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Friday, April 15, 2011

How To Start A Blog | Search Engine Optimization SEO For A Blog

Rule the web with search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engines are the key to your success as a blogger. Period. You will never be able to generate enough traffic through email lists or Facebook friends to get the kind of traffic that makes a blog profitable. That is why you need to master search engine optimization (SEO) for a blog.

This is the sixth lesson in the series How To Start A Blog. If you have not read the lesson on keywords, you will be completely lost on this lesson, so go back and read up keywords and SEO before you tackle this lesson.

In the last lesson, we covered finding keywords and how to use them. Long-tailed keywords are the way to finding a niche in the marketplace and increasing your chances of generating search engine traffic.

What I'm going to share with you has been culled from dozens of web posts on search engine optimization (SEO). There are different strategies for websites than there are for blogs, but a lot of the same rules apply - find good keywords and you should get targeted traffic.

First, you have to understand how a search engine looks at your blog. Search engines send out spiders that look for content. When the spider gets to your blog, it will scan the content from the upper left to the lower right. Knowing that, it is not a good idea to use a template that has a column of content and links on the left side of your blog. The search engine will hit the column first and count that as the most important information. Your blog post and its content might be passed over and you won't get the positioning you want. This blog is set up with a template that maximizes my chances of being properly scanned by a search engine.

In the old days, I would title my blog posts with witty or silly titles. Those are useless to a search engine. Now, all of my blog titles (or at least most of them) are carefully thought out and utilize the keywords that I'm focusing on.

This post as an example has "How To Start A Blog" one keyword phrase and "Search Engine Optimization SEO" as a secondary keyword phrase.

I selected my keywords by testing various keywords and long-tailed keywords in Google Adwords Keyword tool. I also like to test my keywords by doing a search on Google, Yahoo and Bing and see what comes up. Search engines like to snag exact matches. So I check the links that came up on my test using the major search engines. I'll look at how many sites the search engine pulled up as a match. Sometimes the number is in the millions, other times it is in the thousands. Obviously, if there are 40,000,000 sites that come up for your keyword, you may have to craft a more specific keyword phrase to work into your title and your blog post. Thousands of returns on a keyword is still competition, but it sure beats zillions of sites up against you.

Since the search engine scans from the upper left to the lower right, it will hit your title and pickup words from it. It will look through your post to see if there are words that support that title.

I learned a little trick and you will see it used on every single blog post I have here. I repeat my keyword phrase in the first paragraph. Doesn't matter where in the paragraph, it just has to be there. Then, I bold the keyword phrase. This process of using a bold keyword phrase is repeated in the last or next to last paragraph of my blog post. I don't know why this helps. I read it a number of times and figured I better do it.

Next is the concept of keyword density for search engine optimization (SEO). Keyword density is the ratio of how many times your keywords are repeated within your post in relation to the other words. To make this simple: You want to repeat your keyword phrase or keywords several times within your post. Experts recommend a density not to exceed 5%. Frankly, I'm not about to do a work count and then a tally of my keywords and attempt to do math when I'm ranting about the government. I just try to remember to have my keyword phrase pop up a few times during the course of my content.

You might be thinking, "Why don't I load up every paragraph with my keywords?" Not a good idea. If you overdo it, the search engine may see your post as spam and then you'll be banished to a place where no one ever goes. Bad for a blogger. 

So, you have worked your long-tailed keywords into a killer title, a good opening and closing paragraph, and they're interspersed throughout your blog. You're almost ready to post.

If you have pictures in your blog (and I'm really bad at this right now), title them with the keywords, if it makes sense. Tagging the picture can help with the search engines. Don't know why, but I've seen it in other posts enough to know I should do it.

OK... everything looks good. Proof-read, twice (my pet peeve), correct spelling and grammatical errors, check the post in PREVIEW mode, add the Labels and now you can click PUBLISH POST.

You've done almost everything you can do at this point, regarding the post itself. However, another thing that search engines consider are links to your sight, known as backlinks. Links to your posts or to your site, especially coming from sites with a high page rank help raise the authority of your content. Sites that are tuned into just one topic and have hundreds or thousands of sites linked to them are considered authority sites. Those sites get tons and tons of traffic. They routinely appear on the first page of Google and all the other search engines.

You can build backlinks to your site yourself. Article sites offer a way to generate backlinks. You post an article about your writing style, then put a link to your blog or a post on your blog from the article site. I have a very comprehensive list of article sites under the Make Money tab at the top of this blog, or you can click here for the article list post. The link will be at the bottom of this post.

To date, I have not tried to create a single backlink to my site. However, other sites are linking to my site for some reason. This week, I noticed that some of my Twitter feeds with my blog titles and links are being run on the Twitter feed on the Huffington Post website - a site with HUGE traffic. I'm getting traffic from the Huffington Post and that can't be a bad thing.

What backlinks do for your site is help improve its Page Rank. Page Rank is another factor search engines consider when determining the value of your content. High Page Rank usually means better positioning. A link for checking Page Rank is at the end of this post.

This blog is relatively new. I only have a handful of links to it from other sites. My current Page Rank is "0" - impressive, eh? But read on and see what can still happen to a site with a Page Rank of "0".

Regardless of the fact that I haven't done my due diligence with backlinks, that does not mean that you can't reach the summit. Yesterday, I had three posts that were all on the first page of Yahoo and Bing search for my keywords. It's not the first time I've nailed the first page on Yahoo and Bing. But something exciting happened for me yesterday. I got the #1 position on PAGE ONE of GOOGLE for one of my posts. It was also in the #1 position on Yahoo and Bing.

The post was a book review I did for a friend of mine. It's title contained the keyword phrase: Learn Public Speaking With Humor. A link to the article is at the end of this post.

If you type in "Learn public speaking with humor" on Google, Yahoo or Bing, it's in the coveted #1 spot.

Did I get mountains of traffic, not yet. But this puts my post in the best possible position for hits until someone bumps me off the top. If you can do that on a consistent basis with your niche articles, you will start to see a steady and growing amount of traffic to your blog.

I also did two posts on Karina Smirnoff, the Dancing With The Stars dancer who will be appearing in Playboy in May 2011. I had the #1 position on Yahoo and Bing. Hits poured in all day long and are still coming.

A few weeks ago, I did a post on Celebrity Apprentice. I have no idea why, but it got about 800 hits in literally 15 minutes and slowed to a steady stream for a couple days after that.

Getting to the top of the search engines takes some skill, some work on backlinks (I'll get to it) and some luck. I can't tell you why one post flies to the top of the search engines and another doesn't. I applied the same rules to both posts. If you have good methods and make them habits, you can only expect good things to happen.

Now you know the game of search engine optimization (SEO) for a blog. Put this lesson to work, and let me know if you get to #1 on Google, the ultimate prize for a blogger.

The Complete 10 Lesson Course:

How To Start A Blog | 10 Lessons On Starting A Blog For Profit

Related articles:
Make Money Tip: Comprehensive List of Article Directory Sites
Learn Public Speaking With Humor. Book Is Coming Soon. Every Corporation Needs This.
Google Page Rank Checker

Best of My Funny Blog Posts

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