So, you have been working hard on your blog for a while. Everything looks great, and you’ve been getting some really constructive responses. You are off to a great start! But then, it got you thinking. How can you put your blog out there so more people can see it?
This is when the real work begins. Let’s optimize your blog for more quality traffic. Don’t worry if you haven’t built your blog yet and need some help getting started. Refer to our guide on how to start a blog.
How Search Engine Works
First, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way, and understand how search engines can work to help your blog gain traffic.
As you may already know, some of the most popular and widely used commercial search engines are Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You type in a few words in the search bar, and in matters of seconds, hundreds of thousands of webpages show up in search results. How do search engines know what to pull up? It all has to do with the way search engines function.
Three Major Functions of Search Engines
This is how search engines read and process information on your website. When you publish a new article on your blog, for example, search engines send "spiders" or "bots" to crawl your new webpage. This is a way for search engines to identify new information on the internet.
Once the crawl is completed, search engines then collect, categorize and decipher this information and store it away in massive data centers to be recalled later.
When users conduct a search in a search engine, it retrieves information that is relevant to the user’s specific search query. Search engines recall this information according to the intricate search algorithms which evaluate and dictate the ranking of every webpage.
How Search Engines Rank Your Webpages
The criteria that search engines use to rank your webpages are referred to as ranking factors. They determine your webpage’s position in search results when a keyword related to your content is being searched by users. There are many ranking factors that can potentially affect how your webpages rank, and out of which, there are three most important ones.
Top 3 Ranking Factors Affecting Your Webpage’s Position in Search
Content are things on your blog. They can be text, images, videos or interactive elements. Great content is one of the most important components affecting your webpage’s ranking status. Learn how to make your content search optimized.
Backlinks are links from other websites pointing back to yours. Backlinks are essential to your webpage rankings because they tell search engines how much domain authority your blog has.
3. User Experience
User Experience is perhaps the most abstract and difficult ranking factor to measure. Search engines like Google are continuously developing and improving user experience by coming up with algorithms such as Google Pigeon, Hummingbird, and the latest Google RankBrain.
These algorithms are made up of hundreds of unique formulas that find the best-matched webpages to intuitively answer a specific user’s search query. When your webpage is determined to have the closest match to a user query, it will be shown at the highest position on that user’s search result page.
Here is Google’s take on how search works:
5 Strategies to Increase Your Blog Traffic
When your blog has high page rankings, it is more likely to be seen by visitors because the visibility of your webpages has increased. So, work on improving your webpages’ ranking factors can bring more traffic to your blog. Here are 5 ways to help your blog improve ranking factors and increase traffic.
- Optimize for viral content
- Do SEO keyword research
- Make link building connections
- Make UX-friendly web designs
- Improve visitor engagement with social media
#1. Optimize for Viral Content
In our how to make money blogging article, we’ve discussed the importance of how great content helps your blog to scale and profit. Here we are going to focus on what makes the content great and how to make it go viral.
This is where you will need content optimization strategies so you can structure the information on your blog in a search-engine friendly way. Remember, content is one of the top ranking factors that determines how much exposure your blog can receive.
There are two main components to creating viral content:
A popular topic
Search Engine Optimization
Once you have a topic, utilize Search Engine Optimization or SEO to make your content improve in search ranking. SEO is the natural way to rank in search engines like Google. Search optimized content means it has all the right components to match up with popular user queries. In turn, your blog can be found more easily and it can continue to grow in visitor traffic. Learn more about SEO.
#2. Do SEO Keyword Research
Keyword research is the critical step to connect your content with user search queries. It is the process of identifying what words or phrases visitors are using to look up your blog topics. When you have optimized keywords within content, you are improving the visibility of your blog to target the right types of visitors – those who are interested in your blog topics.
Free Keyword Research Tools
Free tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Bing Ads Keyword Research and Opportunities are great keyword research tools to help you get started. They both provide search volume for keywords you are trying to rank for and give you keyword ideas on finding valuable long-tail keywords (key phrases that are 3 words or more) that identify unique niche markets.
Advanced Keyword Research Tools
If you are a seasoned blogger or looking to aggressively scale your blog’s traffic, advanced keyword research tools such as SEMRush and SearchMetrics have features to precisely target and track the winning keywords to help your blog rise above the competitions. In addition, its powerful backlink research, analysis, and advanced reporting functions provide you with the needed data to understand the strength and weaknesses of your own domain as well as your competitors’.
