This post was written as part of the Blog Hop Conference at Home and you can check out the other 2 dozen + conference sessions being offered at Blog Conference Newbie’s Blop Hop Conference Agenda!
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way to help search engines figure out what you’re writing about. I’ve written about the basics of SEO for Bloggers in the past, and have even discussed the importance of building incoming links. However, I wanted to share some more in-depth information since Google’s Panda changes and since I had the occasion to test the link-building principles in a recent case study after the launch of my new ebook.
Case Study of the Ebook Links
Before the book launched, I wrote a post about Why You Should Write an Ebook. If you search the phrase “Why You Should Write an Ebook” I rank second in Google results (right behind Seth Godin- Not bad!). However there was another keyword phrase that would have fit the post just as much – Benefits of Writing an Ebook.
I decided to focus on that second phrase when linking to the post from elsewhere around the web. I knew I had many guest posts coming up to celebrate the launch of my ebook, and I chose to link back to this Why You Should Write an Ebook post from many of them using the phrase “benefits of writing an ebook”.
Notice in this guest post at About.com about the steps of writing an ebook (different but similar topic focus), and here in this post about planning your posts with an ebook in mind, and this post about turning passion into profit through ebooks, or this one about getting started with ebook topic selection.
And with those incoming links alone, when you search “Benefits of Writing an Ebook” on Google my angengland.com Why You Should Write an Ebook post ranks #3. #3! For a term not even in the title or introduction. The term wasn’t added to the subheading until I decided to target this keyword phrase.
Incoming Links Have SEO and Traffic Power
Can those four incoming links really impact the traffic of my site? Absolutely! That post is currently in my top ten of posts on my website with about 1/2 the traffic coming from search engine traffic and the other half coming from direct traffic (with guest posts expect a temporary increase in direct traffic that tapers off as those posts drop off the front page of the other website). So those four incoming links helped boost the importance of that post to Google.
Think of it this way – the 1/2 of the visitors that came directly from those websites were going to come no matter what type of link I used. They were visiting my site because they read the post and wanted to check out what I’d linked. However, the 50% of visitors that came from judicious keywording? Those were EXTRA! Those are the bonus visitors who found me because I implemented smart link building tactics with my guest posts. In a very real sense, I DOUBLED the traffic to those posts with my keyword selection in the first month. Wouldn’t doubling your traffic help you out? Is it worth one day of keyword research time?
When someone searches “benefits of writing an ebook” my post ranks highly for the term. Why? Because these other authority sites have TOLD Google that’s what my post is about. It’s the same reason why the top result for “click here” in Google is Adobe. Because every website with a PDF download says “To download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, Click Here” and links to Adobe’s website. They’ve all, in a sense, told Google that “click here” is what that website is about.
How Can You Use This Tendency To Boost Traffic?
Well if you really want to get fancy with it, you can target keyword phrases with higher search volumes. In otherwords, when you write a guest post or column somewhere, instead of linking haphazardly, you can link with a plan. Link with just a teeny, tiny bit of fore-thought and change the name of the game for yourself. Change how Google thinks of your blog. Or even a specific post!
Even just picking one main keyword phrase or focus per post – or choosing one post that you want to focus on highlighting when you’re guest blogging or writing as a columnist somewhere or contributing to a content site around the web, can make a huge difference in the results you have building your search engine traffic and rankings organically. You should consider doing keyword research, even just once, to find a handful of core key phrases to focus on in your search engine optimization efforts.
I’m talking about doing the research work ONE TIME (or hiring someone like me to do it for you) and then using that information any time you write anywhere else online. One time work. Long-term benefits.
Where Can You Get Incoming Links
For me it’s simple – the easiest way to control the quality and nature of the incoming link you have pointing back to your website is to create content for other sites. I’m a writer – that’s my default mindset. By creating a few extra tidbits of information, the way I did with the ebook guest posts, you can lead readers yes, but more importantly Google, back to your main website.
So where can you write to get those links? Guest posting is one way to build the incoming links. What websites have a similar or related topic that you could write a guest post for? I’ve collected a full list of websites to write at for incoming links that you can look through and select from. Contributing to any or all of these sites can be part of an important traffic building campaign.
Your contributions will not only bring you potential new readers, new followers and all the other benefits of direct traffic, but also help you create a highly effective search engine optimization strategy that works organically without feeling spammy or icky or using any black-hat techniques that Google is getting better at rooting out. However, those guest posts and contributions will ONLY work as part of a long-term traffic building plan if you HAVE a long-term traffic building plan.