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blog seo

The Complete Guide to Blog SEO

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blog seo

Ryan Stewart

I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's top internet marketing expert. This blog is one of the channels I use to demonstrate that. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate (internet trolls). Click the icons below and fire away.

I’ve driven over 10,000,000 organic visits for websites throughout my career.

This post is an actionable guide that goes into painstaking detail showing exactly how I optimize those blogs for search engines.

Before I get into the guide, I want to show a screenshot from my Google Analytics account:

WEBRIS reviews

I’m not showing you these to beat my chest.

I’m showing you to prove what I’m going to tell you works.

This Guide contains the exact process I use on my blogs and those of my clients.

This is my ultimate guide to blog SEO. In it, you’ll learn:

  1. How to create a blog strategy that drives traffic
  2. How to do keyword research for your content
  3. How to craft blog with an SEO focus
  4. My favorite WordPress plugins that help optimization
  5. How (and where) to build links to your posts

 

Blog SEO Chapter Index

This is a long ass post (5,000+ words). I included navigational links below that allow you to jump to each chapter:

  1. Chapter One: Blog Strategy
  2. Chapter Two: Keyword Research
  3. Chapter Three: Optimizing Your Content
  4. Chapter Four: WordPress Plugins
  5. Chapter Five: Building Links

blog strategy

1. Define Your Audience

I hate writing cliche tips that you’ve already read a million times, but it’s the truth. You need to define your target audience.

I’ll use Webris as an example (we sell Internet marketing and design services).

I target 2 segments with my content:

  1. Business owners / marketing managers (potential customers)
  2. Other marketers

You might think speaking to customers is more important – it’s not. Other marketers provide more value, they are:

  1. Social media amplifiers – they’re more likely to share content
  2. Link sources – the content they create is related to yours. This greatly increases the changes of gaining quality and relevant backlinks (key for your blog’s SEO)
  3. Influencers – Your clients don’t make you an influencer though – your peers do. If you’re viewed as an influencer in your vertical, you can sell water to the ocean.

Make sure your content speaks to more than just potential customers!

2. Create Epic Posts

I really can’t stress this enough. In fact, this is the most important piece of advice I can give you.

You will never have success with blog SEO if you’re not creating amazing content.

I know, I know – I sound like Matt Butts (ahem, sorry, Cutts). As much as I hate that stupid fucking buzzword “content is king”, it’s true.

You have to create content that people want to read, share and come back to.

Otherwise, blogging is a complete waste of your time.

Every time I create something, I ask myself a number of questions:

  1. Does this solve a problem my audience has?
  2. Does this teach my audience a new skill?
  3. Would I share this with my peers?
  4. Is this better than the last thing I wrote?

If it doesn’t meet all of those requirements, I refuse to post it.

If you own a business, you’re an expert at something. Share this expertise – don’t hold anything close to chest.

This type of content sets the building blocks needed for blog optimization.

3. Stop Selling, Start Giving

When I log into my Facebook account I’m overwhelmed by shitty marketers selling even shittier products.

Stop! Please. Just stop.

I’ve been down that road. It’s a waste of time and money.

I created [what I thought] was a great offer, funnel and upsell. I set up some remarketing ads on Facebook and was ready to watch the cash roll in.

That never happened. Here’s what did:

  1. I spent a ton of time tweaking ad copy, targeting, messaging, landing pages, etc
  2. I spent a ton of money advertising my offer
  3. The leads that converted turned out to be duds

In November I launched this site on a new domain (webris.org). I wanted to start new.

I began posting the content to the blog that I was previously charging for. Here’s what happened:

blog-seo-traffic-analytics

blog-marketing-leads-analytics

This site is now driving 1,000 times the weekly leads and they’re 100% FREE.

I no longer have to convince people to opt in – they choose to.

4. Update Consistently

I’m not going to lie to you – maintaining a blog is a bitch. It takes a lot of patience and discipline to continue to create content when you’re seeing no results.

I like to try and write for at least an hour each day. At that rate I crank out a solid update once or twice a week.

Remember, the more content you create the more traffic you’ll drive.

Create a schedule and stick to it.

5. Find Your Voice

The chances are you’re writing about something that’s been written thousands of times so it’s extremely important to show yourself in your writing.

