If you have a website or blog (really, I don’t think there is a difference, a website and a blog are mostly the same thing), you certainly want to get yourself listed in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and others. In fact, getting listed itself is not the most important thing, the thing you want is to be listed as high as you can get. Number 1 is great, but not always practical or even possible. Really, generally speaking, if you can get yourself on the first page of the search results, you are doing a good job and will garner a nice amount of traffic from achieving such a listing.
But, how do you get yourself listed in the search engines, and how do you improve your listings to the point where they are helpful in driving traffic to your site? Most people will say that you have to do effective SEO work. What is SEO? Well, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. That means that you have to do things to your site that optimize it in ways that the search engines like. For most people, they optimize their site to Google’s liking (or I should say they try to do that). Google is, at this time, the king of search engines, and that is why people optimize with Google in mind.
About a year ago, maybe it was two years, a fellow had contacted me and asked me about how he could earn money online. We talked about what his expertise was, what kind of interests he had and such. After exchanging some e-mails with him, I made a suggestion to him of a topic that he could blog about, and I felt it was a topic that could make money and was really in line with his area of expertise. He was somewhat skeptical but decided to move forward with my suggestion.
I kept an eye on his site to see how he was doing. I noticed that he rarely posted any new information on his blog. This is pretty normal, people lose interest and don’t follow through with their intentions a lot of times. What can I do? Maybe 6 months later, he e-mailed me and told me he was going to give up on the site. Well… it didn’t surprise me, but I had actually thought he had already given up since it was often several months between fresh content on his site. That is not the way to build a successful blog. When I asked my friend why he was giving up, he told me that he had worked so many hours on the project, and had made no money at all, he just could not figure out how he would ever earn anything from the blog. I asked him to explain further, because I could not see how he had spent much time on the site, given that it had only a few posts on it over a period of more than six months.
My friend told me that he didn’t have much time to actually write content for the site because he was spending all of his time doing SEO work on his site. Uh, what? Firstly, there is no need to even do SEO on a site that has no content, or very little content. Google is not going to list you highly if you have no information on your site, even if you have the best SEO in the world. No content means that nobody has any reason to go to your site, because there is little or nothing to read. No information to gain from going there. Google doesn’t send people to sites like that. Secondly, I just don’t feel that doing SEO is all that productive, beyond a certain point.
I mean, yes, you should do some things – make sure your articles have titles! Use some keywords – words that you want to be listed for in searching. If you have a blog about polar ice pack, make sure you have those words in some of your posts. If your blog is about recipes for beef, have the words “beef” and “recipes” in your posts. Use things like header text in your posts. Use Categories and Post Tags. These are all just simple things that are part of writing an article. Nothing fancy, nor are they anything that you need to spend hours and hours on to get them right.
So Bob, what do you do for SEO?
The truth is.. not much. Most of my sites rank very highly on the search engines, several of my sites are in the #1 position on Google and have been for years now. How did I get them there? Well, here are a few suggestions, things I have done:
- Write plenty of content
- Write content that people will enjoy reading
- As much as possible, spell correctly (we all make mistakes)
- As much as possible, use good grammar (again, we all make mistakes)
- Engage with your readers and make your site content as social as possible (reply to comments!)
- Keep doing these things over the long haul, don’t give up after a month or two
These are rather simple things but require perseverance. Even if you are not seeing results, keep doing these things. Don’t stop too early. I am not talking about doing it for days, or months. It takes years for the big payoff to come. You will see results start showing up after months, but for big payoffs to come, you need to persevere for years. You can do it, but only if you have the commitment and don’t give up easily.
How do I know? Because I have been doing it for 20 years already. I made it over that hump, and I make a nice living from my websites.
There is no substitute for hard work. Just do it.