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Increase Traffic to Your Blog from Search Engines – The Top 5 Tips
Blogs already have optimized site architecture. Most are set up with a clear navigation, where every page is set up to link back to the other main pages. They also have the inherent potential to be well-linked.
If you haven’t already submitted to blog directories, you are missing out on some great one-way links. Many of the top directories can be found on Robin Good’s Top 55 list at MasterNewMedia.org.
But before you head over there and start submitting, you should know a little about how to optimize your blog. Then your new listings can help your site get the best keyword placement in the major search engines. These are my top five tips for lucrative blog search engine optimization.
Lucrative Blog SEO Tip #1: Lucrative Keyword Choices
You have a choice. You can target a general high traffic keyword you have little chance of ranking well for and get barely any traffic.
Or you can shoot for a keyword that gets a moderate level of targeted traffic resulting in more subscribers and sales. I like to call this a “lucrative keyword”.
Whatever you call them, here’s the most important thing: They may not get you the most traffic, but they often bring the most profit.
You may be surprised to learn that there isn’t always a correlation between high traffic and high sales. Many of the most profitable sites in the world get moderate traffic because their lucrative keywords result in a much higher ratio of visitors to buyers.
A recent article in Information Week stated that the highest conversion rates from search engine traffic comes from people who do four word queries.
The great thing about your blog is that it can get so well-indexed that you have the potential to show up for any number of four word phrases that are relevant to your industry.
It isn’t just the four word phrases that get converting traffic – there are two and three word phrases that can bring you traffic and sales.
Targeting your blog discussion to a two or three word phrase that has a high yield of traffic, and yet has little competition, is not a dream of past Internet days. Another recent study revealed that surprisingly high percentages of search engine queries debuted as late as 2004.
As long as there are new developments, new products, services and trends, you’ll never have a shortage of these terms if you learn how to discover them.
Lucrative Blog SEO Tip #2: Keyword Placement
Your blog can be set up to repeat the keywords that you want to target just enough times to establish a theme.
Lucrative Blog SEO Tip #3: Timely Posting
Instead of pinging at 15 minute intervals when your site hasn’t been updated, or even pinging after every single post, you can actually get better results if you update or ping just once during one of three sweet spots in the day. Here’s one that you can use today.
Check your web site statistics. If you’re getting spidered every two weeks or even monthly, you can increase your number of spider visits by blogging on the anniversary of the period that the spider comes to your site. It takes a bit of monitoring, but you can often predict when the date of your last spider visit was.
An even faster way is to ping at a time when the spider is reading a page that carries your update. (This is a little harder to explain, as I’ve mentioned, but I have a resource that explains this process in-depth at my site.)
Lucrative Blog SEO Tip #4: Get Linked
Turn on your site feed(s) and use them to promote your blog. Robin Good’s guide can get you some great one way links.
If you sparingly include the lucrative keyword you selected in tip two in your title and description, all those link backs will contain the keyword term you most want attention for, which is often noted by the spiders as they follow the link through to your site.
Once there, if you use these and other tips to skew your blog a little more to the search-engine-friendly side, the synergistic effect is better, more profitable traffic.
Lucrative Blog SEO Tip #4: Frequent Updates
The more you post, the more food for the spider, which can cause the spider to react by splitting up its job into several visits, whereupon you have even more content, and so on, until the spider just adds you to a more frequent schedule of returns.
For example, my main site gets spidered several times daily by Google, and yet I can go a week without an update with no change in spider visits. This means my pages get indexed more often and my new pages show up faster.
Think of what that could do for the launch of your next product.
Bottom line: A few small changes to your blog can draw more search engine traffic without turning off your blog visitors. Done properly, this gives your audience more of what they were searching for in the first place.
You're reading Increase Traffic To Your Blog From Search Engines – The Top 5 Tips
Blogging has become an industry in itself with many people now making full-time careers from it and companies exploiting blogs as a key way of attracting new business.
As the influence of blogs has increased, it has naturally become more competitive and more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Bloggers are investing huge amounts of time and money into their content, so simply sitting down and publishing some words you wrote in your kitchen is unlikely to cut it these days.
