Everyone is always asking me about SEO on my blog and how I do it. These tips start to step outside your everyday SEO that lends to the more technical SEO expert. Use the tips below to SEO your Blog Now!
#1- Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)
If you’re someone who can produce graphics, take photos, illustrate or even just create funny doodles in MS Paint, you should leverage that talent on your blog. By uploading and hosting images (or using a third-party service like Flickr to embed your images with licensing requirements on that site), you create another traffic source for yourself via Image Search, and often massively improve the engagement and enjoyment of your visitors.
It’s pretty easy and anyone can do it. A great example of a company that’s out of the box thinking is Wasp Barcode. Below is an infographic that they put together for their business.
#2 – Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts
Not surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually typing into a search engine. It’s hard to know what these words will be unless you do some research, and luckily, there’s a free tool from Google to help called the AdWords Keyword Tool.
When you choose “exact match” AdWords will show you only the quantity of searches estimated for that precise phrase. If you use broad match, they’ll include any search phrases that use related/similar words in a pattern they think could have overlap with your keyword intent (which can get pretty darn broad). “Phrase match” will give you only those phrases that include the word or words in your search – still fairly wide-ranging, but between “exact” and “broad.”
When you’re writing a blog post, keyword research is best utilized for the title and headline of the post. For example, if I wanted to write a post here on Moz about how to generate good ideas for bloggers, I might craft something that uses the phrase “blog post ideas” or “blogging ideas” near the front of my title and headline, as in “Blog Post Ideas for When You’re Truly Stuck,” or “Blogging Ideas that Will Help You Clear Writer’s Block.”
Optimizing a post to target a specific keyword isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. 80% of the value comes from merely using the phrase effectively in the title of the blog post, and writing high quality content about the subject.
#3 – Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of Others
The web was not made for static, text-only content! Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context and in a way that’s not manipulative (watch out for over-optimizing by linking to a category, post or page every time a phrase is used – this is almost certainly discounted by search engines and looks terrible to those who want to read your posts), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.
Perhaps even more valuable is referencing the content of others. The biblical expression “give and ye shall receive,” perfectly applies on the web. Other site owners will often receive Google Alerts or look through their incoming referrers (as I showed above in tip #5) to see who’s talking about them and what they’re saying. Linking out is a direct line to earning links, social mentions, friendly emails and new relationships with those you reference. In its early days, this tactic was one of the best ways we earned recognition and traffic with the SEOmoz blog and the power continues to this day.
#4 – Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon
The major social networking sites aren’t alone in their power to send traffic to a blog. Social community sites like Reddit (which now receives more than 2 billion! with a “B”! views each month), StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Care2 (for nonprofits and causes), GoodReads (books), Ravelry (knitting), Newsvine (news/politics) and many, many more (Wikipedia maintains a decent, though not comprehensive list here).
Each of these sites have different rules, formats and ways of participating and sharing content. As with participation in blog or forum communities described above in tactic #2, you need to add value to these communities to see value back. Simply drive-by spamming or leaving your link won’t get you very far, and could even cause a backlash. Instead, learn the ropes, engage authentically and you’ll find that fans, links and traffic can develop.
These communities are also excellent sources of inspiration for posts on your blog. By observing what performs well and earns recognition, you can tailor your content to meet those guidelines and reap the rewards in visits and awareness. My top recommendation for most bloggers is to at least check whether there’s an appropriate subreddit in which you should be participating. Subreddits and their search function can help with that.
#5 – Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)
When you’re first starting out, it can be tough to convince other bloggers to allow you to post on their sites OR have an audience large enough to inspire others to want to contribute to your site. This is when friends and professional connections are critical. When you don’t have a compelling marketing message, leverage your relationships – find the folks who know you, like you and trust you and ask those who have blog to let you take a shot at authoring something, then ask them to return the favor.
