If you decide to take the blogging route, it is likely you’ve come across several offers from faceless individuals offering SEO services for your new blog.
content: About SEO Experts | The Real SEO | Getting Traffic | Guest Blogging | Email Lists | Advetising | Google Front Page | Conclusion
These SEO marketers have perfected the art of pitching. The headline or titles of their pitch are extremely clickable. These headlines are the quintessential clickbaits. The titles can read like any of these:
- ‘How to make millions from my trusted SEO strategies’
- ‘Rank your website on Google and Smile to the bank in less than 1 week’
- ‘Tried and tested SEO to drive millions of traffic to your website’
- ‘How I ranked my blog on Google search engine fist page in 3 days’
- ‘The proven keywords strategy that took me to the Promised Land. It is now yours if you want it.’
Or some variations of the above titles. You know the drill by now I am sure.
Any self-respecting SEO marketer can sell sand to a Bedouin Arab living in the Sahara desert. Apparently.
They pitch long and hard with interesting anecdotes about how they snatched wealth from the jaws of disaster with their techniques.
The bottom line is they want your money.
And any SEO ‘expert‘ that demands money to help you make millions is just a scam artist feasting on your ignorance and fear of failure.
Here is why…
SEO experts can never make you a better blogger.
Think about it for a while. If you had the secret key to making any website rank on the first page of Google search, you’d be a multimillionaire in dollars many times over.
That is just the plain truth. Having access to Google front page means millions of traffic to your site, and invariably millions in ads revenues.
So why would a millionaire ask you for a token fee to help you make millions like him? A half-decent millionaire would even give that information out for free if he wants to be charitable.
But human nature being what it is, somebody with the key of ranking websites at the top of Google search engine front page would, naturally, hoard that information.
He/she is not going to share that secret for just a few miserly dollars.
Unfortunately, people keep falling into the traps of these marketers. They’d only realized they’ve been scammed when they see no noticeable change in the fortunes of their blogs or websites.
So the question now is what really is SEO?
The real SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Impressive right? To any novice or a new blogger, that is an impressive collection of words.
A little analogy. Some people, especially academics, when they have nothing to say, use confusing vocabularies and technical terms to put you in your place.
For these marketers, convincing you about their SEO pedigree involves throwing some obtuse words at you. Just like vain academics.
You get to hear words like contextual links, long-tail keywords, keywords density, anchor text, analytics, algorithms, organic search, backlinks, SERP, etc.
All these words and terms are thrown at you to give the impression you are talking to the dude who would take you to the Promised Land.
Again, it is just hot air to make you part with money.
Real SEO would be explained here without getting technical. You have had enough of that. Now is the time to call time on throwing money at the so called experts.
1. Content is king
That is an eternal truth. What you write for your readers to read is what would either break or make your blog. It follows that the better your content, the more likely you are able to attract and keep readers.
There is no getting around this. You can sprinkle your content with as many keywords as you wish; if your write up is bad it won’t get your anywhere.
Good content must be interesting, easily readable, free from grammatical errors and must have verifiable and accurate information.
Quality content too must not neglect a good heading. The title of your content must be catchy. You need that to make people want to click on your link.
2. Getting traffic
Quality content without traffic is a plain waste of time. You need people to read what you put up.
This is where the so-called SEO experts make a killing. They purport to teach you how to attract traffic in millions to your website.
There is no big secret formula to doing this. It requires hard work and patience.
You need to promote your site to the right audience. The right audience is the sort who would be interested in your content.
One of the best strategies is to use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on. Join groups or pages with similar interest as you and promote you content there.
Participate in forum discussions and share links to your site so that people would know where to get you. But don’t go around sharing links indiscriminately, some sites see that as spam and would ban you ASAP.
3. Using authority sites
Apart from social media forum, you can promote your blog on what is known as authority sites or blogs.
These are websites that have been around for a while and have millions of visitors to their blogs daily. You can make your presence really known in those sites by commenting intelligently on any interesting topic.
If they allow commenters to promote their own links while commenting, take advantage of that and drop your link. Trust me, you would get thousands of visitors from this strategy. Repeat this on other sites.
That is why it is important to have quality content on your site. Visitors from other sites would be chased away if they click your link only to find thrash on your blog.
You want them to be wowed. You want them to spend some time exploring your website. And you want them to keep coming back.
How to make them keep coming back would be discussed in second part of this piece.
4. Guest blogging
Now, if you can get the owner of any authority site to allow you to guest blog, that would be wonderful. The only reason an authority site would allow guess blogging is if you proved you can publish quality content.
A simple background check on your site would help them make the decision whether to give you a guest blogging gig or not. Again, it all boils down to the quality of the content in your site.
Never underestimate the power of guest blogging in attracting traffic to your site. But it is not worth it if you can’t put at least a link back to your own site in the guest blog.
So make sure the authority site allows at least a link to your own blog when you guest blog.
contents: About SEO Experts | The Real SEO | Getting Traffic | Guest Blogging | Email Lists | Advetising | Google Front Page | Conclusion
So far, we have outlined most of what constitute good practices when it comes to SEO and getting your website to rank high on search engines.
Notice that those SEO jargons that are the favorites of the marketers have not featured much here. This belies the point of how experts use confusing terms to justify collecting money from you.
