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Optimizing a Blog to Rank in Google

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Over time, Google has created a series of algorithms that ultimately scan or “crawl” a website to determine where and how it should be ranked within its search results. These algorithms analyze nearly every corner of a website including the keywords used throughout the site and even small bits of coding within the website that would go unnoticed to the untrained eye.

In the blogging world, it is important to employ search engine optimization (SEO) tactics throughout the blog to ensure that Google is pleased with the information it is analyzing, or else the entire blogging campaign can be hindered by one of Google’s many search engine penalties. Unfortunately, these penalties can be difficult to bounce back from.

With this in mind, it is vital to stay up-to-date with Google’s algorithm updates to be sure the blogging efforts that are being exerted will yield a positive pay-off for the website as a whole. Now, there are a vast amount of SEO practices that can be incorporated into a blog, but there are few that are known as “best practices” that will help get you started on the right foot. Let’s talk about these 5 tips to help optimize a blog to rank in Google’s search results.

Finding the Right Niche for Your Blog

Identify a Niche

What is the blog about? Before a blogging campaign even starts, it is important to discover what topic the blog is going to focus on. Although it seems obvious, this problem has been witnessed all too often. A blog will start producing content with little-to-no sense of direction; ultimately causing it to fail when it comes to ranking.

Identifying a niche can be a bit of a task. Whether or not the blog is a personal blog or a business blog, it is vital to uncover the ideal audience of the blog. Doing this will allow you to design content around keywords within the niche, causing Google’s algorithm to be able to identify what topics the blog should be ranking for.

Provide Answers

There are many errors within the blogging world, but a commonly-witnessed error is when a blogger is “writing for themselves”. In other words, providing little to no actual help to the community. Sure, any blogger can create a mountain of content, but a good blogger will know how to provide answers to issues within the niche. Resolving niche issues by providing high quality-answers with a blog’s content can be an enormous ranking factor in Google’s eyes.

To put this in perspective, I’ll use an example. Let’s say an individual needs help changing a flat tire on their car. This person will more than likely perform a Google search similar to “how to change a tire”. When doing this Google presents the searcher with a plethora of results providing an answer to this question.

This is why it is important to be aware of unsolved issues within the blog’s niche, and provide answers to these questions using the blogs content. Google will pick up on this, and if the information being provided is good, then Google will consider ranking the blog post as a viable answer to the question.

Use Headers

Headers play an enormous role in both ranking factors and user friendliness of a blog. Yet, this study by Appnovation shows that there are quite a bit of missed opportunities when it comes to headers. In terms of user friendliness, headings will grant a much more visually appealing and readable experience for a user – which is good. Nobody wants to be given an unorganized block of text when looking for information.

In terms of ranking, the use of headers can be a huge win for a blog. Headers, also known as “H tags”, act as a guide for Google’s algorithm when it is attempting to understand what a page is about. Optimizing a blog’s header tags around a blog’s targeted keywords can greatly increase the chances of the specific page ranking for these keywords.

SEO

Ensure the Theme is SEO Friendly

There are a number of website builders across the web. Most of these will provide templates for the theme, or overall appearance, of the website. These themes can be very visually appealing, but often times they are not optimized in terms of SEO, which can cripple a website’s ability to rank in Google. You can also find a listing of the most recommended site builders here.

Now, performing an SEO audit to ensure a website’s SEO friendliness includes a seemingly endless number of tasks, but it needs to be done in order to ensure a blog is fully optimized to rank in Google. To get started it is important to be sure that the site can be accessed (easy to navigate & loads quickly), able to be indexed (Google can see it), and optimized (URL structure, sitemap, and header tags). This is just the tip of the iceberg, however Moz has put together a helpful guide that is worth checking out when you are ready to perform an onsite SEO audit.

Acquire Links

Getting other sites to link to a blog’s content has been shown to influence how Google decides to rank a website. This step is incredibly important to a blog’s ranking success, but it must be addressed in an educated fashion. Simply acquiring links from any random website will end up hurting a website more than helping it.

With this in mind, a link serves as a direct reference to the blog. Therefore, it is important that the link makes sense to both Google and the users. A good guideline to follow is to ask, “Does this link add actual value to this page?” If yes, then attempting to get a link from that page is a great idea. However, if the answer is no, then it’s probably best to avoid getting that link. Of course, there is much more that goes into building links, but if you want to learn more, here is a good place to start.

In sum, there is a lot that goes into optimizing a blog to rank in Google’s search results, but with a good understanding of what it takes, it is possible to set a blog up on the path to (ranking) success. Thank you for reading! Let’s continue the conversation in the comments or on Twitter!

My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

Blogging

3 Actionable Tips for Bloggers to Reduce Email Bounce Rates

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List building is one of the things you hear and read about everyday in blogging and content marketing. Email marketing in itself is a whole lot of work put together. Many successful bloggers have succeeded to build a large list for their businesses and that works with a lot of attraction.

