You’re Not Talking to Yourself, Are You?

Did you know that most bloggers are writing something that equates to a personal diary? Not intentionally of course. But that’s what happens when a blogger has no idea how the search engines (like Google) work. You would not believe how many people are out there blogging like crazy, writing fantastic content, but it’s literally buried in the gobs of content on the web and no one is reading it.

Some bloggers just want readership just for the sake of having people see their work. Others want to bring in lots of traffic so they can make money from product sales or advertising. But, no one’s buying anything if no one’s showing up in the first place.

A website or blog has the best chance of being found if it lands on page one of Google search results.

So how does one design a blog that will bring traffic to the site??

That Thing That You Don’t Want to Have to Understand: SEO

SEO Choices for BloggersSorry to have to bring up that up that scary, scary acronym. It’s really only scary because SEO articles usually mention things like “analytics,” “metatags,” “co-citation.” Not going to happen here. This one’s for you, blogger who doesn’t care to muddle through SEO jargon. Nevertheless, you must accept the reality that attracting an online audience requires SEO and SEO begins with keywords.

Who Do You Want to Talk To?

First narrow down your theme or niche as best you can so you can find keywords to target and then work those keywords into your content.

Your objective is to get people to find your blog when they search your targeted keywords. To that end, you must use search terms/search phrases (aka keywords) that people use when they’re surfing around the web

The Keyword Quest

Let’s say your blog niche is celebrity culture and you intend to make money by selling ad space on your celebrity news blog. You want people who are searching on relevant keywords like “Justin Bieber,” “Kardashians,” “Downton Abbey,” “American Idol,” “paparazzi photos,” “celebrity gossip” “Academy Award winners,” etc. to find your blog.

When people search on those keywords, you want your blog to appear on page one of Google search. That’s a great plan. Really great. But, not gonna happen. Run a Google search on any of those keywords (put the phrase in quotes as shown below) and you’ll see a huge number of search results.

Google Celebrity Gossip

See that number, 21,500,000? That’s your competition on that keyword! There are 21,500,000 websites competing on that keyword. You’re going to set your sights lower because you simply don’t have a shot at ranking on those enormously competitive keywords in your lifetime. (Well, you can but you’d need a professional for that job!)

The Quest Continues

Use the Google Keyword Tool and plug in a keyword on which you’d like to rank (it can be a highly competitive keyword). Under “match types,” click the “exact match” box.

Google Find Keywords Tool

The keyword tool will show you a list of related keywords and the number of local monthly searches and global monthly searches for each. Start making a list of possible keywords that have some monthly search volume–more than zero!

Google Keyword Tool Celeb Gossip

Now, take the keywords that look interesting to you, put them in quotes, and do a Google search to assess the competition. Ordinarily, you stand a decent chance of ranking on page one with a keyword that has less than 25,000 search results. Once you get more familiar with keyword research, you’ll figure out the right search competition number for your specific blog niche. It may be higher or lower than 25,000. Unfortunately, there’s no exact formula for keyword research.

But that Keyword has Only 20 Monthly Searches

The keywords or keyword phrases you’re going after get a relatively small number of searches. When you get ranked on page one for those small volume keywords, you’ll get some traffic. This is where your writing talent makes a difference. Your content has to be good. Your content has to make people want to read your blog and come back for more.

Slide that Keyword into Your Content

Here’s a little secret: the keywords don’t always drop in to your content naturally. That’s your next challenge–to write great content that makes your keywords work in your content without feeling terribly clunky and awkward.

Now that you understand how to incorporate “rankable” keywords into your content, you can move on to content marketing, link building, connecting on social media and all of the other things you can do to improve your blog’s search rankings. In other words, learn about SEO and stop talking to yourself.

Ellen Gipko is a content marketing specialist at HubShout, a US based white label SEO reseller, website reseller and web marketing firm with offices in Falls Church, VA (Washington, DC Metro) and Rochester, NY. HubShout’s full service web marketing program includes SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, website development, customer review service, lead and sales tracking and reporting services.

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