I write like I speak. I use jargon, humor and I curse. Even though I’m writing about professional topics, I don’t care. This is who I am – this is who I am and my readers respect me for it.

keyword researchIf you want your content to perform well in search engines you need to understand the search demand and competition of each post you write.

That’s why keyword research is so crucial.

Here are the tools you’ll need:

  1. Necessary: Google Keyword Planner – FREE
  2. Necessary: Moz Bar Browser Plug in – FREE
  3. Optional: Long Tail Pro – $97

KW Research Step 1: Finding Keywords

Lets’ go back to my target segments:

  1. Business owners / marketing managers (potential customers)
  2. Internet marketers

We want to create problem actionable content that solves their problems – how do we know what those problems are?

I use forums and social media groups – specifically, Facebook Groups.

Good, active Facebook Groups are hard to find – but they’re gold.

  1. Log into your Facebook account and use the search bar – I use “SEO” and “analytics”
  2. Click on the Groups with the most members
  3. Join as many as you can – once accepted, look for active groups with NON SPAM threads
  4. Browse the group and look for questions – I use [command + f + ?] to find questions quickly

facebook-groups-keyword-research

Here’s a thread that I found generating a lot of responses:

how-to-use-social-media-groups-keyword-research

I also saw related threads in other groups. Using these threads, I can generate a list of preliminary keywords that has a built in audience.

The ones I came up with were:

  1. Website silos
  2. Link silos
  3. SEO silos
  4. How to create website silos
  5. Silos link juice

Facebook Groups are great, but I also use other sources. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Quora
  2. Google+ Communities
  3. Niche forums (Blackhatworld.com, Yahoo questions)
  4. LinkedIn Groups
  5. Twitter #’s

Blog ideas and keywords are all around you – pay attention!

KW Research Step 2: Flushing out Keywords

If you’re on a budget, use Google’s Keyword Tool – it’s free. If you’ve got some extra funds, I strongly recommend Long Tail Pro.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll be using Google’s tool.

  1. Go to https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
  2. Login with your Gmail account
  3. In the first box, type in some sample keyword searches. I chose:
    • Website silos
    • Link silos
    • SEO silos
    • Silos SEO
    • How to create website silos
    • Silos link juice
  4. Click “Get Ideas”
  5. On the next screen click “Keyword Ideas” tab

keyword-research-for-blogs

The top box will show you the data for the keywords you put into the search field. What we’re looking for here is “Avg. Monthly Searches” (don’t pay attention to the other data because it’s referring to Google AdWords campaigns, not SEO).

  1. Download the entire list as an Excel spreadsheet. Open it and sort the keywords by volume
  2. Take keywords with a high volume, copy + paste them back into the Keyword Tool, and click Get Ideas
  3. Download the new list an Excel spreadsheet. Open it, Copy + Paste the data into the other Excel spreadsheet
  4. Sort the keywords by name and delete duplicates
  5. Repeat this process 3 more times

The goal is to find as many high volume keywords as possible. Try to flush out at least 50 keywords that get 30 or more monthly searches.

Don’t be afraid to focus on finding groupings of long tail keywords. If done correctly, long tail keywords will drive more traffic than your main keywords.

Save the spreadsheet and keep it handy. We’ll be using it shortly.

KW Research Step 3: Analyzing The Competition

Before creating the post you need to analyze the competition.

The goal is to find keywords with high search volumes and low competition.

Start by downloading and setting up the Moz toolbar:

  1. Chrome version | Firefox version
  2. Click the Settings icon and select Display SERP Overlay

Type your website name into Google:

how-to-read-da-and-pa-of-blog-for-seoYou’re looking at 2 factors:

  1. PA (Page Authority) – The ranking power of that individual page (i.e. rankingsite.com/ranking-page)
  2. DA (Domain Authority) – The ranking power of the overall website (i.e. rankingsite.com)

For your website, find the DA and write it down – this is a gauge of the power of your root domain (NOTE: NOT exact science, but still accurate). You will be comparing your DA to the competition’s.

Next:

  1. Re-open your Excel file with list of keywords
  2. Copy the keyword with the most search volume and Paste it into Google
  3. Analyze the DA and PA of the top 4 results returned

The higher the PA and DA of the ranking websites, the harder it will be for you to rank for that specific keyword.

We’re looking for results in the top 4 spots with PA less than 20 and DA similar to yours OR less than 50.

