This is the central goal of all marketers and web masters today: optimizing a blog for the best possible performance in search engine results. Of course, as with any critical mass topic, there are many schools of thought as to how best to achieve this goal. But underneath all the debate, these five important optimization factors continue to serve as the foundation for any successful blog.
Factor 1: Select the blog’s primary keywords in advance.
It is very important to have a list of primary keywords and key phrases in hand before even beginning to optimize a blog. The reason for this is simple: these are the keywords and phrases that visitors are most likely to use to find the blog, whether via organic or paid search results.
Doing keyword research to create a working list of primary keywords and key phrases in advance can help determine everything from site navigation to page content to blog template and other vital factors that can contribute to a blog’s success.
Tools to aid in keyword research: Check out Google’s Keyword Planner tool.
Factor 2: Choose a web host that is mobile-friendly and fast loading.
Mobile friendliness is the reigning king of today’s most successful websites and blogs. Page loading speed is the queen. Choosing a web host that optimizes for both can make or break even the most content-rich and relevant blog.
Factor 3: Add relevant graphics and multimedia throughout.
Images are very, very critical to increasing time spent on a blog. Images are equally critical to reducing visitor bounce rates and improving share rates for a blog post.
However, the images must meet certain criteria to help rather than harm the blog in question. Chiefly, selected images must meet the following two criteria:
– Be optimized for use online, which means they are small size, high resolution and fast loading.
– Be highly relevant to the blog post they appear with.
Well-chosen, fast-loading, high resolution, attractive and eye-catching visuals can increase the time a visitor spends reading and sharing a blog post as well as other activities (such as shopping) that the visitor chooses to conduct while at the blog site.
High performance visuals can include each of the following options:
However, all chosen visuals must be used either with permission from the original creator or must be original to the blogger. Otherwise, there is the risk of copyright infringement issues taking a bite out of blog visibility and profitability in the future.
Tips to increase success of visuals: Be sure to tag each visual with appropriate keywords to improve success with organic web hits.
Factor 4: Link the blog to social media platforms.
It nearly goes without saying that a more visible blog post will be a more successful blog post. Most blogging platforms offer the option of linking the blog content to one or several social media platforms. Linking is typically fast and easy – just set up the initial link permissions and then watch as each new blog post is automatically re-posted on each active social media account.
Tips to increase readership: After linking the blog itself to active social media platforms, it then becomes much more important to follow through after each shared post and respond to commentary about each post not just on the original blog site but through re-shares to social media platforms as well. This is one of the best ways to increase re-circulation of the blog post as well as to gather new regular subscribers and readers.
Factor 5: Be sure the blog is hosted on the most relevant domain.
Research continues to showcase the importance of a blog’s SEO (search engine optimization rankings) to its chances for long-term success. In particular, the first three positions in Google’s search engine ranking results hold out high promise for dramatic increases in follows, reads and shares.
One of the best ways to show Google a blog’s high relevance is to host it on the primary domain being marketed. Not only will this also increase visibility to the primary domain itself, including any e-commerce tools contained within, but it will reduce the overall optimization workload by keeping the blog and the domain on one single site.
Along with this, if possible be sure to reserve a “.com” extension for the domain/blog, even if its primary extension is “.org” or another extension. The reason for this is that “.com” is still the most popular domain extension, representing approximately 79 percent of current sites. Including a “.com” extension option also reduces the risk of visitors not reaching the blog because they have mis-remembered its extension.
Tips to increase relevance: Check to be sure that all of the links on the main domain and the blog are functioning. Then add redirects for any broken links (especially important if the blog content has been transferred from one domain to another).
By incorporating these five factors into a new or established blog, the blog content itself receives its best chance of long-term success out in the competitive world of the blogosphere. Other helpful optimization strategies can follow these five, including building organic backlinks via guest posts and collaborations with other bloggers, incorporating paid ad campaigns to drive inbound traffic, sharing the content in creative ways using different tag lines, linking to older blog content from newer posts and more.
With research, persistence and content in place, any blog can build its following and find success.