In the last article, we talked about how getting high quality links from authoritative websites in your field can boost your search engine rankings. This time, we’re going to explore further into linking strategies, and how to determine and obtain “high quality” links. We’re also going to talk briefly about Google’s PageRank.
First, let’s examine a regular link. It’s a piece of text (or image, but we’re going for text) that links to your blog, and some of the factors that matter are
1) The address which it links to
2) The text of the link
3) The PageRank of the page on which the link resides
Let’s analyze this information one by one. First, you’d naturally want the link to link to your blog, but to which page of your blog? To an individual post or to your blog’s home page? Since your blog is a constantly updated website, it is always wise to accumulate all the links to point to your main page instead if individual posts because they tend to be very time-sensitive.
The text of the link also affects your rankings for a certain keyword. Let’s say your blog is about technological gadgets and another site has a link that says “Barbie dolls” and links to your blog. Doesn’t make much sense, right? If a lot of links that link to your site contain the terms “technological” or “gadget”, it will greatly boost your rankings for those keywords. Hence, it’s essential to put some thoughts when requesting links from other webmasters as you want them to link to your blog with appropriate keywords.
Now, about Google’s PageRank. It’s basically a scale set by Google to measure the popularity of websites. You can read more about it on http://www.google.com/technology/. What is interesting is that the higher the PageRank of a certain website, the more frequent Google’s robots will visit the website to index it. Of course, the PageRank of a page will also help it to rank higher in Google’s search engine results. In short, having a high PageRank will bring you many benefits SEO-wise.
Your blog will start with no PageRank (which is different to PageRank 0) because Google has not yet indexed your blog. Once Google’s robots find your blog through links on other sites, your blog will show a PageRank of 0 and depending on the PageRank of the referring page, your blog’s PageRank will also rise eventually.
Getting high-quality links to your blog will help direct targetted visitors who are interested in your niche to your blog, enable search engines to find and index your blog and ultimately rank higher in search engine results.
We’ve already optimized our blog to rank well for search results of certain keywords that we’re targetting, but here comes the sad news – it affects your ranking in only very minor ways. However, don’t skip this step as every little bit helps when you’re competing for search engine rankings!
Now, we’re moving on to offpage search engine optimization. That is, factors that are not on your blog but affect your search engine rankings very greatly. There are a lot of offpage factors, but we shall study them one by one. The first and most obvious one is the number of links to your blog.
As a general rule of thumb, the more links to your blog, the more the search engines think you are an authority in that particular niche and hence the higher they rank you. However, take care to observe the quality of the links. For example, a thousand links from totally irrelevant sites like online dating sites would not help at all because your blog is a technological product blog. In contrast, a single link from a highly authoritative site about technological gadgets will get the search engines crawling about your blog like the Feds storming a crack den…
Anyway, the most cost effective way of getting high quality links from authoritative sites is simply to ask for it. If your blog contains high quality content that is original and will provide valuable information to the site’s readers, chances are the webmaster(s) will link to your blog or even write about you!
Let’s talk about how we should ask these webmasters of authority to link to your blog. We’re discussing this based on the presumption that your blog is really content rich and offer high quality information to anyone in your niche or topic of discussion. The most viable option would be to send an email directly to the webmaster.
First, let’s look for the top sites in your niche. Simply search the major search engines for the term that you’re targetting. In this case, let’s search for “technological gadgets”. The first few results, www.t3.co.uk and www.acarplace.com/brands/gm/gadgets.html are commercial sites, so don’t bother asking. We’re looking for community-based sites and other blogs that are more accessible to a complete newcomer like you. Seems like www.gizmodo.com would be a good option!
So, compose an email to the webmaster of www.gizmodo.com (whose email address you shall find on the site). They even have their AIM contact there, so it’s also a good choice if you use AOL Instant Messenger. Start by stating how you came across their site (i.e. “looking for gadget information”, NOT “looking for link partners!”) and how you think their site provides valuable info. Basically, try to say something really good about their site honestly.
Then, suggest that so-and-so content on your own blog will be a nice complement to their site’s content and vice versa. Put a link on your blog to their site and ask subtly if they might be able to do the same to weld a mutually beneficial relationship between the site and your blog.
Along the way, you might find people who won’t even respond to your email, so forget about them and move on. Remove the links from your blog to their site if they have not responded to your email within two weeks, which is a pretty long wait.
Keep doing this for the first 30 search results that pop up, and before long you should have quite a few good sites all linking to you. In the next article, we shall explore further the more advanced offpage factors, and ways to improve them!
