Getting Started With SEO For Your Blog
Guest Post by Matt Smith
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of, if not THE best way of driving traffic to a website/blog! Saying that though, there are still many people who don't use it and some who simply don't know what it is. They are therefore missing out on the massive benefits that SEO gives a site when used properly.
In this post, we will be looking at what exactly SEO is and how you can use it to attract more traffic to your website.
What Is SEO & Why Do I Need To Use It?
As stated in the post introduction, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is a term that people use to refer to improving the visibility of a website/blog in the major search engines.
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo are SO vital to a websites success that you need to make sure that they are directing people to your site. Without these massive search engines telling people about your site, you stand no chance whatsoever of attracting people to your site. Think about it, how many times a day do you go on Google to search for something? That's because search engines make it easy to find information, whatever it may be. How would you go about finding that same information without using a search engine? Well the simple answer to that is – “With great difficulty!”
Search engines are like the highways of the internet. If you want to find something, you go to Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Literally billions of web searches are conducted on search engines every day from all over the world. If you are not implementing SEO techniques on your site, then you are missing out on lots of potential traffic!
When people search for your site or related information, you want the search engines to display your website in their search engine results pages (SERPs). If you are not even being shown, then you are at a serious disadvantage to your competitors. But it's not just as simple as being listed, the higher up the SERPs your site is displayed, the more chance there is that people will click on and visit your site. Ideally, you want to be positioned at the top, number one position for every one of your keywords (we'll get to that later), and to do that you need to use SEO techniques.
So simply put, SEO are methods of getting your website pages shown on search engines and getting them ranking as highly as possible on SERPs.
On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO
Search engine optimization may sound complicated, but it's really not! (Trust me, if I can do it, then anyone can!) You just have to learn the basics to get started.
Now, SEO is kind of a general umbrella term that refers to all SEO techniques. These can be split into two simple groups to make things easier. These are; On-Page SEO techniques & Off-Page SEO techniques.
On-Page SEO techniques refer to ALL the methods that you can use to improve your search engine ranking ON your website/blog.
Off-Page SEO techniques refer to ALL the methods that you can use to improve your search engine ranking OFF your website/blog.
So now that you know the difference between the two groups of techniques, what methods do you actually use? Well lets take a look at some of them!
On-Page SEO Techniques
Using Targeted Keywords & Keyphrases
Whenever you use a search engine, you type in something that describes what you are looking for. This can be in the form of a few words (i.e. SEO help) or a sentence (i.e. How do I improve my website SEO?). What the search engine does, is it searches the internet for relevant pages that match the words that you used.
These words are classed as 'keywords' & 'keyphrases'. These are important because they are used to help search engines display relevant content when searched for.
In relation to your own site, you can include keywords & keyphrases into your blog posts, pages, titles, URLs, etc. to help people find your content. That way, if you run a site about surfing in England, by including targeted keywords (i.e. Learn how to surf in England or Surfing holiday in South England, etc.) in your site content, it will help people to find your site via search engines.
It's not as straight forward as adding words & phrases that you think will work, you need to research them! You see, there are tens, if not, hundreds of millions of websites online and they are all competing against each other for attention. This competition includes keywords. For example, there may be more than one site that focuses on surfing in England, there may be hundreds! What ever niche your site focuses on, you are in competition with others who will be using the same keywords.
That's why you need to research which ones you use. I use the 'Google Keyword Tool' to find all mine. This way I can see which keywords & keyphrases are competitive and which aren't. I stand a better chance of ranking highly with uncompetitive words & phrases, because there are less people using them.
Your page & post titles are an important SEO factor on your blog/website. Each of your titles should be unique and include your main targeted keywords & keyphrases for that content.
You may run a site reviewing movies. Each post that you publish would be a review of a different film, so it would be vitally important to include the name of the film in the title so people will be able to find it. This will also help the search engines to find when people want to read about that movie, because you have included the right keywords.
Meta descriptions often seem to get neglected by many people, but they are a good way to improve your SEO. You are allowed to include a 160 character description for each of your webpages. This is another good place to include your keywords and keyphrases, making it easier for search engines to find and identify your content.
