secrets to making your blog a traffic magnet

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A list of tips and suggestions to increase viewership to your blog. Includes basic lessons in search engine optimization and social media marketing.

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Secrets to Turning Your Blog Into a Traffic MagnetPresented by Lorie HustonSocial Media Savvy PetsPet Health Care Gazette

Why Blog?

Blogging gives you a space which you own. No one can take it away from you.Blogging can give you a search engine optimization advantage that a static website cannot.Social media sites change over time. Remember MySpace? What if Facebook disappears? Or Twitter?Advantages of Blogging

Updating a business blog just once a week increases leads by 77%.

Is Blogging Dying?158 million blogs in existence according to Technorati.70 million Wordpress blogs (Source: http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/01/17/internet-2011-in-numbers/ )Decide for yourself!

Principles of Attracting TrafficFind new traffic, new visitorsKeep people on site once thereEncourage return traffic

Finding New TrafficSEO (search engine optimization)Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, etc.)SEO and Social Media Work Together!Understand Google Snippets and How to Control ThemGuest posting/providing content for other outletsUse Google Author MarkupOffer a Mobile Platform

Image Credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr.com

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Organic search listings versus paid listingsOrganic listings determined by Google based on relevance to search inquiry, free listingsPaid listings Google adwords, choose keywords, place bid, higher bids placed near top, pay per click.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Add new content regularly. Ideally, every day. Minimum, once weekly. Must work within your schedule. Sites with fresh content get crawled more frequently.Site loading time is part of algorithm.Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to locate keyword phrases. Choose phrases that are not too competitive but have moderate to large search numbers.

SEO (cont.)Choose keyword phrases that readers will search for. Dont use keywords that are too broad stay focused.Use keyword phrases that fit naturally into text of post. Write for reader, not search engines!Dont overdo the use of keywords and keyword phrases. Can be interpreted as stuffing by search engines.

SEO (cont.)Use keyword phrases in strategic locations throughout blog post:TitleIn URL Subheadings (use h2, h3 tags)Near beginning of postScattered throughout text of postIn alt text for photosIn captions for photosIn hyperlink anchor text

SEO (cont.)Take the time to create a killer title. (Short, descriptive, use keywords, evoke emotions)Create evergreen content. Write pillar posts that are well-optimized.Find out what your readers want and provide it! Can you solve a problem? Answer a commonly asked question? Entertain?

SEO (cont.)Take advantage of metatags:Meta Title - 70 characters or less, appears at top of browser and as headline in search resultsMeta Description 150 characters (roughly) or less, make description interesting and/or action oriented and give readers a reason to click through to post, may appear in search engine resultsUse keywords/keyword phrases in both meta title and meta description

SEO (cont.)Meta Keyword field no longer used by search engines, can help to focus post thoughMeta title and meta description should be different for each page. Each page should have a different focus. SEO All in One Pack Wordpress plugin

SEO (cont.)Types of Links:Inbound links links coming into your site from other sitesOutbounds links links from your blog to other sitesInternal links - links from one page or post to another within your blog or website

SEO (cont.)Create inbound links to your blog by:Guest posting (add link to blog in bio)Commenting on other blogsAnswering questions on forumsAdding links to your profiles on social media sitesAdding valuable content to blog that others will want to share by linkingClaim your site on Technorati and submit to ODP (Open Directory Project) (dmoz.org)

SEO (cont.)Avoid:Paid links, even to high Page Rank (PR) sitesThree way linksIrrelevant links

SEO (cont.)Site Map:Allows search engine bots to crawl your site easilyUse Google site mapsInstructions available through Google Webmaster ToolsEasiest is to submit RSS feed as sitemap

SEO White Hat Vs Black HatSEO is not spam. However, there are best practices that should be followed when utilizing SEO. These are white hat tactics. Black hat SEO are methods of cheating; ways to game Google (and other search engines.) Beware! Black hat SEO willget your site barred from Google. Black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, invisible text,doorway pages (pages that visitors never see that arecreated solely for search engines.)

