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Advanced SEO Tips for Blogs – 2013 Edition

copyblogger landing page

Over the years, blogs or weblogs have proven its effectiveness as a marketing tool for individuals and brands when used to communicate ideas and information.

Two apparent reasons why this platform for content publishing and community building is so effective in business marketing are:

  • Its capability to easily spread awareness through interactivity and audience engagement
  • Its ability to influence consumers’ buying decisions.

As many experts say, your blog is the most important social media tool. Everything else that follows will just support and propagate the content that your blog has – and this includes SEO.

SEO is an important process in blogging. Given that new and targeted visitors, leads and potential customers to the blog can be easily generated through this channel.

Even though SEO is an important area, it should never interfere with how you write your content. Because search engines are all about improving the online experience of their users, so your SEO approach should do too.

There have been so many improvements and changes in Google’s search algorithms these past few years. Optimizing a blog for search has also progressed along these changes, in which a few new signals, factors and methodologies where augmented.

So in this post, I’ll be sharing 11 actionable tips that you can implement to improve your blog’s visibility on search results and performance in driving constant search-traffic this 2013.

Create content that gets searched

Content is what drives any online marketing strategy, and that’s why it’s so important to continuously create contents that get actually searched and consumed by your target audience.

You can use keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool and/or Ubersuggest to get content ideas and to determine what topics are sought-after in your space.

Focus your content development strategy on providing answers to frequently searched information on subjects/topics that aren’t time-sensitive.

This approach can help you constantly attract visitors from search engines who’re specifically seeking for the information that your content provides.

Important: Make sure that the content is absolutely relevant or actually about the query you’re targeting, and offers valuable/useful information to readers. You can check out more tips here on how to optimize your content for search.

Create more landing pages (not just posts)

Blog posts can do pretty well on search results. But static pages (that can offer the same value) can perform better.

The time/date that a blog post is published sometimes causes posts’ search rankings to fluctuate, seeing that newer blog posts or content about the same topic from other content hubs will eventually compete for the same spot.

So if you have very extensive blog posts or guides that have somehow served as an ultimate resource for a certain topic in your industry, converting them into independent pages on your site will definitely be a great way to protect, maintain and/or improve their rankings.

Few great samples of these are:

There are also other ways and reasons to expand your blog’s amount of important landing pages (meaning pages that you’ll really need to optimize, promote and push more internal links to) such as:

These are content assets that deserve better search rankings for very competitive search terms, because they are worth-linking to. They have better chances of getting natural links and it’s reasonable to promote them through manual link building or social outreach.

Pumpkin Hacking

This is a strategy that I got from Nick Eubanks. The main principle behind this strategy is to focus resources and efforts on building what works.

If you have an already established blog, it’s best to assess the keywords that are sending constant traffic to your site (using Google Analytics). But if you’re only starting a new one, keep on testing and track the posts that are performing really well in terms of driving search traffic and conversions (engagements, social, subscriptions, etc…).

Identify the niche or the type of content where the keywords are really sending good amount of engaged traffic to your blog.

Start focusing on those areas by creating more stems of content, based on the niche’s root keyword (ex: “link building”) – using the same approach for the content (ex: “comprehensive tutorials or data-driven content”).

The more you target the root keyword’s long-tails or replicate the approach or style of your previously successful content, the more your content strategy can establish your brand/blog as an authority in that field.

And in an SEO-perspective, search engines can fully understand the response from the traffic you’re getting. This means you can improve your blog’s search share in the niche that you’re focusing with (and could also possibly make your blog rank better for the niche’s root keyword).

I’ve realized this early on my blogging career, where most of the good reception were gained by my comprehensive link building posts.

So I focused on that. And it worked. My blog somehow became associated with the niche keyword and have built a strong mindshare over the time.

Another efficient way in merging your keyword and content strategy is through extracting more data from your Google Webmaster Tools (search queries feature). You can check out this great guide from Jeremy Morgan on how to do agile content marketing with GWT.

Length of content/document

Comprehensiveness of content is a strong signal that search engines use, not just to gauge relevancy, but also to determine the value of the content.

