In the second part of our three-part series on the What, How and Why of SEO and how it relates to your blog, we’ll be exploring why your blog needs SEO (you can find the first post SEO For Bloggers: A Basic Explanation here).
The reasons for writing a blog are varied, from sharing your knowledge to earning income, but they all depend on attracting, maintaining and growing an audience. You can have a blog filled with great writing and information, but if no one reads it, all you have is a diary.
The Importance of SEO
Now for some sobering facts. At any given time there are approximately 164 million blogs in circulation, yet 80% of those stagnate with readership numbers of less than a thousand, and many with, as the industry maxim goes, readerships of one.
A common process with bloggers, especially when starting out, is to pump out content, a “build it and they will come” approach. This is pointless and an approach that will only dishearten your efforts in building a loyal readership. If you weren’t attracting readers with five blog posts, what makes you think writing ten more will change anything?
So how do you increase your readership base? Well, promotion is the key, along with the ability of your blog to be found. That’s where SEO comes in.
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the process used to write and structure your blog in such a way as to raise your search engine rankings. When done correctly it means more people finding and reading your blog. Here’s why:
SEO Is Cost-Effective Marketing
In the search for more readers, many blog owners resort to advertising on social media or paying for ads on other blogs. This approach will usually cost you money. Typically, not what a blogger wants. Utilise the power of SEO to:
- Accurately pinpoint your audience – achieving better results than ads
- Save money by researching and writing your own campaign
- Customise your SEO campaigns to target exactly the type of reader you want visiting your blog
- Increase Return-On-Investment with custom marketing using SEO techniques and keyword analysis
Be Searched. Be Found.
Readers looking for blogs like yours have a great way to find them, and that is using search engines. Google and the like are this generation’s phone books, handy ways to look up any business or entity to find out where to contact them. Google does its part by sending out its robot (Googlebot) to crawl your site, searching for relevant information. It then uses this information to catalogue the individual pages. The closer your blog posts come to answering reader’s questions, the more likely they are to rank high.
Search engine optimisation is just that: optimising your page to get the best possible rankings for a given search phrase. By following simple SEO principles, traffic from Google and other search engines can grow quickly. Even tweaking small details, such as making filenames descriptive instead of image009.jpg can help posts rank higher.
A Better Reader Experience
Structuring your blog posts with SEO in mind makes for a much better reader experience. Informative, entertaining, and succinct posts will keep readers returning and help build a loyal following. Other points to follow that create a superior reader experience are:
- Focus each post on a single key phrase group, to avoid posts wandering off topic
- Make your site uniform across all pages to appear more professional
- Compress your images to ensure faster load times
- Match all page and image titles to relate to the page content
- Links on your pages should only lead to legitimate, relevant posts and sites
Roll With The Changes
SEO is in a constant state of flux. Every time you think it is perfect, a Google update can upset the balance. The regular updates that Google conducts means your SEO must be a dynamic process to maintain high rankings. Keep abreast of Google and its various updates and tweak your site accordingly. Evolving your SEO will ensure you continue to deliver quality posts to your readers.
Leading The Competition
If you have competition in your niche that you’re eager to overtake, SEO is one of the simplest ways to do it. This works especially well if your competitor has poor quality search engine optimisation. They may have a greater budget or more time to work on their site, but if their pages aren’t optimised as well as yours, you will hold the SEO advantage. That means a greater opportunity for your site to rise in the rankings with a potential drop for the competition.
A simple, successful search can lead a vast amount of readership to your blog. To be searched and found entails you spending some time understanding and implementing an SEO strategy that makes your blog easier to discover. You want your blog to stand out from your competition, increasing your readership base and offering you the chance to monetise your blog. SEO is a powerful tool that can leverage your efforts for great returns.
Jim Stewart, CEO of StewArt Media, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.