There are too many ways of making a blog successful to cover in one blog post, but there are certainly a more manageable set of things you can do to improve your blog’s performance in search specifically that a surprising amount of bloggers overlook.
If you have a blog that has been built off the back of a great brand and fantastic social media presence, but you haven’t paid too much attention to SEO, then this post is for you.
I’m going to share exactly what we did to more than triple a travel blog’s search traffic over a 12-month period and take them from the tens of thousands of visits per month to the hundreds of thousands.
Our work has focused on technical SEO activity rather than content production or off-site work.
It’s important to highlight that this blog already had a very good presence and lots of good things already going for it, so I wanted to break down the starting points in a bit more detail first before we get into the nitty-gritty of what accelerated the growth.Links
The site already had a very good link profile, with a wide variety of links on strong, top-tier publications like CNN and the Independent, along with lots of links on other blogs they had built relationships with.
I’m not going to go into much detail on how to do this as it warrants its own post, but the key approaches were:
Guest Writing: Writing posts for other blogs or getting featured via interviews etc. This is very easy for bloggers with non-commercial sites and is a very scalable way to develop a good link profile.
PR: Building relationships with journalists or pitching stories to big publications that can gain you links and mentions on very powerful sites.
Other great resources on getting links for your blog:Content
The site has been around a long time so it had accumulated lots of content which was well written and had been edited and targeted with SEO in mind.
As a result, a lot of it was ranking well and bringing traffic to the site and seemingly performing very well.
If you’re just getting started on your blogging journey then populating the site with really good, quality content should be a high priority for you.
You can read more about that at the links below:
So, as I highlighted originally, the key part of our activity that took the site from tens of thousands of visits per month, to hundreds of thousands of visits per month, was technical SEO work.
I’m going to break down all the key elements we addressed below, so if you’re sat with a blog in a similar position to what I’ve described above you can implement these actions to help unleash your blog’s traffic, too.
I’ve prioritized these in a way that I believe has had the biggest impact (with the largest impact first), but this is obviously up for discussion and we can’t be sure what influence each individual action had as these were all implemented on the same timeline.Indexation Issues
A common issue for blogs, especially those that have been around a long time, is having lots of URLs indexed by Google that are not genuine pages and offer no value to users.
These included regular offenders for WordPress sites, such as:
Strange parameter pages getting crawled and indexed.
We crawled the site and identified the patterns behind the key offenders in this area and either noindexed them or updated Search Console to stop Google crawling them.Thin Content
The site had a huge amount of pages with extremely thin content present.
These were basically category pages with a small intro added that were clearly created with SEO in mind to target long-tail phrases.
However, it was done to such a degree that the pages were of extremely low quality and added very little value for a user landing on it.
The potential upside of this kind of page wasn’t enough to warrant the time required to add content to them, so these were either removed or noindexed.Page Speed
When we started work the site’s page speed was extremely poor due to various fonts, large images, caching, and various other issues.
We used some plugins to help improve this, which isn’t the dream solution (building a site more efficiently from the ground up is preferable).
But for bloggers on a tight budget and with limited resources and knowledge, you can still make some significant steps forward.Cannibalization
For some of the site’s key money phrases, there were multiple pages present that were targeting the same topic.
Google was chopping and changing between which of the pages was ranking so it was clear it was unsure which the best choice was. This is usually a good sign of content cannibalization and suggests you should merge those pages into one top quality page.
We did just that, and soon saw the ranking page settle down and ranking performance jump forward significantly and stay there consistently.XML Sitemap
The site had a variety of sitemaps submitted in Search Console, many of which listed URLs which we did not want to be crawled, let alone indexed.
We trimmed this so the sitemaps present only listed URLs with good quality content present so it was much clearer what should be indexed and which content was most important on the site.Aggressive Ads
Advertising is the way most bloggers make their money, so telling them to cut it down is not a popular conversation.Page Structure
An issue we see regularly with blogs and websites in general is that header tags are used for styling rather than structure.