If the content is a complete resource about the subject, it basically deserves a higher ranking position.

Longer posts are sticky, knowing that they tend to get bookmarked, get more return visits and/or referenced to by other content publishers as a resource.

Few tips on making your content more comprehensive:

  • Add more visuals in your blog posts.
  • Expand the details of the information you’re offering (Wikipedia style).
  • Identify the areas of the subject that’s missing from other websites’ similar post and provide those information in your content.

Build more on-site trust signals

Google is known to use hundreds of factors in evaluating rightful pages/sites to be ranked higher on their search results.

Implementing more signals coming from your site is one of the best ways to demonstrate authority and trust (to both users and search engines).

Several trust signals that you can easily put into practice:

  • Invite guest authors and offer authorship markups for them (to improve your blog’s author portfolio and gain more trust signals through their AuthorRank).
  • Create content for links/shares. Examine the types of blog posts in your space that work well in terms of social sharing. Replicate and let known linkers/sharers in your industry know about it (more tips here).
  • Link out to trusted sources. Readers and search engines will more likely trust your content if you’re citing useful materials from other authority websites.
  • Social proof. Integrate social calls-to-action on your blog, as this can display your activity on different social platforms (and number of followers/subscribers can influence how people and search engines see the blog as a brand).
  • Encourage blog comments. The more engaged readers you have, which can easily be reflected by the discussions happening within your blog, the more positive signals you can send out.
  • Reduce interruptive ads. Especially those that are placed above the fold.

Use other formats of content

Another way to create more positive signals from your site is to create content in different formats. There are so many content formats that you can try and test out for your blog, such as:

Slide presentations Slideshare.net

Videos – Youtube and Vimeo

Infographics Info.gram and Visual.ly

Timeline – Timeline JS

 

Google Algorithm Updates for 2012 by Nikko Machine

List – List.ly

Aside from creating signals, having more content hosted on these authoritative UGC sites can help you attract more referred traffic. Since these pages (hosted on Slideshare, Youtube, etc…) have high tendencies of getting displayed on search results for long tail searches, which of course link to your site.

Optimize for Dwell Time

Dwell time is a user-experience metric, which is a combination of bounce rate and time-spent on site. When people are staying longer on the blog, it becomes a strong indication that they are finding its content useful and relevant, and thus help in improving the site’s ability to rank better on search results.

There are many ways to optimize a blog to make its visitors stay longer and to encourage them to take actions:

  • Build more thematic internal links within your posts’ content. Use longer anchor texts to make the more visible to readers and to entice more clicks.
  • Use compelling images/visuals to stimulate and capture your readers’ attention.
  • Link to related blog posts at the end of your post (if you’re on WordPress, you can install the Yet Another Related Post plugin).
  • Invest on a visually appealing site design and learn basic UX. Ask people for feedback and suggestions to improve user-experience.
  • Optimize content above the fold. Make sure that the headline and introductory part of the content can entice readers to scroll down.
  • Improve your blog’s load time or site speed. Use tools like Pingdom or Page Speed Insights to assess areas of the blog that could be causing it to slow down.
  • Optimize for readability and design your content for skimmers. Break down your content in shorter paragraphs and highlight the important parts (by using bold texts, headings or quotations).
  • Use strong calls-to-action on highly-perceptible areas of your pages (ex: at the end of the post or above the fold).

Optimize categories

Blog categories are strong static pages that can compete for highly competitive terms, because they actually pertain to the niche itself and they are up in the hierarchy of your blog’s architecture.

Though many times, these pages aren’t well-optimized for search, and often become poor-content pages (that sometimes can cause content duplication within the site).

There are a few things that you can do to improve your categories (for it to look more appealing to both users and search engines):

  • Optimize your categories’ title tags.
  • Add custom content above the fold, including a headline (with the keywords that the category is about) and an introductory content which describes the types of content that go into that category.
  • Display only the excerpts for the listed posts in each category page.
  • Build contextual links to your categories (both internal and inbound links).

