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5 SEO Tips for Bloggers

5 Spot

5 Spot (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

You you just trying to do good writing and not playing the game of all the SEO tricks?  All those silly “tips” that are supposed to skyrocket you to the top ten of Google.

Instead of all that junk – here are five simple and straightforward SEO tips that will help you rank better integrating seamlessly with your writing.

SEO Tips:

  1. One post, one topic, one title. Titles are not only important for your readers but for search engines too, which after all are also readers, although not human. Make sure that the title reflects the topic of the article, and that the article is about a specific topic only. Search engines don’t like confusion and neither do your readers.
  2. Add the metadescription. This one not about ranking but about getting more clicks. If you scroll down your WordPress text editor page (because you are using WordPress, right?), you will likely see a box where you can add a description of the page with a maximum of about 140 characters. This is what searchers will likely see when they find your page in the search engine results, so use it.
  3. Don’t forget the main keywords. We’re not asking you to do keyword research, or maybe we are, but a very quick one. Go to Google and start typing the keyword that best describes the topic you are writing about: the auto-complete function will give you the phrase that people actually use to search that topic on the internet, with probably a couple of variations as well. Incorporate those keywords in the body of the text, just to help search engines understand even better what you are talking about.
  4. Use images and give them titles. You are probably already using images in your posts (and if you’re not, start now), but you should also give them a title using the so called ALT-tag. That’s what search engines use to “read” a picture, so the content of the post will gain more clarity in their eyes. An added bonus is that you might even rank and receive organic traffic from those pictures. Again, WordPress makes it very easy to add the ALT-tag, so there’s nothing technical to learn.
  5. Write guest posts. No blogger’s an island, as the poet used to say (well, sort of), so reaching out to the other people in your niche should be a natural thing to do. You can do it in forums, via email, or commenting on their blogs. The most effective thing you can do however, is to write a post for their blog, with a link to your site. Just one word of caution though: do it for the relationship and the traffic, not for the link.

That was our five quick and painless SEO tips to make your blogging efforts more rewarding.  Good luck.

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Boost Blog Traffic By Writing Good Titles

Far too often, bloggers will either just write down the first title that comes to mind and dive into the rest of their post or slap a post on what they’ve written when they’re done. They may only think about what is in the post and try to describe it, without considering the more important factors of a title. Here are a few things your blog titles should try to do. If you can get at least three of these goals accomplished in a title, you probably have a suitable title. If you can get all five, you have done a great job.

1.    Utilize Good Search Engine Terms

Obviously one goal is to get as many eyes to see the title as possible on search engines and otherwise, as this gives you more potential for views. As a result, there are a few things you can focus on. First, make sure that you utilize relevant high traffic keywords in your title. This gives you a chance to get a high ranking on a page that a lot of people will see.

You may be thinking that common sense says to go after long tail keywords you have a better chance of getting a page one ranking on, but remember that a title has to be short anyway.

Second, try to put the keywords as close to the beginning of your title as possible, as this will have a bigger impact on your SEO.

2.    Make the Reader Ask a Question

What happens when people ask a question? They want to know the answer. Try to invoke this in potential readers, because if your title makes them ask themselves a question, they are significantly more likely to click on the link and check out your post.

If you’re struggling for good ideas, you might want to listen to sports or news talk radio and pay close attention to the teases before commercial breaks. The top radio personalities are experts at getting people to ask questions that will hold their attention through a commercial break to keep them around for another segment. Their ideas may give you some ideas for strategies in your titles.

3.    Make the Reader Feel an Emotion

If you can make the reader feel an emotional response to your title, you may get more clicks. This can be excitement, joy, sadness, sympathy or anger, among others.

Much like media personalities that try to get people to love them or hate them, the stronger the emotion toward your title the more views. Even if people dislike the idea strongly, they may still read about it just to re-affirm their emotional response.

4.    Make it Catchy

Often the difference between a best-selling book and an afterthought is not the content, but the title. Some authors have revealed that they tested their potential book titles through Internet ads to reveal click through rates or by selling a copy on eBay and seeing which version of the title got more bids and higher bids.

This proves that the title does matter and if it has a ring to it, people will be interested.

5.    Don’t be Misleading

Now this is an important one, and the challenge is to make it jive with the other four ideas. Make sure that you are not writing titles that are overly misleading, as people will stop coming to your site and it is important to build up repeat readers.

Valerie Mellema is the owner of Words You Want. Words You Want offers SEO writing services as well as guest blogging packages, eBooks, press releases, blog writing and more. Visit the Words You Want blog for weekly specials.