Now, you should have a blog full with content you have passionately written. It should be a very interesting grapevine for the community of your chosen niche, as opposed to a lifeless factsheet.
However, no matter how delicious your content is, if there is nobody to read it you can’t generate profit from it. Traffic is the lifeblood of your blog. In order to attract people, you must offer attractive information. Simple enough.
However, to get traffic onto your site, you have to think backwards. Where do people look when they need information? Yes, they search using search engines like www.google.com, www.yahoo.com and www.msn.com, to name a few more popular ones. So, to get these people on your blog, your blog needs to rank high on search result pages of these search engines. When these people search for information through the search engines and see your site among the top results, they will naturally click through to your blog!
The art of getting your blog or website onto high rankings on search result pages is called search engine optimization. It is a very complex and hard subject to master, but that doesn’t stop us from learning simple yet effective techniques to conquer the search results for certain keywords. The more complex techniques are usually needed to fight for very competitive and general keywords such as “fat loss”, but I’ll teach you how to overcome that later.
For now, let’s determine the keywords that you want to optimize your site for. For example, your blog talks about tech gadgets. Now, you’d want to check in Google whether it is a very competetive keyword. At this time of writing, there are 29, 000 ,000 search results. Think you can beat 29, 000, 000 sites at your first attempt? I don’t think so.
Now, let’s try to narrow down our scope. Let’s look for “technological gadgets” instead. At this time of writing, Google lists 792, 000 results. That’s more manageable, but you’d like to search for more focused keywords. However, let’s optimize your blog for “technological gadget” just for the sake of learning.
First, you have to pay attention to the title of your blog. Since you’re optimizing for technological gadgets, you need to have that exact phrase in your blog title. For example, a line like “Your Best Technological Gadget Blog!” would work great. You can change the title of your blog in the Blogger control panel or the WordPress blog when you’re creating it. If you’re proficient with HTML, you can even do that on other blog engines like Moveable Type. Bottom line? Learn a little HTML!
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Other than that, your page heading should also contain the term you’re optimizing for. The page heading is the bit of text in your code that is enclosed within the h1 and /h1 tags. This is important as it tells the search engines what your page is about (in this case, “technological gadgets”). Since we’re posting a blog, the h1 /h1 tags are usually the post titles, so remember to include the term there whenever relevant.
One last bit, you should also sprinkle the words “technological gadgets” in your posts whenever possible. The frequent occurrence of that phrase in your blog will hint the search engines that your blog is really relevant to that topic.
However, this is the most important bit of all. Always keep in mind that you’re writing for real life people who read your blog to obtain information, so it is very stupid to spam your blog with keywords! In fact, if you do that, the search engines will end up thinking you’re spamming and drop your ranking further down into oblivion… So keep in mind! Write for humans, not search engines!
Face the fact – your blog needs to be regularly updated to maintain its readership! Hence, you must always find fresh topics to write about, and we’re going to discuss how to do just that in this article.
We have discussed how to write attractively, so now we are going to discuss what we are going to write on. The very first option that I think a blogger should write on is a topic that he or she feels passionate and interested in. You’ve chosen to make blogging your career because you want to escape a mundane job – forcing yourself to write about something that you’re not interested in is as torturous as as your mundane job!
The other reason I ask you to write about something you’re passionate about is because your feelings and emotion shows through your writings! If you feel indifferent to a certain subject but still write about it just for the sake of it, your readers will notice it. Remember the advice about writing with a personality? Forcing yourself to write will not establish a welcoming style at all.
Once you have chosen your main theme, start posting to your blog about it and make it a habit to post at least once every day, even if it’s only a comment on the newspaper article you read today. Think of yourself as a gigantic train. It takes a lot of effort to get you moving. First, you might just budge an inch, and later trudge slowly on until you finally reach your full speed. Then, it’ll take a lot of effort to stop you instead!
However, no matter how well you know your topic, your brain is bound to get exhausted over some time, so here are methods to brainstorm for content for your blog.
The very best way to brainstorm is to see what other bloggers have to say about stuff happening in your field of discussion. And the very best way to find related blogs is to use http://blogsearch.google.com/ or http://www.technorati.com/. There are other decent search tools too; you just have to look around. From other blogs, you can gather more knowledge on your subject and you can also comment on what others have to say on your own blog!
Once you’ve established contacts with other bloggers in your field, you’ll have quite an inexhaustible “conversation” ongoing, so you’ll not need to actively search for content to write about. However, if you’re still stuck, search for news articles related to your niche in the local newspaper or online through sites like http://news.google.com/ and http://news.yahoo.com/.
