Getting traffic to your website is probably one of the biggest challenges of bloggers and business owners trying to make it online. Traffic brings readers, potential clients, and sales.
One of the most valuable steps for getting traffic is search engine optimization (SEO). Once you’re site is optimized, it will rank higher in the search engines, allowing more people to find you.
This is crucial for any blogger or business owner who intends to survive and thrive online.
That’s why I focus on SEO a lot here on the blog.
Today, I’m sharing the best ways to optimize your website and get more traffic.
Improve SEO & Get More Traffic in 5 Simple Steps
1. Back links. This is probably THE most important step you can take to improve SEO on your site. This is because Google assigns a rank to each website in their search results based on the number and reputation of the websites “talking” about them (sites linking to yours).
The types of links and number of reputable sites that link to you helps Google to determine your site’s authenticity and trustworthiness, which in turn, helps them to determine your pagerank.
There are many ways that you can create back links to your blog. Guest posts, infographics and images with a text link back to your site, comments, forums, directories and social profiles with links back to your blog, all create back links.
This is why it’s important to link to your blog in as many places on the web as possible. High traffic sites with a greater page rank than yours are a great target, since they often pass “link juice” onto your blog and boost your pagerank.
Rather than guest posting on many peer-level blogs, shoot for several high-quality guest posts on much higher ranking websites or blogs within your niche.
2. Anchor Text & Internal Links. To help yourself rank higher for specific search terms or phrases, add anchor text and internal links to every post. If you haven’t heard of anchor text before, they are text links that contain keywords or phrases related to a specific topic or post on your blog. Internal links that use keywords are called anchor text links.
Not only are they helpful for your readers, who may be interested in reading more on a specific topic and can easily click over to another related post, but internal links with anchor text also help to improve SEO because Google crawls and indexes every link on your site. This makes including keywords and anchor text in your links extremely important.
Example of anchor text:
In the example above, you’ll notice that I used specific search terms in the text of my links. This is known as anchor text. In order to get the most out of your anchor text, you’ll want to use search terms that you’ve already researched with the Google Keyword Tool and which fit the topic of the post on your blog that you are linking up to.
A good rule of thumb is to have two to three anchor text links in each post, that link up to other posts on your blog. If you have a second blog, linking the two together through anchor text is a great option too, since external links are rated higher by Google. Regardless of what sites you link to though, the main point is to get links on your site that include anchor text (keywords) that relate to your niche, so that when Google crawls them, it sees you as an influencer on this topic. Getting used to adding anchor text to every post may take a bit of practice (and time), but it’s well worth the effort.
3. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords. Keywords are super important. To improve SEO, every single post should have a keyword or phrase (research: long tail keywords) that will be repeated throughout the post. This is so critical, since search engines rank your blog by crawling it for keywords. The more searchable keywords you have, the better.
I’ve seen some people go overboard with this and have so many keywords repeated in a post, that it almost sounds robotic. This isn’t a good idea, since the main point in having a blog or website is to get visitors’ eyes on it. Content that reads like this surely won’t keeps eyes on your site for very long, so there really has to be a balance. And besides being annoying, you can also be docked by search engines for “keyword stuffing,” so it’s best to place keywords strategically. Quality over quantity!
As I mentioned above, I think 1-3 keyword instances with the content of each post is fair. If your posts are longer (over 1,000 words), adding a couple more might be necessary.
Highlighting keywords and phrases with bold and italic fonts also helps, since search engines crawl your post for the most important text (Ex. bold, italics, headings, images, links).
Here are some tips for adding keywords to your posts and these ones are known by many SEO specialists to produce the best results. To improve SEO the most, you should have your keyword or phrase in at least these four places within each post:
- You must have the keyword/phrase in your title.
- Keyword/phrase should be in 2-3 headings within the post, preferably in one of each, H1, H2 and H3 headings.
- Your keyword/phrase must appear at least 1-3 times within the post content. Adding your keywords to the first and last sentence of the post also helps to improve SEO.
