Blogs have been around long enough to become standard elements of the web landscape. They’re easy to construct and manage, they create fresh, user-generated content and, if well-executed, blogs draw crowds and the attention of search engines.
Whether starting out with a new domain name, or a domain that’s been around for a decade, you can rank your blog on Google if you just do what Google wants you to do. So here are 25/50 tips to get your blog ranked by the world’s biggest SE.
50. Build your own or move to WordPress. WordPress is a blog platform that’s open source (free), robust, extensible and easy to use. Add Feedburner, which equips site owners to broadcast RSS feeds and develop user metrics. Next, synch up Google Analytics and a sitemap plug-in to simplify populating the blog and developing useful, actionable metrics. Also, make sure your blog is pinging Technorati and other social media sites like digg.
49. Don’t worry about page rank. PR is highly over-rated as a yardstick of online success. Connectivity within a web community and expansion through content syndication and guest blogging are more critical to building site credibility than page rank. PR will take care of itself over time if you do it right.
48. Make a difference, or at least have a clear purpose. Differentiate your content on every post. Cover lots of editorial ground.
47. Use a conversational tone. Dry, starchy academic writing is strictly for the textbooks. Write words that people “hear” instead of read.
46. Provide a “Tell Your Friends” link on your blog. Birds of a feather do, indeed, flock together. So, if one of your regulars shares an interest in philately, chances are s/he has other friends with an interest in stamp collecting.
45. Study the competition. They’re studying you. Check out SpyFu to do a little undercover work on search analytics employed by competitor sites and their visitors. You can’t touch the content but you can’t copyright an idea, either, so pick up some new paths of thought from others in your site’s arena.
44. Remember SEO basics. Use provocative, keyword-rich title tags, meta keywords and descriptions, and only link to high-quality sites. Never over do it. Keep your posts relevant, natural, accurate and, above all, current.
43. Don’t stuff blog post titles with keywords. It’s a form of keyword stuffing and spiders hate keyword stuffing. The ratio in headlines should be ~40% keywords, ~60% non-keywords.
42. Submit your URL to blog directories. There are “best of the web,” and paid directories, like Yahoo, and free directories like the Open Directory Project. Every directory listing is another link to your site and another way visitors can find you. Just google them to find more.
41. Create blog categories that contain keywords, i.e., Ecommerce, SEO, Affiliates, etc. for use with a “site hosting” or “site design” blog.
40. Content quality counts. Research topics about which target readers want to learn. Write something new, useful and relevant. And don’t forget to regularly update older posts. Things change fast on the web so last year’s “next big thing” is this year’s hackneyed cliché.
39. Vary topics, content length, relevancy and posting times. However, be consistent, as well. Keep blogging. It can take time for a blog to catch the notice of a search engine spider.
38. Get guest bloggers. Add links from their blogs and establish your site’s link community. There are people within your web neighborhood with opinions and good information. Contact them to invite submissions to your blog and your site in general.
37. Don’t use duplicate content. The only duplicate content that appears in your blog posts are quotes, and they should be identified with quotation marks.
36. Call posters by name. If Bob M. from Athens, Georgia, posts to your blog, recognize his contribution with a “Thanks, Bob” at the end of your response.
35. Make friends with other bloggers in your commercial, business or NFP space. Ask to become a guest blogger, or seek endorsements from the “names” within your site sphere.
34. Send a personal note to posters. Not all bloggers have the time to do this but if you can send a personal email thank-you note to a poster, you’ve increased the chances of that poster becoming a member of your site community.
33. Encourage viral link building. Take a stand. Introduce the coming paradigm shift in web commerce, provoke controversy. It sells. Just ask Ann Coulter.
32. Ensure the blog is optimized for Technorarri. Claim your blog, set an avatar and pings, use tags where appropriate and be sure to ping various blog tracking sites.
31. Don’t place ads on your blog, yet. If you feel you must (you’re seeing nice PPC revenues), determine that your site’s HTML is optimized to position those ads at the bottom of each blog page.
30. If your blog isn’t pulling, have the code reproduced so it’s as semantic, accessible and code-to-content optimized as possible. Also, hire a code expert to position content above ads or any other content in the site markup.
29. Ignore Alexa. A lot of new site owners rely on Alexa for site metrics but remember, Alexa is a popularity metric since only Alexa toolbar users contribute data — and that’s a less-than-universal test population.
28. Build credibility. Publishing authorities on your site’s topicality usually does the trick. Once blog credibility is established, identify trends, solve new problems and gradually expand the topic range of your blog.
27. Buy or build a hot blog design and submit it to design galleries. Hire a site/blog designer, or bring your vision to fruition. This enables your blog to appear five or six demographic iterations from your home site, expanding the site’s reach outside the immediate site community. This creates new marketing channels fast.
26. Develop some friendly contacts on social media sites and participate in the community. Ask contacts to promote your blog content. Also ask for contributors. People love to express their opinions.
