Welcome to the 5th week on how to get more blog traffic. In this series we discuss specific methods to skyrocket your blog traffic stats. If you’ve missed anything I recommend checking out the directory to the ”Get more Blog Traffic Blueprint”
Today I want to talk about SEO – Specifically those on-page factors that help improve your rankings in the search engines. I make no claims at being an SEO Guru. In fact many of the self-proclaimed “gurus” out there are not really gurus. Everyone is “sure” what SEO works best and many of the best methods are not always backed up with facts.
The Importance of Keywords
There is little doubt that keywords are the BIGGEST factor for on page SEO. I will delve much farther into keywords and keyword research in an article later in the series. To “cut to the chase,” make sure that every article at least has a main keyword it is geared to with a keyword density of about 2-5%. Also make sure that (if possible) the keyword is in the title, and REGARDLESS that the keyword is used in the “slug”.
Anchor text is essential for off page SEO. It is not AS important for on page SEO, but it still has a place. If you are linking to other internal pages try to utilize keywords for pages you are linking to. If you are linking to another URL try to utilize keywords for you are trying to rank for on your page. NEVER use anchor text like “Click Here. “
Use Keyword-Rich URLs
Most people understand the importance of title and URL. Having an attention grabbing title is a very important factor for posts. If a title is not interesting to the reader chances are the reader will go no further into the article. When possible there is SEO benefits in using the keywords in the article title, preferably as early as possible. If you sacrifice keywords in the title for the sake of a good title (which is perfectly acceptable) make sure you DO include the keywords in the URL “slug”.
Slug (title tag):
A Slug has nothing to do with the invertebrate critter that leaves a trail of slime. The “slug” for a webpage is what is the second half of the “permalink” that is seen in the URL. For instance in this article the permalink is: http://www.stevescottsite.com/get-more-Blog-Traffic-week -5. The “slug” in this is: “get-more-blog-traffic-week-5”. It is not always the same as the title. It should actually often NOT be the same as the title.
A title is meant to engage readers. Your slug should engage reader AND be more SEO compliant. Default Word Press creates the permalink as your site name plus title of the article. This is something you will often desire to at least edit slightly. Readers AND search engines should see the main keywords in the slug. You will want to take fluff words and connecting words out of your title to ensure they get seen. For my example, I simply took out the word “blueprint”.
What to do with the URL Slug:
1. Take “fluff” words out of your title.
2. Take out wasted, “connector” words. (the, that, what, when, where, is, in, if, I, about, who …etc)
3. Make sure main keywords are in slug if not already in title.
4. Do not have a “huge” slug. Try to limit it to 3-5 words.
Editing your slug in WordPress is easy. When you make your article, right beneath the article title is the permalink. Hit the “edit” button and input the desired phrase.
Check your Site Load Speed:
I am sure you’ve heard it before, but speed is a very important factor for SEO. Visitors are not going to like waiting for pages to open. Google also has a problem with slow loading sites; it doesn’t like them. You need to take a hard look at your site.
1) Remove unneeded add on’s and plugins
2) Keep images as small as possible
3) Take the steps necessary to get your site load speed as fast as possible.
There is no reason to rehash the “how’s and whys,” let’s simply go over some practical ways to increase site load speed.
The first thing you need for site speed is a benchmark to know WHAT your actual site speed is. Here are a couple of places you can check out site speed:
1) In Google Webmaster Tools there is a section under “site performance” that shows speeds of locations around the world for your site.
2) In addition to checking it out your speed on Webmaster Tools there is another site that everyone should check: WebPagetest. This site is awesome. It gives your waterfall views of site load times for specific location and formats. If you get an “F” for an area; you know what has to be worked on.
Once you have an idea of what your speed is try to see what you can do to decrease your blog load time. Here are some useful tools to add to your WP to increase your blog load speed:
Images and videos:
Images and videos can make a page a lot more interesting. They can also make the load speed of your site a lot slower. Attempt to place videos on article pages rather than on your website. Crop pictures and ensure the photos are small as possible.
Use Proper Headline Tags
Headline tags are the tags that are used to bold and enlarge sections and titles. Your “Title” should always be an H1 tag and hopefully include your primary keywords. Other section titles should be H2 and H3 tags and contain primary or secondary keywords and key phrases without resorting to “spammy” use of keywords.
Embed Keywords in Images
For speed purposes images can slow down a site. That does not mean they are worthless. They can certainly be aesthetically pleasing and increase reader enjoyment. More importantly they are a chance to use a keyword.
One important thing to know is what Google sees. When Google views your image they do not see the images itself or have any idea what it is. They know it by the alt tag. Title pictures with a useful title, but make sure the Alt text has descriptive phrases AND a use of one of the most relevant keywords or key phrases. One word of caution: resist the urge to “keyword stuff” these alt image tags. Like anything else if Google feels you are “keyword stuffing” they are as likely to penalize you as anything else.
Write Awesome Content
We have already discussed content for blog traffic so I will not go deeply here. One thing must be mentioned, the first paragraph. Keywords should be mentioned here at least one time. If possible, use the primary keywords once in the opening sentence and once somewhere else in the opening paragraph.
A WP add on like, “All-in-one-SEO-pack” will add a Meta description for you. Often this is good enough. Usually it takes the description from your first paragraph. When you post see what that meta description looks like. The first few lines will be what the user sees in Google search results, with keywords highlighted.
If for some reason there is an intro that does NOT have keywords and all pertinent information in it, make sure this is changed for meta description. The more tailored this is to what the user is looking for the better CTR will be from the Google search results page, thereby increasing blog traffic.
Well, I will admit this was a little dry and boring week of training. It is important stuff, though. The good side is that once you get these steps down they are not hard to implement.
YOUR Goal for This Week
In the next seven days, I want you to check out your site speed. Get a bench mark speed. Do what you can to decrease the size of images (cropping etc.) Take a hard look at your WordPress plug-ins and install and test the plugin’s to lower your site speed. Ideally site load speed should be under 4-5 seconds. The faster the better.Take Action. Get Results.