H1, H2, and H3 tags should be used to clearly illustrate the structure of your page so Google can map it on to the phrases it would expect to see mentioned on the topic being covered.
If your site’s headers are being used for styling then get on to your developer and get it changed so you use these elements in a more tactical and optimized way.Internal Linking
We worked closely with the client to clean up internal links and improve how they were being used. This included:
Fixing any dead internal links that were linking to broken pages.
Fixing internal links that took users and bots through redirect chains, so the link pointed directly to the correct destination.
Adding more links to important pages throughout the site.Link Updates
As I mentioned initially, the site had some excellent links that it had established over the years through natural approaches and some more direct efforts.
Some of these more direct efforts involved getting optimized anchor text to key money pages which had been a bit overzealous at times. We believed it was potentially causing the site to be held back from ranking for phrases in that area and for that page in particular.
There were other elements involved too, but those above were the key issues that were wide reaching and causing significant performance issues.
It’s rare to find one silver bullet with technical SEO, but if you chip away at the wide variety of issues that can impact you then you can see some serious improvements.
We also haven’t yet implemented all the recommendations we’ve suggested. One key outstanding one is implementing “hub pages” that guide people into all the key content on a topic.
In travel, this is very much destination focused, and there is a lot of search interest to gain if you create high quality pages for those hubs. This is the key focus to move on to next to help accelerate this site’s progress further, and there is a huge amount of potential in it once implemented.
So if you’re a blogger with lots of great content and links, but you haven’t yet paid any attention to your technical SEO, do it now!
Make sure you aren’t leaving significant amounts of traffic on the table – you may be sitting on huge growth potential. Time to kick into gear!
In-post Images: Created by author, January 2023
Is the White House blocking search engine indexing of government web pages which feature information on the Iraq War?
2600 reports “WHITE HOUSE’S SEARCH ENGINE PRACTICES CAUSE CONCERN”
As the war in Iraq continues, is the White House intentionally preventing search engines from preserving a record of its statements on the conflict? Or, did their staff simply make a technical mistake?
When search engines “spider” the web in search of documents for their indices, web site owners sometimes put a file called chúng tôi which instructs the “spiders” not to index certain files. This can be for policy reasons, if an author does not want his or her pages to appear in search listings, or it can be for technical reasons, for example if a web site is dynamically generated and can not or should not be downloaded in its entirety.
According to reports, though, the White House is requesting that search engines not index certain pages related to Iraq. In addition to stopping searches, this prevents archives like Google’s cache and the Internet Archive from storing copies of pages that may later change. 2600 called the White House to investigate the matter.
According to White House spokesman Jimmy Orr, the blocking of search engines is not an attempt to ensure future revisions will remain undetected. Rather, he explained, they “have an Iraq section [of the website] with a different template than the main site.” Thus, for example, a press release on a meeting between President Bush and “Special Envoy” Bremer is available in the Iraq template (blocked from being indexed by search engines) or the normal White House template (available for indexing by search engines). The attempt, Mr. Orr said, was that when people search, they should not get multiple copies of the same information. Most of the “suspicious” entries in the chúng tôi file do, indeed, appear to have only this effect.
But how do you reach your target audience, especially with your uniquely competitive search results and strict industry regulations for legal businesses?
When it comes to serving legal information to users, Google holds websites like yours to a higher standard of quality and accuracy – there are many considerations to take when creating online content.
As a business that targets clients during some of the most stressful situations of their lives, how do you reach them while they’re actively searching for answers?
How do you create the helpful, informative content they’re looking for without violating the latest search engine policies?
How to succeed in highly competitive search results with content.
How to create a content marketing strategy when people have high-stakes questions.
How to build high-quality content assets.Legal Content Doesn’t Have To Be Boring
Creating exciting and engaging content for fields in a more serious line of work can be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be.
There are some simple steps you can take to improve your law firm’s content strategy and inspire potential clients to reach out.
It’s time for marketers to reinvent the way they look at creating content for a “boring” niche.