Below is a matrix to help explain:

DA-PA-seo-matrix

Image credit from our SEO agency London partners

  1. For each keyword you analyze, record the result in your Excel file
  2. If the keyword you Pasted into Google returns websites with high DA / PA, highlight that keyword row in red
  3. If Google returns sites low DA / PA, highlight that keyword row in green

Repeat this until you’ve Googled every keyword in your Excel file (below is the Excel file for my post I wrote on SEO silos).

keyword-excel-seo-competition

optimizing conent

6 years ago all you had to do was jam a bunch of keywords into a page and you were golden.

Through the use of semantic search, Google’s gotten a lot smarter.

The algorithm combs your entire page and looks at overall context, synonym keywords and semantic markups. It’s important to keep this in mind when creating your content.

Filter Your Keywords

Filter your Excel list so the keywords with the highest search volume and lowest competition are on top (these rows should be green).

The keyword at the top will be your main keyword – the others we will use as long tails and synonyms throughout your post.

To better illustrate, here were my top 5 keywords for this post:

  1. blog seo – 2,900 searches
  2. seo for blogs – 260 searches
  3. increase blog traffic – 1,170 searches
  4. optimize blog for google – 50 searches
  5. blog post search engine optimization- 40 searches

NOTE: my keyword list contained 40 keywords in total. For the purpose of brevity, I’m only showing you 5.

Using Your Keywords

There are a couple of places you need to inject your keywords:

Title

Creating a title is tricky because it needs to accomplish a few things:

  1. Contain your main keywords
  2. Convince users to click on it
  3. Be under 55 characters (Google’s display limit)

If possible, stick your main keywords at the front of the title. Then, work in secondary keywords.

For this post, I was able to work in my main keyword up front and a secondary keyword behind it:

Blog SEO: How to Optimize Your Blog for Google

The main thing is to include your top keyword and make it legible for users – the rest is a bonus!

URL

Your website should be set up to support permalink structure.

If it does, your URL will be auto optimized based on the title of your post.

For example:

http://webris.org/blog-seo-guide-to-optimizing-your-blog-for-google/

permalink-structure-for-blog-optimization

If your blog is running on WordPress, click Settings -> Permalinks to set it up.

Content

The most important thing is to write a great post that is clear to users. Don’t try and stuff your entire list of keywords in where they don’t read well.

Here’s what I like to do:

  1. Use main keyword in the first 100 words of the post
  2. Use main keyword 2 – 3 times throughout the whole post (no more!)
  3. After I’ve written the post, I go back and look for places I’ve repeated low volume keywords (Control + F)
  4. I then replace them with higher volume, long tail or synonym keywords

Again, Google is getting really good at picking up relevancy. The most important thing is to write a focused article that is clear to users – Google will handle the rest.

Semantic HTML Markups

AKA the use of HTML markup to reinforce the semantics (meaning) of the information in your post.

Most refer to these as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5> and <h6> tags.

These tags are used as headings and can increase a search engine’s ability to pick up content relevancy.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Your <h1> tag is your title and auto added to your post
  2. DO NOT add additional <h1> tags
  3. <h1> is the most important heading; <h6> is the least
  4. You can use as many <h2><h6> tags as you see fit
  5. <h2> tags should be used as subheadings to break down content
  6. <h3> tags should be used as subheadings to break down <h2> content
  7. <h4> tags should be used as subheadings to break down <h3> content
  8. NEVER skip headings (i.e. go from <h2> to <h4> with no <h3> in between

These tags are best used to organize content – not spam the algorithm. For example:

Good:

<h1>How to Set up Google PPC Ads<h1>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h2>Setting up An Account<h2>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h2>Keyword Research<h2>

<h3>Using the Keyword Tool<h3>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h3>Selecting the Right Keywords<h3>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h2>Bidding on Keywords<h2>

<p>Body content here<p>

Bad:

<h1>How to Set up Google PPC Ads<h1>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h2>Setting up Google PPC Account<h2>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h2>Google PPC Ads Keyword Research<h2>

<h3>Using the Google PPC Ads Keyword Tool<h3>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h3>Selecting the Right Keywords for Google PPC Ads<h3>

<p>Body content here<p>

<h2>Bidding on Google PPC Ad Keywords<h2>

 

Adding these tags are easy if you’re using WordPress:

  1. From the post editor screen, click Text
  2. Locate the text you would like to markup

Wrap the text in desired HTML

how-to-create-h1-h2-tags-for-blog-seo

Images

Image optimization is a pain in the ass. However, it’s vital if you want to rank for competitive keywords.

