We all want to have more readers. I mean, that’s why we blog, right? The thing is, there are a lot of other bloggers out there (152 million Google tells me) and it can be a nightmare to get noticed. We try to share our blog on social media, but, though, initially our friends were amazingly enthusiastic, after a while they seem more interested in what Dorothy had for lunch and that Sue is getting married (good for you Sue) than in sharing our content. And, since no visitors means that all our efforts to monetize our blog aren’t paying off, we have to try something else.
Everybody keeps talking about SEO, so naturally we look there, but what do those three letters actually mean? Well, it’s actually pretty straight forward.
What is SEO
SEO is a way to push your blog up in Google’s ranking (and if you want to increase traffic being higher up is good, and being number one is many times better). They’ve created this immensely complicated algorithm that measures how sites rank in comparison to one another, based on such things as backlinks, domain age, traffic, fresh content, social media presence, etc. If you get your SEO right then you make google happy and they put you in a more prominent position. From there you can watch the visitors roll in.
The thing is, what you need to do is a moving target. Google is constantly trying to make certain that people don’t game their system and therefore keep changing what is important. For that reason you have to stay up to date (and read up-to -date material). That said, some things aren’t going to change anytime soon.
1) Have a real domain name
The first thing you should do if you’re serious about having a blog is get your own domain name. Google doesn’t want to push pages that aren’t very serious and they’ve decided that if you haven’t taken the time to buy your own domain name, then you’re obviously not all that serious. So that should really be step number one. Besides it isn’t even that expensive nowadays.
2) Have good content
If you really want to make certain that you’re going to push your way up the Google rankings then you have to make sure your content is something people are actually interested in and provides new insights. Otherwise it doesn’t matter how hard you push your content, the ball will never get rolling as other people won’t link to it, nor will people share it. In other words, all the SEO in the world won’t do a thing for you if people aren’t actually interested in reading your stuff and showing it to their fans and friends.
3) Use the right keywords
When people type a search term into Google, the search engine will trawl its database for those websites that most closely match what has been typed in. For that reason make certain you’ve got your pages set up so that they actually match search phrases. Having several different landing pages, for example, is a good idea. Another good idea is to create back links that use the right words. What are those? Those are the actual words used in a text to link to yours site. How can you influence who back links to your page?
4) Guest blogging
One good way to do so is to guest blog on other sites and use that as a way to link back to your site. Apparently this isn’t quite as effective nowadays as it used to be, as Google has made it harder to promote your site in this way. That does not make it completely useless, however, as you can still use it to find new followers, create more buzz and get a bigger presence on social media.
5) Social Media matters
And that matters, because Google cares a great deal about social media. If a site gets a lot of attention on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere, then Google thinks it’s important too. So boost your social presence and make certain to use it to get people interested in your blog content. One important strategy people don’t use enough is to share their content multiple times as that gets you far more traction (and therefore a far better raking from Google).
6) Have a good page structure
A Google’s algorithms have to trawl a lot of pages, they quite appreciate it if your page is easy to search. For that reason, make sure that your URLs are clearly named and easily understood, that your pages aren’t too ‘deep’ (as in it takes many clicks to get to any of your pages from your main page) and that there isn’t too much content on a page. In that way Google will have an easier time scanning it.
Even better, build a sitemap and submit it to Google! That way they’ll have even less trouble scanning your pages and will treat you even more kindly.
As Google builds an ever more complicated algorithm, it’s clear what they’re aiming for. They want to make it as easy as possible to find content that people actually want. This means that any time Google realizes people have found a way to ‘game’ their algorithm where the page owners will get an advantage at the expense of the users, they will tweak their algorithm to shut it down.
What they will not shut down, however, is when site managers find some way to actually provide people with what they want. Now, admittedly, that is more difficult, but as you won’t lose the benefits when Google clues on, they are well worth it. So by all means, boost your SEO in any way you can, but as you do so, remember that in the long run what will work best is giving people the content that they’re actually looking for. Now that has to be a strategy worth trying, right?
What tips or tricks have you used to build the SEO on your blog?
Please share in the comments below!