If your thinking of setting up a blog or already have a blog running, search engine optimisation is something that you're going to have to consider in order to drive regular traffic to your site. Unfortunately, not everyone has a thorough understanding of how SEO works or where to even start going about optimising.
Luckily for you, I am well-versed in the practise of search engine optimisation and am going to share a few quick pointers on where to start with your SEO campaign. The tips that I'm going to give will cater for beginners so I will try to keep things simple...
Deciding Upon Your Target Keywords
Arguably the most important stage of any SEO campaign, deciding upon the keywords that you're going to be targeting should be a very thorough process.
Keywords are broken down into two main areas - short tail keywords and long tail keywords. Short tail consists of more generic, higher competition phrases whilst long tail terms are more specific and generally less competitive. Using keyword analysis tools such as Google Keyword Tool will allow you to find a range of terms that are searched for on a regular basis. The best way to start this is to brainstorm some generic terms that relate to what your blog is about in general, for example, if you own travel blog then you might look at 'travel', 'backpackers' and 'round the world'. You can then elaborate on these generic terms using tools like Ubersuggest.
Ubersuggest allows you to put in broad terms and it will then populate a list of more specific queries related to your base terms, for example, if we input 'travel' into Ubersuggest then it will give us a list of results that contain phrases such as:
- travel and leisure
- travel blogs
- travel schedule
- travel Europe by train
You should have a small number of short tail terms that you target against your main landing pages of your blog, for example, the home page. Then you should get a good long list of long tail phrases that you can use for planning some content around - this is a great strategy for bringing in cumulatively large levels of relevant traffic over time.
Optimising Your Landing Pages
Now that you've settled on a few different keywords to target, it's time to decide upon the landing pages for each keyword and start optimising them. As a general rule, you shouldn't really target more than 2/3 keywords (short-tail) per page so you need to make sure that your most competitive terms are focused around pages that are near the top level of your website (i.e. home page, major category pages, etc).
Make sure that keywords are relevant to the content of the page that you're targeting. One huge factor that the search engines look for is relevancy. There's no point targeting a keyword on a page that bears no relevance to it. Once you've assigned your keywords to the different pages of your site you need to start optimising the page content.
The above graphic is something that I put together a few months ago and shows how you can embed your keyword(s) into your webpages to get the best possible results from your on page optimisation. You can check out the full on-page SEO guide here that goes into much greater detail.
Planning Your Link Building Campaign
Once your page content is fully optimised you need to start thinking about how you're going to get other sites to link to you. This is a huge search engine ranking factor so you need to spend a lot of time looking at this.
The first thing you should look at it trying to get a diverse number of relevant links from related websites. If you run a food blog then you could look at food brand websites, health blogs and restaurants to try and get some links. The more relevant the link is, the more powerful it is. Combine this with a high authority domain and you're on to a winner.
Link building strategies vary from blog to blog but here are a few generic methods toward gaining links for your blog:
- Commenting on other relevant blogs with valuable feedback.
- Guest posting on other websites.
- Running competitions on your blog and getting other sites to place a link to your give-away on their site.
- Creating quality, unique, linkable content that encourages people to link it to as a reference point (for example, a how-to guide).
- Sponsor an event or sponsor a blog itself.
- Speak at an event related to your niche and get a link from the event page.
- Looking at the backlink profile of other blogs related to your own.
- Encourage social sharing of your blogs to get temporary links from social media websites.
- Be active in forums related to your blog and place a link to your site within your profile.
There are tons of other ways to get links back to your blog but most of it all stems from having a good backbone of content. Get your content right and the links will follow. You should also get creative with your link building strategy to try and stay ahead of the competition.
If you've got any great examples of some great link building strategies that you've employed for your blog then let me know in the comments below. I love to hear about creative success stories so get in touch!