25. Focus on ranking for three key words or phrases to start. The keywords you select should appear in your HTML title tags and within the site’s content when appropriate. However, watch keyword density levels. Anything above 5% starts to sound like gibberish. 2% to 3% keyword density provides more creative latitude for the content developer, and still lets bots know what the site is about.
24. Only purchase ad links on relevant niche sites. This, by default, limits competitive links and delivers more qualified (knowledgeable and ready-to-purchase) visitors to your site.
23. Participate in your link community. Forum and blog links are ephemeral, lasting a day or two as web fodder, so there’s always the need for more green. Interact by posting to not only drive traffic with the link, but to also pick up another link from a credible site. All good.
22. Publish new content on weekdays. Even search engines need a break. Actually, more people are online Monday through Friday so your latest blog post is still the latest when posted on Monday rather than Sunday. A little thing, for sure, but little things mean a lot online.
21. Write content for various experience levels. For many spaces DIYs are the largest sector. Some readers are just starting out. Others have been at it for years and probably know more than you do, so post blogs to appeal to a broad range of skill sets — from green rookie to wizened old vet.
20. Cite the sources of your content. This adds credibility to your posts. It also provides a trail for a reader interested in learning more about the topic at hand.
19. Focus on contextual relevancy before quantity of links. Connectivity within a market or topic segment has more value than SEO anchor text, at least in the short term.
18. Poll your readers. Everybody’s got an opinion. Provide a platform to let posters and readers vote on a topic related to your site. It doesn’t do any good if you run a retail outlet and poll visitors on who they’d like to see in the White House. Stay on topic.
17. Create surveys. Surveys are more in depth than a poll. One survey you might want to try is one in which buyers rate the services and products you sell. Great marketing information. Consider placing a satisfaction survey somewhere on your site.
16. Write about popular brands or celebrities where possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re blogging short sales in the market or clothing for the over-sized human, celebrity and name brands get picked up by spiders.
15. Find free stuff to give away. Free still works on the web. There’s lots of open source software (OSS), mortgage calculators, real-time stock feeds and other digital goodies that visitors can download free. Free is nice.
14. Answer questions on Google groups and Yahoo Answers. People write in with all sorts of questions, some sure to fall within your area of expertise. By signing on as an authority in a field (your arena) you build credibility. Plus, it’s fun helping others from the comfort of your own work station.
13. Add imagery and video content to your posts. A picture is worth a thousand web words. Charts and graphs simplify complex information and don’t take up a lot of room. If you aren’t an artist, create a relationship with a freelancer. Never use clip art.
12. Use QA sessions in your blog. You’re the expert. Also, invite guest bloggers to handle questions beyond your skill set. Helpful, simple advice keeps visitors coming back and makes you a guru.
11. Syndicate content outside of your blog. Every site owner needs content. Fortunately, there’s plenty of it free for the taking. Sites like Helium, Ezine and Go Articles are content supermarkets. Post your piece and pick up non-reciprocal, in-bound links for your effort. Content syndication increases link popularity.
10. Direct (future) page rank efforts to well-optimized content on your home site. Don’t direct visitors and bots to the garbage bin of out-dated content stored in the site’s archives. Point them to the new news.
9. Update or create a Wikipedia page and link to your site. Another means of establishing yourself as an authority. Just make sure the Wiki piece is accurate, well written and typo-free.
8. Submit industry or topical news to general news sites. Not just industry related sites. If a small oil and gas company brings in a gusher, it’s of broader interest than to just industry insiders. Also adds credibility and another link.
7. Deep links or links to sub-pages are vital. There’s a tendency to link from a remote site to your home page. Not necessarily the best strategy. Consider linking to pages deeper in the site – pages related directly to your blog post. This way, visitors are in your site and less likely to bounce.
6. Respond to comments in your blog. This accomplishes three important objectives: (1) it shows that there’s a human behind the blog; (2) it gives you a chance to show your expertise; and (3) you can lead the thread in a new direction or keep the discussion going. Oh, it’s also the polite thing to do, as well.
5. Cross link your posts. Link amongst your related blog posts using the keywords you’re optimizing your blog for as the anchor text.
4. Get linked alongside related blogs on other sites. You can contact the blog administrator to swap links, you can become a regular guest blogger if your writing is good enough or your knowledge extensive. Niche sites are great for building blog links networks.
3. Bait your blog. Post unconventional and controversial articles to create lengthy threads that, in turn, create site stickiness.
2. Be consistent into month two. Keep the tone, style and topicality of your blog consistent for the first two months until spiders get it. Then, you can branch out to peripheral topics to expand reader interest.
1. Network offline. Helpful networking tools include LinkedIn, MeetUp and MyBlogLog. These sites provide real world contacts to simplify and streamline the process of networking. They’re also useful in building beneficial online relationships – not to be overlooked. Also reach out using conferences that are available in your area and abroad.
The keys to building a successful, well-tended blog run the gamut from good content to good contacts, and from credibility to controversy. There are lots of ways to expand your blog community and develop quality rankings at the same time
Once you’ve got all of this down your next steps are to begin monetizing your site.