This is a guest post by Emma-Julie Fox.
There are thousands of articles discussing which blogging strategies have worked wonderfully in the past, which ones are effective at present, and which ones are likely to remain valuable in the future.
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of information unless you seek answers to one question at a time.
The More the Merrier...?
Without a doubt, the blogging community is growing ever bigger by the day. Many are simply blogging for personal gratification but for an increasing number of people, blogging is an opportunity to earn extra income. In fact the blogosphere seems a bit crowded now, and if in your chosen niche or subject matter there are already thousands of active blogs, it may take a while before your blog can gain momentum and generate income.
A fledgling blog can easily get overshadowed, just as an older blog may be unseated from its lofty spot at the SERPs by those that are managed by more knowledgeable SEOs. There are lucky bloggers though who are not really putting too much effort on the technical side of SEO, but are nevertheless rewarded with a high page rank, a constant stream of inbound traffic and even a top spot at the SERPs. How do these bloggers do that without hiring professional SEO services?
Common Factors of Successful Blogs
They have a niche... and they stick to it
Ever heard of the disadvantages of being a jack of all trades but master of none?Image source
The very first thing you need when you start a blog is to have a theme or a topic which will also be the central subject of all your posts. There are many benefits to concentrating on a single niche. First, it serves as a guide for your posts and keeps you from straying to subjects that your loyal readers may not be interested in. Many bloggers also find it easier to come up with article subjects and content if they have parameters to work with (but it is also a challenge to make each post fresh).
Second, it’s usually easier to find advertisers and get approved by affiliate sites if you have a main niche. Third, it increases your chances of landing a lofty spot in the search engine results pages.
What about Multiple-Subject Blogs?
There are other bloggers though who don't have a single niche because basically, they are writing personal blogs. It's just that they must be doing something really good because regardless of the personal nature of the blog posts, they are still able to monetize those blogs. These people didn’t achieve all that instantly. Usually they are already a year old—or older—have many subscribers, and a constant stream of visitors.
They keep things simple
Beginners usually have this misconception that the more glamorous the blog is, the better it can attract searchers. The truth is most Internet users are annoyed when there’s too much drama going on in a website. First of all, having too many Flash features and demanding plug-ins and widgets can slow down your website’s loading time. Unless users are utterly desperate for the information on your site, they’ll simply exit your site and move on to the next one in the SERPs instead of wasting time waiting for your site to finish loading. Keeping things simple and neat also brings attention to the more important thing: the content of your blog.
They have creative, news-worthy posts
Think of viewers as consumers too; everyone likes fresh goods.Image source
Being creative with your content doesn’t only please your readers and subscribers; it will also encourage other sites and blogs to link to your articles even without your prompting them to do so. Try to incorporate popular people, current events, and the like into your niche as well.
These are the types of content that usually become viral or even featured in news sites. Fresh content is also appealing to link builders, advertisers, and other bloggers who are looking for external references for their own blog posts. It can definitely help with your organic SEO.
They post updates and new posts regularly
You’ve read about how it is okay to update a blog at least once a month. While this is indeed acceptable for blogs that have already taken off, the same can’t be said for blogs that are still starting out. New blog posts will not only give your readers new things to look forward to each week (which basically translates to traffic, another important ranking signal), but they will also help keep your blog in the search engines’ radar.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Publish interesting, well-written and well-researched articles, for your credibility’s sake and to appease the Panda. Carefully choose keywords that you can rank in and make excellent content revolving those keywords.
They actually follow webmaster guidelines and rules
What’s great about bloggers is that most of them actually don’t do SEO. They just work on their blog and then promote it to their friends and other people via social media networks. Their simple methods of blog promotion actually prevent them from committing serious SEO violations that are penalized by search engines.
No more bunnies. Nowadays, the only animal you’ll be able to pull out of black hats will be the angry Penguin. Stick with the white hats.Image source
Black hat SEO is like a collection of magic tricks: impressive, inspires jealousy, and often temporary. This is a collection of SEO strategies that is basically considered by search engines as cheating. Their goal is to manipulate the page rank of websites. These strategies may indeed give you the results you want to achieve, but it is unlikely that these effects will last in the long run. Search engines are now more intelligent and improve from day to day. Google, for one,is constantly upgrading and updating its algorithm to ensure that its users are getting the best results. Updates like Penguin and Panda were rolled out to weed out the black hat practitioners who can’t seem to achieve success in an equal playing field.
These five tips are just the top of the iceberg, so to speak. Blogging is not just a recreation or occupation; it is also a lifetime study. Consumer behavior, after all, is mercurial—just like search engine algorithms. The secret to blogging success is to earn the loyalty and approval of humans and the bots, respectively.