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who’ve never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings (diverse, external links are a key part of how search engines rank sites and pages). Several recommendations for those who engage in guest blogging:
- Find sites that have a relevant audience – it sucks to pour your time into writing a post, only to see it fizzle because the readers weren’t interested. Spend a bit more time researching the posts that succeed on your target site, the makeup of the audience, what types of comments they leave and you’ll earn a much higher return with each post.
- Don’t be discouraged if you ask and get a “no” or a “no response.” As your profile grows in your niche, you’ll have more opportunities, requests and an easier time getting a “yes,” so don’t take early rejections too hard and watch out – in many marketing practices, persistence pays, but pestering a blogger to write for them is not one of these (and may get your email address permanently banned from their inbox).
- When pitching your guest post make it as easy as possible for the other party. When requesting to post, have a phenomenal piece of writing all set to publish that’s never been shared before and give them the ability to read it. These requests get far more “yes” replies than asking for the chance to write with no evidence of what you’ll contribute. At the very least, make an outline and write a title + snippet.
- Likewise, when requesting a contribution, especially from someone with a significant industry profile, asking for a very specific piece of writing is much easier than getting them to write an entire piece from scratch of their own design. You should also present statistics that highlight the value of posting on your site – traffic data, social followers, RSS subscribers, etc. can all be very persuasive to a skeptical writer.
A great tool for frequent guest bloggers is Ann Smarty’s MyBlogGuest, which offers the ability to connect writers with those seeking guest contributions (and the reverse).
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are also great places to find guest blogging opportunities. In particular, check out the profiles of those you’re connected with to see if they run blogs of their own that might be a good fit. Google’s Blog Search function and Google Reader’s Search are also solid tools for discovery.
#6 – Incorporate Great Design Into Your Site
The power of beautiful, usable, professional design can’t be overstated. When readers look at a blog, the first thing they judge is how it “feels” from a design and UX perspective. Sites that use default templates or have horrifying, 1990’s design will receive less trust, a lower time-on-page, fewer pages per visit and a lower likelihood of being shared. Those that feature stunning design that clearly indicates quality work will experience the reverse – and reap amazing benefits.
#7 – Interact on Other Blogs’ Comments
As bloggers, we see a lot of comments. Many are spam, only a few add real value, and even fewer are truly fascinating and remarkable. If you can be in this final category consistently, in ways that make a blogger sit up and think “man, I wish that person commented here more often!” you can achieve great things for your own site’s visibility through participation in the comments of other blogs.
Do be conscious of the name you use when commenting and the URL(s) you point back to. Consistency matters, particularly on naming, and linking to internal pages or using a name that’s clearly made for keyword-spamming rather than true conversation will kill your efforts before they begin.
How Most People Think Blogging Is and How it REALLY Is
I love my gig. Right now, I blog from beautiful NYC. Quick 9 day trip to Manhattan. Can you imagine how fun and freeing this life is? Circling the globe, seeing places like Fiji, Bali and Thailand, experiencing these spots for years at a time? Amazing journey indeed. I feel appreciative of this fun, freeing life. I also know how most people think my life goes; write a few words, tap a publish button, make money, soar off to Fiji for 4 months. Most human beings cling to a terribly flawed aspect of their personality; ego. Ego sees free people and assumes, to preserve itself, how freedom must be an easy, comfortable journey for other people to take, because ego KNOWS freedom has not been an easy, comfortable objective, for ego.
Most human beings vibe from a dominant energy of fear so most human beings see illusions, appearances, NOT reality, a magic trick, something not REALLY happening. Most humans see me living in Thailand for months and see the illusion of me spending 2 hours to publish a post, seeing me making money, then, flying to Thailand. What fear-filled folks cannot see is the truth of this: me blogging for 5,000 hours – or more – through ups and downs, highs and lows, love and fear, peace and terror, and an even wider range of emotions….to live a life of blogging in Thailand for months at a time. The truth, the reality, of how blogging really is: blog for thousands of hours, make little or no money, then, after blogging for thousands of hours from a generous, calm, trusting, abundant vibe, feeling deep fears here and there along the way, the money flows in freely and you get to circle the globe whenever you want to circle the globe.
