Once you have started a blog to serve as your online home base, you’ll need to help encourage people to visit. Over time, you’ll build links to your blog from other places you visit online such as Facebook and Twitter, and hopefully your network will link to you over time as well. To supplement this natural linking behavior, you’ll want to encourage search engines to bring people to your site for your most important topics. The way you can do this is through search engine optimization (SEO).
The first thing to recognize is that the rules of SEO are constantly changing. Google and other engines are endlessly refining their algorithms for the purpose of driving users to the highest quality content. This is why SEO is a supplement to the activity you’ll generate naturally by creating a quality blog.
There are several key things to consider:
If using WordPress, you can find plugins that coach you through optimizing your posts. I use WordPress SEO by Yoast. The objective is to build posts (and landing pages–an advanced topic) around specific phrases that people are searching for, and for which your content is relevant. Yoast’s plugin walks you through putting the keyword around which your post is written in the right places, the appropriate number of times. It also encourages readability and other metrics that will expedite Google rankings.
One way to find words that people are already searching for is Google’s Adwords Tool. When you search for your topic, you’ll be provided a list of many similar phrases and the number of times people search for them per month. Don’t write a post and target words no-one ever searches for — find what people want to know, and write about that. The Adwords Tool alone is worthy of a future post to reach mastery, but as you start building your blog it pays to start getting familiar with this valuable resource.
Google search rankings take into account how much time people spend on your site once landing there. For any given keyword, if everyone who clicks to your site immediately leaves the site, it’s an indication to Google that you aren’t providing relevant content for that word. You won’t go up in the rankings for that word. But for others, you might.
There are things you can do to encourage people to stay–for example, landing pages. Landing pages are often displayed in a menu at the top of your blog, serve as an introduction to a topic, and then provide links to more detailed posts about that topic. This blog has three. Landing pages encourage people to browse around.
Another tactic to encourage visitors to explore is by displaying top posts in the sidebar. This guides readers interested in your subject matter to explore your most popular content, which is likely to be worth reading if others find it worthy.
Your site will encourage visitors to browse if you write around a single core idea, and you write passionately about it. People landing on your site who are interested in the topic will be encouraged to read more of what you have to offer.
These are tactics I’ve found helpful in improving my site’s rankings in search engines. What other tactics should be considered? Comment below!
TL;DR: Write quality content about topics your audience wants to read.
Image from Stock Xchng.