You can also have conversations with people with the same interest as you in the particular niche you choose, so you will eventually build up a bank of questions and answers and interesting discussions to write about in your blog. To do this, join forums related to your niche, but don’t join every forum there is out there. Stick with one or two with the biggest number of members or the one which is most focused on your niche. This will also come in handy much later in gaining traffic and generating profits.
Remember to keep up your momentum of posting at least once per day (or more if you have a lot of content to write about) so that the major search engines will know that your blog has fresh content everyday. This will attract the search engines to spider your page on a more frequent basis, hence gaining you extra traffic. Don’t worry about the paragraph above about generating traffic and search engines, because we’re going to talk about that in more detail later. For now, remember to keep a consistent effort everyday and build up momentum like that of a locomotive!
Today, we’re going to discuss the type of content that is suitable for your blog in order to make it profitable. First off, I want you to understand that there is no fixed scope that your blog should have, which means you can write about whatever you’re interested in.
However, the difference between a profitable blog and a non-profitable blog is the way the blog is written. Just imagine, would you prefer to read your university professor’s lecture notes or the latest novel by your favourite author?
You may prefer to read the novel because it appeals more to your interest, or because it is not as mind-numbing as the lecture notes by your professor. However, the most important point is people like to read “light” stuff most of the time. You see, when people log on to your blog, they are not only looking for information – they are also looking for information they can obtain easily, and better still in a relaxed manner.
So, to attract more visitors as well as to keep your current visitors coming back for more, it is very important to add a human touch to your blog posts. This can be done by simply imagining you’re talking about a certain topic with your personal friend. An extra bonus for your readers would be a great sense of humour, so try to add funny comments in your articles where they are suitable.
Another important key point is to avoid addressing your reader as a plural unit. What I really mean is you should not write as if you’re preparing a speech. Instead, you should write as if you’re having a conversation to a single person because this will make your visitor think of you more as a personal friend rather than a person of higher authority.
Besides that, it is also very useful to establish your own personality through your words. Human beings are very curious creatures, so naturally your visitors would want to know as much about you as the information you’re offering them.
Having a distinctive personality in your blog would make a world’s difference between your blog about gadgets and all the other blogs about gadgets out there. This is a lot like creating your own brand name, where people immediately remember your blog’s name when they need to find out information about gadgets, just like how people immediately think of McDonald’s for fastfood or Nike for sportswear.
So, the lesson for today is to simply write as an equal friend to your visitors, write to them as if you’re talking to a single person and establish your own personality on your blog.
Blogging is a lucrative source of profit and blogs are easy to set up and maintain. Imagine a life where you are paid to write on stuff that interests you, whenever you want, wherever you are. The mere flexibility of blogging makes it easy for you to just kick back, relax and go on a vacation whenever you feel like it.
In this article, we are going to look into the profitability of a blog and set up a blog of our own at no cost! Interested? Read on!
First, we need to obtain a blog. There are several options – host a blog on your own domain or get a free blog. For starters, let’s talk about the free blogs. You can obtain a free blog at www.blogger.com or the newer (and better!) www.wordpress.com. If you are a techie, you must have heard of WordPress, a free blog engine that is robust and infinitely expandable.
Blogger.com is actually owned by Google, so it will be detected on Google’s radar faster and you will be indexed faster. WordPress.com, however, is a relatively new option so I have no comparison on the speed of getting indexed by search engines. However, WordPress is better in the sense that it has more advanced features such as Trackbacks and Categories. You can also manage your sidebar links more efficiently (more about this later).
Get a free blog at either Blogger.com (http://www.blogger.com/signup) or WordPress (http://wordpress.com/signup/). Then, familiarize yourself by posting your first post on your blog and tinkering around with the options and templates.
Here are a few common “blog-related” words to help you out:
1) Permalink – Permalink stands for permanent link, which is a URL (uniform resource locator) that leads to an individual post that you make in your blog.
2) Trackback – When you post about someone else’s blog post elsewhere, your post will show up in their “trackback” section. This feature, however, is not available with a Blogger.com account.
3) Pinging – Blogging seems to be paired with pinging almost every time either one is mentioned nowadays. Pinging is actually the action where a certain aggregator is notified whenever your blog is updated, so that the aggregator may show the newest post of your blog on their website. This is a useful way to gaining traffic, which we shall discuss later.
For now, I shall leave you testing out your new blog and the features that come included with it. In the next articles, we shall discuss the many ways we can gain profit from a blog, as well as tips on how to write posts that keep visitors glued and keep coming back for more!