Blogging: Learning SEO is worth the effort

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SEO is the acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization, is the strategy and process of increasing the amount of visitors to a site by making structural changes to the site and the content in it that result in the site ranking high in search engine results.

The higher a site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user who has been using a search engine to locate material of interest to them.

I frequently say, “In blogging content is king and marketing is queen.” What that means when it comes to content is if you write high quality original content and promote it then the result may be an increase in targeted organic traffic, or not. This is because if it’s not easy for potential readers to locate your content using search engines then there will be no increase in new traffic from them. Therefore, what determines success is two things:

  • whether or not your content is optimized, indexed by search engines and can be found by readers, and
  • whether or not the readers who do find it become subscribers.

The SEO learning curve

You can read books,  online SEO instruction, tutorials and tools and optimize your site by yourself, just as I am doing. You can learn the importance of keywords, and how to use keywords effectively in titles, subtitles and in the natural flow of text, without keyword stuffing You can learn how to optimize blog structure. You can learn the correct way to use anchor text for links.  You can learn how to optimize your images as well.

On page and off page SEO- It is true to say that Google weighs off page factors pretty heavily, however it is false to claim that on page optimisation doesn’t figure. The truth is that recent research shows that Google gives around 60% weight to off page factors and the rest to on page. This clearly leaves a great amount of importance on on page search optimisation and it is important to understand how to use it to increase your sites online presence. — Tim Grice in SEO Basics For On Page Optimisation

There is an SEO learning curve, but in my opinion it’s not as steep as the social media learning curve. Without doubt high quality website content and good SEO can attract thousands of free targeted readers via search engine to your blog, so learning SEO and using the basic elements and techniques makes sense.

If you need some help understanding what SEO is about then a good place to start the learning process is by reading Google’s SEO Starter Guide.

Free SEO Resources

The SEO Book Training Program offers you:
* Over 100 training modules, covering topics like: keyword research, link building, site architecture, website monetization, pay per click ads, tracking results, and more.
* An exclusive interactive community forum
* Members only videos and tools
* Additional bonuses – like data spreadsheets, and money saving tips
* Every order comes risk free, and with the best selling SEO Book as a free bonus Watch this video to learn more.

HubSpot Free SEO Kit – 5 Steps To Improve Your Website
Interested in using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to drive more traffic to your website? Our free SEO Kit gives you the tips and tricks you need to optimize your website to get found by more visitors and convert higher percentages of them to leads and paying customers. Download link

Free SEO Tools

(1) See your website like a Search Engine sees it.

(2) Google Analytics – powerful full featured analytics tool. Even allows you to track your ROI by keyword for each AdWords ad position. Google AdWords also has internal split testing and conversion tracking software. (Not available to wordpress.com bloggers.)

(3 )Cubestat – Website Value Calculator, Estimations and Information
Cubestat is a free and perfect tool for website value calculation, estimations and information. How does it work? You simply enter the domain url above, our unique algorithm will calculate and estimate the website worth, daily pageviews and daily ads revenue of the present domain. Among the estimation it will show precise information available for the domain.

(4) Quantcast – to measure and organize the world’s audiences in real-time so advertisers can buy, sell and connect with those that matter most.

(5) Site Meter – starts off as free, but charges for advanced features.

(6) Stat Counter – starts off as free, but charges for advanced features and bandwith usage.

(7) Webalizer – default log analyzer on many servers.

(8) Analog – default log analyzer on many servers.

(9) Awstats – another popular default log analyzer on many servers.

(10) Total Validator is a free one-stop all-in-one validator comprising a HTML validator, an accessibility validator, a spelling validator, a broken links validator, and the ability to take screenshots with different browsers to see what your web pages really look like.

(11) Keyword Density Analyzer

SEO Forums

Search Engine Watch Forum
SEOchat
Search Guild
Vv7ncom
Digital Point
SEO guy
cre8asiteforums

Related posts found in this blog:
Improving your Google Page Rank
How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog
Why, how and where to create a sitemap

44 thoughts on “Blogging: Learning SEO is worth the effort

  1. I’m new to all of this, but even so I have read enough to realize how important SEO is to growing your blog. Thank you timethief for such an awesome and educational article!!! I think everything I need to learn is right here. :-))

  2. With a view towards SEO and what you’ve written here is WP.com a good choice when the goal is a site that will be used to build traffic for another site selling fine art photographs? Would a better choice be a more traditional site? The WP.com blog itself will contain articles about the images, the wildlife, and the landscapes being photographed.

