Friday, October 28, 2005

Improving traffic to your blog

.. cause you want to be read, don't you?

At the end of the day one would like one's blog to be read. That is an assumption which I think might be true for most of the millions of bloggers. The intended readers might be just a small group of friends, but maybe also a larger audience is hoped for.

So, in comes a little bit of search engine optimisation, SEO for short. Lots of sites are dedicated to this subject. Some sites offer detailed advice on how to do it in a nice way, while others approach it from the dark side: they promote all sorts of tricks with hidden texts and links only to be seen by search engines. That's not what I want to suggest or practice.

There are a lot of elements in SEO. One of these is a structured approach to the content. The semantic usage of HTML tags and the correctness of the HTML ("does it validate?"). And with a blog you can be happy as most of the structure and the code is hidden from the blogger. And the content is formatted in a search engine friendly way. We are well under way with SEO without doing anything! Search engines, and especially Google, are loving blogs because of the structure.

So what more can we do?

What else can we do to improve our traffic? How can we get higher into the search results?

Well, a couple of things:

  • Inbound links are important, so get them.
  • Be sure to use the right keywords.
  • RSS is the way to go.
  • Content, content, content!
Links

Getting inbound links can be done in multiple ways. Be sure you add yourself to great sites like Feedster, Technorati and be sure your blog pings services like these.

Make useful comments on other blogs (NO SPAM!!!) and include a link to your blog. Put a link on your web site to your blog. And in the signature in your e-mail. Many more options are available. Think about and do it.

Keywords

Keywords are a subject one can write shelves full of books about. Which ones to choose and which variations (including typos), how many times should the keywords be on your page (keyword density). Too many interestinga spects.

Bottom line of this is quite simple: you have blogged about a subject that you wish to be found. Now try to figure out what someone would type in a search engine to find information about that subject. And then make some variations on the words used. Now try to use these words in your content. Put them in important places, like headings, lists, make them bold. That way not only are they easier spotted by the reader, but also by the search engine spider.

RSS feeds

RSS feeds are a way to syndicate content. That is sharing the content with others. Sites like Feedster live on them. But there are plenty of RSS reader clients one can use. Firefox and Flock can work with them.

It is just another channel to promote the content of your blog. Costs are low, as most blog software support it already.

Content

Content is king and will always be king. Keep the flow of blog entries going. Be sure to blog regularly. At the very least once a week. Better daily. But do not blog just to blog. It should contain some relevant content. Yes you can side step from the main subject of your blog. Add some short funny bits now and then. Or comment on Georg W. Bush, which should be easy ;-)

Keep the blog entries coming. Link between your own items.

To cut it short

I am making this entry already too long. (I promise to get back on this subject in more detail, soon.) Keep the flow coming, do a little self promotion and think a little bit about the words you use and your blog will certainly rise on the ladder of the serach results.

Good luck!

This is part of a series of articles on improving traffic to your blog.