Take a look at this picture of me in Lyttelton, New Zealand:
Most people see an illusion: “Ryan is SO lucky! He gets to spend 2 months in New Zealand! I wish I had his life!”
The few human beings on earth who see the truth see this: “That guy lives an amazing life, being in New Zealand for 2 months, because he blogged for 10,000 hours, often times, when things did not appear to be coming together, outlook, appearing bleak.”
Truth seers are rare birds, folks. Why do you think I spend 3 or more hours daily meditating, doing yoga and exercising? I stabilize my vibe, uncover and purge illusory-producing fears and see the truth, more often than not. You need to see the truth to taste freeing, sweet blogging success. Can you taste my life? Imagine how it’d feel to live in NYC for a week? Imagine how it’d feel to live in Bali for 6 months? Fun, eh? Freeing, right? Of course you’d feel free, circling the globe, changing time zones like people change their minds. But to live this fun, freeing life, you have to live the truth of blogging for hundreds to thousands of generous, trusting hours, before you live the life, and, before you experience this level of fun and freedom. Most humans mean well but totally get caught up in the illusion, not seeing the truth because they fill their minds with fears, creating the insanity of luck and the delusion of envy, and the crazy, mentally ill, concept that you can live an amazingly fun, freeing life with a few hours, a few weeks or a few months of lazy blogging effort.
Do you want to step up to the blogging big time? Step away from most people. See the truth. This blogging gig takes serious effort and serious time. Most people live in delusion, in an illusion of fear. You know better. You know how blogging REALLY is. Sure blogging feels scary in moments but the ride feels largely fun and freeing when you follow your fun, generously help people and trust in yourself, and, trust in the blogging process. I know you’re up it!
I have this funny skill where I write entire eBooks based on silly analogies. Do you crave increased blogging success? I can help you with these colorful fruit bat analogies. Buy my eBook here:
Smash the Twitter and Facebook buttons to share this post, guys. Let’s spread the word to help more bloggers know the truth about blogging.
Face Newbie Blogger Fears Early to Accelerate Your Success
Do you genuinely want to hit the ground running with your blog? Face newbie blogger fears early. Do not mess around. Do not play around. Never be anchored down by doubt. Face fears, feel fears and you will feel so good, and free, and ready to succeed through your new blog because fear cannot hold you back if you face it, feel it, release it and proceed.
Life as a solopreneur feels fun, freeing and highly challenging because you do not possess the resources of more established entrepreneurs or people working for a company. The #1 tool in your new blogger arsenal is a willingness to face, feel and release deep fears related to being a newbie. Do this; be golden. Fun, freedom and expansive success awaits you because your generosity, creativity and willingness to connect just accelerates your blogging success…yes…even as a new blogger. How cool, right? No new blogger needs to struggle, fail and quit before giving themselves a chance, because fear is the only thing standing between you and what you need to do, to succeed. For example, I routinely tell new bloggers to buy courses or eBooks for due diligence material. More importantly, I tell them NOT to rely solely on questions and answers through Quora for their due diligence campaign because free platforms pale in comparison to trusted, premium resources from the top bloggers, in terms of research materials.
What can you do to accelerate your new blogger success fast? Nudge into the fear of spending money on training resources, feel the fear, release the fear and buy the course and/or eBook. Doing this, you begin taking the course and/or reading the eBook, putting your new knowledge into action, succeeding more quickly. Meanwhile, most new bloggers who refuse to face their fears keep asking questions on Quora, relying on strangers, possibly skilled but usually unskilled bloggers to supply them with non-vetted answers for critical blogging research. How in the heck can you rely on this most crucial of information if you have no idea who offers the answers? Can you see why this method is totally unreliable, for getting your blogging research? A few skilled bloggers offer some keen insight but step out of the fear-vibe into the abundant, successful vibe by investing money in a top blogging education.
