Things I’ve Learned About SEOOne of the most overwhelming topics in the world of Internet publishing is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve traffic for your site. Right here on HubPages there is no end to the number of hubs devoted to the subject, and I think I spent more of my first month at HubPages reading about this than I did actually writing hubs!
One of the best reasons for writing here at HubPages is, in my opinion, that a good deal of the SEO is built into the site – all we writers have to do is take advantage of what HubPages gives us! Here are just a few SEO tips you can use to get a good amount of search engine traffic without really trying!
Tags on your hubs work like metadata keywords on other web sites. They let Google know what your content is about, so you want to use relevant keywords that relate to your hub as your tags. You only need about 20 tags, and you should try and use multi-word, or “longtail”, keywords for your tags. For example, if you have a hub about horses, a tag of “horses” is too generic. Instead, use keyword phrases like “horse riding for kids” or how to buy a horse” or “learn to ride a horse” – anything that’s related to your hub’s content.
I use three methods for finding keywords to use in my tags.
First, I do some keyword research using Google’s AdSense Keyword Tool before I write the hub. I enter a phrase or two about my topic, then look through the list of suggested keywords for ones that relate to my content and have a high number of monthly searches. I also try to incorporate these phrases into the text of my hub.
Second, I use the suggested keywords that HubPages provides after I’ve filled in all of my text capsules. Many of these will not be helpful, so resist the urge to add them all!
Finally, after my hub has been published, I go back to the Google Keyword tool and enter the URL of my hub. If any good keyword phrases come back, I’ll return to my hub and incorporate them into the text and add them as tags.
Use the Ideabank and Latest Questions page
One of the first hubs I wrote was in answer to the Ideabank question “How to drink fast”. I wrote a short little hub about a drinking game that I’d played on a trip to Greece a few years ago. Today that hub gets regular traffic, usually with search phrases like “best drinking game” and “how to drink fast”. These don’t return my hub on the first page of Google, but they do return the page for the question here on HubPages, and that leads to my hub. That’s the most effortless SEO for search engine traffic that I can think of!
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If you use Amazon capsules to promote specific products, like “The Complete Guide To Affiliate Marketing”, use the whole name of the product within the text of your hub.
Within the text of my Zombie Apocalypse hub I listed a GPS Navigation unit as an essential survival tool, along with an Amazon capsule for a specific unit. That combination led to my hub being returned on the first search result page on Google for the phrase “gps apocalypse”!
Use keywords in your title and URL
The title you give your hub is very important in regards of SEO techniques – HubPages uses that title as both the HTML Title of the page and its URL. Google gives high priority to HTML Page Titles and URLs, so using your keywords there is vital to getting good search results. So if your hub is about teaching kids to ride horses, and you found the phrase “horse riding for children” in your preliminary keyword search, then a good title might be “How To Teach Horse Riding For Children” or “Where To Find Lessons For Horse Riding For Children”. These may seem a little clunky, but the closer you can get to the actual phrase the better. So “Horse Riding Lessons For Kids” might sound better to you, but it won’t be matched as well by Google to the phrase “horse riding for children”.
Also note that once you publish a hub you cannot change the URL – the only way to do that is to delete the hub and create a new one with the URL you want. So picking the URL and title keywords should always be done before you publish the hub! You can, however, change the title of the hub after it has been published.
If you have keywords that don’t read well as your title, you can add them to the URL instead. For example, if you want to use the keyword phrase “how long to cook cookies” that won’t make a very good title. But if your title is “How to Make The Best Cookies” and the URL “How-To-Make-The-Best-Cookies-How-Long-to-Cook-Cookies”. Visitors will see the title, but most will not notice the clunky URL!
Write your own Summary Text
Before submitting your hub, make sure to write your own Summary Text instead of relying on what HubPages automatically generates for you. By default, HubPages will use the first few sentences of the hub, but if you can write your own Summary Text you might be able to give a lot more information than your first few sentences convey.
Use lots of capsules
When writing your hub, you should break the text up into little “chapters,” with a headline for each chapter. In addition to making your hub easier to read, using multiple capsules with headlines helps Google figure out what your content is about. Google gives a little extra weight to “chapter” titles formatted with the
HTML tag, and that is how HubPages formats the :Capsule Subtitle” headings of your text capsules. By having useful headlines for each “chapter” you let the reader know what to expect from each capsule and you give Google a brief overview of your hub’s content.
Use the News and RSS capsules
Google loves content that is up to date, and you can create that affect without having to constantly update your content by using the RSS and News capsules. The text in these capsules is refreshed by HubPages every time the hub is loaded in a visitor’s browser, so it will appear to Google that your content is always fresh, even though the only thing that has changed is the content of these two capsules!
Backlinking That Pays You!Another of the SEO techniques I learned about is backlinking. There are endless hubs here on HubPages about this topic, so I won’t go into extreme detail here. Instead I’ll share some of the best sources I’ve found for backlinks. I now make it a habit to use these sites right after I publish each of my hubs:
RedGage – this was the first one I tried, and I’ve actually made almost as much money over there as I have from AdSense. I initially signed up because they offer free backlinks from their PR4 site. I added all my HP links, then uploaded a bunch of photos from my travels around the world. My second week there one of my photos was featured on the homepage, and I got a ton of traffic and a $3.50 bonus! If you decide to join RedGage, poke around and get as many friends as you can – every time you add or edit anything on the site, all of those friends will get an update, and that increases traffic…
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SheToldMe – this is a PR5 site, and you need to submit an application to get an account. It’s pretty simple, but it took about 10 days before I got approved – apparently the whole thing is run by one person, and she vets each applicant to keep out the spam (and maintain that PR5!)
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Digg – this one seemed promising until I got banned on the second day! They claimed in a email that I had submitted “inappropriate content”, but all the links I had submitted were from HubPages, so they obviously weren’t inappropriate! I think it was actually that I posted too many links too quickly (about 20 in two days), so if you go with Digg take it easy on the number of links you submit at one time. In the 48 hours or so that I was active, I got 10 visits from them, so they’re probably worth using…
StumbleUpon – I just started using this site, so I don’t know how good the links will be. The fact that there’s a link to StumbleUpon in the Share It section of every hub makes it easy, though, so I use it.
Facebook – I joined Facebook just to use it for links, and I get a little bit of traffic from it. I don’t really like the way the whole site is setup, so I may not stick with it. But, like StumbleUpon, it’s built into the HubPages Share It feature, so it’s easy…
Pingates – Again, I don’t know how useful this one is, but it’s fast and easy and doesn’t require any registration, so I use it to submit links to a bunch of different sites all at once..
Keeping Records Of Your SEO AttemptsI highly recommend keeping a spreadsheet to track all of your backlinking! Mine is simple – each hub has one line, with the hub name, the URL and the summary text. Then I have columns for each backlink site, with a number “1” in that cell if I used it for backlinking. That way I can check the sum of each column to make sure I submitted every hub to each source. Here’s a screenshot of mine:
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ConclusionThere are many, many more techniques you can use to get more search engine traffic. I found all of these just by surfing around HubPages and lurking through the forums for SEO tips, and you can, too!
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