Want to learn how to think outside the box and produce compelling messaging that will resonate with your target audience?
This guide has everything you need to know about taking complex legal material and making it more engaging for potential clients.Local SEO For Law Firms
When marketing for law firms, it’s important to get in front of the right users in the right stage of their journey – and that requires a hyper-targeted approach.
Local SEO tactics can be very effective in narrowing down competitive search results for users.
If you want to rank higher on Google, you’ll want to show up in the most relevant results, targeting local searchers.
This ebook will show you how to optimize your law firm’s website and business listings to rank better for local SEO.
Want to learn more about content marketing for legal businesses?
Download your copy and discover how an effective content strategy can make all the difference for your firm!
Earlier this month, marketers from around the world joined the latest LocalU virtual conference, put on by Local University.
The symposium topics were filled with local marketing tips from top experts on everything from handling fake reviews, to SEO forecasting, and more.
Attendees engaged in lively discussions on Twitter throughout each session, highlighting the speakers’ most helpful and tangible tips.
Below are the top takeaways from each speaker and their respective session.1. Write For Customers First and Google Second Charli Hunt, ProofContent
“If you just write content for Google’s algorithm (and not users first), you will be knocked off your top rankings perch.”
Include local identifiers based on what customers are already searching for. Whether that’s neighborhood, county, city, etc.
Create dedicated pages for top FAQs from your customers. This alleviates the need to answer these questions again and again.
Identify your unique selling points (USPs). If you’re unsure of what these are, speak to your customers to help identify them.2. Disputing 1 Illegitimate Review Is Equivalent To 11 Positive Reviews Curtis Boyd, The Transparency Company
It pays off to dispute fake reviews. Illegitimate reviews are harmful to ratings, which is proven to hurt revenue.
Removing legitimate negative reviews is not the goal. Earned reviews are good; purchased reviews are not. Silencing real customers is not good or legitimate. That’s not what this is about.
Your boss should not be asking you to review the company, unless it’s on Glassdoor. The top types of fake reviews are from vendors, business owners, current employees, untruthful customers, and 3rd party and review clusters.
Dispute fake reviews on the mobile app vs. a desktop. Having data to show the reviews are fake have approximately a 380 times greater success rate of being removed.
If you’ve been hit with a negative review cluster, it’s best to work with a Google Product Expert using the GBP Help Forum.3. Work Smarter With Practical Google Data Studio Uses Amanda Jordan, RicketyRoo
With GDS, you’ll spend less time reviewing your data. You can create local SEO reports that are easily digestible not only for you, but for your clients. There are plenty of templates created for you to plug and play with your data.
“Use Data Studio to find and categorize keywords, and find new ways to utilize data they’re providing.”
There are many free connectors with GDS to help integrate your data, such as Google Analytics, BigQuery, Google Sheets, Search Console, and more.
Additionally, there are free tool connectors for GDS, including Ahrefs, ContentKing, DeepCrawl, SEMRush, and more.
Use data controls in Data Studio. They allow you to manipulate data by date, visitor type, device type, and more.4. Be Strategic With Your Spam Fighting Efforts Joy Hawkins, Sterling Sky
The percentage of fake listings varies greatly by industry. Garage Door Repair, Junk Cars, and Personal Injury were the top industries with fake listings.
“87.6% of Garage Door Repair listings were spam. This is incredibly damaging for brands, and why spam-fighting can help legitimate brands.”
Spam fighting is not a long-term strategy, but it is something you should try to pursue. Spam can always come back, and Google doesn’t always enforce all their guidelines.
If there are duplicate listings, don’t delete one. Merging listings can actually help them to rank.
If you are in an industry with moderate amounts of spam listings, then it’s probably worth your time to report.5. We Only Buy From People We Know, Like, and Trust Matthew Hunt, Automation Wolf
It takes 7 hours with 11 different interactions, in 4 different locations to earn the trust of a user, in order to create opportunities to work with and sell to them.
Leverage LinkedIn with short-form content users can discover. Then, create long-form content where there is some sort of interaction (course, webinar, etc.). From there, create a community of trust so users continue to come back to you.