If you can either pay for a Harvard education or ask some stranger on the street for their free advice, what seems to be the more intelligent decision? Invest money in expert advice? Or save money to get advice from some stranger on the street who may or may not know what they are talking about? Can you see why so many new bloggers struggle, fearing to invest money in the best blogging advice, choosing to get free, unreliable blogging advice from the general blogging public?
Pay up to play up. Invest money in your blogging education to move higher in blogging circles. Be a fear-diver; keep nudging into fears to better understand how to succeed, feeling and releasing these confining, restricting forms of bondage. Face newbie blogger fears early and often to remove the shackles that hold you down. Doesn’t it feel better to dive into fears routinely so you can accelerate your blogging success, even as a newbie?
How to Promote Yourself without Bragging and Repelling Readers
You do know promoting yourself freely constitutes one pillar of blogging success, right guys? Bloggers need to be clear, confident and relaxed enough with self to appeal to us. Who wants to follow someone with low self-esteem? We seek out bright lights, not bloggers slumming around in the blogging sewer, eh? But self-promoting is a fine art for the discerning blogger to master; go too far, bragging your butt off, and your arrogance repels readers. People despise someone who speaks about self all day long because these over-compensating buffoons, deep-down, fear they are not enough. Bad trait in a leader. I figured it’d be easiest to self promote by simply…..self promoting like the dickens.
Example; buy our new course. Yep, Sue-Ann and I plan to make you happy as a blogging pig in slop with our new course. Do you see how I got right to the point? No beating around the bush. I promoted me, and, Sue-Ann, clearly explaining why you need to buy our blogging course….by saying….buy it, and you will be a happy blogger. Promoting yourself through virtually all content you create is the easiest, simplest way to find the happy medium between being a shy guy or shy gal and being an arrogant, boastful, bragging clown. The real secret is to keep promoting self through all the self-conscious, anxious, money-related, appearance-related fears most of us cling to, before we become clear, confident self-promoters.
Put Attention on Your Readers
Do you feel disgusted with wasting time online? Do you want to drink up sweet blogging freedom, using your time online effectively, powerfully and efficiently? Buy my eBook:
Let us rewind for a moment, shall we? Time to review how I promoted myself by putting attention on you, you rocking readers of Blogging Tips Dot Com. I promoted self because I promoted my eBook. I make money every time you buy the eBook. Cool. Feels good to me. But did you notice I asked if YOU felt disgusted, and if YOU wanted to drink up sweet blogging freedom, before I promoted ME? This is one secret to promoting your products and services without looking like a dingbat. I helped you by putting the attention on you, making my self-promotion about you and me. We both win. You access a freeing, fun, valued resources and I access an energy we call “money”. Fair exchange, methinks. I never come off as bragging, being boastful or outright being a cocky jerk because I make it about US. See how thinking about everybody, and bringing folks together, benefits everyone? Cultivate your sense of compassion guys; developing this skill helps you go far in blogging, and, in life.
Be Subtle in Sharing Your Accomplishments
Feel free to share your accomplishments if you feel doing so boosts your credibility. But never be a flat out braggart by speaking about yourself in boastful, self-centered, self-serving tones. Why? Doing so turns off folks because braggarts secretly do NOT believe in themselves, and need that facade of boastfulness to even dream of trying to succeed online. Every braggart is broken. Point blank. Even if you achieved immense worldly success and appear to be happy, the appearance is an illusion, as you do not believe in yourself, and people who do not believe in themselves cannot succeed in leading others. Be subtle in sharing your wins. Be delicate in sharing your feats. Humble yourself. Allow other folks to do the bragging so you promote yourself from a relaxed, chill, attractive energy.
Tap those Twitter and Facebook buttons to spread the word on this important topic of self-promoting. Let’s empower bloggers to taste sweet success by teaching them how to promote themselves the right way, shall we?
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