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When I started blogging a few years ago, I had no skills like most pros out there. All I did was start my site at blogger, with a BlogSpot sub-domain and dived into business. Oh! Wait…Point of correction; …and started my blogging journey.
After a long time of fruitless efforts, I decided to move my career to the next level and opened a self hosted WordPress site which changed everything until today. I have even written a post on how I started the blog and everything was ready in under 10 minutes.
Everybody in the world can be a blogger, but a few will make it to the top. I remember once when my lecturer said,
“If you can use Microsoft office word, and are able to publish your content online for the world to see, you are a blogger”.
Those words of encouragement always shone a light of hope on my path to blogging affluence, until I came to realize only one aspect that makes different bloggers; Success.
Everything in one diagram
So, what are you missing out on as a blogger?
This post will mainly focus on Traffic and Search engine ranking.
The aim of any website is to be seen. No webmaster can publish a site that they want to keep a secret. Right? Right. I knew you were with me in that.
So, for any blog to succeed, its content must be read, and read even more.
Search Engine Ranking.
When you perform a Google search, a page pops up, with a list containing a good number of sites. At the bottom you will see a navigation bar with numbers, meaning the results are in many pages.
For a layman, they are just random results placed there anyhow. Only an internet native or rather an SEO guru will understand they are placed in that order for a reason; Rank. Every blogger should fight for the highest rank possible. Here are some of the ways to get your rank as high as possible;
1. Proper use of robots.txt
Previously in this site, I shared a post about robots.txt, in which I discussed its meaning and importance.
I even went as far as explaining a step by step guide on how to create this imperative file and where to place it in your site. Last but not least, I shared a sample robots.txt from one of my websites, for the sake of those who would like to have their copy, as most of the information is general.
Pursuant to the fact that robots.txt controls bots, (including the search engine bots); it’s always a good practice to make use of it in your site, even if it’s not a requirement. This not only protects your site from bad bots, but also boosts your rank on search engines by effectively controlling how search engine crawlers scan your site. To read and understand more about robots.txt, see this post.
2. The rel=noindex and rel=nofollow attributes
Rel means relationship. So, when using this attribute means you are specifying the relationship between the link and the page it points to.
Noindex-When you command search engine bots not to list your site on SERPs. This will prevent your information from being displayed on SERPs when somebody queries content related to your site. In short, nobody will ever find you on search engines if you utilize this directive.
SERPs– Search Engine Results Pages. These are pages that you see after performing a Google search, Yahoo search, Bing search etc. This is where results related to your search query are listed.
Nofollow– Is when you instruct search engine bots not to consider your site’s page rank in favor of outgoing destinations, a phenomenon commonly termed as passing link juice.
Rel=nofollow was created by cooperation between Yahoo, Google and Microsoft, and was released on 18 January, 2005.
Always avoid following outgoing links. If you do, it drops your rank hence lowering your exposure on search engines. Only follow links that are really important and that you feel you should endorse.
3. Meta Description
The meta description is a short summary of what a page is about. In up to 160 characters, this crucial SEO aspect is shown below each heading in a search engine result page. If you forget to add the meta description manually in your WordPress posts and pages, search engines will automatically pick the first few characters of your content. The yoast S.E.O WordPress plugin, which has over 3million active installs and All in one SEO pack plugin are among the very few effective plugins out there.
4. The Title tag
Google seems to consider the title when ranking a page. This is usually the text between the <title> and </title> tags in the <head> section of your html.
If you prefer manual web editors to automatic CMS like WordPress and Joomla, you may erroneously leave out this important facet of SEO. Most software applications use default title tag like “New file” “New site” “New page” etc. To get the most out of this feature, you can change the default title to more meaningful text e.g the Name of your site and/or your business tagline.
5. Meta Keywords
The meta keywords tag is usually ignored by search engines, for obvious reasons every webmaster understands. In short, this tag is no-longer supported and will be of no value to your website as far as search engine ranking is concerned…
But here is a perfect alternative; Include on your page the words you think people will search for. Wear your audience’s shoes. What would be the main keywords that best help in finding your site? After answering this question, go ahead and include them on your page either as tags under blog posts, categories or or even post titles.
Backlinks are links on one site, pointing to another, such that when somebody clicks on them, he will be directed to an external site.
Take an example of site A. If an author writes a blog post, and includes a link pointing to site B, it will be called a backlink of site B.
Backlinks are also another consideration when ranking sites. When a site has a lot of backlinks, it’s an indication of its importance. Therefore, it’ll show higher in search results, promoting its exposure on the internet.
Every blogger/webmaster should work hard to get backlinks, and not only backlinks but quality backlinks.
How? What does that mean? If you thought you are now going to spam all sites on the internet and gain backlinks, calm down, small blogger and read this carefully;
A backlink is not just about linking, but ranking.
In no. 2 above, I mentioned rel=nofollow. All links containing this attribute are useless to SEO and not considered as backlinks. They are used by people who just want to link to an external site, for one or two reasons, but not pass PR.
PR– Means Page Rank. High authority domains have high trust and page rank. If they link to your site with a dofollow link, they endorse and promote your site on search engines therefore passing link juice and increasing your PR.
Most blogs have smartly utilized this technique to prevent comment spam. Spammers target comment boxes, and throw their links in order to gain backlinks, without knowing it’s just a waste of time as they are nofollowed automatically.
I have also made use of this trick in all my websites, and additionally, I don’t approve unrelated comments that contain a horde of links.
What’s your opinion? The comment box is waiting for your views below…