Improving the page value of your categories can also help distribute more ranking power to the blog posts under it. The same thing happens when your blog posts are increasing their page authority, wherein they can also pass the ranking ability back to the category page.

Making the blog’s architecture search-friendly

This is the part where basic and advanced on-site optimization meets. Having great content is good, but you also have to understand that SEO is also about making it easier for search engines to find access and index pages from your site.

Help search engines to better understand what your site and its content is about so they can serve it to users/searchers who’re specifically seeking for it.

Some of the optimization methods that you can implement on your blog:

  • Use accurate page titles on each page and blog post on your blog. Make sure that the page titles are really relevant to page’s content.
  • Add meta descriptions on your posts/pages, with the aim to increase SERP CTR, not just to target keywords.
  • Use descriptive URLs for your posts/pages (custom permalink structure). It’s also best to keep your URLs short.
  • Add an XML sitemap and Robots.txt, so search engines can easily identify which pages they should prioritize in crawling and which folders of the site they aren’t allowed to access.
  • Make sure that the blog’s URLs are canonicalized or redirecting to a single version of the URL (www. or non-www).
  • If you have videos, add a video sitemap. If your blog is on WordPress, you can just download the Google XML sitemap for Videos plugin.
  • Validate your blog’s coding. You can use W3C’s free toolset for validating HTML, CSS, schema, and many other web document formats.
  • Implement authorship markup. You can check out this tutorial from AJ Kohn.
  • Improve your blog’s site speed. Use the tools I’ve mentioned above (Pingdom or Page Speed Insights).
  • Check your site for crawl errors using Google Webmaster Tools. Fix these broken pages if necessary, but if not, you can choose to 301 redirect them to the most related pages (or to a new URL version of the page). It’s also best to reclaim all the links from other sites pointing to your broken pages to reduce crawl errors. Lastly, create a custom 404 page and suggest other pages where visitors can go instead.
  • Block search crawlers from indexing thin and/or potential duplicate pages from your blog (tags pages, search feature, meta refreshed pages, etc…) by using the “noindex” tag.
  • Start implementing social snippet markups for Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Dana Lookadoo shared an in-depth guide on SEOmoz mid last year, while RKG also did an extensive tutorial on how to use Open Graph tags for social snippets.
  • You can also start utilizing structured data (schemas) on certain types of content. Raventools released a tool that generates schema codes for reviews, events, products, books, movies, persons, organizations. The tool also has a plugin for WordPress blogs.

Branding

Everything that you try to build off-site should add value to the brand that your blog is trying to shape. It’s very important to know what separates your publication from the rest in your niche/industry.

Know your unique value proposition and make it as your blog marketing efforts’ core. It will help you establish more positive signals to your blog and will also help make you remarkable in your space.

The more you push your value proposition and making it certain that it will be relevant and resounding to your audience (through the interactions and the content you produce/distribute), the more your blog will become a link magnet.

Brand-based signals will definitely be important this year, since it’s becoming more obvious that search engines favor brands that have strong presence in their search results.

Here are some methods that you can do to build more brand signals to your blog:

  • Contribute content on high-traffic blogs in your industry through guest blogging. Focus on sharing your expertise to steadily build mindshare in your niche and brand recognition.
  • Participate on popular discussions on relevant communities, especially on sites where your target audience is (forums, authority blogs, Q&A threads, online community voting sites – like Reddit, Inbound.org or Hacker News). Add value to the discussions to be remarkable and to attract click-through traffic to your blog.
  • Start building in-content brand mentions/citations (co-occurrence) – that are in close proximity to your blog’s major keywords – as search engines understand and count these unlinked brand mentions as signals. Simon Penson wrote a great piece about link building without links, I highly recommend reading that post.
  • Utilize and create campaigns on social platforms where your target audience is (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc…). Build a strong following base by being consistent with content sharing and relationship building.

Track and optimize for Conversions

Track everything that’s performing well on your blog. Evaluate your best traffic sources, content/landing pages, and the elements that make your visitors take actions.

