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3 - Blogging: Let's Talk About SEO
By now, you should have a blog well-fed with satisfying, juicy content that's meeting the needs of your niche. However, you'll require more traffic to be able to generate any profit from it. Lots more traffic!
How do people search for information? Indeed, with search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo!, to name the most popular ones. In order to get people to visit your blog, you'll need to rank high in their search results. People don't generally look much further than the first couple of pages of search results, unless it's something very specific that they're after. So if your blog is listed on page thirty, then there's more work to do!
Getting your website or blog a high page ranking is called search engine optimization (SEO). It's as complex as it sounds, but don't let that stop you from conquering a few easy techniques to get you good results for certain keywords or keyword phases. Let's take "freshwater aquarium fish" as an example. There are currently over 3.1 million search results on Google. I won't even attempt to beat that, so let's narrow that down to "freshwater aquarium fish care". That gives us the more manageable 963,000 results, so in this instance, let's say we optimize your blog for "freshwater aquarium fish care".
Ideally, when it comes to monetizing your blog, you'll want to optimize for keywords or keyword phrases that get over 10,000 searches a month in a market that's not very competitive. ("Home business ideas and opportunities" for instance, yields over 113 million search results, so you could say that's pretty competitive!) You can download a free keyword suggestion tool from http://www.goodkeywords.com.
We'll start with a simple on-page SEO technique: include the chosen keyword phrase in the title of your blog. "Freshwater Aquarium Fish Care Revealed!" would work very well. The term you're optimizing for should also be contained in your page heading. That's the HTML code enclosed within the h1 and /h1 tags. In a blog, these are usually the post titles, so try to use "freshwater aquarium fish care" as often as possible, where relevant. It's also important that you use it in the body of your posts whenever possible, but be careful not to overdo it! The search engines may think that you're spamming your blog with keywords and lower your ranking dramatically as a result. Just remember that you're blogging for visitors, not for search engines!
Now, let's take a look at factors outside your blog that are of great influence to your search engine rankings (off-page SEO). First and foremost is the number of links to your blog (also called "backlinks"). Generally speaking, the more backlinks you have, the more the search engines will assume that you are an authority on your blog topic and the higher they will rank your blog in their search results. However, please ensure that your backlinks are relevant. Hundreds of online dating links are not relevant if you're blogging about freshwater aquarium fish care. On the other hand, a single link from an authoritative site about freshwater aquarium fish will get the search engines crawling about your blog like spiders in "Arachnophobia"...
The most cost effective way to get high quality links from other sites is simply to ask for it. Presuming that your blog contains high quality, original content, then you stand a good chance of getting webmasters to include a link to your blog on their sites or even to write about you. Aim at community-based sites and other blogs, rather than commercial sites. Just send them an email, but state that you were "looking for information on aquarium fish" and not "looking for link partners". Mention how you think their site provides valuable insight, how your visitors would benefit from their information and that you have put their link on your blog and ask whether they'd be open to doing the same with your link on their site. Do this with at least 30 suitable sites and you should soon have a healthy number of backlinks. However, don't be surprised if some webmasters don't respond to your email at all. Just remove their links from your site and move on.
It's also possible to automate your link building with link exchange services such as http://www.linkmetro.com.
Because many individual blog posts are time-sensitive, it's recommended that you get all the backlinks to point to your main page. The text of the link (known as anchor text) is also of great importance. Anchor text containing "freshwater aquarium fish care" will greatly boost your SEO rankings for that keyword phrase, so keep this in mind when you're requesting backlinks from other webmasters.
Getting high-quality backlinks to your blog will help attract more targeted visitors, enable the search engines to find and index your blog and ultimately allow you to rank higher in search engine results.
Copyright 2006 Chonticha Marijne
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