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Readability and SEO

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    Nathan Lake

    Readability, SEO and keywords are important concepts in online writing.

    Search engines are what make the internet accessible for most people. Take away Google, and Bing, and Yahoo, and how would you find anything on the web? Search engines work by constantly searching the internet for new sites and changes to old sites. This is called “crawling”. For example, about a dozen different search engines crawl TTW every time a tweet is sent or re-tweeted that references the site.

    After Google crawls a site it applies some secret calculation to rank that site according to its importance. It is this ranking that determines what shows up first when you do a Google search. If you search Google for “travel writing” it would be nice if TTW was first, but instead you will find that Lonely Planet is ranked number one among the non-paid entries (yes, you can pay to have your site show up higher in Google’s list). This is because they have a lot of traffic and they have done a good job of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

    Even though Google does not divulge the exact way they score a site, much effort goes into reverse engineering it in order to figure out their algorithm. SEO is an attempt to make sure your site scores high in Google’s system. TTW has installed a product called Yoast that helps us optimize our site. There are two major components to SEO…the configuration of the site itself and the content of the posts. You can do a lot of things to make your post more likely to be found and ranked high by Google. Yoast helps you with the most important things. 


    When you are writing a post, before you publish it, scroll down to the section of the page labeled “Yoast SEO Premium”. Click on the first tab – Readability. Under Analysis, there are a number of color-coded items: red, yellow, or green. Look closely at the red and yellow one and whenever reasonable, address the issue in your post. Not all of them will be reasonable, and you will almost never get them all green. TO the right of each item is a little eye. Click on it and Yoast will highlight the part of the post that it is referring to. Click HERE for more information.



    While you are in the Yoast section, click on the SEO tab. You will see color-coded items here too. As with Readability, address as many of these items as is reasonable. These are pretty important. Spend a few minutes dealing with the read and yellow items.


    Focus Words

    Identify the 3-4 important words in your post. Words that are key to the topic of the post. Click on the Add keyword tab and add a tab for each important work. Enter the word in the Focus keyword field. Click HERE for more information.



    Google looks closely at the images in each post. If possible, each word should have a caption and alternate text that describes the photo. You add these by inserting the photo and then clicking on it. A small menu will appear. Click on the edit icon (looks like a pencil). Put the keywords in the alternate text.

    Click HERE for more information.


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