This article is guest posted by Shaun Connell.
I’ve been professionally blogging for a little over a year now. In June of 2009, I was working full-time on my blogs for the first time. Whenever people ask me what the key to me going full-time was, I always give them the same answer: passive search engine traffic.
Search engine traffic is, for the most part, consistent and passive. Once you get about a thousand visitors per day, you’ll get about a thousand visitors per day. Every day. Whether you post or not. Search traffic is also valuable traffic — searchers are more likely to click advertisements, buy products, subscribe to newsletters — they’re more likely to make money.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a common myth in internet marketing and blogging circles that implies that you have to choose between making your readers happy and making Google send more traffic your way. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are a few ways to increase search traffic without ticking off your readers.
User-Friendly Ways to Increase Search Traffic
- Keyword Titles. My favorite method for writing titles is to put the keyword at first, and then a normal title afterwards. For example, this post is called “SEO Blogging Tips: How to Rank Well Without Losing Readers.” The obvious first two words are keyword titles. Doing this means the keyword is still in the title first thing, and yet the title is still easy to read.
- Link Building. Link building is the crux of search traffic. If you have a lot of links, you’ll have a lot of search traffic. It’s unavoidable. And your readers will never notice it. Try to manually build at least 5 links per week through article marketing and guest post writing. It’ll pay off in the end, I promise.
- Internal Linking. Internal linking is probably one of the most underused SEO tactics by bloggers. If you have a few pages you’re trying to get ranked on Google, link to them constantly in your own pages. I have a set of nearly 10 posts on every one of my websites that I link to from most of my new posts. This insures that Google and other search engines realize those are the most important and desirable posts on the website — giving them more authority. There are plugins that make internal linking almost automatic.
- SEO-Friendly Sidebar. Your sidebar is an important place to link to your most important SEO pages. Have a special widget that links to your most important articles, and use only keywords for the links. This helps with internal linking, and insures that every page links to the important pages.
- Search-Only Ads. While this isn’t technically a tactic for getting search traffic, it’s certainly a tactic for monetizing search traffic better. Find a way to make advertisements show only for search-engine visitors — this means you don’t upset your regular readers with too many ads, and can still profit from the easily monetized search traffic. Have your cake and eat it too.
A 6-Month Case Study
I decided to launch a case study to see how fast I could get a website to the top of search rankings for a competitive keyword without sacrificing the user experience of the blog. I registered a domain about gold coins (the most popular way to buy gold for small-time/private investors) and began to follow the steps listed above.
I uploaded an article every day that targeted a keyword. I made the content user-friendly. I did the SEO-friendly sidebar, internal linking, and consistently built at least 3 real links every day. That was it. Nothing else.
Within six months the website ranks top 10 results on Google for “gold coins” — an extremely competitive topic that takes on almost every gold dealer in the nation, including hundred-million dollar companies. The site is also on page 3 of Google for just the keyword “gold”, which is effectually taking on every major investing, financial, economic, and news site on the Internet — almost every major money-related website has a section on their site about gold.
But the rankings didn’t happen because of any “guru” powers or “secrets” or any complicated positive-thinking philosophy. It happened because I followed the simple SEO blogging tips above. Content, internal linking, links = success. It’s literally that simple.
What other SEO blogging tips do you have to share?
About the Author: Shaun Connell is a full-time blogger and runs over 6 blogs, including a financial planning blog where he teaches readers everything from getting out of debt to learning how to make money online.