Set up goals on Analytics to make the most out of the traffic you’re already getting. It’s also best to continuously improve your blog’s important pages (those that are already converting visitors to leads or sales – if you’re selling products or services).

Test those that are already performing well by using Google Analytics’ content experiments. Because the more your important pages can convert its incoming visitors, the more they’ll likely be ranked higher on search results (based on the usage data and traffic behaviour on your pages).

For more advanced tips on building a high-traffic blog, check out these posts:

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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60 replies
  1. Ricky Shah
    Ricky Shah says:

    Just impressed with the way List.ly and infogram works. SEO industry is using it very smartly. Even, I am surpised to see why phonearena or other blogs always rank for “xyz mobile spec”. Is the authority only a factor or the way the represent the data is? Can you shed more light on this?
    The industry is going in the right direction as far as content is concerend. Video, infographic, tables, JS are adding many value to the content. However, what happens when the content is dynamic? For example, List.ly generates dynamic content in the sense it will get updated when the creator adds more tools to it.

    Reply
    • Jason
      Jason says:

      Great post Jason. Bloggers should also be able to make the best use of social media tools (socialmention.com and topsy.com) to know the latest trendy or relevant topic on social media so that they can write useful content around a keyword which gets more social proof and quality natural links, Writing content which is always related to one’s interest so that the best in one comes out. Having quality images ,videos, slides etc and other high quality content in a blog can create lot of engagement.

      Reply
  2. RonLeyba
    RonLeyba says:

    Errr, what can I say. Great tips here. 🙂 . That tip about making the blog’s architecture search-friendly is frickin awesome for every bloggers out there; newbie and veterans.

    Reply
  3. Sai Krishna
    Sai Krishna says:

    I liked the way author explained the search engine optimization stretegies to bloggers, its very easy to understand. Really what a long post, its took almsot 30 mins for me to read each word carefully. Thanks for the informative post.

    Reply
  4. Jack Smith
    Jack Smith says:

    Fantastic!!!!!! Really Really great Tips and suggestions. Highly Appreciated. As a Certified SEO from superiorfakedegrees.com with 8 years of experience I recommend this article to all my Juniors and fellow SEO to follow them.

    Reply
  5. Marko Saric
    Marko Saric says:

    Wow, this is a very extensive guide for bloggers. Too many bloggers don’t think of these tips when creating and optimising their content, but it is important to be more strategic and make sure to do this to increase the chances of people finding your blog.

    Reply
  6. Evan
    Evan says:

    SEO rules!!!!! I am so delighted I found your blog page, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a remarkable post and all round entertaining blog), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the superb work.

    Reply
  7. Jules@Virtual Assistant Philippines
    Jules@Virtual Assistant Philippines says:

    This is a great Information that will help your business in promoting your blogs. With quality contents will have a good marketing effort. The correct marketing strategy is needed in marketing your brand, product or service. We need to have a correct marketing strategy for promoting our blog. You have to understand first all of these to have an efficient job.

    Reply
  8. Adam Connell
    Adam Connell says:

    Jason, another amazing post thank you!

    I’ve been noticing listly popping up all over the place recently, I’m going to have to devote a bit of time soon to check it out.

    Btw, I included this post in my weekly roundup.

    Reply
    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      List.ly’s platform is really promising, knowing that a lot of bloggers are into crowdsourcing and curation these days. Something that people should really use (to create interactive content).

      Thanks for sharing this post as well Adam!

      Reply
  9. abdelrhman
    abdelrhman says:

    The best seo article i ever seen.. Really helpful and informative points you talked about you did your best and we have to act 🙂 … Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  10. Andrea H.
    Andrea H. says:

    Great post Jason, really impressive. There are so many good advices that I don’t know where to start from, probably the landing pages hints. Good idea to subscribe for email updates. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Bhupendra
    Bhupendra says:

    Adding visuals and videos are good but too many of them can slow down your blog and Google counts the response time of your blog and the same applies for your readers they too hate a slow opening page, therefore one must add only as much of visuals as necessary for understanding the topic.
    Anyways this article is worth appreciating.
    Great job Jason.