By now, you know a decent way to drive traffic to your blog that is filled with quality content. But that doesn’t mean anytime you write, the same number of people would read your post.
That is your main target though. You want to be able to keep a loyal core of readers. Readers that would read every post once it comes out.
I have never come across a successful blog without an email list.
You have probably come across dozens of them (email list software) but you never paid attention to them.
An email list is what bloggers use to get a core group of readers; at least, in the beginning of their blogging journey, it was a must-have tool.
With an email software setup, you give anybody who visits your blog an option to drop their email so they can get notifications in their mailbox each time a new post comes up.
The common way to get new visitors to part with their emails is to offer them something valuable for free. And to get that freebie, you need their email to send it to them.
Everybody loves free stuff. And if the free stuff is really good, something that promises to add value to their lives (it could be an ebook, audio file, short video clip, etc.) they would be rushing to obtain it.
With patience and constant driving of one-off traffic to your sites, you can get thousands of subscribers. With that list in your kitty, you are assured of thousands of readers for any new post.
It won’t end there. The people in your email list would likely share the post on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media they fancy. Their friends would read them.
And when their friends come to your site, they’d also see the free offer and drop their own emails too.
Do the maths, with time, you would have a list running into hundreds of thousands.
Setting up an email subscription strategy is not hard. There are several free softwares that would help you with that.
Then, when you start making money, or if you already have money, you can invest in the premium softwares to help you send out notifications to your subscribers.
This is another method of driving traffic to your site. There are no frills or hidden secrets with ads.
However, you ads campaign must be set up to reach the target audience. Facebook and Google ads are two of the most popular paid ads services.
With these two, your blog instantly reaches millions of readers across the globe.
This is one service you can consult an expert to help you out with because the process of filtering to reach your target audience can be a bit confusing to a novice.
But if you don’t have the funds to pay for Facebook or Google ads, don’t beat yourself too much about it.
Just continue promoting your blog in Facebook pages, Internet forum, and in authority sites as discussed earlier. You would do just fine as long as you meet the basic criteria of having quality content on your blog.
Getting to the front page of Google search
Here is one indisputable truth: you would never outrank authority sites in your niche. This bears repeating, authority sites would always rank above you on Google search.
That is one thing the SEO experts would never tell you. After all, their service is premised on taking you to the Promised Land of Google front page.
This sites would always be ahead of you because of the Google algorithm (algorithm simply means how Google search works).
This is because all the indices used for placing high in the rankings are in their favor. These are
- The age of the websites
- The traffic
- The number of backlinks (there, a jargon for you)
The point is, nothing is new under the sun. Thousands of websites have already published something similar to yours.
And they have been in the business for so long they are like a reference library for new bloggers.
Chances are, most of your research is done by visiting these old established sites. Thousands of other new bloggers are doing the same thing too.
The Google engine knows that, so it ranks those sites ahead of yours.
The only way you get to Google front page is by publishing something completely unique. An idea nobody else has ever written on. That way, you become the only blog with that information.
So because you can never outrank these established websites, except in extraordinary circumstances, just keep doing your bit of getting creating quality content. And then, promoting your site.
Demystifying SEO jargons
If you are wondering what all those SEO jargons meant, here is a little glossary for you.
Algorithm – how the search engine goes about doing what it was designed to do
Analytics – fancy word which really means spending sleepless nights praying for a miracle to improve your traffic
Anchor text – clickable links in a post
Blackhat SEO (n. Blackhatters) – battered into oblivion by Panda and Penguin (see below)
Bounce rate – it only becomes important when you think content is not king but a mere pawn
Backlinks – links back to your blog from other sites
CMS – Content management system: do you prefer WordPress to Blogger?
Deep linking – keep readers on your site by offering them more juicy content
DoFollow links – overrated backlinks
External links – use them in your content. Shows people you don’t mind the competition
HTML – it’s either you want to be a programmer or a blogger. Choose one. You can be both though.
Internal links – see ‘Deep Linking’
Keywords – write about a dog and not a squirrel if your title/heading says ‘ I love my three-legged dog to bits: important ways to care for your physically-challenged dog’
Keywords density – write more about your beloved dog than about your beloved cat in the above.
Keyword research – spend the time actually writing about the dog. Fussing about whether to use ‘animal’ instead of ‘dog’ would land you in the doghouse with frustration.
Link Building – see Panda and Penguin below
Meta keywords – in how many ways can you beg search engines to have pity on your new blog?
NoFollow links – opposite of DoFollow links
Panda – the uppercut that completely knocked out low-quality sites with bad or duplicate content.
It was administered in 2011 by Google to Blackhatters who made a lot of money trying to trick Google and ignorant folks
Penguin – Google decided to bury Blackhatters in operation Penguin update. Backlinks from low-quality sites are now flagged as a sign of trying to cheat the system.
Blackhatters now parade themselves as SEO experts using that same tricks Panda and Penguin killed.
SEO plugins – SEO experts tricking you into buying what you don’t need
Whitehat SEO (n. Whitehatters)– using the right strategy to grow your website or blog. What do you think you have been reading?
It is important not to get confused or overwhelmed by too much information. And to be fair, what you just read might be too much to digest at once.
So how about this for a summary: any ‘expert’ who insists he can help you make millions from your blog is only trying to sell you a bridge.
Do something else with the money.