There really is no worse feeling than realizing mistakes you made before you even started a project can prevent your project’s success….rrrrr!
Publishing a blog is a project, and about 99.9% of our wedding blogs are destined for not-greatness before we ever even publish our first blog post.
Why you ask? It’s not because you don’t have great content.
It’s because we have not created an organized and key-word-optimized blog category and tag structure for our blog posts.
Dewey D. vs. Google
Think of the difference between trying to find something on a specific topic in a library vs. trying to find it online.
In a library, the Dewey Decimal System leads me to relevant resources (Dewey doesn’t care how popular you are!). On Google, some secret algorithm dumps popular results in my lap that may or may not be relevant.
In a library, I have the benefit of seeing all similar results to my search right there on the bookshelf, which can be helpful. On Google, I am forced to view search results on a list of ten per page in an order of Google’s choosing.
Every single one of us has sat baffled at our computers wondering how, in this day and age, XYZ thing we are searching for on Google is just not there.
Friends, what you seek on Google probably IS there, but you can’t find it because the person who published it did not organize it in such a way that Google can deliver it to you as effectively as the Dewey Decimal System can.
Can you imagine if, like a library, every blog post published was categorized and tagged in a consistent manner by Google “librarians”? We’d find everything all the time, right?
But, unfortunately, Google is like a library with as many different categorization systems as it has authors.
No wonder they need an ever-evolving algorithm to try and un-do what us amateur bloggers have done (sorry Google!).
Staci, what does all of this mean???
It means you must think about having a widely-accepted, Google-friendly system of organization on your blog if you want anyone to ever find what you’ve written.
Most wedding pros just start writing blog posts that they send out into the uncategorized black hole of the Google-sphere…little different than hitting the “delete” button instead of the “publish” button.
So how do you fix it?
Step #1 – Create A Blog Category Structure
If you’ve ever created an outline for a high school report or a table of contents for a research paper, you can categorize your blog.
Think of the 5 or so main themes you will be writing about (real weddings? planning tips? interviews with area wedding pros? tutorials?) then your subcategories should fall below there (real weddings > San Diego April weddings) and so on.
If you use Word Press (and you should), you’ll see “Posts” on the left sidebar. Under “Posts” are your “Categories” (also tags, which I will talk about in a minute).
On this page, you can create your blog categories. Then with each post you write, you select from the right sidebar in which category that particular blog post should be placed (under “Format” and above “Tags”).
Be sure to display the categories on your published blog as well (in Word Press, go to “Appearance” then “Widgets”).
Step #2 – Create A Blog Tag Structure
Blog tags are like the index of keywords at the end of a book. The categories get the reader to the book they need, and the tags get the reader to the specific page in the book that they need, so to speak.
In order to help keep my blog tags organized, I put together a Word doc listing all the tags I want to use for the recurring features on my blog.
The only tags that ever occur outside that pre-determined structure are for my real wedding posts. For each real wedding I publish, I tag it “venue name wedding” (so “five crowns restaurant wedding” or “dos picos park wedding”).
If it’s my second wedding at any particular venue, I make sure to use the same tag as the first wedding at that venue (so my second Dos Picos Park wedding doesn’t accidentally get tagged “dos picos wedding” and now the two weddings at the same venue are not connected.)
In Word Press, go to Post > Tags to add or adjust tags. In the post writing page, you’ll find “Tags” in the right sidebar below “Categories.”
You can activate a “tag cloud” on your blog sidebar to help readers search by tag, but a good search feature saves space and will do much of the same work.
Step #3 – Use Keyword-Rich Permalinks
How do you think Google reads these two web addresses differently:
Obviously, the first permalink is ideal. The second one is, again, like hitting “delete” instead of “publish” after writing up a blog post.
Few people will search “female San Diego wedding DJ” and find me using the page number permalink method.
Word Press, by default, will name all of your blog posts like page numbers unless you tell it otherwise. To correct this, go to “Settings” then “Permalinks.”
If you’ve already been blogging for a long time with page number style permalinks, changing the system now will change all your blog links and can lead to broken links, lost backlinks, etc.
If, however, you are only getting 5 visitors a day right now, changing the permalink structure may be a no-brainer. You can also manually edit each post’s permalink in the post page.
Now here is the real silver lining in all this “Dewey Decimal System” work for your blog…wait for it…Google will read each individual tag page and category page on your blog as a separate link!!!
This is like taking candy from a baby when it comes to SEO.
Every time some bride in Wisconsin wants to know what an April destination wedding in San Diego might be like and googles, “San Diego April wedding,” guess what she finds?
After two irrelevant “secret algorithm” results, she finds exactly what she was looking for—a bunch of April San Diego weddings neatly categorized by your truly on my blog. Score!