Well, the size of your email list isn’t always a point. The quality and relevance are the most important factors. These go a long way to affect your bounce rate which is a corner stone in email marketing. We will be talking about this a bit below but let me quickly brush out a few reasons to start building a list for your blog if that’s not being done now.

Why you need an email list for your blog

Many bloggers blog for different reasons. However, there are things we all need to succeed. These include a growing and engaging community and targeted traffic that converts.

Once someone visits your blog for the first time, you have the chance to convert that first timer reader into a repeat visitor. One of the most effective ways to do this is to capture him into your list.

Your email list basically is an ever-green source of targeted traffic. You can always turn to it and be sure to increase your page views.

Many of my faithful customers are found on my list. This makes it an interesting source of passive  income. Your email list is a huge part of your marketplace that can be tapped into any time of the day.

Whether you are blogging to make money or just for the fun of it, if you care about keeping your readers and reaching out to them at will, start building your list right this moment.

I must build an email list

Email Bounces can really hurt your email marketing

An email bounce occurs when your message is returned to you the sender because it cannot be delivered. Note that messages being caught into SPAM is completely a different thing. This has to do with your Inbox Placement Rate. Though Email Deliverability rate is a big game that should be treated apart, we want to deal with messages that are rejected by the destination email server.

Now, this has an impact on your sending reputation. The higher the reputation score, the more likely  ISPs (Internet Server Providers) will deliver your emails to the inboxes of recipients.

The more your email bounce rate, the lower your reputation and the more the chances of your sender ID getting blacklisted.

Recommended: 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts for Bloggers

But What causes Email Bounces

A bounce will take place for the single reason that the destination server rejects the message. What are some of the reasons for this rejection?

1 – The destination email address doesn’t exist

This is one of the most common reasons for high email bounce rates. You send a message to an address that either doesn’t exist on the server or the domain name is not found. This generally is referred to a Hard Bounce, when an email is permanently bounced back to the sender because the email address is invalid or not found.

Why does an email hard bounce happen?

  • There is a spelling error in the address: contatc@domainname.com instead of contact@domainname.com
  • The email submitted to your list is completely never created – junk email
  • The contact address was completely deleted by the administrator for some internal reasons.
  • The domain name does not exist (maybe it’s expired, error in spelling, parked, etc)

2 – The destination email address is valid but something isn’t right

A Soft, temporal Bounce will take place in this case. The destination address is valid but the server returns the message to sender for a couple of reasons:

  • User has reached the email quota limit. Simply put, the inbox is full
  • Email too large for recipient’s inbox
  • Server was temporally down when message hit

Given that soft bounces are temporal, you may not need to worry so much about this. Their impact on your marketing may not be as harsh.

However, Hard Bounces should be taken with a serious attention. Continuous bounces are a bad signal and the email marketing systems are smart enough to figure this out.

3 tips to Reduce your email bounce rate and boost conversion

Ok now you know what email bounce rate is and why you should start building your own list. These are some quick tips to reduce your bounce rate and improve your marketing experience:

1 – Make sure only on valid addresses are submitted to your list

In my opinion, this is something that’s quite easy to handle. First, allow your readers submit their contacts by themselves through a lead capture form.

Use the double opt-in facility provided by many email marketing tools. This will make sure that the contact submitted by the reader is valid. An invalid address will never find its way through the double opt-in validation wall.

The way this works is very simple…

When the reader submits the email to your list, your tool will place it in an inactive mode. At the same time, a validity tracking link is messaged to the address. If this link is clicked within the activation period, that will simply mean the address is able to receive mails, making it valid.

Not using the double opt-in checking method is simply allowing readers to submit junk emails to your list. Looking the negative effects of bounces, this isn’t something I think you’d be comfortable with.

2 – Constantly clean up your list

While the double opt-in validation method makes sure you only allow valid addresses on your list, there are chances that some of these addresses get dropped of with time. You must therefore be able to clean up and get rid of these invalid subscribers.

There are two ways to do it:

1 – Manually filter out and delete contacts that have not opened your campaign during a specific period. Generally, I do remove contacts that have been ideal for half a year.

2 – Use a tool that will scan through your list and check for invalid addresses. I personally use Norbert’s email verification tool for my 5k list on MailerLite.

3 – Avoid using Email Extractors

A quick way to hurt your blog’s email list is to use an email scraper. First, harvesting emails in this way is illegal in many countries. You don’t have the consent of the owners to mail them.

This will bring another set of problems:

  1. High unsubscription rate
  2. Your campaigns will be marked as spam by many of these illegally gotten subscribers.

These two actions will trigger red flags and place you at a permanently suspicious position with many marketing platforms.

Conclusion

I hope these three tips are helpful as you strive to build a profitable email list for your blog. Drop a comment and let me know what you think about.

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How Can You Write Content Like a Pro?

