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Don't know how to get traffic to your website?
How to extend your blog's reach?
1. Optimize for SEO
SEO has become a well-known abbreviation amongst bloggers, but in case you’re not yet familiar with it, here’s a quick explanation: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This means to make content more appealing and easier to find, so the search engines can find your content and rank it higher in the search results.
You can do this by using keywords/keyphrases. By placing keywords/phrases throughout your content, search engines can understand what your content is about. When someone searches on Google for one of your keywords, your post will appear in the search results.
Google processes 40,000 search requests per second or 3,500,000,000 queries per day. And each day, around 2,000,000 new blogs are created globally. So, you need to stand out. Therefore, you need to create content that will be loved by your future readers as well as by the search engines.
To create an SEO-friendly blog, you first need to do keyword research. Until recently, keyword research was done based on the number of searches per month in the search engines (search volume), the costs per click, and competition. You had to search for long-tail keywords (keywords that consist of multiple words) because these are being searched less frequently and thus have less competition.
These long-tail keywords have been exhausted as well nowadays. And because of that, the results of using long-tail keywords aren’t as outstanding anymore as well.
I have wasted so much time on keyword research. And I was wondering whether there are other more efficient and faster methods in 2020. The good news is that search engines are continuously becoming smarter and smarter. Previously, search engines were not able to look at the quality of content, and therefore content was mostly ranked based on the presence of keywords.
Search engines are becoming better and better when it comes to evaluating content. This means that to rank high in Google; you first need to focus on writing rich, quality content. Stuffing your content won’t bring in the keywords any longer. Filling your content with keywords is no longer an option. Filling your content with keywords no longer yields the same results as it used to. On the contrary, in 2020, new algorithms can detect keyword stuffing and place your website lower in the search results when it gets detected.
2. Create valuable content
What is valuable content?
Your content is valuable, when it’s of use to your readers, when you solve problems and answer questions, when you do research for them, and summarize the results in a post.
Use Google Autocomplete to discover which questions your future readers are asking about the topics you want to cover on your blog. Which questions are they asking that will direct them to your content? You can use this question as the main topic for your content and provide the answer to it. This way, your readers will be able to benefit from it, and that is what Google finds to be valuable content. So, monitor the latest trends, search for other questions your target group is asking, and provide them with the answer to those questions in your blog posts.
Why long, in-depth blog posts help to rank higher in the results of search engines?
When publishing lengthy, in-depth blog posts, you’ll have more chances to rank for long-tail keywords. Lengthy posts also stand up a lot more. I connect with many bloggers via Tailwind. Tailwind is an online community that allows people within Tribes to support and share each others’ content. I will discuss this further in more detail later on in this post. But the thing that strikes me most is that many of the blog posts that other bloggers submit in this community are very short. While the titles raise high expectations, but they are barely met in the blog posts themselves. You may get clicks to your website, but they won’t be of any value because your readers will end up disappointed and won’t ever come back. It’s not interesting enough. Do some research, invest some time and effort into your posts. It’s better to write one article that can be used by readers over and over again as a manual, than ten short articles that have no substance to them.
I know all this research takes an awful lot of time, but if you want to be a good author, you have to commit yourself to serve your readers, take them seriously, and take your job as a blogger seriously. Then your dedication and efforts will eventually be rewarded. This way, your audience will see you as a serious blogger, and so will Google!
By long and detailed, I am talking about a minimum of about 700 words per post. And if you truly want people to notice you, then try to create blog posts of 2500-3000 words (or even more).
How to tailor your content around the user intent?
Google determines the user intent for each search query. And based on this intention, Google decides which results the user gets to see. There are three categories for the user intent: information, transaction, and navigation.
Is the user looking for information? Does the user want to be navigated to a specific website? Or does he want to make a transaction?
Informational content differs from content that aims at getting the user to do a transaction. Tutorials, how-to-posts, and posts for beginners provide information. A navigational search results in content for users seeking the best possible options: the best…, the top 10… and comparison posts, and a transactional search will result in links directing to online stores.
Once you understand the intention of the user, you can fine-tune your key phrases accordingly. This way, you can increase your posts’ relevance and thus rank higher in the search engines.
3. Start optimizing for Google Voice and Featured Snippets.
Why you should start optimizing your content for Google Voice
Soon, half of all search queries will be voice-controlled. Therefore, Google will seek out content that answers questions that users ask through Voice Search. The featured snippets you see at the top of your search results are the same answers Google also uses to answer search queries that are made by Voice-search. I’m talking about the search results that Google displays at the top of the 1st page. You don’t need to click on a link to see the answer; it’s already there.
To make your content eligible to be displayed as a featured snippet or as an answer to a voice-search related search, you need to make sure your content is suitable for this purpose.
How do you qualify for a featured snippet?
To qualify for featured snippets, you need to create content that you base on questions and answers. Formulate questions in your headers and provide a clear and concise answer (between 40 and 60 words) in the following paragraph. Ensure that you formulate the question and its answer accurately. And also make sure your website’s load speed is optimal. Google ranks fast-loading pages above the ones that load slower.
4. Use free SEO-tools
With the help of SEO tools, you can improve your blog’s SEO performance. I like the RankMath plugin. This plugin is quite popular amongst bloggers, and it is free! It’s free to a certain extent, but for a beginning blogger, I think this free version will do. This plugin shows you where you should optimize your SEO to make sure your blogs are SEO friendly.
5. Other methods to increase your rankings in the search results
Getting listed at the top of the search results organically is very hard these days. Especially when your content doesn’t contain any other form of multimedia that text. Currently, Google evaluates the overall user experience of a website, which must be optimized for the user in the best possible way. For that reason, you should use several forms of multimedia, such as videos and images.
