To own your blogging niche, you must understand the evolving process — important basics in search engine optimization (SEO) and other strategies.
If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you know success doesn’t keep come automatically. Blogging is arduous work.
You must have a strategic blogging goal. Is it to promote your business or e-commerce? A consultancy? Is it an advertising business model?
Whatever you decide, there are certain SEO tips to keep in mind.
1. Keywords. Decide your keyword niche, and in what categories you want to be found.
Pay special attention to keywords, as they are the first step in determining whether you are successful.
If properly implemented in search engine optimization, they will help determine when your site appears when users are looking for content.
Insert them early in your content, but don’t go overboard. Use 10 or fewer keywords for each topic.
2. Page headers and titles. The words you use in page headers and titles will be the first read by the spiders and users of your site. So, first impressions are important in describing the value of your pages. Short action verbs should be included.
3. Bots and spiders. Spiders are important to your success because they crawl your site to view your content and collect data. The spiders determine what pages appear on search engines when users are surfing for a topic.
Ostensibly, the most-sophisticated is Googlebot, which looks for your new and updated pages. Google uses an algorithmic process.
It’s helpful to understand Google’s reasoning for best Web site rankings and how to be optimized for Bing (in some ways, my sense is that bing is more logical). If time constraints prevent you from mastering both, focus on Google because of its 66-percent market-share dominance.
If you’re successful on Google, chances are you rank well on Bing and Yahoo. Above all, quality of content rules – Google speaks out about frequency vs. value.
4. Sitemap. You can improve your odds for success with a sitemap, which is a list of pages on your site. That’s to insure Googlebot and other spiders can detect your links on pages.
Google says sitemaps support your cause, if:
- Your site has dynamic content.
- Your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
- Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
- Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.
If you’re successful on Google, chances are you rank well on Bing and Yahoo.
5. Images. Images are helpful to make a site interesting to users. That’s true. But they can’t also hurt you, if they’re not inserted properly. You see, spiders can’t detect images. Spiders can read a text description on your images, if you insert an ALT tag.
Flash pages are hip and attract users, but they serve no purpose in maximizing the impact of crawling spiders.
Videos are good. As you might expect, videos continue to surge in popularity.
Regarding a blog topic: If you cite or quote a source, insert the link to the source’s Web site somewhere in the first few paragraphs — as close to the lead paragraph as possible. That’s a Google preference.
Update content frequently. But don’t insert multiple topics on a page; instead insert links to other pages. Links from one page to others helps your time-spent-viewing. The longer you keep a user on your site, the better off you’ll be.
It’s preferable to make the blog part of your Web site – don’t separate the two. Otherwise, you’ll have to work twice as hard to make sure both rank well. Further, search engines don’t like even the appearance of duplication.
7. Links. With one caveat, encourage other sites to link to yours. However, make certain the inbound links have a higher Google page rank than your site.
Mainstream media sites all have great page ranks. If you can persuade a bonafide reporter to insert a link to your site from an authoritative media site – congratulations. If you need tips, here’s how to leverage the news media.
Another strategy is to submit press releases to online press release firms. Some are free, but again check their Google page rank. Quality of links is paramount. Always avoid weak links to you.
Minimize the number of your outbound links. Your site will be penalized.
8. Guest blogging — be careful. Google is concerned — perhaps overly concerned according to many people — about the content of guest blogging and the possibility of it being spam to gain links (see The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO – Matt Cutts).
If Google frowns on the guest-blogging content, you will be penalized in your ranking.
9. Social Media. If you want a strong business brand, leverage these social mediums: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Actually, there are more than 300 from which to choose. It all depends on your objectives.
Also insert either an “AddThis” or “ShareThis” toolbar to each page. They’re free services. Either will make it easy for you to share your content on social media. Moreover, the platforms make it easy for your readers to share your content.
Many people also use another free tool: Hootsuite, www.hootsuite.com, which will help you with your social networking. Hootsuite will build, monitor, engage and analyze your social activities.
Bear in mind these tips aren’t all-inclusive. But if you put them to use, you’re well on your way. Good luck.
From the Coach’s Corner, of course, you already know Google has ended its authorship program and RSS feeds, right? Great.
“…the time has come to ask yourselves does your blog suck … and what are you doing to change it?”
– Michael Gray
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.
Photo courtesy of calgrin