With this post I’ll provide you some easy on-site adjustments you can create for your own blog that will help boost your online search engine exposure, increase blog traffic and produce more targeted leads and conversions for your company…which is ultimately what you’re looking for, right?
Why are blogs such effective tools for SEO (search engine optimization) and online exposure ? Because each and every blog post you write becomes another web page. And every web page is another opportunity to rank well for a specific search your ideal customer is doing right now.
Or in a month. Or in a year. Because if you work it, high quality, evergreen content will continue to attract visitors to your blog or website for years, generating more leads for your business. It’s really important to increase your blog traffic. And it’s doable.
So here are 7 Crucial On-Site steps to increase Blog Traffic
1. Begin with keyword-rich subjects
Take a few keywords that you’d like to rank well for and run them through the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Utilizing this free tool provides you with the number of folks who are searching for your catchphrases, or keywords each month. Then it suggests similar phrases that could be better options, and lets you identify how competitive that query is. (The higher the competition, the more challenging it will be to crack the page one of Google, but if there are over 500 searches for the phrase you want to use you’ll stand a chance. That’s my rule of thumb anyway, and so far it’s worked well). Play with the term until you find a similar one that people are searching for in high numbers, hopefully with low to medium competition and use that instead. Remember, it’s not about you.
Studies have shown that only 1 out of 5 people will click to page 2 of a search engine to find what they are looking for. 80 percent will not leave page one. Forget page 6. So how do you ensure ranking high in what is known as the “organic” or FREE middle section of a search engine page?The key to a highly ranked blog post that will draw traffic and encourage click throughs is to have a well designed, easy on the eye, easy to navigate blog that also contains smart SEO practices.
2. Create a keyword-rich title
By default, the title of your post becomes the title of your web page.. Search engines give more importance to your page title than just about any other variable, plus you want the title to when at all possible, match what someone is searching for.
Too often, businesses give blog posts vague titles like, “Best Practices 101,” or “A Lesson from me to You.” Who is searching for these words? I hope there’s a deafening silence happening in your brain right now as you answer slowly….no one. Certainly not your ideal customer.
Here are some SEO tips to title a blog post for maximum visibility:
- Begin with your strongest keywords. Search engines give more weight to the first few words in a title. Examples might include, “Google Plust Marketing: How to Generate Leads from the World’s Hottest Social Media Site,” or “Customized Pet Jewelery: What’s Hot This Season.”
- Number your lists. I know many people hate numbered lists, but they speak to how busy we all are. “101 Ways to Save Money For Retirement” or “3 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview” are generally more engaging, and will generate more click-throughs, which could increase your overall rank.
- The colon is your friend. People love them and they give you more opportunity to include more keyword rich content in the title. You will cast a wider net by using them. Don’t waste the opportunity on a cutesy title. Do you write a Vegetarian cooking blog?
Try a title like “12 Easy Ways to Cook Zucchini : How to Make a zucchini Main Dish Even Your Kids Will Love”, instead of “Zucchini Is Your Friend.”
3. Work your keyword phrase into your copy early and often- without over doing it
Your title is critical, but it can’t stand on its own; it needs to be supported by the rest of your content.
You should work your keyword phrase into the first sentence or two of your blog post, and then repeat it several times throughout your post. If you feel it’s difficult to work your keywords into the first sentence, try this trick: open up with a one to two sentence overview of your topic. If you still can’t work your keyword into the overview, then your blog post probably isn’t about your keyword anyway.
Beware! If you overuse your keyword phrase it can backfire on you. Google and other search engines may punish you for “over-optimizing” your post. How much is too much? There’s no magic formula, but if your post doesn’t read well and the keywords feel forced into the rest of the copy, you’re probably guilty of over-optimizing. Bring it down a notch.
You can also break up your keywords. If you wanted to rank well for, say, San Jose Plumbing,” you could use that exact phrase once or twice, but also use just “San Jose” and “Plumbing” separately in another instance.
4. Check your work with an SEO plugin.
It makes sense to get a second opinion from an expert.
There are a number of good SEO plugins for blogs out there, at least for WordPress, my preferred blogging platform. In the past I’ve used All In One SEO Pack, although lately I’ve been using with WordPress SEO by Yoast, which is more aggressive with its suggestionson how to optimize better.
Once you’ve written the first draft of your blog post you can check to see if you’ve taken all the appropriate steps to make your post optimized for a given keyword phrase. Yoast will grade it for you, and explain what needs to happen for better optimization. It’s a good tool.
5. Use Anchor Text Links
Search engines focus on the words in links, so instead of creating a link that says, “click here” or “learn more,” you’ll want to create a link that says, “San Jose Plumbing” or “Plumbers in San Jose.” Make sure your links are on site links as much as possible. This encourages stickiness- which is a good thing 😉 Don’t abuse this however. One link saying “San Jose Plumbing”, another using the website URL is ideal, perhaps a third that says click here is ideal. You want it to appear natural, and not as though you are “keyword loading” .
6. Use social sharing plug ins- often and obnoxiously
Plug-ins like the floating social bar ‘Digg Digg’, or ‘Share This’ are crucial for encouraging blog sharing and interaction on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterst and Linked In. Which you want to encourage. There are many to choose from. Make sure they’re close to the content, either just to the left, top or bottom, but wherever you place them the point is for them to be geographically intimate with the blog post to ensure ease of sharing. And there’s nothing wrong with a hint to your readers that if they found the info interesting or helpful, that sharing the post would be gratefully appreciated and a wonderful way of paying it forward. That was a hint. Note the sharing buttons on this post.
7. Be the master of your own domain
Although I’m a huge fan of WordPress, I would never run a business blog with the WordPress.com domain. Or Typepad.com. Or Blogger.com. Although I’m a huge fan of WordPress, I would never run a business blog with the WordPress.com domain. Or Typepad.com. Or Blogger.com. When you blog on someone else’s domain, i.e., weightlossmasters.wordpress.com, you’re increasing their search engine visibility, not yours. Many blogging platforms have gone under in the past few years. You might be able to save your blog posts from the wreckage, but you’ll never recover all your inbound links and the trust you built up at that domain. Own, and control your own domain.
Takeaways to increase blog traffic
To create a blog that generates search engine traffic and new leads for your business, follow this simple formula:
- Create a keyword-rich title
- Focus each blog post around a narrow, keyword-rich topic. Use your keywords early and often in your blog post.
- Use a good SEO Plug-in
- Use anchor text links to leverage your blog’s newfound search engine power by hyper linking to critical pages on your website or e-commerce site
- Make your post easily shareable through the social networks.
- Build your blog on a domain you own and control.