Naming the File

I’ve seen people write about it for YouTube video SEO, but rarely for image SEO.

  1. Before you upload your image, right click on it and select Get Info
  2. Add a couple of descriptive tags that classify the image
  3. Add fitting title by changing the Name & Extension
  4. Add a small blurb in the Comments section
  5. Close the file

When adding these elements, make sure not to keyword stuff. Simply add in plain English what the image displays.

Here’s an example from an image in this post:

Naming an Image File

Image Title and Alt Tags

Upload the renamed file to your website.

The title will pull through as the Name & Extension from the previous step. This is optimized so there’s no need to change it.

What you need to add is the Alt Tags. Search engines can’t read images so they rely on Alt Tags as descriptors.

The key to a great Alt Tag is being descriptive without keyword stuffing.

Let’s say you have the following image (a screenshot of a Google Analytics SEO Report):

Avg Page Load Report Screenshot

Good Alt Text:

Google Analytics Avg Page Load Report

Bad Alt Text:

SEO Report – Webris the Best SEO Company in Miami – Miami SEO

NOTE: If using WordPress, edit Alt Text on the Media Library upload screen.

Wordpress plugins

If you website isn’t build in WordPress you can skip this section. If it is, these are my top recommendations.

Yoast SEO Plugin

You can’t fully appreciate the power of an SEO plugin until you optimize an HTML website.

The plugin makes optimizing your blog posts a cinch (so easy that I’m not going to cover it in detail here).

WP Smush It

Large images slow down page speed (Google hates slow sites!). This plugin compresses your images and helps to speed up your website.

W3 Total Cache

By far the most powerful caching plugin. It can minify CSS and JS, disk caching, comment removal, browser caching and more.

NextScripts Auto Poster

This plug in allows you to auto push your blog updates to 26 social networks. I’ll cover this in more detail in Chapter Five of this post.

Building Links

Links to your blog posts are critical for SEO.

Luckily, getting links to your blog is 10 times easier than product, service or home page. In addition, it looks more natural to Google (why would 10,000 websites link to your product page about microwaves?!).

There are 5 types of links to utilize:

  1. Social (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc)
  2. Contextual (think links from other blog posts)
  3. Blog comments
  4. Niche forums
  5. Internal (links within your site)

1. Social Links

Over 74% of adults spend time on social networking sites. It looks unnatural if your site generates 1,000 links yet no one’s talking about it on social media.

It’s important to generate a buzz for your posts before building links – otherwise you can trigger penalties / Google sand-boxing.

Here’s how I do it:

a. Social Network Auto Poster {SNAP}

{SNAP} is a free WordPress plug in that pushes your content to:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Blogger
  • LiveJournal
  • Delicious
  • Diigo
  • Stumbleupon
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Plurk
  • Tumblr

Setting up the plug in can be a pain in the ass, as you’ll need to configure API keys for most accounts. Instead, use Fiverr to get it done.

Here’s the gig I use: https://www.fiverr.com/seo5rr/setup-social-networks-auto-poster-snap

b. Buffer

{SNAP} pushes your content out when it’s published. Buffer creates a calendar to re-publish when you want.

Buffer is great to keep fresh signals flowing through your links on auto pilot.

c. Social Media Groups and Forums

Remember how I showed you to find keywords using Facebook Groups? Use those same groups to push some of your content.

Be careful! Group moderators are highly sensitive to blog spam. It’s important to participate in group threads and not just post links to your site.

If your content is good, you’ll get a ton of social signals, shares and traffic.

d. Buy Signals

I’ve built my social media following over time so my links get good organic engagement.

This wasn’t always the case. When I first got started I bought +1’s, Tweets and bookmarks from vendors.

These don’t come close to the strength of signals you generate from your own accounts, but they still help.

I use the following vendors:

  1. http://www.socialsignifier.com
  2. http://www.feedmefollowers.com

e. Create Signals

If you find yourself spending hundreds buying social signals you should look into syndication software (I use Syndwire).

It’s essentially a software that allows you to auto hundreds of social media profiles with the click of a button.

