Have you ever wondered why some sites and blogs turn up at the top of a search result while others are buried 10, 20 or 100 pages down? Search Engine Optimization, aka SEO.It is because some sites are not search engine friendly. Organic Search Marketing is an effective strategy that results in competitive rankings for your site – leading to increased targeted traffic. Unlike Paid Search Marketing, Organic Search Marketing will help your site be ranked in the search results rather than the paid links section. Have a look at this article below that I came across on www.seomoz.org.
It’s easy to build a blog, but hard to build a successful blog with significant traffic. Over the years, we’ve grown the Moz blog to nearly a million visits each month and helped lots of other blogs, too. I launched a personal blog late last year and was amazed to see how quickly it gained thousands of visits to each post. There’s an art to increasing a blog’s traffic, and given that we seem to have stumbled on some of that knowledge, I felt it compulsory to give back by sharing what we’ve observed.
#1 – Target Your Content to an Audience Likely to Share
When strategizing about who you’re writing for, consider that audience’s ability to help spread the word. Some readers will naturally be more or less active in evangelizing the work you do, but particular communities, topics, writing styles and content types regularly play better than others on the web. For example, great infographics that strike a chord, beautiful videos that tell a story and remarkable collections of facts that challenge common assumptions are all targeted at audiences likely to share (geeks with facial hair, those interested in weight loss and those with political thoughts about macroeconomics respectively).
#2 – Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers
Advertisers on Madison Avenue have spent billions researching and determining where consumers with various characteristics gather and what they spend their time doing so they can better target their messages. They do it because reaching a group of 65+ year old women with commercials for extreme sports equipment is known to be a waste of money, while reaching an 18-30 year old male demographic that attends rock-climbing gyms is likely to have a much higher ROI.
Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a dime to figure out where a large portion of your audience can be found on the web. In fact, you probably already know a few blogs, forums, websites and social media communities where discussions and content are being posted on your topic (and if you don’t a Google search will take you much of the way).
Be a good web citizen and you’ll be rewarded with traffic, trust and fans. Link-drop, spam or troll and you’ll get a quick boot, or worse, a reputation as a blogger no one wants to associate with.
#3 – Make Your Blog’s Content SEO-Friendly
Search engines are a massive opportunity for traffic, yet many bloggers ignore this channel for a variety of reasons that usually have more to do with fear and misunderstanding than true problems. As I’ve written before, “SEO, when done right, should never interfere with great writing.” In 2011, Google received over 3 billion daily searches from around the world, and that number is only growing.
#4 – Use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to Share Your Posts & Find New Connections
Twitter just topped 465 million registered accounts. Facebook has over 850 million active users. Google+ has nearly 100 million. LinkedIn is over 130 million. Together, these networks are attracting vast amounts of time and interest from Internet users around the world, and those that participate on these services fit into the “content distributors” description above, meaning they’re likely to help spread the word about your blog.
#5 – Install Analytics and Pay Attention to the Results
At the very least, I’d recommend most bloggers install Google Analytics (which is free), and watch to see where visits originate, which sources drive quality traffic and what others might be saying about you and your content when they link over.
Employing analytics is critical to knowing where you’re succeeding, and where you have more opportunity. Don’t ignore it, or you’ll be doomed to never learn from mistakes or execute on potential.
#6 – Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)
If you’re someone who can produce graphics, take photos, illustrate or even just create funny doodles in MS Paint, you should leverage that talent on your blog. By uploading and hosting images (or using a third-party service like Flickr to embed your images with licensing requirements on that site), you create another traffic source for yourself via Image Search, and often massively improve the engagement and enjoyment of your visitors.
#7 – Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts
Not surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually typing into a search engine. It’s hard to know what these words will be unless you do some research, and luckily, there’s a free tool from Google to help called the AdWords Keyword Tool.
Type some words at the top, hit search and AdWords will show you phrases that match the intent and/or terms you’ve employed.
#8 – Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of Others
The web was not made for static, text-only content! Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context and in a way that’s not manipulative (watch out for over-optimizing by linking to a category, post or page every time a phrase is used – this is almost certainly discounted by search engines and looks terrible to those who want to read your posts), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.
#9 – Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon
The major social networking sites aren’t alone in their power to send traffic to a blog. Social community sites like Reddit (which now receives more than 2 billion! with a “B”! views each month), StumbleUpon, Pinterest,Tumblr, Care2 (for nonprofits and causes), GoodReads (books), Ravelry (knitting), Newsvine (news/politics) and many, many more (Wikipedia maintains a decent, though not comprehensive list here).
Each of these sites have different rules, formats and ways of participating and sharing content. As with participation in blog or forum communities described above in tactic #2, you need to add value to these communities to see value back. Simply drive-by spamming or leaving your link won’t get you very far, and could even cause a backlash. Instead, learn the ropes, engage authentically and you’ll find that fans, links and traffic can develop.
#10 – Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)
When you’re first starting out, it can be tough to convince other bloggers to allow you to post on their sites OR have an audience large enough to inspire others to want to contribute to your site. This is when friends and professional connections are critical. When you don’t have a compelling marketing message, leverage your relationships – find the folks who know you, like you and trust you and ask those who have blog to let you take a shot at authoring something, then ask them to return the favor.
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who’ve never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings (diverse, external links are a key part of how search engines rank sites and pages).
These are the first 10 tips, 11 more to come very soon. Leave a comment below about what you think.