Digital Marketing, Search Marketing Advice

3 Ways to Transform Your Blog Into a SEO Machine

badge guest post FLATTER 3 Ways to Transform Your Blog Into a SEO MachineWhen my daughter turned two, the only people that showed up to eat birthday cake at the party were immediate family members – mom, dad and her big brother, Adam. Why? Because we didn’t send out invitations or put any effort into getting guests to show up.

While this may be perfectly fine for a family event or a toddler that doesn’t know the difference, who wants to put time and effort into a business blog if readers aren’t showing up? Over 80% of blogs stagnate with no traffic and few readers but, like Jillian’s birthday party, the problem often lies with how people are invited to participate.

Simply having one doesn’t make it generate results.

What are the most effective ways to get blog posts read?

  • Sharing on social media
  • Using an email list to distribute new posts
  • Purchasing Google or Facebook advertising to drive awareness
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Using ALL of these options is ideal, but if you can only chose one, then SEO gets my vote every time.

If you have a few hours to invest, here are 3 ways to transform your WordPress blog (or website) into a search-friendly traffic generator.  All of them are free, other than the time you’ll invest.

1. Install a good SEO plug-in.

My favorite free SEO solution is WordPress SEO by Yoast, which makes it easy as red light, yellow light, green light. Pretty easy, right? Make sure to keep in mind that simply installing this plugin isn’t helpful in and of itself – but many bloggers stop at this first step. Its real power lies in understanding how to use it correctly and choosing the right keywords.

2. Do keyword research.

Head over to the Google Keyword Popularity Tool and invest some time in keyword research to better understand which keywords drive the most traffic. The trick with keywords is to never assume you know which ones are best; ALWAYS do research to ensure you are using popular keywords that best suit your product, service and/or blog topic.

If you use localized keywords for your SEO efforts – such as “az life coach” or “life coach in phoenix” instead of just “life coach,” you are much more likely to rank well – with the added benefit of landing more targeted readers. This is especially important if you are a local business.

I recommend creating a free account on AdWords (or log-in to your account, if you already have one), then search for the keywords you think are most likely to be searched. Adding your city and state will give you local search results to review, plus some great ideas for blog posts that fit what people are looking for. Using the keywords you entered, Google will bring up a list of other relevant keywords that were actually searched for in the previous month. I prefer to export them to Excel, get rid of unnecessary columns, rank them from most to least popular, then save the document for easy reference later.

3. Choose one keyword, then include it in your post permalink, title, and first sentence.

Make sure you have WordPress set to name the page URL as your post name (which can be changed in settings> permalinks> post name), this will automatically put the keyword in your post URL – also called the permalink. This is an essential component for SEO success.

Then, simply use the default text for the “SEO title” field at the bottom of the page (which is your title plus the name of your blog), and copy the first sentence of the post into the “Meta Description” field. If good writing dictates NOT using the keyword in the first sentence (which happens often but is not optimal), then paste in the first blog sentence that DOES have the keyword in it, or write one that uses the keyword and describes the post in a way that people will want to read it. Put the keyword in the “Meta Keywords” field, then you are all done.

SEO magic happens when you identify one keyword to focus on, then put it in the trifecta of permalink, page title, and page description.

Make sure that keyword is included in the body of post a few times, is relevant and appropriate, and then hit publish. While there are other steps and tactics that help boost SEO, that’s fodder for another article!

One last note – be sure and offer multiple ways for readers to subscribe. If you can’t convert them to subscribers via email or RSS and/or they aren’t seeing your new posts show up on social media, odds are good that they won’t think to return to your site. Your SEO may bring them to your blog the first time, but it may not bring them back. Keep this in mind as you consider and implement these strategies.

Want more detail on mastering Yoast and SEO? Head over to the Yoast Definitive Guide to Better Ranking.

  • http://www.voicesofmarketing.com/ John Shea

    Good article Carrie, SEO can be very powerful with proper keyword research.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Thank you!