How to Improve Your Website to Increase Traffic and Keep Visitors Around

No matter what type of website you run, the content of the page is the most essential component. There is no denying, however, that a well-designed site that is easy to navigate is more attractive to users than a site with a poor layout and a confusing interface. The most successful – and most enticing – websites tend to have the same basic components: an attractive design, good navigation, quality content and a little personal information – lets look at how to  improve your website.

website is down

website is down (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

1 – Improve your website: Take the time to design an attractive site

No matter how many times we’ve been told not to, let’s admit it, we all judge books by their covers. So believing that the message is all that matters and any old website will do is naive, especially if you are creating a website for a business. If you want people to view you as professional, you must have a professional-looking site.

Creating an attractive site doesn’t have to be that complicated. If you have zero website-building capabilities, you can either hire a web designer or purchase a pre-made theme. Either option will set you back a few hundred dollars, but a clean, eye-catching site design will get visitors’ attentions and keep them from immediately surfing away.

2 – Lay your website out so that it’s easy to find information

Unless you have very little information to share with consumers, a one-page website probably isn’t going to cut it. Many small companies make the mistake of creating a single webpage and putting everything they want consumers to know onto that single page. While it may seem like a good idea in theory to have everything in one location, single page sites often appear cluttered. So, even if all the necessary information appears on the page, it may be difficult for users to find.

To make your website easy to read, create several different pages. Separate these pages by category, such as “Products,” “About the Company,” and “Hours.” That way, when a user comes to your site seeking the hours of your store, they simply click the “Hours” page and the information displays for them.

Remember, people aren’t coming to your site for a scavenger hunt. They’re coming to find information. If that information is too difficult to find, they’ll go looking for it somewhere else.

3 – Fill your page with quality content.

As stated before, the content of your page is the most essential part. Visitors to your site are seeking information, like what products you sell and prices. They don’t come to your site to stare doe-eyed at your stunning homepage (not that some visitors won’t).

Making the information on your site easy to find and read is only one part of good content. Making the content worth reading is the other part. So, don’t just throw anything up onto the page. Write professional copy to describe your business and your products. If you don’t know how to write professional website copy, find someone who does.

A Word on SEO to improve your website

When it comes to professional website copy, there is no downplaying the importance of SEO. SEO writing allows you to rank in the search engines, which makes it easier for people to find your site. Since your website’s success is dependent upon traffic, you must get into the habit of incorporating it into your site.

Good SEO doesn’t simply use keywords that describe the site well, it uses keywords that other websites aren’t using. If you have a tire sales company, for instance, and you use “tire sales” and “buy tires” on your site, you’ll have a world of contenders. If you use specific keywords like “tire sales in Cary, NC” and “buy tires in Cary, NC” instead, you narrow your competition down considerably. When creating SEO content, remember that specific terms are more effective than general terms.

4 – Let them know who you are by providing contact information.

If you have a legitimate business, there is no reason to hide from the world. Include contact information, so that people know with whom they are dealing. You don’t have to give your full name, an address or a phone number, but, at the very least, you should provide a first name and an email address so that visitors to your site know that you’re legit.

There are millions of websites. The competition to building a successful website is stiff. You can give yourself a leg up with a sleek, uncluttered design, easy-to-find information, quality, searchable content, and by letting visitors to your site know that they are dealing with a real person.

Byline:

Alyse is a marketing, photography, and tech addict who spends her time investigating the next generation of technology. When she is not brushing up on her art of the scientific know how in the world, you can find her contributing to ATTSavings.com or on Twitter @Alyse_1.

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Building Blog Traffic – 4 Basic SEO Tips

Best of Traffic

Best of Traffic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I talk to fellow bloggers about onpage optimization, they’re usually aware of the importance of keywords and page titles. Of course, simply being aware of the how-to doesn’t necessarily equate to doing it efficiently, and so we tend to see keyword-stuffed articles with bolded headers and too long page titles. There’s a tendency amongst beginners to go completely overboard with their SEO, and I will readily admit that I was one of those beginners.

My very first SEO project, I went to Fiverr.com and bought something along the lines of 2,000 low-PR (pagerank) backlinks. The vast majority of these “backlinks” were spread across forum profiles on .Ru websites completely irrelevant to my own, and in the end my website wasn’t even on the radar. In the end I came pretty close to getting myself penalized by Google, as a quick look at my analytics report showed the evidence of my blunder.

