Not many bloggers think about SEO when they first start out. It is, and quite rightly so, all about the content. Blogs are outlets for thoughts, feelings, knowledge, and networking. However, if you want to draw people to your blog then you’ll eventually have to think about how they will find it.
1. What should people be typing into Google?
In an ideal situation what would someone be typing into a search engine to find your blog? Once you know this you can work out what sort of keywords and phrases to target in order for your blog to start ranking for each of them.
Once you’ve got a good idea, do a bit of research using Google’s free keyword tool. There could be better words and phrases to target.
2. Keep focusing on content
Don’t let the quality of your content slide when you start focusing on promoting the site. Great articles will keep people on your blog. It also means they are more likely to share your content on their blogs or social networks. Great organic back links like that are invaluable.
3. Comment on other blogs
Although there’s very little SEO benefit to the links you share in comments, it’s still a good idea to comment on other blogs. Most will have nofollow on all links in comments so Google won’t pay any attention to them. However, there’s a chance other bloggers could click your link, see your content and want to share it.
4. Make use of tools
If you use a blogging platform such as WordPress then you’ll have a lot of plugins at your disposal. WordPress SEO by Yoast allows you to input your own meta data and descriptions without having to edit any code. It can also make your permalinks more SEO-friendly.
There are also plugins that can help you to create a site map. These are very important if you want search engines to be able to crawl each of your pages and see how they relate to one another.
5. Get your own domain
Not only does your own domain give you authority but you set yourself apart from the other WordPress and Blogspot blogs. Because these are two of the most popular blogging platforms, there are a lot of spam sites hosted on each. Your own domain gives you credibility and says you are serious about blogging.
Top-level domains are preferred by Google. Search for other blogs in your niche and you’ll probably find that the ones at the top of the search engine results page all have their own domains.
6. Keep things speedy
7. Get your titles right
A cute play on words might look great or elicit a laugh from your readers but Google prefers something more simple. Titles are important to search engines so you should try and include a keyword or phrase in the title of each post you write.
8. Use the alt tag for images
Google can’t see images when it crawls your site. It’s up to you to let the search engines know what’s there, you can do this by inserting a few keywords relating to your picture in the alt tag.
This allows search engines to crawl your website and take in a little bit about the images too. It also allows for people using text or screen readers to understand what images they should be seeing.
9. Link to your own posts
Where appropriate you should link to your previous posts that give more information on a topic. This is great for keeping readers on your site but it’s also great for SEO. You could also consider having links to featured posts on your homepage or in your sidebar.
10. Link to other bloggers
If you link to a great post by a fellow blogger then they’ll be notified either by their blogging platform or their analytics. They will hopefully click through to your blog to read the post that mentions them. You’ll gain a new reader and, fingers crossed, they’ll like your blog enough to return the favour.
You could also agree with other bloggers and relevant websites to swap links. Good quality back links from sites in your niche are worth so much more than links from spammy sites. Don’t jump at every chance to swap links because Google’s Penguin update means it’s looking very closely at who links to you.
11. Offer to write guest posts
If you have knowledge in a particular area then you can offer to guest post on other websites. This is a great way of establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Most blogs will let you leave a link to your site in your article too. Make sure your content is relevant, informative and beautifully written because you’ll want to entice new readers over to your blog.
12. Don’t try too hard
This goes back to point one. Don’t try to be popular, just keep creating good content on a beautiful blog and the readers will come. Give new readers plenty of opportunity to find you but focus on creating a site that will keep them engaged. There’s no point in getting people to your site if you can’t get them to stay.
About The Author
Derryck Strachan runs Big Star Copywriting a leading UK copywriting agency.
We are an SEO copywriter for several large UK and international brands and organisations, but have also helped dozens of start ups and SMEs build their online businesses through content. To find out more about our copywriting services visit our website.