- Add your keyword/phrase to your ALT tags on all images. I even save the image with a keyword/phrase as it’s title so that the url reflects that phrase when I upload. URLs with keywords are Google’s best friends. ;)
You should also include keyword rich phrases in your blog pages (not just in your posts!) in the same way for a higher keyword density and better search engine ranking.
Remember to use anchor text and internal links to connect your posts and pages to each other. This can give you and added boost in your SEO, plus makes it easier for readers to navigate your site and find what they’re looking for.
Be sure to also choose terms that have low competition, so that you can insure a high ranking on Google for those specific terms. Check often to see where you rank and keep adding anchor text and keywords for that term until you’re post is on page one for your desired search results.
Another useful practice is to include anchor text in your social profiles. Instead of linking to your URL (Ex. ChantillyPatino.com), trying linking to your blog with keyword rich anchor text (Ex. SEO Tips). When possible, make sure that your bio on your social profiles includes a link to your blog with anchor text/keywords.
Always include relevant search terms and hashtags to help visitors to your social profiles understand what topics you write about and ultimately, make your profiles more searchable. This is also a practice that you can use in your blogger bio for guest posts, in order to get some external link juice. Some websites don’t allow anchor text in your bios, but smaller websites and blogs often don’t mind at all. Take advantage of this and include anchor text instead of a url link when possible.
4. Stick to your Niche. One of the best ways to be sure that your site is fully optimized, is to publish new posts frequently that discuss the same topics and use the same keywords again and again. When creating categories and tags, be sure that they are relevant to your niche and that the search terms that you know will bring traffic to your blog. Write about these categories often and include the same keywords in all of those posts. Try to stick to just 5 or 6 categories for your site and blog about them often. This is great for SEO and it also helps to establish you as an authority on those topics.
The best way to improve SEO is by using the same terms again and again. Remember, your goal is to have a higher keyword density + more useful content than the other people trying to rank for that particular keyword.
An easy way to get started with this, is by publishing a series about a specific topic (Ex. 5 separate posts in a matter of a week or two that are all about the same topic, “How to Save Money on Black Friday Shopping” or “The Best Mexican Restaurants in Los Angeles.”
The more you stick to your niche and keep using the same search terms and anchor text in your posts, the higher you will rank in those particular searches. Again, remember to stick to terms with low competition and higher views, maybe between 10,000 and 80,000 monthly searches at first. This can help guarantee that fewer sites are optimizing for those terms, which means low competition and a better ranking.
5. Publish Unique Content. This is one that many bloggers forget. Many times, I’ve seen websites and blogs re-publish a good percentage of their content.
Unfortunately, this is not good for your site’s SEO. It’s not necessarily bad, but something that should be done in moderation because if there is too much repeat content on your site, Google will dock your ranking. Now, that’s not to say that you should NEVER re-publish. That would be almost impossible and for many of us, we also know that building bonds with other bloggers by sharing some of their most valuable content is a win, win for both sides.
To be sure that you’re not multiplying duplicate content, set your duplicate post to ‘no-index’ or change the title, headings, image alt tags and alter the first and last paragraph of the post that will be republished.
These changes can also help to keep syndicated content in line with the other site’s branded style and make the transition between posts a smooth one for readers. The plus is that it can also help to make this content more unique for search engines, which means that you won’t have to ‘no-index’ it and lose valuable search engine traffic.
It’s also a good practice for bloggers who may want to share a post and rank on another site for a seperate search term.
For example, on your blog, you may rank well for ‘homeschooling mom’, but want to rank higher for ‘homeschooling lesson plans’. You have the option to alter and optimize your syndicated/repeat content for the purpose of ranking for this term on another site that could potentially give you more exposure and better backlinks.
Did you know that permalinks can also improve SEO?
Learn how to create ‘pretty urls‘ with keywords and phrases that can help you get more traffic to your blog.