  • Allen Roberts

    Thanks Carrie, good advice I will set out to follow.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Thanks!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Great advice Carrie. My biggest struggle is figuring out which keywords I want to use!

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Don’t guess, Joe – this helps a lot: https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS. Put a few local and general phrases in the “word or phrase” box and see what comes up as popular. Just having keywords isn’t the trick, it’s having the right ones that are backed by volume. Not the most popular, as the competition is too large, but great search volume… Best of luck with it!

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Thanks Carrie. I’ve done that before but I often get confused with what I should be targeting and using as a keyword.

  • risyda

    thank you

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Thanks for the great info, Carrie. I’m with you that SEO is the best way to get blog traffic. Social media, paid advertising and email take up a significant amount of time, while SEO requires some dedicated attention. I think starting with SEO and adding the other efforts in as you build a following is the best way to go!

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Email is pretty powerful – I’d take that over social media any day.

  • http://www.itfreelancing.net/ Pankaj

    Keyword research is really essential, unless you know which keywords can be fruitful for your blog or website.. you won’t be able to optimize your website correctly. Which also results wastage of time and efforts.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      So many companies (and agencies) assume they know what people are searching for and create their own keyword list – when investing a few hours of time can make a massive difference. It really does matter!

  • http://www.strategicpropositions.com Jose Palomino

    This was incredibly helpful on a practical level. Keywords seems to be our biggest opportunity on our blog, as far as outreach goes. Sending this to my marketer.

    Question: is there a way to encourage people to comment on the blog posts? I ask questions at the end of each of my posts, and our web analytics show that people ARE visiting, but no one is commenting. I would love to hear from people that are reading and am trying to figure out how to get them to respond! Ideas?

    • LIVE.LOVE.MANJA

      Well said! Very helpful on a practical level.

  • http://www.theedesign.com/ Lauren_Mktg

    This is great! Finding keywords that your target audience uses can definitely be a challenge. I have used the adwords tool, and have heard that Bing webmaster tools provides a great keyword finder as well. I haven’t tried it out though.

  • LIVE.LOVE.MANJA

    Fabulous article and very informative indeed. Is there any SEO “plugin” or platform you would recommend using for TUMBLR blog? My blog is focused on food allergies, awareness, and lifestyle for the young adult. Many thanks in advance and enjoyed the read. Ashley

  • Spook SEO

    Hey Carries awesome post. I wouldn’t necessarily agree though that SEO is always the best way to get visitors or traffic but in most cases it is.

    My experience with the fun/gag niches though is that social media works best.

    I’m also a huge fan or guest blogging since your links has contextual value in it and it somewhat pre-sells the traffic even before visiting your site.

    Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    I agree with you,we must give them reason(s) to come back.And the best way to do this to make a quality content. Offer them some extra knowledge and they will surely come back for more.

  • Graciousstore

    Installing SEO plugins are very essential especially when you buttress it with good keyword research, you will be sure to attract many traffic to your site

  • salk

    Thanks!

  • Carthage Buckley

    A very practical and well thought out post. While I do many of these things already, you havve inspired me to take a closer look at my keywords as there must be room for improvement.

    Thank you.

  • Tom Howlett

    Good post. It definitely pays to carry out keyword research to utilise keywords that have search volume. I saw an example of this and once they had started to look at keywords in more detail, traffic increased quite significantly.

  • rochellebarlow

    I have a question. I’ve been reading a ton about keywords (apparently I’ve been doing it wrong). I finally sat down to use the google keyword tool and they’ve taken it down. They have the keyword planner tool through adwords, but it doesn’t work the same. Is there a way to still use keyword planner the way you’ve described or is there a different tool that would be better?

    • Noel Jensen

      I’ve got the same issue and question, Rochelle.

  • pixelkare

    After reading such a resourceful content i accumulate more knowledge on keywords practice.Could you suggest some keyword tools?.
    Thanks for posting such stuffs.

