Many bloggers are transitioning over into internet marketing areas, whether it be affiliate programs, article writing, or paid guest blogging.
I am new to guest blogging myself (this is actually my VERY FIRST guest post on any blog), but I will share some of my experiences with marketing from a visitor and search engine optimization standpoint.
So, let’s get to the point:
1. Know your niche
It may sound silly, but the best way you can optimize and market to your niche is to really get to know who you are targeting. Become active in some communities, write guest blogs, and listen to the feedback. Your goal should be to become the topic expert for your niche. It wouldn’t hurt to get active on Yahoo Answers, MerchantCircle, and other sites similar to those. Answer some questions and generate some perceived authority with the existing networking groups.
2. Know your competitors
Google a few of your niche keywords and make note of which domains are in the top 10. Combine all of those lists and remove any HUGE competitors (Business.com , DMOZ, sites like those). You should be left with a manageable list of who is really your competition for your target market. You can then make it a goal to find out what sites in common link to a few of your competitors. Seomoz provides a tool that does this, and I am sure there are others out there as well. You can also get this information yourself direct from Google searches, but it may take some time to analyze it all.
Once you know your competitors, you should look at their pages. See what they are doing, look at their titles and meta descriptions. I would normally say to forget about looking at their meta keywords since no real search engine uses them any longer, but it is good information to know what keywords they have found success with. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to look at their image alt tags and call to action text/buttons as well. It’s all fair game when it comes to marketing.
3. On-Page Search Engine Optimization
I would never personally start looking for backlinks to my site before I performed some extensive on-page search engine optimization. Be sure every page on your domain has a unique Title Tag and a unique Meta Description. I normally find it works best to have a title like “My Keyword Phrase | Short Site Name” .. your Site Name may be more important to you, it depends on your situation. I also like to use bullet characters ( • ) as a separator as well, which stands out very nice in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Make sure all of your images have widths and heights defined and have ALT tags. I also like to keep my H1 heading very close to the title of my page (and the URL of my page if I am in a sub-directory or on a sub-page).
After my initial changes, I usually head on over to the W3C validator and make sure my page validates as valid HTML/XHTML. If it does not, I make a very strong effort to get it to validate. Not only does it help with cross-browser compatibility, but it can help the search engines to read your page properly. A small item like a missed or incomplete ending tag can cause devastating effects from an SEO standpoint.
4. Get some quality backlinks
Submit your site to directories. DMOZ is the most important, but it can take months to years to have your site reviewed. I usually submit my site here and forget about it. You won’t be notified if it is included, and it’s not worth your time to keep checking day to day. If you have the money, a submission to BOTW and the Yahoo Directory are both valuable for initial link building as well. I usually do not pay for being listed in any directory, but it could work out well for some in competitive niches that need a tiny extra boost. Keep in mind that 2 or 3 dofollow links will not make a huge difference from a search engine standpoint, but being mentioned somewhere big like being featured on Mashable or hitting the front page of Digg can bring you some huge amounts of traffic.
Comment, Comment, Comment. I love to comment on any blog that updates often. I give you extra kudos for subscribing to blogs that have CommentLuv, KeywordLuv, or both installed. There are other blogs and networks out there that will allow you to comment and receive a dofollow link back, so you can do some research and find those as well. It’s nice to know that CommentLuv has a search engine on their home page that you can use to find blogs related to your niche.
Don’t become obsessed with finding dofollow blogs. You never know when a large blog will decide to turn on a dofollow plugin, so make it practice to comment everywhere. You are looking for highly targeted traffic as well, and the larger blogs can help you with some good traffic even if it is not great from a pagerank perspective.
5. Don’t Give Up
Internet Marketing takes time. I have heard of big time marketers that spend hours every day doing nothing but commenting and networking. I have a personal goal to make 20 comments a day minimum. It doesn’t take too long, and you will see the rewards from it not too long down the road. I am naturally impatient, so I try to keep my expectations set low. A few months down the road you will start to see improvement to your organic and referred traffic. Once this starts, you will need to quickly identify where you are receiving both types of traffic from, and optimize and network. If you are getting some great referral traffic from another blog, go visit it and make some comments on more posts. Don’t be spammy — add something relevant to the conversation and be an awesome commenter, it’s what every blogger is dying for.
I hope these tips can help you in your efforts. As I said, this is my first guest blog and I am not the greatest writer. I do feel like I have some great experience in this area and I just want to share it all with you guys.