Qualitative and in-depth content is key in 2020. When other users see you as an expert, they will share your posts, and that will result in more backlinks. And when you have a lot of backlinks, Google will take your website more seriously. Because when others share your posts, this must indicate your visitors appreciate your content. Please do not engage in the so-called link building: collecting backlinks from other websites in a forced manner. Each day, Google is getting better in distinguishing valuable/non-valuable, organic/non-organic, and this also goes for recognizing backlinks that aren’t of any value.
Furthermore, you should include your key phrase in the URL of your blog page, in the headers, and the meta-description. The meta-description is a small piece of text that gives your readers an indication of the information they can expect to find on this page. This is the text you always see below the link at the top of the search results.
6. Optimize images
Why optimizing your images is great for your SEO
Image optimization is of importance to your SEO because it can reduce loading time, and when you add text to the Alt-tag, it gives your readers and search engines a textual description of the image. Search engines read the Alt-tags of images, and that’s how your images can add to your SEO as well.
How do you optimize images for SEO?
7. Start pinning on Pinterest
The best thing to do and to learn – which I have so greatly underestimated because the entire platform didn’t appeal to me, dumb, dumb, dumb! – is promoting your blog on Pinterest. Pinterest is basically a big search engine for images. And you can link your content to those images.
The primary purpose of Pinterest is to get ideas and inspiration. So, if you come up with solutions to specific problems, or with suggestions, this platform should be your primary social media platform to promote your blog.
To succeed on Pinterest, you need to create Pinterest-friendly images. Customizing images to meet these requirements increases your chances of getting repinned by other Pinterest users. And if you want to use a service that connects you to other bloggers to share each other’s content, sharing Pinterest-friendly images is the norm.
Pinterest friendly images can be created very easily with Canva. In Canva, you select the Pinterest image format, and there you have the choice between numerous customizable templates, or you can completely design one by yourself. Although there is a premium, paid version of Canva, I must say that you can already achieve quite a lot with the free version.
Tips for creating a Pinterest worthy image:
8. Use Tailwind Tribes
Another piece of advice I could’ve used months ago: Tailwind Tribes! Tailwind Tribes are great! Join some Tribes that fit your niche and connect with the other bloggers in that Tribe to share each other’s pins on Pinterest. There’s a free trial version, so you can test it to see whether this works for your blog.
It is also a great Pinterest scheduling tool. You can schedule pins in advance and set up smart loops, saving you the time and energy of manually managing and sharing your content.
Other great resources to expand your network are Facebook Share Threads and Pinterest Group Boards. Search for group boards for bloggers on Facebook and Pinterest (within your niche) to connect with other bloggers, ask questions, and share each other’s blogs.
Facebook groups can be found by searching on Facebook for ‘bloggers + your niche’ and then filter the results for groups.
When you search in the Pinterest search bar for the topic you want to find Group Boards for, you must choose ‘Boards’ on the right side of the search bar and press ‘Enter’. All boards related to this topic will now appear in the search results. Most of them are individual boards, but you can find the group boards as well if you take a good look. On some of the boards, you will see a circle with pictures inside. This circle indicates this is a Group Board, and the pictures inside are the profile pictures of other users that already joined this board. Once you click on the board, you will see a button to request to join. But before you click this button, I advise you first to read the description of the board below, because that’s where the owners mostly set out the instructions to join the board.
Some Group Boards don’t accept new contributors anymore, and some of them just won’t accept you for whatever reason. Don’t give up though, sign up for multiple boards, until you’ve found enough boards that do accept you! Group boards often have a lot of followers, so there are a lot of extra chances for your pins to be seen!
10. Start building a mailing list to send e-mails to your subscribers
11. Connect with your readers and other bloggers
As mentioned before, connect with fellow bloggers via Facebook Groups, Pinterest Group Boards, and Tailwind, but also look around for other blogs that fit your niche, particularly those that already have a big audience. Leave useful comments on their posts that will get you noticed by both the blogger and her readers.
Usually, there’s also an entry field in the comments section in which you may leave the URL to your blog as well, allowing the blogger and her readers to visit your site as well.
Build strong connections with your readers and make sure you always respond to the comments they leave below your posts too.
A contact page is also an essential page of your blog! Make it a priority to create this page to make sure everyone can get in touch with at all times.
The more your posts are shared, the more traffic you’ll get. The question is, how do you get people to share your posts?
To get your posts shared, you have to make it easy for your readers to share your content on social networks. You can do this by placing social share buttons on your blog. There are special WordPress plugins to do this. I use the Sassy Social Share plugin for this, it’s free, and you can customize the buttons according to your preferences.
Do not overuse these buttons; just pick a few channels your readers use the most.
13. Create a system to promote your blog
With so many different channels to share your posts, it’s hard to keep track of the places you’ve already submitted your new posts. That’s why I’ve created a free checklist for you to use to make sure you’re promoting your blog in the most efficient way.
It is smart to keep a small amount of money for advertising. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars a month on advertising, but just a small investment can generate lots of extra traffic. Find out which advertising medium works best for you. Google Ads doesn’t work as well for me as Pinterest ads do. Aside from that, I find Google Ads quite complicated. You lose a lot of time with constantly adjusting your ads and, therefore, also a lot of money. Avoid this in the beginning, and keep it simple. By the time you wish to do more serious advertising, I suggest you take a short course or hire a professional to do this for you.
It takes time, yet, through hard work, perseverance, and a great passion for blogging, you’ll succeed in generating more traffic to your blog for sure! Please let me know if my tips on how to get traffic to your website have been useful to you. And if you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments below or send an email to email@example.com.