I have had a lot of emails/comments recently from people who are struggling to attract traffic to their blogs. Getting involved in social media is a great way to attract some immediate traffic but if your chasing high volume search traffic, with SEO techniques, there are some “must’s” you should look to have in place.
Most of this advice is very basic but I still get questions on it, so I’ll keep blogging about it.
Optimised Title Tags
It is absolutely fundamental that your title tag is optimised at least on your home page, however if your looking to attract as much search engine traffic as possible you should optimise title tags for each page.
There are many different preferences when writing title tags, I personally like to target 2 – 3 keywords and maybe include the blog title for branding reasons. A structure that has always worked well for me is;
Keyword 1 – Keyword 2 – Keyword 3 and/or Blog name
Try to use hyphens instead of the underscore and make sure your main keyword is first. How your words are ordered in your title tag makes a difference to your search engine position.
If you target each post of your blog to longtail keywords, you will eventually see search engine traffic being delivered to deep pages of your site. Posts are a perfect opportunity to drive targeted traffic to your blog for low competition keywords.
Use Keywords In Your Headings
I know using your H1 H2 etc.. is less important now than it was a few years ago but in my opinion it is still worth it for the effort it takes to apply it.
Don’t cram each keyword into all headings but be mindful of your H1 and 2, try to use keyword variations that are relevant to your main targeted keyword.
If your not using Webmaster Tools yet, there is no time like the present. There are a number of reasons for using webmaster tools but here are a few of my favourites.
- Quickly detect and fix errors in your content and site structure.
- Find out the keywords your site is targeting
- See the keywords your site is indexed for.
These are simply a few of the tools you can make use of on Webmaster tools, you can also see which external links have pages and how your site links together internally. You will also receive an email on your webmaster tools account if your site has been penalised in anyway.
Submit A Sitemap
In my personal opinion submitting a sitemap is a ‘must’ for getting your content fully crawled by Google and increasing your chances of pages being indexed. Submitting a sitemap will allow pages to be indexed even if there are no backlinks pointing to the page.
If you use wordpress I would highly recommend the Google XML Generator and enter your url into webmaster tools. The URL is normally your blog domain with sitemap.xml extension.
If you use blogger you can simply enter your feed details as your site map:
eg. yoursite.blogspot.com/atom.xml or rss.xml
This will ensure your site’s pages are crawled fully and that the maximum amount of content is indexed.
If your serious about SEO then you need to install some kind of analytics software. Everyone has their favourites but I personally think you cannot go wrong with Google Analytics, however check out ouranalytics page for alternatives.
You need to track which keywords are sending you traffic, this will help you focus your pages and may even highlight new keywords you have never thought of.
As well as implementing a sitemap you also need to make sure Google can find your content directly from your home page. You can do this by adding category or archive links on your homepage. It does not matter which one you use however if your going to use both I would advise making one of them nofollow, this will help prevent duplicate content issues.
If you have a blogger all categories are automatically nofollow so it makes no difference. If you use wordpress you might want to consider using a drop down archive and follow links from your categories instead, plus category url’s are more keyword rich than archive urls.
It is important that each one of your posts links back to your homepage, however do not use your “blog title” or “home” button to link back to your home page on your posts. This means you are linking back without being able to choose an appropriate anchor text.
I personally like linking back to my homepage in the post surrounded by keyword rich content and anchor with the text of my choice. If your sceptical about this, I’d just like to add that this has been a big reason why I have been able to break into the top 50 for the keyword “SEO” in 6 months, it works. You can still have links through a “home” button and blog title but make them nofollow, you need to control the relevancy created on your site.
I am sick and tired of hearing people saying “alt tags are worthless” or won’t help rankings. I have argued for the last 6 months that they still work and have ranking weight, finally there is a little evidence to back this up. SEOmoz carried out some correlation experiments which proved a direct link to higher rankings and optimised alt attributes.
Also read a great article here about how to implement and optimise alt attributes for image search and higher rankings.
Ensure Your Unique
This applies to many different aspects but the main ones are;
- Unique Content
- Unique Title Tags
- Unique Meta Tags
Unique content is a must, sure report on industry wide news but don’t simply copy it, look to add your own thoughts and ideas. If you create a carbon copy blog your heading straight for the supplemental index.
Unique title tags are also important when you are optimising each of your posts for new keyword phrases. If you are using wordpress it does this for you automatically, however if your using blogger you will need to enter some code into the header area of your template, check out this article on blogger title tags.
Writing your own unique Meta tags is something your not going to be able to achieve on blogger, but the ranking weight on them is not as much as it used to be. The main thing to make sure, if you implement meta keywords/descriptions manually, is that no 2 are the same as Google may penalise the pages.
If you aren’t able to input a meta description and keywords Google will create one from your site cache, it’s not the perfect way to optimised but at least your not risking duplicate content.
Highlight Your Good Stuff
A big part of SEO as you may know is acquiring links to your content. I am not going to go into link building today but one of the best ways to acquire links is by showing links to your popular content from your homepage, hence more people see your best work and more people will be enticed to link to your site. Every blog needs a popular/best of widget on their site.
Consistency is Key
If you want to keep the search engines crawling and updating your content you really need to be updating your blog regularly. I personally like to write at least 3 times a week, but I think a weekly update is needed in order to keep your blog progressing.
Updating regularly keeps your readers coming back, these are the people that are going to help you content work it’s way around the web, this creates more backlinks which you are going to need in order to achieve high rankings.
I haven’t touched on link building in this article as it has been more focused on page optimisation, however the below articles will give you some great ideas;
Thanks for reading.Line Break
Author: Tim (294 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.