  3. If you want to learn SEO you have to first understand what is SEO. What is basic need of SEO. You can get more details about SEO from Wikipedia and there is also s-books available on SEO, You just need to make a search on any search engine
    I hope it will work out for you guys…

    1. There are many free ways to learn basic SEO online and offline. Many free resources exist, so provided a blogger is determined to learn they will find there are many opportunities to do so.

  4. Thank-you for taking the time to offer your help to us newbies. And thank-you for the high quality of your help!

  5. FYi … there are 3 links in this post that give me 404 error messages… I’ve already mentioned to you multiple times the first one (download link) .. but just noticed the other two .. (search engine watch forum) and (improving your google page rank) ..

    Maybe other subscribers to these comments can point these out to you ..

    thanks // HART

    1. Thank you so much Hart. I completely misunderstood what you were saying. I thought you were telling me the stumbleupon link to the post was was broken and I kept fixing the permalink on the title, although there seemed to be nothing wrong with it. This time I understood you and entered the missing http:// from the three entries within the body of the post.

      1. *whew* :) …. Glad it’s worked out now! It’s funny how just missing the http:// redirects your links back to your site .. but was starting to get MORE funny trying to explain that!

  6. I am soooooo glad to have this article. I am about to try and to some SEO on my whole website and I definitely need this info. Thank you dear friend for sharing it with those us who feel like toddlers in the world of SEO. Hugs, Robin

    1. @Robin
      It’s always great to hear from you and even better when I get positive feedback. Thanks for letting me know you find this post to be useful. Don’t forget to bookmark it. ;)

  7. Thanks for this great info, Timethief. It was interesting seeing grades for my four blogs. Not as bad as I had feared. All 85-89. But, I routinely was ranked nil for meta description and meta keywords. I use WordPress, and I thought they did that. Am I doing something wrong there? Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    1. Hello there and thanks for your feedback and question. We wordpress.com bloggers are all working on a single multi-user blogging platform. We cannot access our meta data and edit it. However, it’s important to know that Matt Cutts of Google has confirmed that this data has not been utilized by Google for a long time and will not be used in the future. It was too easily manipulated by web masters to be useful so as they say – don’t sweat it! Also you are correct in thinking that wordpress.com is optimized. That being said you posts and your images will not be optimized unless you do that yourself. To do that simply use the links in the post above as clicking them will provide you with access to tutorials.

  8. Learning SEO is MOST definitely worth the effort. It doesn’t matter why you blog, where you blog, or what you blog about. The bottom line is you (the author) want to share with others. The best way to do that is making sure your information is available to those interested in reading it. Good SEO techniques are vital to the life of your blog. Great post

    1. @Roschelle
      Hello there. Thanks for the praise. I appreciate it. You and I are on the same page. Bloggers either get with the program and make their content readily available to search engines and potential readers using them or end up crying the blues about not getting traffic. In addition to using basic SEO, as opposed to playing hide and seek with search engines and potential readers, there is no such thing as “passive promotion”. We either use social media and social networks, forums and online groups to notify them of our new content or again, we risk crying the blues about not getting enough traffic. The old days of “build it and they will come” are long gone.

  9. Timethief

    Thank you for all the useful information. I have a lot of work ahead of me. I just registered my blog at DMOZ so I hope it eventually appears there.

    I am very concerned because websitegrader.com indicates no entries were found for my blog under Yahoo. I verified ownership of my blog with the big 3 search entries and only Google and Bing are indexing my blog according to ismyblogworking.com.

    Am also concerned because my Google page rank is N/A! Could this be because my blog is fairly new?

    1. @KalaMarie
      DMOZ is notoriously slow at accepting blogs submitted to it. This is because they rely on human editors who check out each blog and because they always have a backlog. Many of us simply gave up submitting blogs to them.

      It often takes about 6 weeks for the Search engines to discover and begin to index your blog. This new verification process does not seem to make any difference to that.

      Many blogs have an N/A PageRank for up to 6 months or even longer. Please read this entry. Blog strategy: Google sandbox or trustbox? This one is also worth reading Natural Linking Strategy for Bloggers

  10. I heard a lot about SEO but never understood the importance. Very informative post about SEO for beginner, Thanks for compiling this information.