Make sure you have a personal profile, not just a company page. Create a compelling personal headline showcasing who you are and what you do.
The winning formula for a personal headline: Role + Expertise + Value.Noah Learner, Two Octobers
Build your content based on client goals, gathering data, cleaning the data, then creating topics based on this data.
Market what is most profitable for you. Make sure to ask your clients what their biggest money-makers are during your onboarding process.
Google has a difficult time knowing what to show, which is why it’s important to make it crystal clear what your content is about.
There’s a big difference between search trends from Google SERP auto-suggest and Google Trends. Auto-suggest is personalized, while Trends is not.7. Proximity Is Much More Important With The Vicinity Update Yan Gilbert and Colan Nielson, Sterling Sky
The closer you are to a business listing, the higher the chances that listing will rank.
The vicinity update has allowed many more business listings to rank, thanks to the variety in the map packs.
Keywords without location were impacted the most.
Keywords in your business name are not as straightforward as it used to be. Don’t use keyword
stuffing as a strategy. Google is attempting to balance spammy GBPs while allowing real businesses to rank.
The top action items from the vicinity update are:
Focus on explicit keywords
Create more GBP real estate
Go after a wider variety of keywords to minimize damage8. SEO Forecasting Can Help Answer Key Business Questions From Stakeholders Andrew Shotland, Local SEO Guide
The key questions stakeholders want answered are:
How much am I going to get out of this?
How long is it going to take?
What’s the ROI?
SEO forecasting needs to take the individual business’ uniqueness and goals into consideration. Do more than using your own experience and your own data to forecast.
Sometimes accurate forecasts don’t matter, as long as you’re being realistic setting good expectations. Don’t falsely inflate forecasts to look good and get budget approval.
A good scientific method is the RICE Score. (Reach x Impact x Confidence)/Effort = RICE Score.
However, a good RICE score may not return a lot of revenue, even if it’s easy to implement. Determine what is more important: high revenue or a high RICE score?9. You Have An Obligation To Make Sure Your Reviews Are Genuine Mike Blumenthal, Near Media
The business is responsible for how the review platform works, as well as the SEO and reputation management firms’ behaviors.
The new FTC business marketer guidelines include:
No review gating
No selective review display
Positive and negative reviews must be treated equally
Incentives must be made explicit
Review suppression doesn’t work. Customers can see the difference between your site and the Google reviews.
You do not have to publish offensive or inappropriate review content. Ensure you have a clear TOS published on your site explaining the FTC guidelines, and publish everything that meets those guidelines.Summary
The LocalU virtual symposium focused a lot on real updates that impact businesses, as well as content tips that can help anyone who has a physical business or listing.
If you’d like more detailed information on the sessions, be sure to join the #LocalU conversation on Twitter and connect with the speakers. You can also purchase instant access from Local University here.
At the end of the conference, Local University announced its return to in-person events. They will be hosting LocalU Advanced in Denver, CO on July 28th. If you’re interested in attending, be sure to stay up-to-date with Local University for more information.
Featured Image: MaDedee/Shutterstock
There is one report in Google Search Console that’s both insanely useful and quite hard to find, especially if you’re just starting your SEO journey.
It’s one of the most powerful tools for every SEO professional, even though you can’t even access it from within Google Search Console’s main interface.
I’m talking about the Crawl stats report.How Is Your Website Crawled?
Crawl budget (the number of pages Googlebot can and wants to crawl) is essential for SEO, especially for large websites.
If you have issues with your website’s crawl budget, Google may not index some of your valuable pages.
And as the saying goes, if Google didn’t index something, then it doesn’t exist.
Google Search Console can show you how many pages on your site are visited by Googlebot every day.
Armed with this knowledge, you can find anomalies that may be causing your SEO issues.Diving Into Your Crawl Stats: 5 Key Insights
Here are all of the data dimensions you can inspect inside the Crawl stats report:1. Host
Using the Crawl stats report, you can easily see the crawl stats related to each subdomain of your website.