    Reply
  12. Julian
    Julian says:

    I am always amazed about how documented are all your posts. Although it had taken me several minutes to read the whole article, I must say it is very helpful to every aspect. I will try to write more pages instead of posts and see how it goes in terms of SEO.

    Reply
  13. Lexi
    Lexi says:

    I think we’re seeing the dawn of other forms of content dominating the searches. infographics and videos are effective tools for enhancing website performance, in my case.

    Reply
  14. Tania
    Tania says:

    Hi,
    Very basic but informative tips, Thank you!!
    Alot of people THINK they know… But they don’t!
    In my case thanks to this post, I added a slide presentation which miraculously increased my human trafic on my blog alot!! People leave more comments because they are interested in such a presentation. I might actually be following all your advices.
    Keep up the good work 🙂
    Tania M.

    Reply
  15. John
    John says:

    Excellent advice, we should all have a check list so that we remember to implement all these suggestions. Personally I remember to do some but not others. Thanks

    Reply
  16. Philip@Online Residual Revenue
    Philip@Online Residual Revenue says:

    Hi Jason,

    Very detailed post you’ve written here, I managed to read it all and I’m very thankful I did so.

    I also like to use List.ly to create lists, what I love about it is that it invites readers to participate and encourages interaction, and that’s what every blogger want from their readers.

    I do a lot of keyword research for each of my blog posts now, and I see that the search traffic has increased. I used to rely a lot on social media traffic but I’m starting to enjoy doing SEO and perfecting everything so I can get the best results out of my work.

    SEO isn’t easy to do but I think that’s the best part of it, because not many people can do it well, and when all of your hard work eventually pays off the feeling is priceless.

    Cheers Jason, great post.

    ~Philip

    Reply
  17. Michael
    Michael says:

    A lot of great information thanks. It’s amazing how many website even huge website don’t use the header tags, url, and title. The main thing I realized that you should focus on two keyword phrases and really target them big time. Before you even target words make sure the competition isn’t out of control yet gets a lot of searches.

    Reply
  18. Praveen Soni
    Praveen Soni says:

    Hello KAISERTHESAGE,
    Hope you are in great health. SEO the word says everything and we know that how important it is. If a person has a website then I am sure that he already know that SEO and how it is important. You explained all the new tips very well I really enjoyed your article. SEO is very important if a blog owner needs to get organic traffic 🙂
    All these tips are important for newbie bloggers.
    thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  19. Mark Llego
    Mark Llego says:

    Hi Sir Jason, I’m just a beginner and learning now about WP and creating my own pages and blogs. I love your posts and this one in particular. Clear concise steps, to help me start. Really appreciate the time you put into answering all the questions from other posts as well, because I learn from them also. You’re awesome!

    Reply
  20. Umrah
    Umrah says:

    This is a great Information that will help your business in promoting your blogs. With quality contents will have a good marketing effort. its very helpful for people needed information on how to improve their SEO.
    Thanks Alot for sharing this post.

    Reply
  21. Chris
    Chris says:

    Hi jason

    I am in the process of optimizing my first magazine blog for a customer. It is a well established blog with thousands of quality original posts over a 3 year period. The posts were all just running on a homepage roll with a few non keyword specific category pages. As you mentioned above my first step was to create target keyword category landing pages and fix the URL’s, write a keyword rich description and start pointing some links to the landing pages, However I am still now having any luck in getting the category landing pages to rank(in the top 100 on non competitive keyword phrases). I was considering creating permanent pagas with better permanent fixed content and then running the blog posts that relate to that page as post snippets on that page. I would then use the Yoast SEO tool to disable category indexation. Would you recommend this or do you think there could be another reason?

    Reply
  22. Will
    Will says:

    Great post! I didn’t even think about putting some of my better blog posts as static pages. That’s a really good tip that I’ll have to work on. Of course, most of my posts will probably need to be expanded to make this strategy efficient. I have read that with the Penguin updates most blog posts should be around 500-750 words. What do you think?

