Too often bloggers make the cardinal mistake of trying to optimize their site using the same techniques they would apply to a more commercial website. SEO for blogs requires a different tack, and needs to exploit the social nature of blogs and blog traffic. Buying links and gaming search filters won’t sustain a blog’s online visibility for very long. Bloggers need to concentrate on finding their audience, and on providing them with interesting content that they will want to share through other social media outlets. Unlike static sites, where getting visitors is half the battle, bloggers must take those visitors and give them a reason to return to the site, and to share what they’ve found.
Find Your Audience and Speak Their Language
The most important aspect of any blog is good content, and that content needs to speak directly to the audience you want to reach. Think about who you’re writing for, and pitch the tone and structure to appeal directly to that audience. For example, a blog on the most popular skateboarding sites in the country should speak to skating enthusiasts, not to college professors of Political Science. Know your target audience, learn their language, and speak to them directly.
Participate in Online Communities
Bloggers need to interact directly with their target audience. It is not enough to simply publish on a regular basis, and hope that readers will find you. Look for forums and other blogs that attract the readership you are after. You are probably already familiar with many sites that are related to your blog’s topic, and a Google search can help to reveal other forums and blogs where your target audience is already gathering.
Once you have found the community you want to interact with, set up some user accounts and begin to participate in the online discussions. Understandably, you are trying to generate traffic to your own website, but you want to ease into the community naturally. Read the posts, begin to engage with others, and build up trust within the group. Online etiquette is everything. Don’t just storm in dropping links and trolling for readers. That will only get you a reputation as a blogger to be avoided. Besides, this is the community you want to be speaking to, and natural conversation on related forums will help you know your audience, suss out their interests, and will lead you to topics that will naturally draw their attention.
Keywords and Blog Content
Keywords and phrases are still a vital part of improving a blog’s online visibility. But they should never interfere with the quality of the content. Get your keywords into the title of your page. After that, any use of keywords and related phrases should occur naturally, and should be born out of a natural writing style. As search engine filters become more sophisticated, bloggers need to relax and concentrate on providing interesting, entertaining and informative content. It is more important to develop content that reads well to humans, than it is to agonize over keyword placement only to produce a clumsy and hard to read blog entry.
Learn to Share
Social networking sites have a great deal of power when it comes to directing traffic to a blog. Sites like Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr and GoodReads provide a way for bloggers to interact with their readership, and keep them up to date on new posts. They also allow dedicated readers to share your blogs, which will naturally raise your site’s profile.
All social networking sites have their own rules of conduct, and once you have set up an account you will want to behave accordingly. As we discussed above, concerning forums and other blogsites, etiquette is the key. It is important to interact with other users authentically, and to provide valuable content within the community. Simply spamming and dropping links will do more harm than good to your online reputation, and may ultimately get you banned from the site. Engage openly and honestly with other members, and represent yourself and your blog with integrity. Members who find you interesting and informative, will be more likely to subscribe to your blog and recommend it to their online friends.
Optimizing a blog is all about social interaction. Algorithms and analytics play a part in any SEO strategy, but should take a secondary role when it comes to driving traffic to your blog. Think about your audience, meet them where they congregate, and engage them on their terms.
Build an online voice that readers will respect, trust and turn to for entertainment and information.