Whether your blog is political or light-hearted, article-focused or image led, every blog needs visitors, because without visitors, your blog is just a space for aimless musings. Attracting a reliable and regular readership can turn your blog into a place of thought-leadership, and of course, the more hits you get, the higher your advertising revenues will be.
But attracting visitors can often feel like a minefield. When you’re competing against an estimated 156 million blogs (according to BlogPulse), how can you pluck random followers out of thin air? Well, it’s not as hard as it first may seem.
A few simple SEO tweaks can be the passport to a whole family of new readers. The majority of blog visitors start out as ‘wandering traffic’, searchers that stumble upon a blog by accident, through keyword searches or via other social media sources. Fundamentally, these visitors are already interested in the topic you are talking about – they are blog-lovers up for grabs.
The key is to make sure itâ€™s your blog they wander onto, and getting your blog seen, let alone read, has become as important as the content it includes.
But don’t panic, we’re not talking about a strategic, multi-layered plan of attack. Just a little SEO awareness and good old-fashioned patience is the key to happy blogging. Here are 10 top SEO tips for all bloggers:
1. Keywords: Make the most of Google’s free Adwords keyword tool to identify how people are searching for topics relevant to your blog. Look at your subject like an outsider. Incorporate those keywords with high search traffic but relatively low competition into headings, titles, URLs, anchor text and content. For instance, if your blog is on self-publishing, you might consider working in keywords such as â€˜self publish bookâ€™, â€˜self publishing companyâ€™ and â€˜how to publishâ€™.
2. Headings & Titles: Keep headings and titles catchy to attract attention â€“ but don’t forget your SEO strategy. Keywords in headings and titles help searchers to find your website and, more importantly, help search engines to rank it.
3. URLs: Using keywords in URLs increases your blog’s search potential. Opting for words over numbers or characters heightens your chances of being found.
4. Categories: These are fundamental to a blog’s organization, allowing visitors to navigate your blog as it expands. Use keywords and name your categories according to what people search for.
5. Tag Cloud: Same benefits as categories. Be sure to tag your posts with keywords relevant to its subject (for instance, for a post on publishing poetry, tags may include â€˜self publishing poetryâ€™, â€˜publish poetry onlineâ€™, etc). Your tag cloud will accumulate all your tags, with those most frequently used showing up the largest, allowing visitors to get a quick visual idea of the type of content theyâ€™ll find on your blog, and to click directly through to the content thatâ€™s relevant to them.
6. Internal Links: Create links between your blog posts, using keywords to help visitors find other related blog content and increase your page-clicks â€“ the aim is to keep people reading!
7. Inbound (external) Links: Make the most of your blogging community – be active! Link to your blogging colleagues, and request links in return â€“ Google looks at who is linking to your site when it judges your authority and relevance. You can also gain back-links by writing guest-posts and leaving comments and reviews, encouraging visitors to stop by your blog and making you an active part of the blogging world.
8. Social Media: Whenever you write a new blog post, shout about it! Use other social media (Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon) to broadcast it. Getting links to your blog sent around on Twitter will increase the likelihood of your post showing up in real-time search.
9: Site Map: The key to helping visitors around your blog, a site map also allows search engine spiders to index your blog much more quickly.
10. Images, Graphics and Flash: Images and video content make for a user-friendly blog, but be sure to use low-res images to minimize loading speeds, and avoid Flash where possible, as it can be slow to load, and keywords within Flash files cannot be read by search engine spiders.
That said, you must always remember the visitor – if your blog reads like a list of SEO keywords, they’ll quickly lose patience. Until writing optimized content becomes second-nature, write for your reader first and optimize later. Happy blogging!
About the author
Christian Arno is the founder of global translation agency Lingo24, experts in foreign language internet marketing. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 150 employees spanning four continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector and their turnover for 2010 was $8m. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.
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