    Reply
  23. Genifer
    Genifer says:

    Amazing post!
    I liked how neatly you described how tags and categories are supposed to be used by SEO experts.
    Many people can’t distinguish tags and categories, but here we learned that a category is a bigger basket to carry the blog posts

    Reply
  24. sunil
    sunil says:

    Hi Kaiser,this is an awesome article and yes SEO is the important process in blogging but bro I’m newbie so would you just suggest some more things about SEO technique?
    By the way THANKS for sharing transparent thoughts with us.

    Reply
  25. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Great post Jason, really impressive. There are so many good advices that I don’t know where to start from, probably the landing pages hints. Good idea to subscribe for email updates.Thank you so much for the post,,,,!

    Reply
  26. Martin kane
    Martin kane says:

    Hi Jason Acidre, Awesome post.. i like the way you explain optimization methods which includes all important part in very simple and easy way. but i think you have missed one important element that is image optimization. i would like if you add this element too in you post . Good job Jason.

    Reply
  27. Spot a Leopard
    Spot a Leopard says:

    Superb entry as usual.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately on whether to or not to optimize page categories as according to a Google blog I’ve read, search engines don’t show category pages. But reading this now, I think I’ll do it, you know, just for extra SEO juice.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  28. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    Hello Jason

    Such an awesome post. I really like how you summed up all important aspects of blogging & SEO. One thing I would like to point that while you are working on such things, it is even more important to track your progress. There are couple of tools in the market and I have had hands on almost all of them but I shall vouch for http://www.majesticseo.com.

    Such an awesome tool to keep yourself updated about your progress.
    Disclaimer : I am not associated with http://www.majesticseo.com in any way 🙂

    Reply
  29. Ralp Ubod
    Ralp Ubod says:

    I’m just a newbie as well as learning today concerning WP as well as creating my own, personal webpages as well as sites. Clear concise methods, to help me commence. Really comprehend the time you place directly into responding to the questions using their company articles too, since i grow from them additionally.

    Reply
  30. Joemer Gregorio
    Joemer Gregorio says:

    It’s good to see a blog SEO post that mentions the content asset. Because like it or not, good quality content is absolutely critical to good SEO, and most bloggers who try to avoid that fact will not get the best results.

    Reply
  31. Andy P@seo tips
    Andy P@seo tips says:

    Hi Jason, you mention about offering Google authorship to your guest posters. Have you got a plugin you use for that because I have got my own authorship site wide in the footer so wouldn’t want a guest posters face all over any content I had written!

    Reply
  32. Curtis Waters
    Curtis Waters says:

    I have had great success using a Silo structure to improve SEO results – currently using SEO Zen by Alex Cass & Alex Becker. I love how it easily provides on WordPress sites the framework needed for Semantic Analysis. It works to grab content applicable to your keywords, interfaces with Spin Rewriter to make the content unique, provides a means to link anchor text for monetization, engage social signals, and assists with identifying high PR sites for linking. You can’t ask for more from a reasonably priced WP plugin!

    Reply
  33. Aqib Shahzad
    Aqib Shahzad says:

    Hi jason,
    Informative guide for bloggers that are looking to increase their organic traffic. I always do a keyword research through long tail platinum tool, then write informative and lengthy article, build few backlinks and it automatically ranks up in search engine. I have got some new ideas from this article and going to implement in my next article.

    Reply
  34. Abhijit Gupta
    Abhijit Gupta says:

    Awesome! This is extremely valuable to me. I have read this article and really liked that you share such lovely SEO Info. This will be very helpful to perform during seo services. Thanks.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] So when year 2013 started, I decided to re-optimize my blog (some parts of it), a week before I published my recent post about Advanced SEO tips for blogs. […]

  2. […] Advanced SEO for Blogs – 2013 Edition – If you only read one post from this list then this should be the one you read; if you want to take your website to the next level then you will find a lot of extremely actionable and powerful pieces of advice here – Jason’s insights never cease to amaze me. […]

  3. […] his SEO blog, Kaiserthesage. For more tips for blowing up your blog traffic, see his original post: Advanced SEO for Blogs: 2013 […]

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