SEO For Creatives: A Beginner’s Guide

Search Engine Optimization. If you’re anything like me, the first time you heard these words, your eyes glazed over. You thought, “Oh, that’s something for engineers and techy people to worry about.” Is SEO for creatives really needed?

But the longer you’ve been in business, the more you’re realizing…maybe SEO is something YOU should be worrying about. Or at least, a little more. 

As creatives, we often shy away from things that include too many rules, labels, and boring acronyms. But rather than limiting our creative freedom, SEO can strengthen it. Now we are able to bring our work directly in front of the people who are actually searching for it.

This beginner’s guide will teach you how to use SEO for your own creative blog with confidence.

What is SEO? 

SEO means Seach Engine Optimization. In layman’s terms, it’s making the most of your website or blog’s ability to show up in searches.

For blogs, search engines are a super important traffic source. A 2021 survey of 1000+ bloggers found that SEO is 3rd in bringing eyes to their blog. It was only beaten out by social media sharing and email marketing (and just barely at that.) 

So that means…

If you’re not optimizing your blog, you’re missing out on a lot of organic traffic. Traffic that likely includes all your ideal customers/clients that you’re not reaching anywhere else!

SEO Pro Tip

You can optimize your blog’s ability to show up with certain tactics that I’ll cover in this post. But it’s also a good idea to get a plugin like Yoast SEO (the version I use is free with WordPress Pro.) 

Yoast SEO gives you the tools to optimize what you’ve written for both SEO and readability.

Choosing An SEO Keyphrase For Your Creative Blog Post

Every single blog post you post should focus on one keyphrase, and you will need to create a different one. Every. Single. Time. 

I know, I know. This will likely be frustrating at first. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that you’re learning to provide varied and helpful content to your audience.  

Need help choosing an SEO keyphrase? Read on!

My 2 Favorite Ways To Find A Keyphrase

Keyphrases are more specific (thus, improving your SEO), but they all come from keywords. Think of the keywords as the topic of your blog post, (“SEO” for this one, for instance.) 

Choose one word that you want to write about and then find your keyphrase with one of these two popular ways.

  1. “Searches Related to…” on the Google search results page.

Google your keyword and scroll to the bottom of the results page. Click on “Searches related to…” You will find more keywords to choose from. Choose one to use or search one and scroll down to “Searches related to…” again. Do as many times as you need to find a keyphrase that works for you. 

Note: Pay attention to the number of results your search returns. You have a better chance of showing up in a search with 600,000 results than you do one with 6 million results. 

  1. Answer The Public

AnswerThePublic gathers all the phrases and questions people are Googling that contain your keyword. All you have to do is type in your keyword. Then click “Get Questions.” Now you have a keyphrase, and your job is to write a blog post answering a question that people are asking. 

Note: You only get one FREE search per day. If you want more than that, you will have to upgrade to a paid membership. 

How To Use Your SEO Keyphrase in Your Blog Post

To improve SEO, the keyphrase that you select should appear in a few different places, including: 

  1. Your Blog Post’s Title 

I know you want to write some creative here (and you still can). But remember to include your searchable keyphrase here. 

Note: Your title should be an H1 heading, and most WordPress themes automatically make your title an H1, but it’s a good idea to double-check this just in case. 

  1. Title Tag

This one is important. For the algorithm, Google puts a lot of weight on the terms you put in your page’s title tag. 

  1. H2 or H3 subheading

You don’t need to go overboard here, but add at least one subheading (H2 or H3) to your post that also contains your keyphrase.

  1. Intro and Conclusion Sections

It’s not necessary, but it’s a good idea. Adding your keyphrase to the introduction and conclusion of your blog post will help somewhat with SEO.

  1. Natural occurrences

Once, you’ve hit those four, let the whole “focused keyphrase” thing go, and let it fall where it will. Your keyphrase does need to appear a few more times (Yoast SEO requires 6 times), but it shouldn’t be unnatural. Use your keyphrase sparingly and naturally.

Note: Do not go overboard. You want to avoid “keyword stuffing.” This is an old SEO practice that used to work before algorithms became more sophisticated. Now, keyword stuffing can actually make your ranking drop, because your blog will appear like it is written less by an actual person and more like the product of a bot. 

Are Meta Descriptions Used for SEO?

The meta description is the preview of your blog post that shows up on search engine pages and on social media shares. While Google doesn’t use meta descriptions in its algorithm, there is a strong case for the importance of meta descriptions to SEO. 

You should write a custom meta description for every post you make. If you don’t write a meta description, Google will create one for you by pulling content from your post. Sure, sometimes the robot’s meta description might encourage people to click. But it will never have the power of an intentionally written description.  

Simply put, strategic (and unique) meta descriptions increase clicks. Clicks mean traffic. Increased traffic means better performance in searches. Because when a link is frequently clicked, the search engines learn that users prefer it and it begins to show up more.

That’s right. Even when it’s not directly for SEO, it all comes back to SEO. 

But more than that – meta descriptions are a great creative opportunity! Think of the meta description as a mini promo (limited to 135 to 160 characters) of your post. The meta description is your one chance to convince readers to click on it.

Sure, your keyphrase will still need to show up there (your audience will click when they can clearly see it answers their question!) but you get to be creative with it. And that’s always a good thing.

Are Links Important for SEO?

It’s definitely a good idea to start finding ways to add internal and external links to every new blog post that you write. There are a few important reasons for including links:

  1. You provide your readers with more value.
  2. You build trust by linking to reputable sources.
  3. You generate an SEO boost for your page. 

Need a web refresher? 

Internal links – hyperlinks to existing pages and older blog posts on your site

External links – hyperlinks to pages on other websites

When you do add internal and external links, be sure to use helpful anchor text. Don’t simply write the words, “this post” as anchor text. Instead opt for a more descriptive anchor text, like this one: “This essential guide for entrepreneurs.”

SEO for Creatives: The Bottom Line

SEO doesn’t happen overnight. It’s part of the long game, so expect it to take at least a good six months before you start seeing the results you want.

But be patient, my friends. Stay the course. Even when it feels like a lot of work (with no immediate reward.) Because when more creatives take advantage of SEO, the world gains. 

I promise you that SEO isn’t just for tech giants and humdrum businesses. SEO is for creatives. It’s for you. Because the world needs your work. And because you deserve to be found. 

Want to give a great big boost to the visuals that accompany your SEO blog posts? 

If you’re in (or will be in) the Austin, Texas area, be sure to check out the heartfelt brand experience.

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