Blogs live or die based on traffic. If no one visits your blog, you will quickly get discouraged and you will not reap the rewards you sought. Search engine optimization (SEO) can turn that around by attracting searchers who find your blog at the top of the search engine results page. These tips will help you optimize your blog for the search engines.
1. Keyword Research
At the heart of your SEO strategy are the keywords you choose and for which you wish to rank high. Whether paid or free, your keyword research should precede even the choice of a domain name for your blog. Make sure you target words searchers actually use when they are looking for your information or products.
2. Domain Name
Once you have selected keywords, you should choose a .com domain name that contains your keywords. For a writer named Jane Doe who has chosen “freelance blogger” as her target keyword phrase, freelancebloggerjane.com is a better choice than janedoeblogging.com.
3. Titles and Tags
If you are running a self-hosted WordPress blog, you should add an SEO plugin or purchase a theme that makes it easy for you to label your titles and descriptions with the proper HTML tags so Google and other search engines will interpret them correctly. Once you have this in place, be sure to use your keywords in your titles and headings so they are noticed by the search engines.
4. Good Content
All the keywords and tagging won’t mean a thing if you are not providing good content for the reader. The search engines monitor the behavior of searchers after they visit your site to see whether they seem satisfied with the answers they found on your site. You can visit forums and monitor Twitter to see what questions searchers are asking in your niche, and then fill your site with good answers that searchers will be glad they found.
Google also evaluates your blog based on the number of inbound links you have and the quality of those links. If your blog has good information, you will be better able to get those inbound links. Visiting other blogs in your niche and commenting will help you build relationships that lead to organic inbound links. You can also explore guest blogging situations where you write a post for someone else’s blog and they let you link back to your blog in the post.
6. Rinse and Repeat
You should be revisiting your keyword research with each new post so you are aware of changes in searcher behavior. Each post can be optimized to a related keyword and then you can use that keyword for the post’s title and headings. Using keywords, good content, and your new relationships with other bloggers, you will create cycle that continues to increase your visibility in the search engines.
Over time, a consistent strategy of adding useful content that is optimized for the keywords that searchers are using should lead to steady traffic and inbound links.