First-Step SEO: 8 Basic Tactics For Bloggers
Worried about all this SEO-talk you see all over the Web?
Sure, there’s a lot you need to know, but you don’t have to learn all about SEO at once.
And even if you did, there’s always some new technique coming down the pike so it’s an ongoing learning process.
Here’s the basics in a nutshell.
Take care of these first few steps and you’ll be right up there blogging with the best of ’em.
The single most important step you can take to optimize your blog for the search engines is produce fresh, unique, high-quality content.
If the search engines see the same information on your blog that they see every where else, they think you’re just one of the crowd. But if your content is fresh, unique and quality, you have a better chance of ranking higher in the search engines.
High-quality content also attracts more traffic and incoming links, which also help you rank higher with the search engines.
Know Your Audience
The key to quality content is being able to identify your audience and anticipate their questions. Who are the people who would be most interested in buying whatever it is you’re promoting, and what questions would they have about your product? Answer those questions and it will be your blog that comes up in those search engine indexes. This is why keyword research is crucial.
To optimize your titles directly for the search engines, always use a keyword in your title, preferably near the beginning, and make sure your blog is set up to use title tags.
It’s also important to optimize your titles for readers. Learn to write titles that attract the reader’s attention. Ideally, the reader should be able to tell what your article is about and how he’ll benefit by reading it.
The idea that you have to have a certain “keyword density” is outdated. I try to make a point of using my main keyword in the opening and closing paragraphs and after that, I just write whatever naturally comes to mind. The search engines are much more sophisticated now and can easily identify synonyms and gather meaning from context.
Use a related posts plug-in to lead readers to articles in your archives. Use links in the body of your post to lead readers to other relevant content on your blog. Use links or images in sidebars to highlight popular or important content. Internal linking helps the search engines better understand your site and makes it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for.
Inbound links from other blogs tell the search engines that your content is high-quality and valuable, that these other bloggers are recommending your blog to their readers. As you get more and more of these links the search engines reward you with higher index placement.
The key is not to focus on the actual act of getting the link. Rather, focus on creating the type of high-quality content that other bloggers want to link to and that your readers will want to share.
Make sure you’re using a high-quality theme. You don’t need to dive right in a buy an expensive custom theme right away, but some of the free themes have weak internal coding that can make it difficult for the search engines to scan your blog or cause load-time and appearance problems.
Make sure all navigation links on your blog are clearly marked and working. Remember, the search engine bots follow those links, too, so always lead your readers from one page to another in the most direct route possible.
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