Learn from the Mistakes of Others

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and if I could go back, I would’ve built my own backlinks the legitimate way – through networking and article syndication. It would’ve taken more time, and maybe I would’ve needed to outsource most of the article writing, but instead I was forced to abandon ship and start over again because I tried taking an unethical shortcut. Rather than make this mistake on your own projects, learn the lesson from me instead.

Sabotaging my own project was an early learning experience for me, and since then I’ve stuck to traffic building the smart way. It’s actually far easier to traffic build legitimately because then you can actually target your audience instead of hoping to get Google traffic. When it comes down to it, you’ll need to decide whether or not your niche will actually benefit from SEO, because some niches are so small that you can rely on backlink traffic more so than from searches. Whichever route you choose for your blog, I do have some tips for you to follow.

  • Perform keyword research – While some figure they can just toss “buy used cars” into an article and start ranking for used cars, the process of keyword research needs to be approached from an almost anthropological point of view. How exactly do people phrase their Google searches for your niche? Don’t forget that some people ask Google a question, like “where can I buy used cars?”, instead of searching by keywords.
  • H2 your headers – Google likes H2 tags, because formatting is really important.  From a traffic building point of view this attention to details can’t be skipped.  Don’t simply bold the sub-headlines, it looks better as an H2 headline, and Google will count H1 – H6 headers towards your SEO.
  • Never purchase backlinks – Not simply for ethical reasons, but also because Google has really cracked down on link farms and “unnatural” links. Lots of backlinks from low-ranking pages could actually hurt your results, or even get you penalized and removed from Google altogether. Play it safe and build your presence naturally.
  • Take advantage of social media – Whether or not you see the bottom-line benefits of having a wide network of friends, you should take advantage of the word-of-mouth advertising that social media offers. Self-promotion has never been easier, because these days it is as simple as inviting people to like your page and then feeding them interesting updates with a promo thrown in here and there. The keyword here is keeping those updates interesting, relevant, and engaging. The more often your followers share your updates the better the reach of your social media efforts.

Search Engine Optimization Equals Increased Traffic, Organically

As you can see, traffic building and SEO go hand in hand, not just because SEO increases your
page rank but because Google has programmed their crawlers to essentially think like a human when browsing sites. Things that are aesthetically pleasing to the human eye, like proper formatting and H2 headers, are equally pleasing to Google, so when doing on-page optimization try to focus on the human aspect instead of strictly for crawlers. If done right, you should begin to see measurable traffic results and who knows, you might be able to afford some Ferrari watches, Ferrari hat or any other expensive brand name luxury item you’ve been eyeballing.

About the Author:

A few months ago Rachel Cook was tied to a desk answering calls for an online college and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, until a friend told her about the money making opportunities on Elance.com as a freelance writer. Rachel was all over it like white on rice, and now she spends her days writing articles with the beautiful Hawaii coastline as her office view.

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SEO Test: Google doesn’t care about Keywords in the Meta Description

This is a follow-up on my buddy Dave’s post a few days ago: “Do Keywords in the Meta Description Count as Keywords”

He tossed out a test which checked to see if keywords in the meta description were a good, helpful thing…it turns out, then are not.  Worthless in fact.

Here is what he did – he posted the article and then, as the test, put a made up word in the meta description “skiraluntants” – here it is:

Here is the source of the page where you can see the keyword “skiraluntants” clearly in the meta description.

The site was published and percolated for a few days and was indexed by Google.  We know this because if we search for the page using the “site:” – it will show us it is indexed.

Yup – Google indexed the page – you can see the keywords in the meta description, but check the next picture out…

But now search for the keywords (skiraluntants) – no dice.

Google is indexing your keywords in the meta description? It depends on what the mean is is, is…

Even in Google’s own documentation about Webmaster tools is doesn’t ever say that the description tag will be used for search – they say “This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results”.
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/keywords-meta-tag-in-web-search/

Google clearly states “Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.”  Many SEO’s and other “gurus” still insist it is important and “it couldn’t hurt” – but it is just not necessary.

So – it is a fact.  Google does not care about your keywords in the meta description – the only thing they use it for is to show a nice pretty summary for the search to read.  Don’t get me wrong – this is SUPER important for readability, it is just not indexed.

This makes sense – they don’t want to allow human intervention if at all possible.  If Google used the meta description, then we SEO loving humans could “help” describe the page.  By using the meta description for the SERP, then we can at least help the searchers find what they are looking for.