What is SEO? and why is it important to my business?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and to put it simply it is the process of making improvements on and off your website to gain better search engine results. This will lead to more visitors finding your website and for the right reasons.
Let me take a step back and explain what a search engine is. Have you ever wondered how Google works? Search engines are simply trying to find and understand all the information on the entire internet and then deliver search results based on relevance and authority according to what a user is looking for.
They do this by using very smart, and very proprietary algorythms that determine how your content is written and implemented in code and how other sites on the internet are linking to you. This is incredibly complex and even still within a fraction of a second they will serve you results you are looking for.
Relevance: search engines are actually quite good at ranking results by relevance. Let’s take the keyword phrase “Dog Crates”. Search engines will be able to tell that a site that sell dog crates is of high relevance. They will also know that a site that sells animal carriers is also of interest, and what more impressive is that they know that website promoting pet food or dog toys are also may be of interest but are of less relevance.
Authority: Search engines also compare you to other sites by analyzing how other sites think of you. This is done mainly by links that are pointing to you by other site. You can think of links as a vote of trust on the internet. The bigger and more relevant the site that is linking to you the more authority the search engine attribute to your site and will rank you in kind.
But don’t get too caught in putting too much energy into getting links. It’s not a popularity contest and search engines are smart enough to understand when it’s being used as a tactic rather than links being based on actual content.
Now this is crucially important: There are folks that try to replace quality and relevant content on their site with SEO tricks. No single, or set of SEO tricks will ever help get your website infront of the eyeballs of the right people as well as quality content that is relevant to your target market.
I hope this helped answer the question, “What is SEO” and will be writing more specific tactics in later post so please stay tuned.
If you have any questions on this or other internet marketing topics please put them in the comments below.
Welcome to my newest blog post, 10 Ways to Generate More Blog Traffic. Like all my posts, they come from my research and experiences working as an online business developer in Toronto Ontario Canada.
In this blog post, I discuss how to generate more traffic to your blog. These are the same basic techniques I use to increase my traffic. You can dramatically increase your blog traffic by following these ten strategies.
Every single writer wants to be read, thats the whole point. They want to influence, entertain and grow their readership. Well it’s not simple, so don’t try to find a silver bullet and get ready to buckle down with these 10 strategies to drive more traffic to your blog. They work.
Now, before doing anything else, make sure you install some kind of analytics tool, like Google Analytics to your site so you can track what is actually happening. If you don’t have it, stop what you’re doing and go get it because if you can’t measure your blog traffic, you can’t grow your blog traffic.
Write great content that people will shareIf you are not writing stuff people want to read, smarter marketing will not fix the problem. Content is king, there is no substitute for that. Great marketing actually makes a bad product die faster so make sure you aren’t spending valuable time marketing something that actually sucks. Begin by creating a killer headline that makes people want to read what you have to say. If you don’t know much about writing headlines then become a student of writing great headlines because if you can’t catch people with a headline they aren’t even going to get to your great article. Start by reading Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich by David Garfinkel.
Adhere to a consistent schedule. You can’t expect to increase your traffic if you don’t blog regularly. You can’t get all excited, write a bunch of posts and then leave it for 3 months and expect to see your traffic take off. Frequency leads to visibility and that leads to traffic which then leads to business growth. Some people do it once a day and some people do it once a week… we are still talking about blogging right?. My suggestion is to start with that you can commit to doing regularly. For me, being in charge of a new tech startup and having a band that I’m promoting and having a million other ideas that I want to start, and having a wife who does deserve some attention, I just can’t do more than once a week. That said, three times a week is even better. Five times a week is best—but NOT if the quality of your content suffers.
Don’t be lazy, get your own domain name. If you don’t have your own domain that you own you simply don’t look like a serious blogger. Also, it’s much easier for someone to pass along your blog to others when they can say JonoLandon.com instead of ljasdfljasdflkjsfdl.jonolandon.com/094308734250-89723460897. Also, if you don’t own your name online then buy it, even if someone owns it, just buy it for as much as you can afford. It’s your name and down the road I think that the value of that is going to grow exponentially for everyone, not just bloggers. Not that I think they are the best by any means but I buy all my domains and do my hosting at GoDaddy just ’cause I started there a long time ago and I’m too lazy to go find a better solution.
