Being a blogger can be really frustrating some times, especially when you’re trying to boost your search engine rankings.
Despite following all the expert SEO advice you still find your blog ranked below your competitors, even though your content is better and offers more value.
Before you start banging your head against the wall, let me solve this for you.
There’s high probability that your blog has a weak “technical SEO” structure.
But don’t worry, it’s not as complex as it sounds.
A strong technical SEO structure ensures that search engine spiders can easily crawl your site and index your content. It’s different from on-page and off-page SEO.
Even if you don’t want to go too deep into technical SEO, you can boost your site’s search engine rankings by making just three basic changes.
Note: I’m assuming that you already have strong on-page and off-page SEO. If not, then technical SEO alone won’t be able to help you rank higher.
1. Increase Your Website’s TTFB
One of Google’s primary objectives is to provide a seamless, accurate and valuable search experience to its users.
Slow websites and blogs are a big hurdle in that objective. Slow loading speed kills user experience and wastes valuable time.
That’s why Google has now made Page Speed a key element in search rankings. You just cannot afford to have a slow website anymore.
According to a Moz, Google doesn’t take into account the complete page load speed while ranking sites. Instead, it focuses on TTBF (Time To First Byte)
TTBF is the amount of time it takes to download the first byte of your webpage. The quicker it is, the better.
So how exactly do you speed up your website?
Well, first of all you need to see where you stand by using Google’s Page Speed tool.
This tool will give you an out of 100 score based on the speed of your website. Anything above 80 is good. But you can improve your speed further by following the recommendations of this tool.
Apart from the website specific recommendations that you’ll get from Google’s Page Speed tool, follow these steps to make sure your blog loads quickly.
– Get rid of any unnecessary and inactive plugins and scripts on your blog. Identify the most useful and necessary plugins and get rid of the rest.
– Use a modern content delivery network (CDN) for your static files and dynamic HTML scripts. Many bloggers use CDNs for their static and HTML files.
But here’s the problem
Most HTML files are marked as dynamic because of which traditional CDNs don’t really know how to deal with them. Because of this, website speeds remain slow despite using a CDN.
So make sure your CDN is actually optimizing the dynamic HTML files as well. This fact is highlighted in this infographic by Incapsula, a modern CDN used by companies like Moz and Newsweek.
– Use a well-known, fast and dependable web hosting service (Zac recommends HostGator which is a great hosting service).
If your web hosting server is slow, your website will always take more time to load no matter what you do. So it’s important to get this step right.
Also make sure that the server uptime for your hosting service is above 95% over 1 month. You can monitor server uptime by using Pingdom. It will send you alerts every time your server goes down.
– Use the WP-Smush plugin to automatically optimize the size of all the images you upload. Also make sure that most of your images are in GIF and JPEG format. These are easier to optimize as compared to PNG and BMP.
2. Use a Mobile Friendly Website Design
One of the major changes to technical SEO this year has been Google’s increased focus on mobile friendly websites. Google rolled out its mobile friendly update this year which ranks sites with a mobile friendly design, higher in search results.
As a blogger, you need to make sure that your website either uses responsive web design or has a separate mobile version.
To check whether your website is mobile friendly or not, you can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test
In my opinion, using a responsive design is much better as compared to having a separate mobile website.
Most of the new WordPress themes are responsive so you should not have a big issue switching to a responsive design.
Another great option is to hire a freelance website designer and convert your existing design to a responsive design. 99Designs is a great place for all such tasks since it allows you to request proposals from thousands of designers from which you can choose the best one at the most optimized price.
Whichever route you take, make sure your blog provides a pleasant user experience to mobile visitors. Failing to do so can impact your search rankings despite having valuable and share worthy content.
3. Strengthen Your Website’s Architecture
One of the oldest, yet extremely important, rules of technical SEO is to make it as easy as possible for Google spiders to index your website.
This can be done by strengthening three key elements of blog’s architecture.
– Add an XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap gives Google spiders the starting point for crawling and indexing your website. It’s not supposed to be shown to your website visitors. For humans, you can create a separate HTML sitemap.
Most bloggers use a single XML sitemap for their blog. However, the better strategy is to create separate sitemaps for each type of content (video, images, articles etc.)
If you have a popular blog, you might need to create multiple XML sitemaps for each content type, since one XML sitemap can have up to 50,000 URLs of 50 MB.
Once you create a sitemap, make sure you submit it to your Google Search Console account (previously Google Webmaster Tools).
Also don’t forget to add a sitemap to Bing.
You also need to add your sitemap location to your robots.txt file. You can find this file in the root folder of your website when you access it from FTP.
Your robots.txt file should contain a section like this listing all your sitemaps.