Most Popular Social Media 107 trillion emails sent last year (Source: http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/01/17/internet-2011-in-numbers/ )Facebook has more than 900 million users (Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/254386/facebook_nears_a_billion_members_fun_facts.html)Pinterest is closing in on 15 million users (Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/11/pinterest-stats/ )Three billion videos streamedon YouTube every day. More video uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major US networks created in 60 years. (Source: http://www.youtube.com/t/press)225 million Twitter accounts, 100 million active Twitter users last year (Source: http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/01/17/internet-2011-in-numbers/ )

Social Media Experiment Conducted by

Social Media Tips and TricksDont hard sell. Start conversations. Answer questions. Provide information. Make friends.Monitor stats. Determine best times to post, try different types of posts. Use Facebook insights. Tweriod.com for Twitter.Add keywords to social media profiles. Social media profiles are searchable. Keep up-to-date with changes in social media.Use WooBox to add Facebook Tab/App with link to blog.

Social Media Tips and Tricks (cont.)Dont be overwhelmed by social media. Dont feel obligated to maintain a presence on all outlets. Most likely to be useful = Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTubeLinkedIn works well for networking with colleagues and peers. Good for B2B.Recommend Google Plus profile even if not actively promoting on Google Plus to take advantage of Google Author MarkupFind out where your audience is take poll of customers/clients if business

Social Media Tips and Tricks (cont.)Dont be afraid to ask readers to RT or share your post. Be sure youre not only promoting yourself. RT or share other content. Join in conversations.Integrate social media into your blog by adding share buttons and follow icons.Consider adding a Facebook like box and/or Twitter stream to your sidebar.

Google SnippetsTitle What you set for the title of your site or post. (Good reason to optimize!)Snippet is directly below title.

Google Snippets (cont.)Webmaster has fair amount but not total control over what shows up in a snippet.Can come from ODP (Open Directory Project), from meta description, a place within the page.Google often (not always) uses meta description tag as snippet. Can experiment with different meta descriptions to compare click thru rates.Plus box can show stock rates, maps (address), other interesting data on site.Site Links no money involved. Lists individual pages like Store Locator, About, Contact, etc. Not done for all sites.Sometimes shows More Results from query also.

Guest Posting on Other BlogsAdd link to your blog in bio. Add links to relevant posts on your blog in text of guest post. Ask webmaster first if allowed. Introduces you to a new group of people, some of which will follow you to your blog.Makes your name more recognizable. Become the go-toauthority in your field.Also has SEO benefits.

Guest Posting on Your SiteIncreases the authority of your site, depending on the reputation of the guest blogger.Introduces new audience to your site as people follow the guest blogger to see what he/she has to say on your blog.Build relationshipsUnderstand the difference between guest posting and article marketing

Writing for Other OutletsOther outlets may be online magazines or publications, offline magazines or publications, newsletters, content sitesInclude link to your blog in bioArticle marketing: Use cautiously may create irrelevant links, lots of duplicate content. Be especially careful of sites that spin articles.Content sites: Many were affected by Googles Panda algorithm change

Google Author MarkupConnects your Google Plus profile to your website/blog content thru an author pageMakes search engine content stand outInstructions available thru Google Webmaster Tools

Offer a Mobile Platform For WP: Wordpress Mobile Pack350 millionFacebook users log in using their mobile phone.

Keep Visitors on Your SiteEasy to understand navigationAttractive websiteEasy to read blog posts Include links to related posts when possibleSite loading timeWrite a series of related posts

Website NavigationNavigation menu in sidebar or above/below header.Menu items should have short, clear, easy to understand descriptions.Limit the number of categories in menu.Each category in menu should have at least 8-10 published posts (or more.)Consider adding a Most popular post and/or Most commented post feature in sidebar.Dont forget About, Contact pages. Also Services, Hours, Directions if applicable.

Attractive WebsiteUse attractive colors. Professional look.Shouldnt be too crowded or busy. Not too many widgets in sidebars. No busy backgrounds that interfere with reading text. Consider adding a footer.

Make Blog Posts Easy to ReadMake blog posts easy to scan.Write short posts (400-800 words.)Use short paragraphs.Use subheadings.Use bullet points.Use an easy to read font.Dont use a background that makes reading difficult.Use photos and other forms of media (graphs, charts, videos) to add visual appeal.

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