Maintaining a blog about your business, industry, and products/services you are selling is one of the best ways to boost your search rankings and drive large volumes of organic (non-paid for) web traffic to your site. If you think about it, millions of people get online and search Google, Yahoo and Bing daily for things that they want to buy, research, or simply have an interest in. So get blogging and be found by these people! Below we’ve put together our 9 winning SEO strategies for bloggers; there are certainly more ideas than this out there, but these 9 strategies will give you a great start towards winning SEO on your chosen keywords and building your organic traffic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of being found and ranked highly by the major search engines. Search businesses compete on serving up the most relevant results to their customers (the browsing public) and it’s your job to learn what these search companies are looking for so that you get the best results and get seen by the maximum number of people.
9 Winning SEO Strategies for Bloggers:
1. Make sure your site is set up so that you are giving the search engines what they want to see. Search engines have ways of rewarding relevance, so make sure your site is relevant to what you’re promoting and talking about. Having a focus theme or topic for your website is key here, and as you build pages and blog posts, these should all contribute to the relevance and authority of your page in that given field.
2. For each blog post, first decide which keywords you are going to compete on. A handy tool is Google’s Keyword Planner, which is free if you have a Google account. Head over to Google Adwords, login and use this tool to estimate how many people per month are actually looking for these keywords. Too few monthly searches (say below a few hundred) will indicate there’s limited market, and probably not worth your time. On the flip side, a very large volume of search may indicate a crowded market and a lot of competition.
Another way to research your competition is to simply search those keywords (or variations of them), and see which search results appear. Are there many (10+) paid-search advertisement results at the top of the page? Is there a full page or more of relevant organic search results from long-standing online companies? Keep searching keyword combinations until you see a middle ground where you can compete, and with a strong blog post you could viably get onto the 1st page.
So instead of targeting broad, generic terms like ‘dog food’, you may want to go more specialised with say, ‘gluten free dog food’ or some other niche around the topic which your customers may be searching for. Finding that balance between low-to-moderate competition, and reasonable monthly search volumes is key here.
3. Make sure that the keywords you are targeting are used in the page title (name of the webpage where your blog post is), the title of the blog post, and the first paragraph of the blog post. It can also help to name your images with these words, and insert these words into the Alt text of the images. Why? People are searching the web for text and images, and the search engines can’t yet see pictures, so naming them correctly will help get your images found, and boost the perceived relevance of that page for those keywords.
4. Remember to write your blog for humans, not just for Google! Yes you want to be strategic about your use of keywords, but you also want people to enjoy reading your posts and share them. More traffic and longer viewing tells Google that your page is authoritative and more relevant than others with less views, and up go your page rankings.
5. Use backlinks to relevant pages. Once you build a history of blog pages, you can begin to link them together and allow your readers to find other relevant articles and information, further building your case with customers and SEO that you are the authority on this topic. Outbound links (to sites other than your own) probably wont help your site’s SEO much, but inbound links (from other sites to yours) from sites with higher PageRanks will help your SEO.
6. Build backlinks. Unfortunately there are a lot of unscrupulous companies out there offering to build thousands of backlinks to your site for a small fee in the hope that you will be rewarded by search engines with better search results. These generally aren’t quality backlinks and can actually penalize you from getting results in SEO. Instead, choose to build quality backlinks from reputable sites with higher PageRank scores than your site. How can you do this? You might approach similar non-competing companies and offer to blog about them in exchange for them blogging about and linking to your site. You can also pay for editorial coverage from online magazines, bloggers, forum posters, and other online companies to build links on larger high traffic websites. Use relevant keywords in your anchor text of the links. What is anchor text? They’re the words used in the link, and these matter to search engines so keep them relevant!
7. Guest blog! Offer to write an informed and useful article on another blog in exchange for being able to link back to your page. This will give you wider reach, another backlink to your site, and help to improve your PageRank if the blog you’ve chosen has a higher PageRank than yours.
8. Link to and share your blog posts on social media. What better way to get your hot-off-the-press posts out there than via social media? With luck (and planning), your readers will like and share/repost these blog posts, giving you far wider reach than simply waiting for search traffic. Remember, Google owns the social network Google+ and will reward posts on this network with high search rankings on the browser Google Chrome.
9. Use great quality original images and videos. Videos especially. Guess what? Google owns YouTube and rewards sites for including video and linking to YouTube. Be sure to use your chosen keywords in the title of the video when you upload it to YouTube.
When done well, a blog can create a strong community resource and establish you and your company as a thought-leader and authoritative source of information in your field. That should lead to happy, engaged customers, and, if you’ve followed the above advice, better results in SEO.
Should you host the blog on your own site, or an external blog like Tumblr?
If you can only manage one, host the blog on your own site under your domain name for the best SEO results. People who visit your blog can then stay on your site to browse your product selection and other features right there, rather than having to follow a link to a new and unknown page.
If you have the resources, you may consider hosting the blog both on your site, and on an external blogging platform like Tumblr. You won’t want to have exactly the same content on both blogs though, so it’s suggested to use your site’s blog as the main blog host, and the external blog as a ‘feeder’ to this; consider posting the first paragraph or two of each post with a bunch of the images, and a link to read the full article at your own site. This gives you a wider net of readers, search results for these external blog posts, and new backlinks into your site.
Short-Tail vs Long-Tail Keywords
Many small businesses compete by targeting niche and long-tail keywords (or keyword phrases). For example, the short-tail keyword phrase “buy fashion” might be highly competitive in both organic and paid search results, but the long-tail keyword phrase “buy designer fashion Bangkok” may have considerably less competition. Keep in mind the more niche you go, the less search traffic there is likely to be. Do your research and you’ll find keyword phrases that you can both compete in and get reasonable traffic from.
The bottom line: if you’re spending time and effort creating great content, you want to be found by your readers. Investing time into your SEO is a key way to be noticed online and take advantage of the power of organic traffic from the major search engines.
Have any SEO strategies that really work for you? Feel free to share them in the comments below!