To be a famous blogger, you will have to master at least two traffic generation techniques. The first and most important is the ability to convert site visitors into RSS followers. RSS followers are the best visitors because they will engage with your site and tend to be loyal and are easy to monetize. The second most important traffic source is the search engines.
Every day, millions of people turn to the search engines to fill a need like information, humor, entertainment, products and services. Putting your blog in their path with quality SEO will assist in growing your user base and accomplishing your blogging goals.
#1 Focus on the long tail
Long tail traffic makes up 75% of all traffic. Mastering the long tail is the easiest and fastest way to build your blogs readership. There are three basic types of keywords:
- Head Keywords: “Iphone”
- Mid-range Keywords: “Iphone Apps”
- Long Tail: “Best Iphone Map Apps”
Here is a graphic depicting the distribution of the 185,000,000 searches related to “Iphones” done monthly.
Of the 185,000,000 searches, the majority of those searches are long tail keywords. Most of the sites that are competing for Iphone traffic are targeting the head and mid-range keywords. This leaves the majority of long tail keywords an easy target for a dedicated blogger.
One advantage to focusing on long tail traffic is that it improves your blogging skills. You have to continually research different areas of your blog’s subject and create content on a constant basis.
#2 Use a small URL structure
Google ranks pages, not websites. However, the authority of the domain directly impacts all page rankings. Typically, the most authoritative page on the website is the home page. It is where most of the external and internal links point at and Google gives it preference over other pages.
All though a page receives PageRank, the domain it’s self carries other factors often referred to as “domain authority” and “domain trust”. The home page has the most domain authority. Our goal is to filter that down as far as possible.
Google does not pass “domain authority” or “domain trust” to any pages that are below the third sub directory. This forces the page to rank on PageRank from links alone.
- Most domain authority: http://www.example.com
- Some domain authority: http://www.example.com/sub1
- Minimal domain authority: http://www.example.com/sub1/sub2
- No domain authority: http://www.example.com/sub1/sub2/sub3
WordPress allows users to set their URL structure. I generally use the %postname% format:
#3 Show yourself some link love
As with the URL structure, you want to pass as much authority and PageRank around your site as possible. The best way to do this is to constantly link to yourself.
The further away a page is from the home page, the less important Google assumes it is. There are two ways to overcome this problem:
- Get a massive amount of deep external links
- Be able to get to every page on your blog within three clicks.
Obviously we want massive amounts of backlinks, but that is not something that you can completely control. As you are writing content, try to link to yourself over and over again. Especially to older posts that have cycled off of the home page and the first previous post pages.
Here are a couple plugins I use to help accomplish this:
- SEO ROI Internal Links: allows you to link different phrases and keywords to the same page all throughout your blog
- YAPP: adds links at the end of every blog post you write
There are some other plugins out there that will search your blog posts and display related posts inside of your admin panel so you can link to them manually. These are effective because you can drop links in the best area of the blog, the content.
#4 Share backlink love with your fellow bloggers
Love is most often received after it is given. Speak a kind word to someone and they will often reply in a receptive manner, even if they are angry as is indicated in the ancient proverb:
A kind word turns away wrath
Having something positive to say about another blogger and sharing a link to their blog will most likely get a link in return and probably another blog follower. The more bloggers you have subscribed to your RSS feed, the more likely your quality posts are going to get residual backlinks from other bloggers.
This works two ways, if you get a backlink from someone without asking, drop them a link in one of your next posts. This type of reciprocity will give bloggers a reason to link to you and help you establish yourself as a “famous blogger”.
Keep in mind, in order to rank number 1 for a keyword(s), your page has to have relevancy to that keyword. Plus, it has to be the most authoritative page on the subject. There are two ways to approach this, you can spend all your time trying to get better backlinks than the next guy, or you can make your page the most relevant and rely on less links.
Advanced SEO Tip: I have been able to rank sites with less than 1k backlinks above sites with 50k+ backlinks for keywords we were both targeting. I did this by making my page content tight and extremely relevant to the subject without keyword spamming. One way to make your page more relevant is to include your keyword targets in your outgoing anchor text. If your page is relevant to a keyword because of the title tag, headline and content; adding an unselfish outgoing link to a relevant source with the keyword in the link will improve your relevancy score and help you jump over pages in the SERPS with lower relevancy scores.
#5 Don’t waste PageRank
It is practically impossible understand how PageRank flows through a site without seeing proprietary information closely guarded by Google. However, we can theorize and attempt to manipulate PageRank flow through trial and error. You want to avoid these PageRank flow mistakes:
- Using Robots.txt to block pages: When you add a page to the robots.txt file to block access, it does not allow search bots to access that page. If any links point at that page, all of the PageRank is loss because the bots cannot see what subsequent pages are linked to from within that page. The amount of PageRank lost could be substantial, especially if you are blocking a page that is linked to from every post on your site, like a contact us page. If you want to keep a page out of the SERPS use the meta robots element with “noindex,follow”.
- Using “noindex,nofollow” in the meta: If you include meta “noindex,nofollow” on a page, it will create a black hole for your PageRank. All the links going to the page pass PageRank. The page can not be indexed, nor are any of the links in the page allowed to pass PageRank, so all of that PageRank is lost. I have seen this used on categories by bloggers who are trying to avoid duplicate content issues which wastes tons of PageRank. If you do not want a page indexed, use “noindex, follow” in your head section so that it is not indexed and Google still flows PageRank through the links on the page.
- Don’t use nofollow to sculpt: It had become common practice to use nofollow to prevent PageRank from flowing to certain areas of a site such as the contact page. The PageRank was saved up and passed to more important links. Now, the PageRank is dissipated by Google instead of stored for other links. The best practice is to remove all nofollow attributes from internal links. All PageRank passed to the contact page will be passed on to more important pages like the home page and categories through the navigation menu.