 11th season of literary abandon. The annual adventure in noveling, held from November 1 – 31, offers participants the chance to be a part of a vibrant, web-connected community as they create 50,000 word works of fiction.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a project of The Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit organization which also hosts Script Frenzy every April. Their programs combine web and real world components to provide encouragement, foster creativity and build community.

Over 100,000 individuals have signed up this year, eager to be  a part of the seat-of-the-pants writing inherent in the program. Everyone who makes it to the 50,000 word finish line — and has their word count validated by the site — by the end of November is a winner. The forced speed and lack of over thinking fostered by 50,000 words in 30 days encourages participants to just write, ignoring that nagging inner critic which normally slows the process.

This is my eighth year to participate in NaNoWriMo. I’m taking a semi-layed back approach this year as I’m already busy with school, a site redesign and Tweetsgiving, but I know I can make it to the 50,000 word mark with a little effort. If you want to join me in my noveling adventure, you can still sign up at the site.

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Site Redesign: Is it Time to Start Over?

I’m not sure where to go from here in my efforts to redesign and relaunch The Sky’s the Limit. As I mentioned before, I cut my blogging teeth on Yahoo! 360. I briefly tried Blogger, but couldn’t get along with it. I’ve used a handful of blogging platforms, but the two I like the most are Xanga and WordPress.com. (I hear Posterous is good; I haven’t tried it.)

When I came to WordPress the free version suited me fine for a start. I chose my URL without giving it too much thought. My name and a couple of other choices were already taken.

‘Adamtree’ is a throwback to a time nine or ten years ago when some friends and I discussed creating comic books. We needed a company name, and I made a list to choose from — including Adamtree. We never did make any comics, but I liked the name and began using it on the net.

Now I’ve outgrown it. Not only is it in my URL, but it also identifies me when I comment on other blogs based on the WordPress platform. I would rather be marked by my name.

So here is what I want:

  • a registered domain name
  • a new URL
  • a new blog name
  • a new username

It seems my best option is to start with a new account. I can transfer posts, images and even comments. I can’t transfer my site metrics, but I won’t cry over their loss either. The drawbacks to this approach are the amount of time it will consume and the care I will need to exercise in making sure old post addys point to the new locations.

Can you tell I don’t really know what I’m doing? There’s no way to learn quite like hands-on experience. If you have any advice, tips or wisdom, or know of any appropriate resources, please let me know. Thanks for your help. You make this blog worthwhile.

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Georges Melies Takes us to the Moon in the World's First Sci-Fi Movie

One thing I want to do with The Sky’s the Limit is continue to share interesting videos when I find them. I don’t, however, want to post videos just because I was too lazy to write an entry for that day. I’m thinking of making it an ongoing feature in addition to regular daily posts. Maybe I could post vids on Saturday mornings (idea totally stolen from Bully).

I read about this short film in my textbook for Art Appreciation. Georges Melies’ A Trip to the Moon may be the world’s first science fiction movie.

Remind anyone else of something more recent?

I have no idea what those guys are singing, but the supposed lyrics can be found at LyricsFreak.com.

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Writing Goals 2009 Q4

We’ve just passed the Autumnal Equinox, and we’re now (believe it or not) in the fourth quarter of 2009. You know how much I love Spring, especially the time from Passover to Pentecost, but this is also a delightful time of year — Thanksgiving, NaNoWriMo, cool crisp weather.

My writing goals for 2009 were first hampered by my procrastination and then totally derailed by returning to school after an 11 year absence. Those of you new to college: Don’t drop out!

I’ve done okay by four of my nine writing goals for this year. I’m participating in a few online communities, I began a novel, I’m creating a (somewhat) weekly comic strip and I’m still going strong with 12for12k.

I’m on track to at least participate in NaNoWriMo and to complete a rough draft of my inspirational book. The other goals have fallen by the wayside.

It might take some doing, but here are the writing goals I plan to reach during the fourth quarter of ’09:

  • Begin earning a sustainable income from home-based employment.
  • Complete a rough draft of my inspirational book.
  • Redesign the Sky’s the Limit for a 2010 relaunch.
  • Continue building relationships through social media.
  • Continue supporting 12for12k.
  • Continue work on my novel through participation in NaNoWriMo.
  • Continue my weekly comic strip.

I began this year with some lofty writing goals. I haven’t reached them all. That’s okay, except I shouldn’t have put things off like I did. These last three months look to be interesting , and I’m very excited about the things I have planned.

Thanks again for your participation. I couldn’t do what I do without the support of wonderful friends and readers like you.

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A New Direction for the Final Days of 2009

I’ve been neglecting The Sky’s the Limit partly due to my course load at school and partly due to laziness. Posts over the last couple of months have not been up to par, and you deserve better. For that I apologize.

But even though posts have been scarce and somewhat less than acceptable, the blog has never been far from my mind. You might say I’m a gestation thinker. I stick things in this brain of mine and let it work on them for a while. Given enough time (and good raw materials) it usually comes up with something decent.

I’ve been blogging for about three and a half years. I’m afraid my earliest posts were lost to the inconsistencies of Yahoo! 360. Those of you who were there (and I thank you for sticking with me thus far) will remember the many problems with that platform. The earliest post appearing on this blog — The 100 Most Common Words in English (since edited and renamed The Power of Old English) — I carried over from the blog I wrote for FictionAddiction.NET. The first post written for The Sky’s the Limit was Free Comic Book Day 2008.

I’ve learned a lot since then — much from experience and much from good teachers. Michelle, Clary, Chris and Danny, you know who you are. And I can’t discount the wonderful feedback from so many readers over the years. Now I want to take all of that and move this blog to the next level.

Starting tomorrow — when I review my writing goals for 2009 and finalize my writing goals for the last quarter of this year — I’m embarking on a project to redesign and relaunch The Sky’s the Limit. I’ll be giving the blog a new name and a refined focus, making it a more pleasant read for you and a better platform for me.

I’ll need your help with this endeavour — your comments and feedback. And if you know anyone else who might be interested in the content of this blog or this project to improve it, please invite them to come along.

Thanks again for your participation, your friendship and your patience. You make this blog worthwhile.