You’ll need hundreds of social media accounts for this to be effective. I don’t suggest you create them yourself:

  1. Hire someone on Fiverr to build accounts (simply search for Syndwire or Onlywire)
  2. Tell them to use proxies when creating accounts
  3. Make sure they add profile pictures to each account
  4. Create profile names based on your niche (i.e. twitter.com/seogurusteve)

The goal is to make these profiles real. Schedule regular updates that contain links to authority sites – not just links to your site!

If you follow those rules your signals will hold more weight.

2. Contextual Links

A contextual link is found within the body of content and is in context with the idea surrounding it.

These are the most powerful links you can get – a few links from quality sites will skyrocket your SEO efforts.

Few marketers know how to correctly acquire and/or build them. This section is going to show you exactly how I build a number of powerful contextual links for my sites.

a. Link outreach

I used to talk a lot of shit about link outreach.

I thought it was time consuming and unsuccessful. I refused to do it and would buy/build/use PBN links instead.

Then, I started creating great content like this post and I realized how effective it can be.

I read a lot of blog spam about how to writing ‘the perfect outreach email’ is the key.

The key to link outreach is giving great content to link to.

That’s it.

People only link/share content that can better the relationship with their audience. If you’ve got something of great value link outreach is easy.

Now, let me step down from my soap box now and show you exactly how I land between 3 and 5 outreach links every week.

Crafting the Email

Start by writing the email. That way you can easily fire off emails once you find targets.

Don’t over think the email. In fact, keep it short and to the point.

  1. Open with personalized greeting [Hey John]
  2. Give a brief intro [My name is Ryan Stewart and I’m a marketing consultant]
  3. State why you’re reaching out [I have a piece of content that I think would be perfect for your weekly roundup]
  4. Send the link [http://webris.org/content]
  5. Thank them

Here’s the exact template that I use week in and week out to score links:

Trust me – this template works (even with misspellings)!

Link Outreach Sample Email

Finding Targets

I only do outreach to link roundup targets because these people are actively looking to post links.

Other link outreach techniques are annoying. How would you feel if you got pesky emails asking for links in content you spent weeks writing?

Funny Link Outreach Meme

I do simple Google searches to find link roundup targets:

  1. [insert niche] “weekly link roundup”
  2. [insert niche] “monday link roundup”
  3. [insert niche] “friday link roundup”
  4. [insert niche] “best posts of the week”

Google Link Roundup

Click through on matching results, locate a contact email and fire off your email template.

b. Private Blog Networks (PBN)

I have a powerful 50 site PBN, but I stopped building it 6 months ago. It was taking too much of my time to maintain.

Instead, I buy links on other people’s private networks.

The key to buying links is twofold:

  1. Knowing where to buy them
  2. Knowing how to gauge quality

Part 1: Where to Buy Them

I don’t use BlackHatWorld or Warrior Forum anymore – those links don’t come from PBNs, but BNs (aka not private).

You’ve got to find someone who doesn’t whore out links on their network. These people link to their own personal sites and care deeply about the quality of their network. That ensures the links are not only safe, but powerful.

I use Facebook Groups to find these PBN owners. I’ve never had a problem finding niche specific links on well kept networks.

Here are the Facebook Groups I use:

Part 2: Knowing How to Judge Quality

Most PBN vendors won’t share URLs because they think you might work for Google or some shit.

If you insist they send you at least one URL they generally will. Then you can check quality for yourself.

The best way to do that is Majestic SEO’s browser plugin. Simply install the free plugin and run it on the URL you want to evaluate.

Example of Majestic SEO to Evaluate DomainsCitation Flow is a measure of the power of that domain’s inbound links. Trust Flow is a measure of the quality.

I firmly believe Trust Flow is the most relevant measure of link impact. Don’t buy links on domains with a Trust Flow less than 15.

The higher the Trust Flow and Citation Flow, the more powerful the potential link.

c. Web 2.0s

Web 2.0 sites like Weebly, Tumblr, WordPress and Blogger are still good links.

These links are great because:

  1. They’re free (or cheap to outsource the labor)
  2. They’re self hosted on extremely powerful domains

Let’s take a look at one of my Tumblr pages using Majestic:

Using Tumblr to Build LinksAs you can see, Tumblr’s root domain has a Trust Flow of 91.