- Finds the right keywords for both SEO and SEM campaigns
- Provides phrase match keywords and related keywords for expanded opportunities
- Tracks keyword rankings on a daily basis
$69.95 MonthlyStart Now
- Identifies competitor’s unique keywords on a page-level with competitive keyword discovery
- Shows Degrees of ranking difficulties for SEO keywords
- Provides recommendations for keyword optimization on a targeted landing page
$69 MonthlyStart Now
On the other hand, do not to overstuff keywords or use negative tactics and hope for a quick win. It can backfire and cause your blog to lose traffic altogether. Make sure your SEO strategies closely follow Google Webmaster Guidelines to avoid penalties. Refer to our complete guide on how to do keyword research the right way to improve audience reach.
#3. Make Link Building Connections
When you have relevant external links (links from other websites) pointing back to your blog, it tells search engines that your domain has authority. The more quality backlinks your content has, the higher your blog can potentially rank in search results. So, link building is one of the most important strategies to master for long-term SEO growth.
How to Get Backlinks?
In the beginning, it works like networking. You need to put yourself out there in front of the important people who you want to connect with. Start with three things:
Make Excellence Content
If you are linking to someone else’s content, it should be good enough for your audiences, right? The same concept applies to receiving backlinks. Before asking for a referral link, make sure your content adds value to the website you are asking a backlink from. Remember this is another great opportunity to engage a whole new group of audience that can potentially become your audience.
Every industry has influencers, and they are usually the group of people whose opinions weigh significant value. How do you find them? This is where you need tools like SEMRush. It gives you a list of backlinks your top competitor has, and these are the key influencers you want to receive backlinks from. It will give you an edge in the competition, and expand your audience reach with targeted niche markets.
Think of Rejection as a Learning Experience
Don’t give up if you don’t get the responses you want in the first try. Focus on making your content better and improving visitor traffic. As your own influence grows, people will start coming to you.
Learn more about effective SEO link building strategies and how to apply them to scale your blog.
#4. Make UX-friendly Web Designs
Believe it or not, UX or User Experience is on top of the essential checklist for successful blogging. It is an unwritten rule of good online marketing practice to place user experience before strategies. Why? Because you are blogging for people to read, not for search engines.
How User Experience Affects Traffic?
User Experience focused websites help visitors to better navigate. These websites provide visitors with a clear path to easily get around and find the information they need. There are two things you can do right now to help improve the user experience.
2 Web Design Changes to Improve User Experience
Use Responsive Web Design
Google recommends responsive web design. It is a design that automatically and intuitively adjusts to look and function well on any screen sized device. For instance, a responsive design looks good and works well on a regular laptop monitor, a tablet, or a mobile phone. Learn more about how to make your web design responsive.
Make Your Blog Mobile-friendly
A mobile-friendly website starts with making the web design responsive. Since 2015, Google has officially made mobile-friendliness a ranking signal. This means, if your blog looks like a shrunken-down version of your desktop website with illegible text, it will not show up in mobile search results. Learn how to make your web design mobile friendly.
#5. Improve Visitor Engagement with Social Media
One of the quickest tried-and-true ways to gain blog traffic is through social media. There are plenty of success stories out there about how the latest Facebook, Instagram or YouTube stars with millions of fans make seven figure income blogging. Social media has created a platform that makes information sharing cost-effective and easy to do for everyone. So how do you maximize the benefit of social media to drive traffic to your blog? There are three ways.
3 Effective Ways to Gain Website Traffic from Social Media
Social Media Marketing
Social media is the perfect channel to get your blog out there in front of a large group of audience. Bring this traffic back to your blog by sharing your own content and encourage visitors to follow you.
There are many ways you can share content on different social networks to capture different target markets. For example, if you have a blog about a professional service, share it on LinkedIn to target professional audience from related fields. At the same time, post a video about that same content on YouTube to target audience who is likely to become customers of the professional service. Learn more from our top 21 social media strategies to win social media followers.
Participate in Social Media Groups
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all have related communities and groups about your industry that you can join. By providing useful answers to questions and adding value to the groups, you are driving awareness back to your own blog and social profile.
Once you have established yourself as an expert within the community, you can gain followers of your own over time. Just remember to refrain from sales talks and make sure you check the community rules before posting.
Social Media Advertising
Today, companies are spending big money on social media advertising and there is a good reason for it. Social networks like Facebook has powerful advertising and analytics tools to help you precisely customize and target niche markets for effective conversions of leads and sales.
By running social media ads, your blog can receive instant exposure and gain shares, follows, and drive quality traffic to your blog that you can capitalize on. Follow our guide on the top social media advertising strategies to get your social campaigns started.
Turn Visitors into Followers
Your blog traffic has picked up significantly. Yay! The work is not done yet. Now you have to figure out how to make these visitors come back again when you have new content. Learn more about how to get more followers to your blog.