Search Engine Optimization: How to get more traffic to your blog
What is Search Engine Optimization? Simply abbreviated as SEO, Search Engine Optimization is one of those terms you will not hear enough times as a blogger. Experienced bloggers (such as myself) will tell you it is easy to build a blog but it is not so easy to build traffic or an audience around your blog.
Search Engines are a big part of blogging when you are talking about traffic. In 2012, more than 120 billion searches were queried on Google alone per month. This means that plenty of people out there are searching for information and this is a good avenue to tap into when you want to acquire unique visitors to your site.
When writing your blog posts, always remember that you are not just writing for humans but for the search engine crawlers. These are the robots that visit your site to index new data when you post it so that it can appear on the search engine results page.
SEO is so important that some businesses employ search engine optimization companies to do that job for them at a monthly cost.
Luckily, these days, there are many websites which offer free counsel for SEOs to optimize their websites without requiring to pay someone else to do the work for them.
However, not every single advice you will get out there will be helpful. I also cannot guarantee you that I have all the answers with me. But what I will guarantee you is that you will get the best possible answers here that are tried and tested from years of blogging experience.
1. Keywords should be chosen carefully and used extensively
Make sure that all your posts are optimized for the subject that you are talking about. For a better outcome, make sure that your website has a definite theme that search engines can easily associate with you. For instance, if you are blogging about photography, try and make all your posts aimed at your niche and avoid the temptation to digress.
Keywords refer to the words that you think those looking for the information in search engines will be looking out for.
Use your keywords as many times as possible (there is really no limit so long as your post is readable and logical) in every post so that the keyword density tells the search engine that you are speaking about a certain focused topic.
Include your keywords in the title of your story and the first paragraph (intro) as well.
The idea here is that the sooner the keyword pops up in your article, the easier it is for the robots to pick out the main premise of your story which will help your site's rankings on the search engines. Try to include your keywords in your image description in order to also score on image searches. Image searches account for quite a significant amount of traffic.
2. Link your stories to each other and to other websites
The internet incorporates the non- linear format of conveying information. This means that online audiences will expect to read through the websites they like and gather as much information from them by linking through to other articles. Linking older articles in your subsequent blog posts is what is known as on site link building.
Whenever you are writing a new post, make sure that you link to your other articles whenever possible. Creating links within your site contributes towards your site being easily navigable while at the same time making it sticky for readers to stick around longer.
In terms of crawlers, on site links enable the crawlers to canvas your site and create a better index of the content you are talking about.
Look at it like the experience you get when you enter a hardware store which has been built in such a way that every isle has a marker to indicate what the shelves on that section contain. For instance, the iron sheets will be put in one part of the store while the paints will be conveniently stored in a separate section with the markers guiding you through the different sections.
Also, when building your on site links, remember to link back to your home page (or landing page). This makes the crawler robots get a strong fix on your site's theme. Other ways to optimize on linkages include making sure you have a side bar where you link to your previous stories.
For out of site links (embedding links to other websites) make sure that you only link out to the most authoritative sites you can find on your topic. These contribute to the way search engines perceive your website i.e in terms of well rounded content.
3. Post regularly and write original posts
There is a strong belief among SEOs that the older your domain is, the higher your chances become in ranking well for the keywords that are associated with your website. From experience, I would add that you need to also invest in regularly posting new articles which sort of keep inviting web crawlers back to your website to index it.
Posting regularly means that you end up building a rich archive of information within your website. The good thing is that you become an authority in the topic that you exhaustively cover, in the 'tentacles' of the search robots. However, you still need to make sure that the posts that you write are either very helpful in terms of relieving the readers' stress or causing them extreme pleasure.
Nobody likes reading through a website that looks like a complete waste of time, especially owing to the fact that they invest a lot of their time in reading through your content.
Also, ensure that you write a comprehensive post, such which essentially means that the shortest piece that you should write should not be less than 200 words long. In the same breath, avoid copying other people's blog posts or duplicating your own. This makes readers and crawlers label you a spammer and together with them your reputation flies through the window.
4. Market your new posts on social media by making your content exciting enough to be shared
In this day and age, you simply cannot overlook making your site as user friendly as possible. Social plug-ins enable your readers to share your content on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ especially if they have a wonderful experience. This sort of interaction acts as a very dependable platform for your website to gather traction in terms of bringing in more traffic (readers) to your website.
Encourage your readers to leave their comments at the end of every post. Comments will help you to slowly build a community of readers around your site and this will in turn help you generate even more content in terms of your audience sharing their experiences.
As your audience talks about their experiences, make sure that you also participate in the discussions by responding to queries and concerns. This way, you get repeat visitors.
5. Guest Blog
Guest blogging refers to the practice of writing for other blogs with the intention of building backlinkls for your own blog. Backlinks are important since they point towards your website and add credibility to it. By guest blogging, you will accumulate more readers for yourself by gaining the confidence of the readers who are already faithful to the blog you are writing for.
Whether you are writing for your blog or for someone else's blog, make sure that you stand for something and stick to it. Consistency is everything when trying to convince someone to buy whatever you are selling to them. Also guest blog on websites which have a higher rank than yours so that they can complement your site.
However, this does not mean that you become too choosy or write on blogs whose coverage is outside the main theme of your site. Guest blogging will always be a plus if it is well on topic.