Here’s a snapshot of Google’s own robots.txt file
– Organize Your Content in Different Categories
Another way to simplify crawling for Google spiders, is by distributing your content into logical categories that are easy to navigate. This not only helps Google spiders, but also improves your blog’s user experience.
For example, here on BloggingTips, the content is divided into different categories like Social Media, Blogging, Email Marketing etc.
- http:// bloggingtips.com/category/email-marketing/
- http:// bloggingtips.com/category/blogging-for-business/
- http:// bloggingtips.com/category/ecommerce/
Each category link has posts related to that category. This allows Google spiders to visit the homepage of your blog, index the category links and then crawl all the content related to that category.
– Eliminate Crawl Errors
Another key architectural change is to make sure that your blog has as few crawl errors as possible. Crawl errors occur when something on a particular page prevents Google from crawling it.
You can find all your crawl errors in Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools)==>Crawl==>Crawl Errors
Check this regularly and eliminate any errors you find (here’s a useful guide for resolving crawl errors).
Technical SEO is a broad topic and there are many other things that I could’ve mentioned in this post. However, I shortlisted the three most important tips that can be easily implemented by most bloggers even if they’re not technical experts.
Have you ever studied technical SEO in detail? What other things do you recommend to your fellow bloggers? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Conquering Blogging Fears Sometimes Involves Shedding Blogging Tears
Build a list. Publish posts frequently. Guest post. Work harder.
I did all that stuff. I still struggled. You did all of it, too. Some of you at least.
But I bet you we were in the same boat years ago. Perhaps you sit in the boat of blogging despair now. You did it all. NOTHING seems to be working. Create value. Make connections. No traffic. No money. I can advise good things take time. Or I can say to be positive and be strong. In truth, being positive, patient and strong all are effective means to conquering your blogging fears.
Shedding tears is the quickest, most direct, simplest way to conquer blogging fears. Every fear is scary because fear frightens you. Crying out fears literally dissolves the fear-fuel; as tears shed, so do fears. Chip away; be present, relax, and allow fears and tears to flow in a quiet room.
Guys; until you face, feel and release fears, you cannot be generous, abundant, patient, persistent and prolific. Why? Fear is an anchor leading to:
- writer’s block
- general apathy
I can advise you to generously help people but if you feel bogged down by fear, you will ignore me because you just want to help yourself. See how far you get blogging-wise helping yourself. Expect to publish a cyber diary. Nobody reads self-centered bloggers but the blogger themselves.
Crying Leads to Shining
Last night I worked through the evening. Sickness mixed with energy surges inspired me to work then to meditate at 3 AM. Fatigue and allowing unearthed sadness in me; I cried uncontrollably for 10 minutes. Guess what? I immediately felt better, peaceful, poised, calm, grateful and generous. Perfect energy for accelerating my blogging success. But not crying out those energies creates a fear-burden sapping my generosity and abundance.
Do Not Be Tough Because Repressed Fear Leads to Endless Struggle
I have seen many struggling bloggers work 18 hour days doing smart stuff but injecting work with fear-strain-force. Guess what? Struggles ensue because you cannot get over what’s still in you. Do not be tough. Do not repress fear because fear will destroy your blogging campaign. Every struggle is fear. Every failure is fear. Feel fear – however unpleasant – to move along the struggle, to be generous, to trust and to succeed.
In my eBook: Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger
I explain thinking, feeling and acting like a pro leads to professional results. How can you think, feel and act like a pro blogger if you fear running out of money? How can you succeed if you deeply fear failure? How can you be a generous, trusting person if you feel terrified to spend time building bonds and creating content?
Fear makes you a blogging fool. Blogging fools spam people, publish thin content and fail forever until they face, embrace and release fears.
Cry it out. Seriously. I felt such a purge last night. I continue to predominantly feel amazing, light and relaxed by feeling whatever emotions arise in my being. Nobody enjoys feeling sad, but in the same vein, you will be completely blind to and fabulously ignorant of good, successful blogging advice if you feel burdened by sadness. Nobody succeeds in a happy, abundant way being saddled by fear and sadness. Let it go. Process your emotions not from logic, but from raw energy.
Once the tears go, then fears go. From that energy you are free to become a highly successful, prospering blogger because you act from an abundant, generous vibe.
Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?
Writing and self-publishing eBooks scares bloggers.
I piddled in my eBook writing pants until 2012. People told me I should write ’em. I looked for every reason in the eBook NOT to write eBooks. Nobody would listen. Nobody would buy. Nobody would care.
Turns out, people listen, buy and care enough to publish 5 star reviews for my eBooks. Look at the featured image for this blog post describing this eBook:
I locked down five, 5 star reviews because I taught my readers how to write successful eBooks fast. But years prior, fear clouded my mind concerning writing eBooks to the point of me refusing to write one. You may be in the same cyber boat; but you better not miss the eBook writing boat. Lucrative profits serve as one part of the picture. Digging deeper, writing eBooks brands you, distancing you from the herd. Plus you feel good writing short reads and gain trust and extra credibility in the eyes of readers.
Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?
Fear is the core reason. Fear of failure, criticism or wasting time sit near the top of eBook-related fears. I did not know how to sit down and write the darn things. Fear arose in my mind; how would I do it? Who would teach me? Could I find the process? Would I need special editors? How could I learn the technical steps for conceiving an idea to shipping the eBook on Amazon? Tech stuff really scared me; I had no idea how to save Word files with different, web-based extensions, let alone creating covers with proper dimensions via Canva to meet Amazon’s diligent standards.
Rather than learn how to do these things I allowed fear to get the better of me, refusing to write eBooks. But during a trip to India I met a reader and friend who begged me to write eBooks for a while. He had been on me for a minute. Meeting in person, he finally convinced me to write and self-publish an eBook on a lesser known digital platform. Later, I went with Amazon, and never looked back.
I had to dive into and nudge through deep fears related to failing and being criticized because I believed nobody would buy what I offered in eBook form. As my friend convinced me, I waded through ideas like wasting my time, getting terrible reviews and promoting my eBook to the tune of zero sales. Did it feel good to embrace these fears? Heck no. But the benefits of self-publishing far outweighed a few unpleasant emotions experienced during these fear-feeling sessions.
Nothing to Lose Everything to Gain
Gain by writing eBooks; if you take experience with you, loss is impossible. Even if you sold not a copy you take valuable writing, marketing and selling experience with you any time you write and launch an eBook. But if you generously help people and make friends, you will sell eBooks and help more people, reflecting gain back to you in physical form.
Digging even deeper, facing and releasing fears associated with criticism and failure benefit you across the board with your blogging campaign. Apply that same fearless nature to other aspects of your blog to boost your blog traffic and profits.
Write and ship.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
1 Tip for Being an Intelligent and Prospering Blogger
possesses an interesting cover for anyone not familiar with my eBooks.
For anyone familiar with my 100 plus eBooks, my cover is par for the course. Every single one of my eBook covers has been personally snapped by me. Images of paradise preserved by yours truly fit my brand, blog and eBook covers perfectly. Blogging From Paradise means retiring to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. Sometimes I visit islands. Sometimes I visit mainland spots. In all cases, my eBooks and courses – as well as my blog – bleed travel images because this approach fits my brand and is unheard of in the blogging tips niche.
I totally respect any blogging tips blogger who posts featured images for their blogs and eBook covers consistent with content titles. Imagine a light bulb and dollar sign for the above eBook cover, for starters. But I went with a photo I snapped in gorgeous Rawai Bay in Phuket, Thailand for my cover image. Why? Nobody else on earth uses their travel photos as eBook covers and featured post images in the blogging tips niche. If nobody else does it and the move completely aligns with my brand message, this is the starting point for being an intelligent and prospering blogger.
Smart and Prospering Means Different
Every successful blogger I follow sticks to basic fundamentals but deviates from the norm in some regards. Different means bigger bucks and smarter prospering because readers notice that different flavor stepping away from normal. Folks enjoy my covers and blog post images, even though the content and eBook title technically have nothing to do with travel images. Guess what? Adding my brand logo aligns the eBook cover with my blog and brand. People clearly see I am about blogging from paradise. Why not add travel images to each eBook cover?
I follow a high number of basic blogging rules; create value, build connections, be generous and have fun. But if you do EVERYTHING just like most bloggers, you get lost in the herd. Nothing makes you stand out if you do not choose to stand out with at least one element of your blogging campaign. I stood out with eye-popping eBook images I snapped myself, in a blogging tips niche. How do you stand out? Ask yourself the question. Be straight with yourself to answer.
Bigger Profits from a Smarter Energy by Being Different
Cindy Crawford kept her mole. Muscle Man Arnold kept his accent. Steve Jobs made computers and peripherals outrageously expensive and designed quite weirdly compared to other computers and peripherals. Guess what? Crawford, Arnold and Jobs are legends who we won’t forget for a long time. Different makes you a serious fortune because people notice folks who stand out in some way, shape or form. This different approach bleeds intelligence; why work your butt off if you look just like the next guy and offer a mimicking service?
But Make Sure You Follow Some Fundamentals
Steve Jobs did not attempt to make computers out of cardboard. Arnold did not try to speak German in Hollywood movies. Cindy Crawford did not try to rewrite the foundations of modeling by wearing a fake beard of photo shoots. All icons followed basic rules for their industries because being too far out in left field usually makes you forgettable, or, impossible to spot. Follow blogging fundamentals to stay in the game but find that one thing that distances you from the herd.
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