How to Use SEO to Increase Your Blog Traffic

By | November 24, 2012

If you’ve been blogging for a while now, and you still haven’t attracted a large readership, you may be wondering why that is. Chances are, you haven’t done much to market your blog. While your blog can be an important component of your overall internet marketing efforts, it needs to be marketed itself, too. Otherwise, no one is going to read it. You may have heard that the judicial use of SEO can increase traffic to your blog, and that’s true. However, you may have also been more than a little overwhelmed when you first started trying to learn SEO.

Fortunately, if all you want to do is increase traffic to your blog, then you don’t need to know everything there is to know about SEO in order to accomplish that goal. You really just need to know a few of the basics. However, there are also a few steps you can take beyond the basics which will help even more. After we take a quick a look at what we mean by the basics, we’ll introduce you to some of these more advanced SEO techniques as well. The first basic you’ll need to be familiar with is the definition of SEO itself. Of course, simply knowing that SEO stands for search engine optimization isn’t enough.

A Quick Overview of Search Engine Optimization

The goal of SEO in the context we’re discussing is to get your blog to rank as highly in the search results for your targeted keyword as possible. For example, if somebody types the phrase “magic tricks” into a search engine, and that’s what my blog is about, then I want my blog to be listed on the first page of results if at all possible, because people rarely scroll down any further than that. Unfortunately, the search engines keep changing the rules on how exactly they rank various web pages when users perform searches. This is designed to make search results more relevant for users, but it makes it more difficult to know exactly how to get your page to rank well.

Basic Use of Keywords

Fortunately, there are some general principles that are always applicable. For example, if you’re targeting people who search for a specific term, such as “magic tricks” in our previous example, then you do want to use that phrase in the text of your blog posts. However, you don’t want to use it too much. This is known as “keyword stuffing,” and it will actually work against you. Also, your content needs to be well written. Don’t force the use of keywords just to get them in there. For example, the sentence, “Some of my favorite magic tricks can be performed with a normal deck of cards,” would be far preferable to, “I like cats, magic tricks, and good movies.” You also want to use other keywords related to the one you’re targeting when appropriate. In this case, “magicians” would be one example.

Figuring Out Which Keywords to Use

Now that you understand what to do with your keywords, it’s important to discuss how you should determine which keywords to use. There are basically two guidelines for this. One of those guidelines is that the keywords you use should be relevant to the content of your blog. We understand that this sounds obvious, but some people simply try to target keywords just because they’re highly trafficked in order to promote a marketing message. That’s spam, and you will not benefit from doing that. That being said, within the list of keywords which are relevant to your topic, some will be more frequently searched for than others. There are various keyword tools available to help you identify these.

how to use seo to increase blog traffic

Image Source: masharif.com

Using Keywords in Other Places

Another thing we’d like to point out here is that you should use your keywords in other places in addition to the text of your blog itself. For example, commenting on other blogs with a similar topic to yours, and then linking back to your own blog, can be a great traffic builder. You need to provide quality, insightful additions to the conversations on those blogs, though, and don’t try to sell anything directly. Otherwise, your marketing strategy isn’t going to work. Forum posts that are relevant to the topic of your blog are another good place to be mindful of your keyword use.

Having Great Content in Addition to Your Words

If your blog consists entirely of words, then no matter how relevant and insightful those words happen to be, and no matter how effectively you incorporate the right keywords into the text of your posts, it isn’t likely to rank as highly as a blog that incorporates other forms of content, such as pictures and videos. Try to use fairly large graphics as well, and WordPress themes  are also a good idea, since they can help distinguish your blog’s personality.

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