    1. @unmallya
      You’re welcome. Blogging is competitive and when it comes to your pages appearing on the first page of SERPs (Search Engine Results pages) the competition is fierce, simply because 90% of all those searching choose to click through on the 1st page entries.

      In the past many bloggers who were not blogging for business proposes and/or who did not monetize their blogs paid little attention to SEO. They were satisfied with the traffic they had and the way it increased. However, a lot has changed in the last couple of years. Many no quality and low quality blogs and splogs filled with scraped and/plagarized content and covered with advertising are being started every day and traffic growth has become a concern.

      Organic Traffic: Organic traffic is any traffic that comes to your site without being paid for. This includes people who visit via links in forums and blogs, traffic from search engines, traffic from word of mouth, or traffic from bookmarks. Organic traffic generally comes to a site naturally and is not driven by marketing campaigns.

      Inorganic Traffic: Inorganic traffic is traffic that is pushed via marketing campaigns. Banner ads, search engine ads, etc generate inorganic traffic. Generally speaking this form of traffic is semi-immediate depending on how much you blanket the Web with your advertising and slowly dies out over time unless more money is spent to build a new marketing campaign.

      In a nutshell, that means bloggers who wish to still be in the game, so to speak, must learn SEO if they expect to establish a flow of organic (unpaid) traffic to their blogs. Focusing on creating relationships with other bloggers in the same niche (or blogging on the same subject matter) by leaving meaningful comments on their blogs, and by encouraging comments on their own blogs to establish a faithful and growing blog readership has become very important to survivors of the influx, as well.

      What we must avoid is focusing on single keyword optimization rather than focusing on a selection of multiple long tail phrases. My advice is to find the pages where you’re achieving page 2 or 3 placements in the SERPs, and then focus on editing to enhance the contents and to optimize them by using multiple keyword phrases ie. the long tail approach. I’m suggesting this because I have seen cases where such long tail adjustments can bump you up onto page 1, and improve your traffic. It seems to me that making it a practice to observe where your competitors pages are better placed than your own, and using this long tail optimizing technique to get more of your own page 2 and 3 pages moving up in the SERPs listings to page 1 and 2 will produce a cumulative effect on other pages in your blog too. But, I hasten to add that I’m no SEO expert. I’m learning and sharing with my readers as I learn.

      John Mu, Google employee offers some advice too. You could also make sure that you link to your new content with a relevant title and a useful snippet from your site’s homepage (or the categories on the home page).

      1. It is great info about organic and inorganic traffic.

        Mine is a pure photoblog and my contents are photos. I tried to post once a week. Do you have any tips for photoblogs and how to improve Search ratings for photoblogs.

        1. The SEO basics are always the same, but as you do not have text in a photo blog post that makes it doubly important that you optimize your images and that you assign categories and tags to your posts.

          When it comes to finding niche social networks to belong to aside from the obvious one Flickr I recommend that you go to this page in the socialmedianswers blog and scroll down to photography. Read the reviews and then visit the sites and check them out prior to joining them.

  11. A great all round resource. Anyone wanting to learn SEO could simply visit this page and work through the resources.

    Thanks very much for the links and the mention, it is appreciated.

    1. @Tim
      Thanks for the praise. I’ve learned a lot from the tutorials on your site as well as from your posts so it’s good to hear positive feedback from you. :)

  12. Thanks for the links. You might also want to mention Website Grader, which “grades” your site on several factors such as

    Inclusion in DMOZ and Yahoo directories
    Availability of RSS feed
    Longevity of site

    It also provides a badge you can use to display your grade on your site.

    1. @JP
      You’re right. Thanks for the prompting re: websitegrader. I was so tired last night that I left out the most obvious resource. I have now edited to include it. What would I do without readers who were on the ball like you? :)

  13. Wow, that is quite a post TT! A lot of hard work must have gone into it. I am in the in the process of trying to understand what SEO is, although am finding it a little difficult to find time because as you mentioned, original content is what is most important and creating the content takes so much time! I have bookedmarked this page (like so many others of yours!) to come back to. I am definitely going to learn a little about SEO, as I think it’s about time.

    1. @Nita
      I intended to publish a comprehensive post that provided a wealth of information so bloggers could work through it all at their own pace. I’m hoping it does not appear to be overwhelming. If one simply wish to learn and employ the basics quickly they could do that by referring to Basic SEO elements for bloggers and then work through the rest of the resources.

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