We all know that when you start writing a blog, it can feel a bit like you are talking to yourself. But consider your first blog articles as an investment in the future – as your blog audience grows, your first blogs will start to pick up more and more traffic.
To make your blog a success you need to attract more visitors and get picked up by the search engines. There’s no point just waiting for Google to decide your blog is interesting – you need to proactively promote your content to get noticed. Google will promote articles which have become popular – but it does not generate that popularity and that is where online marketing comes in.
Gaining website traffic is a bit of a Catch22 situation: if no-one knows about your blog, then other websites won’t link to you, so your search engine ranking will not improve, so people will not find you…and it goes on. If you can get your blog articles in front of people, you will start to gain links, which boosts your search engine ranking, which helps more people to find you, who might link to you, which boosts your search engine ranking…
In this guide we are going to take a look at the different aspects of search engine optimization and how you can increase the traffic to your blog.
1. Identify your target audience
You probably already have an idea of who your blog is aimed at, but it can help to get something concrete down in writing. What sort of topics interest them? What concerns them? What questions might they be asking?
This all helps you to put together your blogging editorial calendar – so you can ensure that you are publishing content regularly, which interests your audience.
2. Identify the long-tail of search
The most popular searches are around short and standard phrases, such as ‘baby bath’. The long-tail search terms are the longer, more unusual phrases, which might be searched for less often. However, these long-tail phrases cannot be ignored as they represent the vast majority of searches and they also have the least amount of competition and are easier to rank for! An example would be ‘how do you bath a newborn’.
Google created a brilliant tool to help identify the long-tail: Google Autocomplete. When you start typing in the Google search box, text appears which tries to finish off your phrase. These are phrases that have been searched for previously and help you to identify longer and more unusual keywords that people are interested in. Give it a try!
Put the phrase ‘Quick recipes’ into Google and see what comes up!
Quick recipes for two
Quick recipes for dinner
Quick recipes for kids…
This is all brilliant blog fodder.
3. Write lots of content around these low competition phrases
Once you have identified your long-tail phrases, start to write a large number of articles around them. Google loves fresh, unique content and lots of it so by producing a large number of articles you will be gaining brownie points and increasing your chance of ranking for long-tail phrases.
4. Find out where your audience hangs out on Twitter and Facebook
Social media is a brilliant way to draw attention to your content. Post your articles on Facebook and Twitter and start engaging with your audience. If people like your articles, they might link to them – a great boost to your search engine ranking.
5. Tactics for gaining links to your content
Links are still really important for SEO. Google wants to see how popular an article or website is, and one way it can do this is to identify how many links point into the website. A link is classed as a vote, and the higher the page rank of the website pointing into you, the more the link is worth.
You might gain some links by publicizing your content to the relevant audience, through Facebook, Twitter or by drawing attention to it in forums (make sure it is relevant though!). Guest blogging is another way of getting the message out and trying to raise your profile, as well as gaining links. Form partnerships with fellow bloggers who are targeting a slightly different audience and see how you can help each to reach a wider audience.
Search engine optimization of your blog is a brilliant way to gain traffic and work out the sorts of topics that your readers are interested in. By targeting the searches which are less popular, you are meeting the specific needs of your audience and will find it easier to achieve a good ranking.