This is a guest post by Tom Mcloughlin.
In many blogging circles, SEO has a dirty reputation. This could be because of the countless generic emails bloggers receive every day asking for ‘valuable link exchange’. Or maybe it’s because they’re purists who don’t think they should change their writing style for ‘the bots’. Some just don’t like the fact that Google seems to have so much control over their success. So they discount SEO – why bother with dodgy tactics and sell your soul right?
This misunderstanding is holding hundreds/thousands/millions of bloggers back and preventing them from receiving traffic that could be theirs with just a few tweaks and a little effort. When done right, SEO is a great way to bring in new visitors in a sustainable way and build a foundation of new visitors coming to your blog on a day to day basis. And there’s no need to venture into the underworld and take sides with Lucifer.
Essentially, SEO is made up of 2 elements; on-site and off-site. The on-site part is well within your control so should be easy, but it’s amazing how many bloggers ignore it. The off-site part can be a little more daunting, but by following a few basic principles you don’t need to be a genius to be successful.
There are a few key elements in ensuring your blog is suitably optimised on page, and you don’t have to sacrifice your writing integrity to incorporate them. SEO Moz did a great break down of the perfect on page optimisation if you’re interested in more detail, but the few points below will stand you in good stead:
Keyword ResearchAlways the first action before embarking on an SEO campaign: research phrases around what you write about on your blog and make a note of all the relevant phrases. This doesn’t have to be anything hugely technical, simply plug your phrases into Google’s Keyword Tool and see which variations it spits out with the best traffic levels.
Title TagsOnce you’ve identified what your main target phrases are, incorporate them into your homepage title tag. It’s amazing how many bloggers don’t use their homepage title tag to the maximum and leave it as just their blog name. It’s the strongest page on your site and you have 66 to 70 characters available – use them!
Landing PagesIf you’ve identified a few phrases which are relevant to your blog but can’t all be applied to the homepage then create different landing pages for them. Bloggers often ignore the use of ‘Pages’ and stick to just ‘Posts’, but static pages have a lot of ranking potential and should be exploited. If you don’t you’re missing a trick!
On Page CopyYou don’t have to butcher your writing style to ensure your blog’s pages are optimised. Just make sure the target phrases you have identified are included somewhere in the copy. And if you’re thinking about throwing them in there 15 times then hit the rewind button! Once or twice will be more than enough, the key is to write naturally and for the reader. Which is what us bloggers want to do anyway. No problems there then.
Click image to go to source for full and larger picture
Link Building. It’s a swear word isn’t it? Unfortunately bloggers have gained a bad impression of link building from the SEO spammers out there who send blanket emails out to every Joe Blogs (see what i did there?!) on the web.
It doesn’t have to be this way! There are loads of great ways to build links which are above board / white hat / Google friendly – whatever you want to call it. Google uses links as ‘votes of recommendation’, so if you’re not getting any then your presence in search engines will suffer. Below are some key methods of getting great links as well as making some friends along the way!
Guest PostingIt’s been talked about so many times that I don’t need to go into any great detail on this one. Write guest posts for other bloggers in your niche and you get great links to your blog, loads of exposure and make some cool relationships with relevant people who you can work with to promote each other’s content until the cows come home. Do it!
Directory SubmissionsI hear the groans, but stay with me. I’m not talking about submitting to seofriendlydirectory.net. Find good, relevant directories in your niche and you can get some great links. Ignore the garbage ones which are full of spam and find the ones in your niche. These types of directories can provide traffic, will increase your number of links and will definitely help you on the road to SEO success. Google has even said that some of the most trusted links on the web are on sites like Best of the Web and Business.com. Guess what? They’re directories!
Write Great Content. Promote itIf you just write great content then you won’t get many, if any, links. This is the mistake many bloggers make. The key is in the promotion. Once you’ve written a fantastic post then get out there and tell people about it! This can be done via social media or by directly contacting people in your niche (remember those people you guest posted for earlier...). If your content is good enough and you tell enough people then the links will come to you.
These are just a few simple points which bloggers can use to ensure they are maximising their blogs from an SEO perspective. No comment spamming, no keyword stuffing, just good old fashioned white hat SEO!
If you’ve got any other SEO tips for bloggers then please share them in the comments!