Your meta descriptions are also used on SERPs under your site title. This allows viewers to read a little about what the page is about before they click onto it. That's why you shouldn't just cram it with as many keywords as you can, try to make your description easy to read and more importantly make sure it makes sense.
Internal linking is when you place links within your content to other pages on your site. This makes it easier for people to navigate round your website and read your other posts, but it lets search engines crawl your site more effectively.
Google loves sites that use internal linking! It shows that a site has lots of interesting content that they want to share to their readers, instead of a one page website that just focuses on selling a product to you.
You can take it one step further and link to your other posts via targeted keywords. For example,
Another thing that many people overlook is the SEO benefits of images. Many bloggers use images within their posts, but they often forget that they can include keywords & keyphrases within them.
Your images have titles, alt tags and descriptions, so try to include keywords to make it easier for people searching on Google Images.
Off-Page SEO Techniques
Social media is one of the best marketing tools available, and the best part is that it's totally free! You don't just have to talk to close friends and family, social media allows you to connect with new people from around the world. This is great for finding people who have similar interests and are into the same things.
From a website marketing perspective, social media lets you connect with people from around the world who are interested in what your site is about. You can let people know about your latest content by posting a link on your Facebook page, you can Tweet about your new blog post, share your new video on Google+, pin your website images on Pinterest, etc.
Social media helps you to increase your online exposure and build your website brand. But social media also has an impact on your SEO. You see, the more websites that are linking to your posts, the higher they will rank. So not only does tweeting, sharing, pinning, etc. your own content help, but other people can also share it on their own social media sites as well, getting you even more links to your site!
Search Engine Submission
If you have a brand new website or blog, you won't be listed on any of the search engines. This is because it takes time for the search engines to find and crawl your site.
You can speed this process up by submitting your site to Google, Yahoo & Bing, manually. Technically, you don't need to do this as eventually they will find your website, but this takes time! So to save you a lot of stress, submit your site to each search engine and then you know that you will be added to their databases.
You can submit your site by following the instructions over at 'Google Webmaster Tools' & 'Bing Webmaster Tools'. To do this, you will need a 'sitemap' for your website. I'd recommend using the very simple to use 'Google XML Sitemaps' WordPress plugin.
You may have produced your own videos for use on your website. That's great, but you can also submit them to other sites like YouTube & Vimeo, and let people find your content that way. These sites allow you to include links in the video description, so you can place a backlink that points people back to your website.
Another useful tip is to actually display your website name & URL in each of your videos. This way, when people use your video on their own websites their viewers will see the name of your site. This helps to increase your brand awareness online.
You can submit content to article directory sites like; Ezine & Go Articles. This is another excellent way to improve your SEO ranking and drive traffic to your blog! This is because directory sites have high 'Google Pagerank' scores. Having links pointing to your blog from high Pagerank sites helps to improve your own ranking.
Only submit original content to these sites! Directories don't accept duplicate content, which also includes your own articles that you have published on your site.
There are many benefits to guest blogging. Not only does it help to build backlinks to your site from other websites in your niche, but it also helps you to build contacts with other like minded bloggers.
Most blogs accept guest post submissions because it helps to free up time for the blog owner to concentrate on other aspects of their site. You do need to make sure that your guest posts are 100% original and conform to each individuals submission guidelines.
Guest blogging is not easy though! Many people just think they can get away with writing a couple of hundred words talking vaguely about a topic. Most blogs however ( at least the good ones!) will only accept posts that are of a high quality. They want quality information that their readers will value, not to do you a favour by publishing a couple of paragraphs with a link to your site.
Don't get me wrong, bloggers are more than happy to publish your post and links to your site if you can supply them with a good quality post. You just have to work for your reward, nothing is free in this world! More often than not, bloggers may write a guest post for your site in return. This is what helps to build contacts with other bloggers.
Well I hope you found this post useful. These are just some effective ways to improve your website ranking in SERPs using both On-Page SEO & Off-Page SEO techniques, there are many others!
This post was written by Matt Smith from OnlineIncomeTeacher.com
Matt teaches people from the UK about blogging, social media, SEO, driving traffic, writing content and making money online. You can learn more about Off-Page SEO techniques and On-Page SEO techniques on his site.