With hundreds of millions of live blogs online, cutting through the noise and getting yourself seen in a sea of what can seem like overwhelming competition takes both work and knowhow. If you want your blog to get the exposure it needs for your site to grow, whether it is personal or for an online business, then you have to invest in that growth.
This is an investment of both time and, in some cases, money, to help your site make its way to the top of Google’s organic search rankings. In short, this is an investment in SEO. SEO is a broad topic, with far too much pertinent information to cover in just one article, so below are five ways to increase site traffic using proven SEO methods.
Do Your Keyword Research
Whether you are writing a blog just to get your thoughts out there or it is part of your online business’ content strategy, to get people visiting your site, reading your content, or purchasing your products and services, they will need to be able to find you when they search relevant keywords. If you want to find out what customers or readers in your niche are searching, then you will need an analytics tool to show you the data.
The gold standard, by far, is Ahrefs.
Ahref helps you not only discover which keywords people in your niche are searching, but shows you how competitive the various keywords for which you would like to rank are. Competition online is fierce, and large companies with deep pockets invest a lot of money into making sure their website ranks highly for the most competitive keywords.
As a smaller, newer business, you can try and write and rank for less competitive ones, and tools like Ahrefs help you narrow down your keywords. Ahrefs is, however, comparatively quite expensive, especially given the free options out there, but it is most definitely what the pros use. A workaround many new site owners and bloggers use is to purchase the first month of Ahrefs to do a lot of keyword research and then work off of that.
Get Links From Authoritative Sites
SEO is, by and large, a dual process: content writing and link building. The SERPs, in many ways, are a giant popularity test. In addition to your keyword game, Google also determines where to place your site or page on those ranked lists based on how many other quality pages have linked back to you (i.e., think you are a good source of information or a worthwhile service). The more of these backlinks you have to your site and content, not only the more likely it is others will find and follow these links, but the more credibility you have in Google’s eyes.
Building backlinks is a time-consuming process that involves both monetary and opportunity costs. There is also an expertise factor, as the outreach required to establish relationships with sites willing to either publish content that link backs to your site, or insert what are known as “paid links” is a unique process unto itself. Many blogs, both new and growing, see great success outsourcing this process to a reputable link building company with a proven record building high-quality backlinks that increase traffic.
Keyword Optimize Your Meta Tags
Many people make the mistake of assuming that keyword optimization is just about what goes into the body of your blog article. Not so. There are a handful of other vital components that are important for both Google and potential readers if you want your organic traffic to really flow. These are your meta tags, and they matter.
Specifically, they are your title, meta description, and image description. Your blog article’s title should not only reflect the nature of the content but also contain the keyword you are trying to rank for. This could be a single keyword, but more than likely it is a short or perhaps even longtail keyword that also appears throughout the article itself. Content with a keyword-optimized title conveys relevance and both Google and readers like relevance.
Your meta description is the short (~160 characters including spaces) blurb that essentially explains the page to potential readers as they peruse the SERPs. The meta description does not influence your ranking, but it will influence people to click. And lastly, your image description is another important piece of meta information to keyword optimize. People very often find pages via Google’s image search, and if your page’s image appears in the first few rows of results, they are more likely to be clicked and followed.
Don’t Forget About YouTube
If you are a serious blogger, or even an online business owner, you may be pondering a foray into YouTube as a means of cross-promotion. Whether this is you or you already have a branded channel with several or more videos up, there are ways to use YouTube to take advantage of the web’s second-largest video search engine. Many bloggers are using YouTube to link back to their site (which Google will not reward you for), and there are also SEO tactics you can use to ensure your videos are found and recommended by YouTube’s algorithm.
Especially important for YouTube, even more than your site, is your metadata. You want to reduce the amount of work the YouTube algorithm has to do to parse your video content and determine what it is, where it should go and if it should be recommended. This includes target keyword(s) in your title, in your video description, and mentioning your keyword in your video.
Getting your blog past the startup phase and into the growth and scaling phase is something you need to be methodical and systematic about. While miracles do happen, and there are other ways to generate attention and draw eyes and ears to your content, SEO is, hands down, the best, most reliable and most sustainable long-term effort you can make to increase traffic to your site.
In order to achieve the highest results possible, while also staying ahead of the competition, be sure to keep the above proven SEO methods in mind when creating content and new backlink strategies for your site. By doing so, you will greatly increase the odds that your little blog becomes a big success.