If you are looking to build your readership, you want Google and other search engines to be able to find your blog. If you check your stats, readers that find you through search engines are a source of your traffic. They are a special source. They are full of potentially new readers to your blog, and therefore, they are key to growing your readership.
It doesn’t have to be Google, mind you. Even search engines that your blogging platform can’t recognize will show up in your stats as “unknown”.
Since search engines are looking for content, why not make yours easy to find for potentially new readers?
According to Blogging Wizard‘s Adam Connell, every half second a new blog is born. However, there are many ways to optimize your blog to make it easy for search engines to find yours. This is called search engine optimization, or SEO.
1. Are You Filling in the Title Field Correctly?*
Filling in the Title Tag: Of all the descriptions of your image, this is the most important. Many bloggers skip filling it in all together. My advice is to fill it in and choose your words carefully. What would readers search to find your content? This should be your title. Since my post is about how to optimize your post for search engines, I called my image’s title Search Engine Optimization.
According to Yaro Starak at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, you will have concrete proof if your title improved your SEO rankings. Don’t fill in the image title, and then find your blog post on Google. See where you rank. Then, edit the image and include a title. Then, go back into Google, and see if your ranking improved.
Heads up–readers will be able to see your image title, so choose your words carefully.
2. Are You Filling in the Alt Text Field Correctly?*
Looking at the screen shot, find “alt text”. Clearly, this stands for “alternative text,” but many have no idea what this is. The search engine doesn’t have eyes and can’t see your picture. If you describe the picture in the “alt text” box, search engines will be able to “see” it and make sense of it. I called mine “Google glasses poster” since that describes my image, and I was able to incorporate one of my key words, Google.
Alt. Text is especially useful if your image combines words with a picture.
Many skip the “alt text” box believing it’s not important. If you want new readers to find you through search engines, it’s important you fill it in. Don’t skip this important step.
3. Do You Have Internal Links?
Several readers write and comment on my internal links. There are several reasons internal links are important. First of all, if the reader feels the post linked to gives supplemental information on the content of the post they are reading, and they click on it, you just received more traffic to an old post. Even more important, internal links will move you up through the page rankings on search engines.
How to insert internal links is explained in my post …The Complete Guide to Hyperlinks. You need hyperlinks so you can have links going in and out of your site. Both of these help your search engine rankings.
Did you see what I just did? Within the context of my content, I just linked to another post within my blog. This is called an internal link. I used a keyword in the link as well. We are trying to help search engines find your post. Do not type “Click Here.”
Word of caution: Do not overuse your keywords. Search engines may get wise to the fact that you are trying to attract new readers. What if you are unable to follow these instructions? Easy! Look at the bottom of this post. Have a Related Posts section. WordPress provides this, but I don’t want to wonder what related articles they will offer, and I like the internal links.
4. Do You Have External Links?
Every 400 to 500 words, try and have an external link. If you link just for
the sake of being found in search engines, it will be obvious, and your content won’t make sense. However, if there is an influencer who has offered content that supports yours, why not link to him or her? It provides support for your content and will help your SEO ranking since you have an external link. Also, won’t it be nice if they share the content they are mentioned in which would provide promotion for your post?
Did you notice my external link to Yaro Starak at Enterpreneurs-Journey.com? Don’t overdue it. More than two is considered overdoing it.
5. Does Your Blog Have Enough Substance?
If you should have an external link every 400 words, and two is considered an appropriate maximum, logically, your post should be 800 words long. That is considered a minimum to be content-rich. Many blogs that host guest authors require a minimum of an 800 word post, and many require 1000.
6. Are You Using Keywords?
Try and anticipate what readers would type into search engines. These should be your keywords that you type into “tags”. Try and put them into your title, preferably at the beginning.
Since I predict readers will type into a search bar, Google, I got it into my title and reasonably early. Actually, no prediction is necessary. My post 8 Easy Steps to Increasing Blog Traffic Using Google AdWords explains how to know what keywords people are typing into Google and how much competition for your readership there is.
7. Are Your Keywords Long Enough?
My post How to Grade Your Blog asks you to assess your blog according to certain criteria provided by Neil Patel at QuickSprout.com. (Okay, if you are counting, I confess; this is my third external link.)
One of the criteria to effective keywords for Search Engine Optimization has to do with the length of your keywords. The longer tags are called “keyword tails”. It’s like they have tails on them due to their length. This post has keywords ranging from one to four words. I got the four-word tag from Google AdWords where I found the competition for that keyword tail was low.
Once you start implementing these techniques, they will become habit, and the new sources of traffic will flow.
*This information is for WordPress users. If you are blogging on Blogger, you will find the instructions at http://kidbloggernetwork.com/2012/08/14/1349/.
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Readers, if you found this post helpful, please share with others.
What experiences have you had with Search Engine Optimization? Are there any tips you can pass on to my readers to enhance search engine’s ability to find your post? I look forward to your views.