  • http://www.marketingmarty.co.uk/ Marty Rogers

    Pretty basic tips which should be implemented as standard. Great post nevertheless, and certainly a great help for those just getting started with this crazy ‘game’.

  • JimYoungPRBrigade

    Thanks, Carrie, all solid points. I especially like the
    recommendation to use a keyword in just a few key places to start. The natural
    instinct is to use the keyword a lot and sacrifice readability – it’s important
    to remember that when you get people to your page, they’re going to read the
    content there. Having content that sacrifices readability and meaning for
    keywords is counterproductive too.

  • http://www.incion.com/ web design company los angeles

    Great Article…It may useful to SEO user………Thanks to the information

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    Really a nice information.. good

  • http://awek-impianv5.blogspot.com/ Chinta Chundary

    wow..such detail information. advance to wordpress user

  • Abhiram Pathak

    I have got some different ideas and it has helped me to update my blog. This is a great tutorial about the blog. Thanks for your valuable information.

  • http://www.online-phd-uk.co.uk/ OnlinePhDUK

    brilliant info ….thanks for sharing!!!

  • http://www.droidvan.com/ Andy Suwito

    nice sharing

  • http://www.globalseoservices.com Sandeep Kumar

    That is good blog for promoting the business and make it profitable.

  • thebronzedbombshell

    I am not sure if this is a good question, but here goes. I’ve been wanting to create a blog for my professional makeup. However, I have been conflicted on how to separate my blog and my actual website. Is it possible to make a profit from both the website and blog? As you can see, I am totally new to this.

    • Sukhpreet Kaur

      Hi there, yes you can definitely keep your website and blog separate and get profit through both. The website is good to sell your makeup products and the blog can be useful resource for sharing tips about makeup with the users.

  • Sukhpreet Kaur

    Great advice Carrie, I like the example of your daughter’s birthday and not inviting the guests. Perfect example for showing how important SEO is for a blog or a website.

  • http://www.seonortheast.co.uk Mark F

    Yes great advice, but don’t forget to share your posts on all types of social media. Not only will this increase exposure, but will sent positive social signals to search engnes that may help rankings.

  • http://keydifference.co.uk/ Sarah D. William

    Hi Carrie,
    Thanks a lot sharing valid information. I am working on the process – using my blog as seo machine.
    I will be glad if you share more articles on this.
    looking forward,

  • http://keydifference.com/ stephen john

    Thanks for info dude. You made it clear cut. Great stuff.

  • http://www.keydifference.com John Bernaldo

    Hi, your article is very much interesting.I want more knowledge about thiis article. So that I ll get more information.

  • lovisa alva

    Hi, this is very nice. helpfull for me.

  • Ema William

    I think that your idea about localized keywords is quite good but what about when I want to rank my website in top ranking all over the world.

  • http://hengkikristiantoateng.blogspot.com/ hengki

    Thankyou for this share, very helpfull for my blog

  • http://www.netedgecomputing.com/ Netedge

    Great thoughts! on SEO I want some more
    ideas to achieve Global keywords ranking.

  • http://www.task.hk Roy Lei

    Thank you for the information. Now I have a thorough idea on SEO.

  • http://www.jaintechnosoft.com/services/seo-internet-marketing/search-engine-optimization sandy sam

    By writing content consistently which is helpful and relevant to readers helps to earn the trust and further converts blog readers into customers. But make sure that you will not write about your products or even brands instead write about challenges that current and potential customers face and provide solutions.

  • http://www.seoexpertpage.com/ Al Gomez

    Modern SEO should touch lasting real-time effects such as leads and conversions – both of which are possible when we do this simple concept: connect with users. Aside from plugins and strategies, I try to answer user-related problems. I believe this puts us ahead because people will always want to read, share, and engage with content that’s useful. Thanks for these reminders Carrie.

  • skverma

    Thanks for sharing information. This is really helpful for me and keep sharing more ideas.