Place your blog address everywhere. It should appear virtually everywhere your name appears. You need to treat each and every impression as precious, so if there are 5 people that see your twitter profile in one day that is 5 opportunities to get their eyes on your site, and when they share your content with their friends it gets your blog in front of their faces too. Get it? What about business cards, presentation slides, facebook timeline image, printed on your shirt, tattooed on your nose… wherever you can think of put it. Of course, be tasteful.
Make it easy to subscribe to your blog. You don’t want to depend on your readers to remember to come back to your blog. Instead, you want them to subscribe, so they get every new post you write. They should be able to do so by either RSS or email. (Use both.) Position these two buttons prominently so that those who want to subscribe don’t have to hunt for them. With out a subscribe button you are basically expecting people to sit with your blog open patiently waiting for you post something new. Not a good retention strategy by the way. Make sure you have an RSS feed icon with your social icons at the top right corner of your page because that is the easiest place to find it. If you are using WordPress, which you should be, there are great plugins that are super easy. Think about how cool it would be to have your blog posts automatically show up in people’s email inboxes. Well it couldn’t be much easier to do. I use a free plugin called Subscribe / Connect / Follow Widget which took me all of 2 minutes to install.
Optimize your posts for SEO. In case you are very new to this SEO means Search Engine Optimization. Which means that when people go to Google and do a search for keywords that are connected to your posts topic. This doesn’t happen unless you optimize your post for SEO. Again, no other blogging platform holds a candle to WordPress which offers plugins that makes it super easy to have the added functionality to make sure your blog has every thing it needs to be found. I use two plugins for this called: All-in-One SEO Pack and the other is Scribe SEO. The latter is paid for but worth the money.
Utilize social media. Use social media to network, build relationships, and announce new blog posts. Let’s say you have a retail store, and you are standing outside the shop and wondering where all the people are. Well, did you put your store in a busy place? did you put up ads on billboards? Well for a website the one of the most important places to make sure your seen is on the social networks you like to use. Pay attention to that last part, the ones “you like to use”. People think that it matters which networks you use but I don’t think it does because they are all great and all that matters is that you love using it so you keep using it and keep getting the visibility from using it. One caveat, do NOT spam people. You have to be social not spammy. For instance, on Twitter you can and should post your articles but don’t just repeatedly annoy people with them. Rather spend more time just developing rapport with other users. Re-Tweet other articles, reply to tweets you like, share them with other people etc. It’s all about reciprocal actions. If you’re in the Toronto area and are looking for someone to teach you about this check out Sarah Zeldman @ theemarketingmaven.com.
Be part of the conversation. Make it easy for your readers to comment on your posts because people want to participate and when they do it’s great for you. I recommend the facebook comments (It’s what I use and guess what, that’s right, there’s a WordPress plugin for that). Don’t make them have to register. This only adds friction. Engage in the conversation yourself, reading your comments and replying as appropriate. The facebook comments is great because when someone comments it gets posted on the facebook feeds of their friends with a link back to your post. We call that social optimization.
Comment on other blogs. As you read other people’s blog posts, leave comments. I’m not taking about spamming people with invitations to read your blog. Instead, engage in the conversations that interest you and build credibility. Make sure that you register with their commenting system if possible, so there is always a link back to your blog.
Be a guest blogger. I have to admit, I don’t do this yet myself. That is primarily due to being to busy to write for myself more than once a week. There are many very successful bloggers who get their traffic almost exclusively by guest blogging on sites that get lots of traffic .
Beyond that you want to make sure you are using a good , SEO-optimized blog theme. There are hundreds on the market. I use Twenty Eleven and like it a lot.
Also, please remember that there really is no silver bullet and this takes time so be patient. Think of this like the turtle and hare, who always wins?
If you have a question or comment please email me.