What does this mean?

  1. Google has tremendous trust in this domain
  2. You can blast the SHIT out of it with tier 2 spam
  3. The quality of the domain will filter out that spam and pass on a ton of link juice to your site

Here’s what I do:

  1. Hire someone on Fiverr to set up 20 web 2.0 sites using subdomains related to my niche (i.e. seoexpert.wordpress.com) – make sure they use proxies and different emails
  2. Set up the web 2.0s with original or spun content
  3. Schedule posts and link to authority sites like Wikipedia
  4. Let them sit for a few months
  5. Buy dirt cheap links on Fiverr, BlackHatWorld and Warrior Forum and direct them at the web 2.0s
  6. Link to the blog posts of your choice

Building Web 2.0 Links

This builds a mini authority PBN on high quality subdomains that you can use to link to your blog posts of choice.

d. Guest Blogging

If you don’t write well, learn.

Guest blogging is really the only way to get links from top sites (it’s also one of the best ways to drive traffic, exposure and trust for your brand).

I hate to beat a dead horse, but the only way you’ll get accepted as a guest author is by writing amazing shit.

NOTE: You can hire me to write for you (warning: I’m expensive)

Here’s how I find website to guest post on:

  • Head to http://dropmylink.com
  • Enter your blog’s niche in the search bar
  • Set category to Guest Posts
  • Set Footprint to a variety of options

Make sure your Moz Bar SERP Overlay is turned on. Guest blogging takes a lot of effort – you only want to submit content to website’s with a DA of at least 60.

How to Select a Guest Post SiteBe over selective about which sites you submit guest posts to. If you don’t it will take up a ton of your time and deliver very little in return.

e. MyBlogU

MyBlogU is a content crowd sourcing platform for bloggers. It’s kind of like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) except people actually respond to you.

I’ve had great success on the platform. Here’s how it works:

  1. Head to http://myblogu.com and set up a free account
  2. Fill out your profile with links, info and avatar
  3. Go to the “Brainstorm” section
  4. Check the filter at the top for your niche (I use SEO)

In this section, bloggers / website owners post threads looking for ideas, input and contributions to future posts.

My Blog U Links

You’re not guaranteed links just by sending your ideas. Here’s how I’ve had success:

  1. Only sending ideas to those with a 100% response rate
  2. Only responding to threads that I can answer intelligently
  3. Go over the top with answers – provide a shit load of great information
  4. Add links to relevant posts on your blog within your answer – DON’T jam links your home, product or services page

MyBlogU doesn’t have a ton of users, but it’s definitely worth your time to check it out.

3. Blog Comments

Don’t buy blog comments. I repeat DON’T BUY BLOG COMMENTS!

I don’t care if they tell you they’re using proxies and hand writing them – they’re still spam.

The only way to blog comment is to do it naturally. That means YOU post comments on blogs that YOU read regularly.

Here’s how to blog comment for links the right way:

  1. Grab the URL from your blog that you want to link to
  2. Head to http://dropmylink.com or grab the URL of a quality blog within your niche
  3. Once you have the blog URL, find a post on that blog that’s related to yours
  4. Go to Google and type site:qualityblog.com + “keyword”
  5. You should see articles related to the “keyword” that you typed in
  6. Click on the results and read through most of the article
  7. Scroll to the bottom and leave well thought out response to the article
  8. Drop your link at the end of your post

Here’s a live example of how I do it:

My blog post to promote: http://webris.org/ultimate-list-of-authority-domains-accepting-backlinks/

Target blog to comment on: http://neilpatel.com

Google search: site:neilpatel.com + “backlinks”

Searching For Blog Comment Sites

Blog Commenting The Right WayAs you can see, I also snuck in a request for a link (it didn’t happen).

When done correctly, you’ll see a nice increase in quality traffic as well.

Blog Comments That Work

4. Niche Forums

I love forums. They’re a great place to learn, network, build links and drive traffic.

Good forums are extremely susceptible to link spam so you’ve got to be careful not to get banned.

Dropmylink.com has a forum search, but it’s not very good. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Head to Google
  2. Use the search string inurl:forum “your niche”
  3. Find forums with active discussions related to your blog
  4. Jump in on discussions – drop a link to a blog post when relevant
  5. Rinse and repeat

forum-blog-links

That’s really all there is to it. Don’t buy forums links and don’t copy + paste the same link spam over and over.

