If you are a blogger, one thing you want to do regardless of your overall goal is to increase traffic. Whether you are making money on affiliate links and advertising or just looking to rank in a niche as an expert, traffic means more readers and in the long run means more revenue or a better reputation.
How do you break into the top rankings on search engines? You need to do a few key things with your blog, and then you will find success much easier.
It is easy to come up with a clever title. It is tougher to have that title also contain keywords related to your blog and the things you want to rank for. However, titles and headings send signals to search engines that let them know right away what your blog post is about.
As your blog software often uses this title as the extension to your domain name, this also aids users who are searching for your topic. This is why it is important to make sure that what you blog about is relevant to your domain name and what you do.
There are three keys to title keywords. The first is to use narrower terms rather than broad ones. The second is to use action words that encourage readers to click through to your post, things like “See How Here!” The final tip is to keep title tags under 59 characters. This makes Google happier, earning you more search traffic.
Add Keywords to Posts and Media
Yes, you need to add keywords, but you need to be careful to avoid keyword stuffing. The keywords should be relevant to your article and should not simply appear natural in the text, they need to be natural.
As search engines become more intuitive and machine learning advances, they can tell just like a human can when you have stuffed keywords into your post just to try to achieve ranking. Around 2% of your content can be keywords, and you need to keep it in this neighborhood.
Your main keyword should appear in the first 100 words and again in the conclusion of your piece. This lets search engines and the reader know right away what your post is about. You can use various keyword combinations throughout to make sure your point gets through.
For photos, use alt-tags to let search engines know what your picture is about, and be sure it is related to the other content around it. The keywords for you photos or other media like video should directly relate to your post.
Unless you are just starting out, you have other content on your site related to this topic, and you should link to it within your post. This lets search engines know that you value your content as well. A good analogy is to think of your website like an island.
Internal links are roads on the island, connecting one place to another. Links from other sites or social media are roads that let users get to the island. The internal roads help them navigate once they have arrived.
Even if you don’t have another blog post on the topic you are discussing, there is probably an opportunity inside the post to link to your homepage, an about page, or something the user can relate to.
The more content you build, the more links you build between that content, the more hospitable your island will seem, and the more other sites will build links or bridges to it. Use internal linking to spark this organic process.
Guest blogging goes two ways. You should guest blog on other sites, sharing information about your blog and linking back to it. You should also welcome guest blogs on your site.
This can be challenging on both fronts. It is easy to get so focused on guest blogging that you neglect creating your own content. It is also just as easy to focus so exclusively on your own content that you neglect guest blogging on other sites.
You have to think of it this way: guest blogging on other sites is showing search engines that you are an expert in your field. That site is lending its authority to you, while you lend it your expertise.
Accepting guest posts does the same. More voices than just yours populate your blog, and you have experts who are lending their expertise and authority to your blog while you lend them your website authority as well. Both parties benefit.
Screening guest posts can also be tricky. You will get those who do not provide quality content but are just looking to build links to their own sites. As you develop relationships though, you will be able to quickly spot these bloggers by their outreach and poor content.
Overall, it will be worth your time to pursue this method, but you must budget some time and energy toward it. Keeping balance with your own content is essential.
Finally, all bloggers need to have a presence on social media, usually multiple platforms. Some may be more profitable for you than others depending on your niche. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest or Snap Chat can work for you. Keep a few keys in mind.
- Use Hashtags: Twitter and Instagram are filled with tons of Tweets, posts, and photos. Use hashtags so that users can find your content easily.
- Be Social: Social media is about being social, not just posting links to your stuff. Be sure you are interacting with other users, and being friendly and helpful. This will gain you followers and keep your social accounts from getting stale.
- Share Regularly: Sharing a post one time simply will not do on social media. Not enough people will see it for it to matter. You need to share posts several times to ensure that all of your followers will see it.
Although Google will not tell us that social shares actually impact rankings, at least yet, there is some evidence to suggest they do. They certainly impact traffic, as social is the way many users find their way to your site.
You can boost your blog’s search engine rankings by using a few simple tips and tricks to make sure both search engines and users see your posts. Titles, keywords, and linking are all essential, whether those links are internal or through guest posting. Social shares can be another key, bringing you both traffic and the kind of attention your blog deserves.
Guest article written by: Sarah Saker is a business coach and freelance writer that specializes in helping SMBs setup processes for customer support and predictable growth. When not writing or coaching, Sarah can be found on her (small but growing!) family farm. Connect with Sarah on about.me for coaching or writing help.