Pub 5.1 Getting noticed: Discoverability & SEO

Discoverability: It’s such a simple concept. Actors, marketers, authors, musicians, new product developers and just about anybody who’s alive would love to have this quality. It’s surprising to me that this is such a new word in our popular vocabulary.

Author Lea Davisons on Discoverability

I first began thinking about discoverability when I met Lela Davidson at the 2013 Missouri Writers Guild Conference in St. Louis. She gave a talk based on her book, Sexy, Smart and Search Engine Friendly: Get Found Online Without Losing Your Mind or Wasting Your Time. Here’s a video interview of Lela talking at that conference with Brad Cook of St. Louis Writers Guild.

Think of Google, she said,which is used for 70 percent of all searches, as your friendly neighbor, who will recommend products and stores to you and tell your products to others. People trust their neighbors and will follow their advice. So it pays for your neighbor to know about your products. Moreover, relationships formed on the internet build trust–a personal recommendation from an online “neighbor” adds credibility and real life acquaintance with the person or product being recommended.

Lela suggested ways to increase your discoverability on Google:

  1. Pick keywords specific to your product but not broad enough to invite competition from the big boys.
  2. Create a Google profile: this moves you up in rank in a Google search.
  3. Link to other websites and have them link to you. This adds credibility to your product or service.
  4. Create a presence on social networks that are important to what you do, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and join specific groups interested in your topics of discussion, products and services.
  5. Of course she and most experts remind you to link all your activity back to your main website or blog, so people can have the opportunity to partake of whatever you have to offer.

From Joost to Yoast

Experts offer many ways to learn discoverability techniques, but all agree that mastering Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the key to establishing your presence in the online world. Volumes have been written on this topic, but its history was significantly advanced by a Netherlander, Joost de Valk, who at an early age displayed an insatiable passion for computers and writing code. When he got married and he and his wife Marieke, a Ph.D. candidate, became pregnant, he needed a job. He went to work with an SEO company. According to Joost, “As I was able to write code and develop websites, I immediately understood all technical aspects of SEO.” This technical background combined with his ability to write appealing copy and to speak in public were the perfect ingredients to become an SEO expert In 2010 he founded Yoast, an SEO development company, and combined the best of his SEO techniques in a plug-in for WordPress, the most widely used, free open source publishing application for online blogs and websites. This history of his progress is worth reading.

The Yoast board: Joost, Marieke, Michel and Omar

Yoast’s free discoverability training is accessible once you have set up your site through an internet host for your domain and begin using the free app, WordPress.org. It suggests simple ways of testing keywords and then of  selecting them and trying them out for free on the web. Yoast can also be closely integrated with Google Analytics for detailed reporting on your site’s performance and chances of being discovered.

You can also learn SEO directly from Team Yoast. Check out the Yoast SEO academy! They offer both free and premium online courses to learn everything you need to know about SEO and its close integration with WordPress.

As mentioned in the previous chapter, I used WordPress to get started a dozen years ago, still use it today and highly recommend it for beginners and experienced bloggers alike. The free Yoast plug-in is a must add-on application, and a pdf version makes it even more useful. They offer a helpful free documentation course to get started — well worth your time.

Why not start your voyage of discoverability today?

Pub 5.2 Stake your presence on the internet (Coming soon)

Back to A Writers Journey: 10 Basic Skills Every Writer Should Know