Besides the obvious advice of creating epic content and promoting your blog on social media, there are some strategic SEO fixes and a few old school tricks that can make a big impact in generating traffic for your blog.
First, do you have a Google Webmaster Tools account? Google Webmaster Tools is provided by Google and it’s free. It helps you understand what is going on with your website and can alert you to any problems your site might be having getting indexed.
If you aren’t familiar with Google Webmaster Tools, The Beginner’s Guide to Google Webmaster Tools from Kissmetrics will help you get started.
Start by submitting your Sitemap to Google through Webmaster Tools.
Google says this about Sitemaps:
Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.
There are plugins and Sitemap generators out there to help you create one. Of course all you have to do is Google it.
According to Google, duplicate content “refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” For instance you might see a post on your homepage, on an archive page and on your blog page.
Duplicate content is problematic for search engines because it doesn’t know which page it should rank or include/exclude in their indices. Search engines will often exclude duplicate content and as such, blogs could suffer traffic losses.
If your homepage, archive, or category pages displays full posts, you should consider displaying excerpts only. You can change how posts are displayed through your blog settings.
Some people use the “www” when linking to their site and others do not. Both http://www.steamfeed.com and http://steamfeed.com might seem like they’re the same but they’re not. Search engines might see those pages as separate pages which could result in it interpreting it as duplicate content. A 301 Redirect tells the search engine that they are the same.
You can address this through Google Webmaster Tools, in your blog settings and in your source code.
The title tag is what you see when search results are returned. If you want to rank for a keyword(s), those keywords should be in your title tag and positioned at the beginning. Most SEO plugins will give you the ability to customize your title along with the description seen under the title.
People search for images just like they search for pages. Search engines aren’t quite smart enough (yet) to tell you what the image is, so it relies on the descriptive text you provide. Here are a few tips:
- Give your image a title using keywords.
- Use keywords in your alt tag.
- Create a good filename with keywords separated by a “-“.
- Include a creative caption.
- A bigger image is better. That is bigger in actual dimension, you should keep your file size small for faster loading.
To find out what Google is looking for, I refer you back to them: Image Publishing Guidelines
Start the Conversation
Comments help your blog get found but are often the hardest part of the blog to get moving. The most common advice is to end your post with a question to generate interest, making it easier for people to respond.
My advice takes it one step further. Try ending it with a question where it is appropriate for you to answer. Then answer it yourself. Do the same thing on your social networks. It often helps to get the conversation started. Nobody loves being the first one to the party.
Now that we covered some basics, I will tell you the very best way of getting your blog found has little to do with the Internet and more to do with schmoozing. That’s right, plain old-fashioned networking.
Promote the heck out of your blog. Tell everyone about it, every customer you come in contact with, every parent you meet in the parking lot while waiting to pick up the kids, strike up a conversation with the grocery clerk and hit up those local networking groups.
Hand out cards, tell them what you’re offering and invite them to come visit. Think strategically too. Are there potential collaborations to be made, links to exchange or referral money to be earned?
It all goes back to the “if they tell two friends and they tell two friends” way of thinking. Combine local schmoozing with your social media efforts and you will be building a powerful network that you can call upon to help you promote your content and ultimately drive traffic.
Do you have more easy to implement SEO tips or some suggestions for local networking? Let’s grow the list in the comments below.