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Write your butt off. This is the way to write content for your blog like a pro. No simpler or more direct way exists for writing content like a professional blogger because writing practice is the way to writing like a pro. Of course, most bloggers only write when publishing posts so get little practice and write like amateur bloggers.

I wrote and continue to write millions of words between my blog posts, guest posts, e-books and in the past, through my blogging writing practice. Open up a Word document. Write. Write 500 to 1000 words daily. Close the document. Trash the document. Simply writing regularly makes you write like a pro because your confidence and clarity mushrooms quickly with writing practice. Do not be like bloggers who only write for publishing posts. This crowd gets little practice and never becomes pro bloggers because they do not practice their prime skill, writing, enough. Imagine if LeBron James only shot baskets and dribbled during official games? He never would have made the NBA. He practiced for tens of thousands of hours in private, with nobody looking, in a gym by himself, to become the top pro basketball player who shines in a public, pro setting.

Practice in private. Shine in public. That is the way it goes with any skill in life. Writing like a pro blogger also requires you to carefully observe professional bloggers for their pro writing cues. Do you notice how these folks seem to write in crisp, clear fashion? Emulate these professionals by following their lead and you too will give off a more professional, serious, clear energy. Start with reading posters on this blog. Every blogger is a professional or on their way to being a professional blogger. Study how these pros and aspiring pro use formatting and other tools to allow their blog posts to flow freely. Exposing yourself to professional bloggers simply gives you an example to emulate. Plus, following professional advice allows you to be yourself, giving you permission to write in your one of a kind voice on your way to being a pro blogger.

In my eBook:

How to Find Your Writing Voice

I give you permission to be a brilliant writer by simply writing how YOU write. This writer is unlike any writer who ever lived because we all have unique stories and styles to share with the world. The tone of this eBook is one reason why it spent a spell being the top-rated eBook for its category on all of Amazon. Writing like a pro is mainly a practice thing leading to a confidence thing.The more you practice writing, the more confident you become writing-wise. This process is quite simple but at times, highly uncomfortable to put into action. Keep writing. Keep churning out helpful content.

My neck feels incredibly stiff now but I know it is writing time so I write and will take a nice little break after getting the job done. Write, write and write some more. Gain the confidence and clarity to know you are writing like a pro blogger, even well before you become a pro through your blogging efforts.

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Can You Make Tons of Money Blogging?

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Yes.

Just spend the next 10 to 15 years of your life everyday generously helping people and building bonds with both your readers and fellow successful bloggers. If you are prepared to do that then you will make tons of money blogging. I just do not know what amount of money you mean by tons of money. Do you mean hundreds of thousands of dollars? Do you mean millions of dollars? Do you mean tens of millions of dollars?

Only you know the specific answer to that question but independent of the amount, anything ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars requires thousands upon thousands of hours of generous service before oodles of money flow to you. Think 10000 to 20000 to 30000 hours of creating content, building friendships by generously helping top bloggers, and opening multiple streams of income before you begin seeing large sums of money flow to you freely, easily and frequently. Most bloggers who ask this question do so from an energy of scarcity and poverty. Most bloggers only want to make huge sums of money because they have $0 now or $15 now and they have hundreds to thousands of dollars of bills piling up. 99.9% of the time, these bloggers dive into blogging being dominated by fear so they act from a scared energy and do stupid stuff that guarantees their online failure. Forget making millions of dollars. This crowd makes $0 or maybe a few cents or ten bucks doing really unintelligent things because people terrified of losing all of their money do stupid things that lead to failure. Being desperate leads to being a dingbat.

People who blog from an abundant, loving, confident and trusting energy generously create content and build connections over years of their lives, spending 10000 to 20000 hours or more doing these things until huge sums of money flow to them. I have seen a handful of 7-figure earners explain how they blogged for 15 years before the huge sums of money, like $30,000 in a day, flew to them freely. Massive wealth takes time to accumulate because the amount of creating and connecting you need to do to accumulate massive wealth requires tens of thousands of hours of helping people to increase both your skills and exposure to the point of making millions and millions of dollars. This basic law of wealth rings true for all entrepreneurs. Jeff Bezos is worth 180 billion dollars now as the owner and founder of Amazon.com but he made very little when working out of his garage on a cafeteria table. He could not make tons of money through his venture until he generously created, connected, scaled and put in an amazing number of hours to build up his iconic empire.

Do not be intimidated by the amount of work, time and energy you will need to put into blogging to earn a significant income. Why would you care if you plan to be here anyway 5, 10 and 15 years down the road? Do you want to waste your life working for somebody else just to get a paycheck or would you rather work for yourself, make a firm impression on humanity, serve a large amount of people and earn a significant amount of money? Think it through before you get intimidated by the amount of generous effort and time you will put into blogging to build something special.

Remember that blogging gives you what you give to blogging. Blogging always serves as the perfect mirror for the attention, energy, effort and time investment you put into this amazing medium.

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