February 23, 2016
Whether you are a vagabond traveler trying to make friends and family jealous back home or a business looking to begin content marketing, a blog is the best way for you to reach a wide audience. Just look at some of the stats:
- Companies that blog receive 96% more links
- 61% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that blogs
And that is just scratching the surface.
Producing high-quality, engaging, and up-to-date content is the best way to generate leads, increase traffic, and grow your business, but doing it the right way is sometimes hard to do.
The blogging world is so saturated with content that standing out can be difficult, but the good news is that there is always room for one more good one. We all know that blogging is great for SEO, great for business, and great for building a brand, but how do you get noticed? How do you rise above the others in the blog-o-sphere? Blog hacking takes time and effort, but it’s possible. Here is how to increase your blog’s search rankings for free.
1) Throw the old ways out the window and get with the times
The old world of SEO was solely focused on keywords. The more you had of that single keyword the better. Those days are gone. The new world of blogging requires more effort. A lot of blogs fail because they focus on a single keyword or set of keywords, and craft their content around that. Some things you need to stop doing with your blog right away are:
- Chasing head terms(main keywords like lawyer)
- Focusing on single words
- Trying to hard to jam pack keywords into your posts
Your goal should be to make things more natural, and focus on user experience and value. Google doesn’t care as much about the technical side of your content as it does the user side. Your main focus should be on creating high-value content that is easy to read, helpful, and engaging. Work as many keywords and keyword phrases into the content as possible without compromising the value of the piece, but focus more on creating something of value rather than something that is optimized for a keyword.
2) Write longer posts
The 400-500 word post with keyword density of 3.5% and an anchor text at the end was like the Ford Model-T: it was the engine that drove SEO in the beginning, was easy to mass produce, and was affordable to the masses. Those days are mostly over. While there is still value in them and they will always have some use, the era of longer posts is in full swing. It might seem counter intuitive because internet users have no attention span, but in fact it is exactly what you should be doing. Longer content:
- Filters out the low-value visitors, and keeps those truly interested in what you have to say
- Is impossible to scrape or reproduce, making it more original
- Shows expertise in a given niche
- Gives you more space to rank for extra keywords and phrases
- The average length of content in the top 10 on Google is 2,000 words
- Posts over 1,500 words received 68% more Tweets and 22% more Facebook likes in a recent test
- Search containing 3 words or more(~55% total) are trending upward and 2(~43% total) words or less downward
The bottom line is that posts that are longer are likely to contain more value and keywords and phrases. Get those fingers moving!
3) Focus on the right social media
Social media is your friend for sharing content, but the major mistake that many companies and bloggers make is that they focus on the wrong networks or platforms. More than two million blogs are posted each day, so you need to try and stand out. Focusing on the right audiences is the best way to gain an edge.
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google +, Pinterest, and all of the other sites need to be incorporated into your strategy, but you’d be better off knowing a little more about them.
- Facebook- Facebookers are suckers for images, memes, inspirational quotes, bucket lists, and lists in general. If you generate content meant to entertain or sell a lifestyle product, then this is your best bet.
- Twitter- Twitter, like Facebook, works great for brands and also for images. Twitter works best for companies that have a face.
- Linkedin- a more serious professional network, Linkedin is best for B2B companies. 80% of people on the network say they want to connect with companies to improve their decision making. Believe it or not, the best time to post is Monday-Friday in the middle of the day!
- Pinterest- the image-dominant social platform, Pinterest actually converts more browsers into buyers. It works best for impulse buyers, and companies that sell visually stunning materials(clothes, food, travel packages, real estate). It’s also the social site most dominated by women(70% of users!)
Focusing on the right platforms can take your game to the next level and help you do social media more efficiently.
4) Focus on high-quality links
Link juice is the liquid that drives the search engine. Having high-quality links going to other blogs or websites is one of the best ways to boost your rankings. New algorithm updates to Google ensure that quantity links are no longer your best bet for success. It’s far better to have fewer, better links instead of a mix of useless ones. Find blogs or other websites that are:
- Relevant to your niche
- Produce valuable content
- And have good domain trust and authority
Taking the shortcut and buying links or linking to a bunch of poor-quality sites is the best way to get yourself a penalty from Google.
5) Guest blog
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to grow your blog, gain trust and authority, and get high-quality back links. Think about it- if someone with a popular blog or site values the content that your produce, then it must be high-quality. When you get a link from a site with authority and trust, that link juice is transferred over to you. It also exposes you to a wider audience and different contacts that you wouldn’t normally get. Links are the currency of the search engine world, and anything you do to get more, high-quality links is beneficial.
6) Go Mobile!
The internet is in the midst of a hostile takeover from mobile devices. The internet of things is here to stay. People want more access to mobile content than ever before, and it is showing no signs of stopping. Mobile media time is now greater than desktop time, and 57% of consumers said they wouldn’t recommend a site with poor mobile design.
Lucky for you, you can do this for free with WordPress. It takes work, but is worth it in the end. A mobile-friendly site should:
- Have plenty of white space between content
- Make sure buttons and links are spaced properly
- Have infinite scroll
- Have high-res images
There are plenty of tools to help track your mobile visitors if you wish to pursue that route, but just having a mobile-friendly site will help if you want to expand your viewership.
Freelancers, travelers, small businesses, and major corporations can all benefit immensely from maintaining a fresh blog with high-quality content, but simply writing great stuff isn’t enough. You need to know what to write, where to share it, and how to get it to as big an audience as possible. 81% of customers trust advice from blogs, and on average, companies that blog get 434% more indexed pages in Google. Knowing how to increase your blog’s search ranking for free is a valuable tool. Now go out and start blog hacking.