5. Internal Links

Linking your content together has tremendous SEO value:

  1. Helps search engines crawl and index more content
  2. Distributes the power of inbound links to other pages on your site
  3. Adds additional signals of relevancy through anchor text

Internal Link Structure for Blogs

I hate to cut this section short, but I don’t like to duplicate efforts.

I wrote a kick ass piece about internal link silos a few weeks back. I strongly suggest you read that piece for in depth details on internal linking.

Closing

Maintaining a blog is a lot of work. However, it’s the best way to increase your organic traffic (and conversions!).

I’m awful at writing conclusions so if you have any questions / comments, please leave them in the comments section below!

I’ll answer them all as they come in.

RATE THIS

59 Comments

  1. Ryan Many thanx for a truly great post discussing the issues that impact on the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for blogs

    this is truly appreciated and I have shared this further to my social media audience

    • Ryan Stewart

      Thanks Frank – much appreciated!

  2. What a great post! This is one of the best posts on link building, content marketing and SEO altogether. So many ideas and personal experience has gone into this, that I had to share it with my colleagues and friends, and not even only for the bait sections (which are very well thought out btw :)).

    • Ryan Stewart

      Thank you Stanislav!

  3. “sell water to the ocean” I like that! You’re a clever man and always write super tutorials. This helps a lot for me to maximize my blog seo. Thanks a mil Ryan!

  4. An excellent read. It is obvious that a great amount of time and effort were put into it. I especially enjoyed your method of doing keyword research. It seems as if everyone has its own way of doing it.

  5. Matt Butts Lol you funny man! Enjoyed the post!

  6. Excellent article – forwarded it to one of my marketing clients. Thanks for spending so much time on it !

    • Ryan Stewart

      thanks jim!

  7. I never really thought about looking at it like this “Your clients don’t make you an influencer though – your peers do”. This makes a lot of sense and I think this small yet crucial shift in thinking and reap HUGE benefits! Thanks for your insight.

  8. Great advice for blog optimization. I really like your No BS approach in the way your explain things. Bookmarked & shared!

  9. Thank you for these tips. I had no idea of even how to begine to optimize my blog until I read this.

  10. What a great read. It was a lot of information, but really good information. I consider myself really good and B2C emails, but I never thought to keep it simple..right to the point. Thanks

  11. Wow this is very helpful. Its like a refresher course but a little less dull.

  12. Google is such a mega traffic source that we would be foolish not to optimize for it. Great tips!

  13. Wow what a great post absolutely amazing I have read it twice and bookmarked the page.This will keep me going for weeks to come,if not longer.Keep this whirlwind going from strength to strength the force is unique.

  14. This person is an expert. All the ins and outs of SEO discussed thoroughly here. The bloggers should read this article.

  15. I really appreciate how you organize your tutorials with such detail. Quite honestly, I have never seen an SEO /Marketing help blog like this. Keep doing what you’re doing:)

  16. 10,000,000 organic visits for websites over the last 8 months! At first I thought that was 10,000 but then I had to read it again lol… You da man bro!

  17. An incredible article. There are many lessons to be learned here for the optimization of my blog. Thank you Ryan.

  18. Hey Ryan,
    The proof is in the pudding. I came across you while on Quora where you had strategically placed a link and have been led to your site. Consider me a goal conversion and new follower.

  19. Wooha! what a long read… Done. Really Ryan I think I’m in love with your blog.

    Good work man keep it up.

  20. Really Awesome post. I really like the way to categorize keyword in excel based on moz metrics and creating a blog post based on it.

  21. Sweet post man, it’s pretty much covers everything you need to know, love the link-building tutorials included.

  22. Great post Ryan! I was reading your answer on Quora and found this link. Very useful indeed. Everything is perfect but I’d like to add a suggestion. If you could make your posts downloadable in the form of PDFs that’d be great. I just copied the entire content and saved it but too much hassle! Also couldn’t find a subscription form to subscribe for future posts.

    • Ryan Stewart

      hey Chetan – there is an opt in box on the right hand side of the blog. if you’re mobile, it’s at the bottom of the page.

  23. This was an amazingly helpful and useful blog post, with real and actionable tips – thank you!

    I’d really like to know HOW you come up with great ideas for content, especially when you’re not feeling particularly creative – any ideas?

