How To Rank In Google: A Step-by-Step Guide
Blogging is a lot more than knocking out a post and hitting “publish”. Of course, that’s if you plan on being successful at it. Sitting down and writing a post for your blog is but one small part of the process. You could say half the battle is the actual promotion. In reality, promoting your blog is a full-time responsibility. It’s a job that never stops. Now, if you are trying to find your groove and want to learn how to promote your blog posts, you showed up just in time..
The more traditional rule for blogging has always been more is better. While I believe that a good deal of time should be spent writing, I have to digress. I wish to debunk this myth. Building a successful blog is more than writing. As a blogger, the right mindset should be a combination of writer meets SEO, meets social media manager.
There are 3 components that go into a kick ass blog post:
- Research – What the hell am I gonna write about?
- Writing – Time to put this on paper (er.. the keyboard)…
- Promotion – READ MY BLOG!
Are you ready? Pay attention. The components above are the crucial ingredients to writing and promoting the perfect post.
The 12 Step Program For Writing And Promoting A (Kick Ass) Blog Post
Here are the exact steps you should take:
1) Know your audience and choose your keywords wisely
Choosing the right keywords for your post is essential. What is the purpose of your post? Are you wanting to raise awareness? Create a call-to-action? Educate an audience? Sell a product? These questions are crucial to your success. Let’s face it: most of us blog for business. That’s not to say that it’s not fun, but it is time-consuming, and at the end of the day, conversion is what you are after.
Here is an example of how one keyword can target different interest groups. By focusing on the right context, you can target people farther along in the “buying” cycle. This example targets the keyword social media. Take a look:
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See how the same keyword can be manipulated by the tone of your article to attract two different types of visitors? Pretty cool, eh? It’s that simple. You want to write about the questions that your target market is asking.
A brilliant example of this concept in action can be summed up by this pool guy. He grew his business and became an authority in his niche at the same time.
3) Keep SEO in mind
You don’t need a doctorate in internet marketing to understand this. If you want people to find your post out of the millions that are published every day, you need to follow some best practices. Below is a simple outline on how you should structure your post for the search engines. The keyword(s) you are targeting should appear in the following areas of your post:
- In the title. Make sure you are using h1 tags, and choose an appropriate title that includes your keyword.
- In the url. For example, take a look at top. The focus of this post is to how to rank in Google. You’ll find those keywords in the url itself. = )
- In the meta description. This is the description you see in search results. It describes the page and gives insight into your post. Use your keyword, but remember to write something that will encourage clicks.
- In your subtitles. If your post is on the long side, or would benefit from having subtitles to further explain your point, use them.
- Throughout your post. Sprinkle your keyword (and variations) throughout your post. A good rule of thumb is to include your target keyword at the beginning, the middle, and the end.
- In your images. You should name your images with a descriptive title that matches your keyword for the post. This will provide an optimized url for the url of your image. Then, use andtags to describe the image using your keywords.
Here’s a few more tips:
- Link to older posts on your blog. This will help search engines crawl your site better and you’ll also increase your chances of having visitors stay on your site longer.
- Link to other authority sites that expand on what you are talking about. There is a strange idea that linking out is bad for your site. It’s not. It’s actually a good thing. Next time you are on an authority site or blog, check out how many times they do it. Nuff’ said.
4) Create a killer post
I leave this part up to you, young grasshopper. Grab a cup of coffee, find a quiet spot, and write a post that kicks ass like Chuck Norris.
5) Find industry leaders and influencers
I’ll make this one short and sweet as well. You should already know what sites are at the top of your industry, not to mention the key influencers. If you don’t, I imagine you’re in front of a computer. It’s time to do some detective work.
Do some searching around on Google, or use social media to find the people you need to get noticed by. Once you have “acquired your target” (so to speak), preemptively follow the hell out of them on social media. Don’t stalk them. Just hit them up on their fan page, send an occasional tweet, give them a +1.
Bonus Tip: Take it one step further and find one of their blog posts and link to them from your post. This can be your olive branch for hitting them up on social media and shamelessly promoting the post you have just written. Ninja skills, my friend.
6) Send Trackbacks
This is a trick used by savvy bloggers to bring other bloggers and webmasters to the conversation. Now, what I am not condoning is trackback spam. Doing that will definitely not paint a good portrait of your credibility. How you can use trackbacks is linking out to authority bloggers in your niche to let them know you have referenced them in your post.
Why do this? There are a number of reasons, and I’ll place them in order of importance:
- It’s a great networking tool. If you are linking out to a blogger, it’s likely that they will visit your site so they can see who linked to them.
- You may get a few links yourself. When you send a trackback the owner of the site will get a notification. It’s like getting a comment. If they publish trackbacks it will be nestled right at the end of their post.
- It’s good for traffic. Even if you only link out to a few people, it can help. Chances are they’ll visit. They may even give you a tweet.
7) Plan the perfect timing
This is important. You definitely want to publish at a time when your post is most likely to be seen. I would be doing an injustice by wrapping it up in a paragraph because Dashburst took the scientific approach. To sum it up with a quote:
“The data from Shareaholic shows that posting between 9am to 10am increases the likelihood of both more pageviews and social shares, while the KISSmetrics study targets 11am EST as the peak traffic time to your blog. Either way publishing on weekday mornings is key…”
I highly recommend reading their post on the best time to publish a blog post.
8) Ping your site
WordPress does this by default when you publish a new post using Ping-O-Matic. You can access this area under General Settings > Writing in the admin area of WordPress. You can add more services to ping by default, or you can use a service like Pingler. Pinging the url of your freshly written post helps it to get indexed by search engines faster.
9) Use social media
Social media plays a huge role in blogging and SEO. If you want traffic, you need to join in. Once you publish your post you should be prepared to put in some work on social media.
- Publish to every outlet you have: (Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon).
- Spend some time on your most important networks (the ones that bring the most traffic) promoting your post and spend time commenting/engaging with other bloggers.
- Schedule your post to go out more than once.
10) Reach out to those you mentioned in your post
Even though this one could have easily been included in the last step, this one merits its own as it is important stuff. I want you to find the people you mentioned and linked out to in your post — and tell them.
Simply send a tweet. Stop by on their fan page. Drop them a comment on Google+ (or even their blog). You do these things, especially after already sending the trackbacks — they’ll actually know you exist.
Think about it.
If you want to carve a name out for yourself (in whatever industry you may be in), you need to rub elbows with the Bigwigs, the people you look to for information. Align yourself with them. It will open up doors, increase your influence, and grow your traffic.
11) Comment on “Influencer” blogs
Target authoritative sites that get a lot of comments and reader engagement. Make thoughtful posts and seek to be ahead of the pack by signing up to influencer newsletters and aiming to be the first to comment.
Bonus tip: In the blogging realm Commentluv will help you drive traffic. When you leave a comment, a link to your most recent post will come up under your name.
Don’t waste this opportunity to drop an empty comment. Instead, take the time to write something intelligent and thoughtful. It will make you stand out. Also, be sure to focus on high traffic sites that get plenty of engagement.
12) Use Topsy
This is a great tool for many reasons, but for our purpose here we will be using this later after you publish your post. What you want to do is go to Topsy and search by link. Plug the link to your post in the search box and have at it. You should be able to see everyone that shared your post on Twitter and Google+.
Wrapping It Up
Don’t be afraid to get creative. If you really want to drum up interest, why not go guerilla and create a video series that highlights the valuable information you have? You can then use that to drive traffic towards your site.