This is a guest post by Christian from Lingo24.
It can seem as if almost everyone is writing a blog these days. The blogosphere is a crowded place, with millions of them competing for readers on the World Wide Web. Making your blog stand out from the crowd is anything but easy. But a little knowledge of SEO and following a few basic rules will give you a head start.
#1: Find keywords
You can have the best product in the world, but if your customers can’t find your website, you’ll have to sell it to your friends and neighbors. And when it comes to being found online, the golden rule is “choose the right keywords.”
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. All too often, people in a specific industry tend to use jargon instead of the language spoken by ordinary customers. Sit down with a colleague or friend and brainstorm which words you think your readers are searching for.
Remember an effective “keyword” might be two or three words, not just one. It often makes sense to target more specific terms. Instead of “books” try “crime fiction” to cut down the number of competitors and give internet visitors interested in this genre a better chance of finding you. You can also make your task easier by using Google Suggest or an online thesaurus to find synonyms or similar phrases.
#2: Shortlist your killer keywords
Once you have several possible keywords, your next step is to figure out which of those are “hotter,” that is, more sought after by the internet visitors who are interested in the item you are offering.
Luckily there are several free tools which can help. One of the best is definitely Wordtracker, a platform which tells you how popular a certain keyword is, and how much competition it will face, that is, how tough it will be for it to rank well on search engines should you use it for your website.
Also, Wordtracker might help you to find a less used term which, unexpectedly, draws a lot of traffic. Another useful assistant in the quest for the perfect keywords is definitely Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Like most Google services it’s easy to use: you just need to type your product in the “Find keywords” box and you’ll be overwhelmed by a long list of possible keywords, together with the competition for each one.
#3: Optimize your pages
At this point you should have a stock of the killer keywords you need. So what do you do with them?
First of all, list them in a hierarchical order based on the number of searches they draw. Then, pick your big shots and match them with the most suitable pages of your website. You will soon find out that some of them fit better than others. For those that don’t fit, you need to carry out a process called keyword optimization, that is adapting your content to the relevant keywords.
This of course includes inserting your keywords as smoothly as possible into the content. But when a keyword doesn’t really fit a page, you either have to make big changes to the content or, if possible, use it on another page.
At the end of this process every page of your website should be linked to at least one keyword, and the main pages should get the big shot keywords.
#4: Tidy up your blog – create categories
If there’s something search engines like, it is a well-organized website. Dividing your posts into well-structured and well-named categories will make your human and robotic readers’ lives much easier. And as a result it will increase your traffic.
#5: Use your lethal weapon – headings with keywords
Not paying attention to headings in a blog post is like writing a novel without chapters.
Headings say in a flash what your post is all about and, if well-crafted, they can be an irresistible attraction for your visitors. But there’s more to it than that. Sticking a keyword in a heading is a smart move because search algorithms are attracted to headings like bees to honey. If they find a keyword there, they’re likely to drive more traffic to your website.
#6: Internal links – make your blog as sticky as glue
All bloggers should pay attention to internal links. The reason is simple: if your readers jump from one post to another, clicking on internal links, it means that they are staying on your site and not going anywhere else. The outcome is an increased number of page views, a better ranking in search engines and greater â€˜stickiness’ for your blog.
Other ways to lock in your reader are: create a site map (for WordPress you can do it using the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin); set up a FAQ section; place links to related posts at the bottom of the page or on the side bar of your posts.
Okay, now you have all the tools you need to start a successful blog. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention, you also need good content!
About the author: Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, one of the world’s fastest growing translation agencies. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 160 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over 60 million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.