    • Ryan Stewart

      thanks louise!

      it’s just a habit you’ve got to form. anytime an idea pops into my head, i make a note on my phone. then, without thinking, i write as much as i can about it off the top of my head. i’m always writing about 12 different pieces at 1 time and i finish the ones i think are best. the key is really practice and consistency – find what works for you and stick to it.

  24. Hi Ryan, Thanks for the in-depth lesson on Blog SEO. I’m completely new at all of this managing the blog for a small e-commerce fashion start-up. I look forward to implementing these tactics and reading future posts to continue to improve our blog SEO strategies. Feel free to take a peek when you have a chance: blog.wantable.com – any extra words of wisdom are always welcome :) Thanks!

  25. I think you might want to check out the SEO plugin “seo squirrly.”
    Patel and a lot of others have started to talk about it a lot lately and as a user for over 2 years I think you’d like the way it covers so much SEO in one complete package.

    (I also wanted to drop a worthless link here, but I doubted it would sneak past you.)

    • Ryan Stewart

      i’ve read about it, just haven’t played around with it. i use yoast – it gets the job done, but it’s a heavy plug in with a lot of excess code. if you want a link, i’ll give you a real one!

  26. Thanks for your information very good blogs and webmaster tools, Your Information really helping me. SEO tips good

  27. Hi
    Ryan Stewart Very good Information. I want Reputations Management Tips .

  28. Thanks for sharing such great SEO tips ,really your info is very useful and help me .Keep sharing….

  29. The 20 web 2.0’s on Fiverr who do you recommend buying them from? I guess I have never seen anyone selling 20 niche related web 2.0s? What would I search for? Excellent article as I always enjoy your info. You are a great person in the eyes of all Internet Marketers!

  30. Great. Thank you

  31. Damn! this is like an A-Z guide for newbies as well as experts really really worthy info. Great stuff Ryan, you definitely got a new follower :)

  32. Hey, amazing article by the way:)

    The Fiverr link about the social property creation just links back to the main site, do you have an updated link?

    • Ryan Stewart

      Hey Alfred, unfortunately, I don’t – Fiverr reshuffles gigs all the time

  33. Thank you so much for the amazing article. This will definitely help me see things a bit different when it comes to my business.

  34. Amazing and truly informative blog.Thanks Ryan for sharing such great blog.Looking forward to see more.

  35. Thanks so much, Ryan. This was really the thorough intro that I’ve been looking for. I’ve signed up for everything possible on your site and look forward to your newsletter and to reading much more from your hand about SEO. Thanks again. :)

  36. Hey,

    Actually, it’s a very useful for my website to go with it.

    And thanks for sharing such a good information.

  37. Thanks for all these recommendations, this is really useful!

  38. Ryan,

    Wish I came across this article 9 months ago when I first started my Real Estate business.

    I’ve actually just started using similar tactics in early November and have already seen the results… The keyword research tool has been the biggest missing piece to date.

    Thanks for putting this together man!
    Ryan

  39. “Try to flush out at least 50 keywords that get 30 or more monthly searches.” did you mean 30k?

  40. Hi Ryan,

    Great post, way to go.

    I’ve got a few concerns though. You advise to create more than a dozen social media accounts and link to authorative websites and leave them be for a few months before linking them to a blog.

    If that’s the case, how come did you manage to drive nearly 4k visitors to your new blog within 1 month?

    Does linking from those social accounts count towards something at a later stage or did you just simply get visits through social media and shares? (as the snapshot suggests “all sessions” filter in the second pic, rather than “organic search”)

    Tomek

  41. Wow, this is some epic content! Perhaps the most thorough article of its kind. Definitely top 3!

  42. Thank you very much for great article, everything is covered from 0-guru level !

  43. One of the better blog SEO guides. SOme great points.

  44. Thanks for this helpful information I agree with all points you have given to us. I will follow all of them.- SEO copywriters

  45. I read your blog.interested blog such as great blog Thanks……

  46. What do you think of Word Tracker as a keyword research tool? In my experience and doing some comparisons with other respected keyword research tools Google keyword planner will not only limit the data they give you, but they can present it in a way that makes it harder to determine target priorities.

    • Ryan Stewart

      hey ken – i’ve never used it so i can’t comment on it unfortunately.

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