Unfortunately, this method doesn’t currently work with subfolders.2. HTTP Status
One other use case for the Crawl stats report is looking at the status codes of crawled URLs.
That’s because you don’t want Googlebot to spend resources crawling pages that aren’t HTTP 200 OK. It’s a waste of your crawl budget.
In this particular case, 16% of all requests were made for redirected pages.
If you see statistics like these, I recommend further investigating and looking for redirect hops and other potential issues.
In my opinion, one of the worst cases you can see here is a large amount of 5xx errors.
To quote Google’s documentation: “If the site slows down or responds with server errors, the limit goes down and Googlebot crawls less.”
If you’re interested in this topic, Roger Montti wrote a detailed article on 5xx errors in Google Search Console.3. Purpose
The Crawl stats report breaks down the crawling purpose into two categories:
URLs crawled for Refresh purposes (a recrawl of already known pages, e.g., Googlebot is visiting your homepage to discover new links and content).
URLs crawled for Discovery purposes (URLs that were crawled for the first time).
This breakdown is insanely useful, and here’s an example:
I recently encountered a website with ~1 million pages classified as “Discovered – currently not indexed.”
This issue was reported for 90% of all the pages on that site.
(If you’re not familiar with it, “Discovered but not index” means that Google discovered a given page but didn’t visit it. If you discovered a new restaurant in your town but didn’t give it a try, for example.)
One of the options was to wait, hoping for Google to index these pages gradually.
Another option was to look at the data and diagnose the issue.
It turned out that, on average, Google was visiting only 7460 pages on that website per day.
But here’s something even more important.
Thanks to the Crawl stats report, I found out that only 35% of these 7460 URLs were crawled for discovery reasons.
That’s just 2611 new pages discovered by Google per day.
2611 out of over a million.
It would take 382 days for Google to fully index the whole website at that pace.
Finding this out was a gamechanger. All other search optimizations were postponed as we fully focused on crawl budget optimization.4. File Type
If your site is packed with images and image search is crucial for your SEO strategy, this report will help a lot as well – you can see how well Googlebot can crawl your images.5. Googlebot Type
Finally, the Crawl stats report gives you a detailed breakdown of the Googlebot type used to crawl your site.
You can find out the percentage of requests made by either Mobile or Desktop Googlebot and Image, Video, and Ads bots.Other Useful Information
It’s worth noting that the Crawl stats report has invaluable information that you won’t find in your server logs:
Host issues such as problems fetching the chúng tôi file.Using Crawl Stats in the URL Inspection Tool
You can also access some granular crawl data outside of the Crawl stats report, in the URL Inspection Tool.
I recently worked with a large ecommerce website and, after some initial analyses, noticed two pressing issues:
Many product pages weren’t indexed in Google.
There was no internal linking between products. The only way for Google to discover new content was through sitemaps and paginated category pages.
A natural next step was to access server logs and check if Google had crawled the paginated category pages.
But getting access to server logs is often really difficult, especially when you’re working with a large organization.
Google Search Console’s Crawl stats report came to the rescue.
Let me guide you through the process I used and that you can use if you’re struggling with a similar issue:
1. First, look up a URL in the URL Inspection Tool. I chose one of the paginated pages from one of the main categories of the site.
In this case, the URL was last crawled three months ago.
Keep in mind that this was one of the main category pages of the website that hadn’t been crawled for over three months!
I went deeper and checked a sample of other category pages.
It turned out that Googlebot never visited many main category pages. Many of them are still unknown to Google.
I don’t think I need to explain how crucial it is to have that information when you’re working on improving any website’s visibility.
The Crawl stats report allows you to look things like this up within minutes.Wrapping Up
As you can see, the Crawl stats report is a powerful SEO tool even though you could use Google Search Console for years without ever finding it.
It will help you diagnose indexing issues and optimize your crawl budget so that Google can find and index your valuable content quickly, which is particularly important for large sites.
I gave you a couple of use cases to think of, but now the ball is in your court.
How will you use this data to improve your site’s visibility?
All screenshots taken by author, April 2023
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