This is a follow up article for the How do I Start a Blog and Make Money series that we have been publishing on this blog to help the newbie’s get started with a blog.
Hey there, Richard from richardsalingmarketing here again. So you want to blog and tell the world what you think because you believe you have a lot of value to share. That’s great. I imagine that you may want people to find you in order to read what ya have to say right? There is a lot to having a blog and getting it established. I hope you have tons of time. I don’t even write as much as I should, which is about 20 posts per month.
Through the years, I’ve learned a few things about online marketing and driving traffic. What I do for businesses is a lot different than what I do for my personal blog here. Mainly because of the resources and available time involved to perform indepth SEO. There is more to it than just puting up great content.
Yes it’s important to publish great content that adds value. That is just a very small part of the formula though. There are the backlinks, to and from other sites with domain authority. the syndication to the various social networks to strengthen the social signal which Google likes. There is also the technique of building a PBN (Private Blog Network); which could be considered black hat. Having a network and linking the sites together does not necessarily violate search engine guidelines. It depends on why you’re linking the sites together and if you’re using the links to influence search results (i.e. increasing your pagerank). So here are a couple of things to think about to perform SEO on your blog that are strictly whitehat SEO.
Tag! You’re Not It
Title Tags aren’t required in blogs as much as websites because search engines already crawl the page and see the title of the blog and you’re already ranking for the blog title. So you aren’t helping by having a title tag repeated. You don’t need to rank for it more than once.
Keywords in Meta tags used to be important as search engines had less ways to determine what a site is about. Now that technology is so advanced, search engines have better ways of determining rankings and relevance. I still like to put the keywords in there (for other search engines) and do this by enabling ‘dynamic’ keywords with the All in One SEO pack.
I won’t go into all of the ways that you can build links to your site as there are some great articles out there on the web already, but I will list some of my favorite methods:
- Write Awesome Content – There’s nothing better than writing an article that gets tons of links from relevant bloggers. If you put enough work into your content and regularly engage with other bloggers in the niche, they’re going to link to your posts.
- Guest Posts – I really like links from guest posts as they send traffic, they’re relevant, and you can usually customize the anchor text of the link to be anything you want. If you want to learn more about this method
- Collaborate – Collaborating with other influencers in your niche is not only a great way to connect with more people, but it’s also a good way to get people talking about you. Oftentimes when I have interviewed people, they will link back to the interview from their own site. I also see people doing group projects which involve over 20 people and then end up having them all promote the one resource. If you can get other people involved, they’re going to help you spread the word.
- Link Out – When you link out, people link back. I don’t recommend link exchanges or filling up your blog roll, but if you find something on another site that your audience might enjoy, don’t be afraid to share it. You never know, that big blog might just send their 5-figure audience your way.
Focus On a Keyphrase
Unless you’re really, heavily into branding, it’s a good idea to try to optimize your site around a keyphrase that can send you search traffic. Most blogs end up getting the majority of links to their homepage, so it’s a good idea to try and leverage those links by getting search engine rankings for a relevant phrase.
For me, I’m aiming to rank for the phrase ‘online marketing Scottsdale’. Although it is fairly competitive, it has a decent search volume and it’s relevant to what this site is about: helping small and medium size business get a better a ROI on social media and getting found as well as matching the offline customer experience with the message.
The first thing to do to get found online is to find keywords that have a high search volume as well as being relevant to your site. The Google external keyword tool is a good place to start to see which phrases are popular in your audience. Make sure you select ‘All Countries and Territories’ on the left and then ‘Exact match’ on the right hand side to get accurate results.
However that is NOT the only tool you should be using in order to find the best keyphrases for your WordPress Site. Here are 3 sites that help you find what your competitors are using:
Now use keyword research sites to expand your reach. If you intend on using Google AdWords to drive traffic then these keywords will be divided into your campaigns and adgroups. There are 3 other tools we can use in order to expand lists even further into multiples of cities, states, product names, artist, etc.
Once you have the keyphrases, you can use them in:
- The title tag for your homepage
- The heading of your site
- Your logo
- As anchor text in links from other websites
Just don’t over do it. Google doesn’t like stuffed pages. A good rule of thumb is approximately 20% of the article is filled with keywords you are working to get ranked for. With that, stick around 3-4 keywords so they have more weight and relevance in relating to a search query.
Index My Site With a SiteMap
If you are running a new site or one with only a handful backlinks pointing towards it, a sitemap can make a big difference in enabling Google to discover and index all of the relevant pages on your website.
In simple terms, a sitemap is simply a specifically formatted list of the pages on your site that you would like to be indexed by the search engines. You could create one manually if you like carrying out jobs that can be automated with ease. Otherwise I have a couple of suggestions:
Google XML Sitemaps: with over ten million downloads and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5, you can rest assured that this free plugin gets the job done.
WordPress SEO by Yoast: this free plugin has a number of SEO-related functions, one of which is an XML sitemap generator.
The process of building an updating a sitemap is almost entirely automated. You set a few options as you see fit then let the plugin do the rest. Google says that “[most] webmasters will benefit from sitemap submission, and in no case will you be penalized for it.” With that in mind, why wouldn’t you create a sitemap for your WordPress website?
That should be enough for now to get ya started. I’d love to read your thoughts on this.