Having your own blog is a wonderful way to generate traffic. A simple wordpress installation gives you a platform on which to build a content site. Google loves blogs.
Just writing content will over time give you traffic. You can also help this process, by pinging blog directories so they know about this content. You can also write specifically with a view to getting even more traffic – such as writing for popular search-terms, courting controversy, and writing about topical news. You will also find yourself getting traffic for terms you are not even targeting.
However, other factors determine where your content will rank. The major one is “Pagerank” – which is at the heart of Google. This is a way in which it ranks websites. Every link to your site counts as a vote, and links from sites that have a high pagerank themselves will weigh more heavily in your favor.
Note that targeting popular search terms is not always the best solution. You are unlikely to rank high for the term “Credit Card” for example, because of the competition. It is far better to target a large number of less-popular search terms rather than focus on one or two of the most heavily used. So – in this example – a terms such as “Credit Card Interest Rates” or “HSBC Visa Card” would be better options. These are sometimes called “Long Tail” searches, in reference to the shape of the graph plotting these results.
To show up high in the results for “Credit Card Interest Rates” you should write posts with that term in the title, description, and content. WordPress or your blog software will handle the rest – with the actual page address also including that term. You need to enable “Pretty Links” in WordPress to do this, otherwise the page address will have a much less useful name such as www.yourblog.com/?p=100
So you have the content, targeting terms used by your niche – it’s time to get back to Pagerank.
As we discussed Pagerank is counted by links to your site. Therefore it makes sense to get as many links to your site as humanly possible.
Don’t overdo it. If you grow your links too quickly, Google will penalise you. This is because if it happened naturally your links would grow slowly, over time. Here’s some tips on getting linked to:
1. Interesting content will get linked by other blogs. Unfortunately, the other blogs have to be aware of this content in the first place. It’s a circle: the more popular you are, the more you will get linked. One way to kickstart the process is to actively promote your content yourself – at least when starting out. The social networks are ideal for the process.
2. Proactively get these links yourself. You can post comments on other blogs, post in forums, write in guestbooks, create content at other sites such as Squidoo and Hubpages and even build secondary blogs that are remotely hosted – at wordpress.com, blogger.com and typepad.com for example. Some blogs use a special attribute in their links called “nofollow” which means you get no pagerank credit at those sites.
3. Use “Trackbacks”. This is where you link to other blogs, and once those blogs notice you have done so your link gets shown at the original post.
4. Use Linkbait. This is a method where you deliberately write about controversial subjects in the hope that it sparks an interest at other blogs, who then link to you. Gossip and rumours work well, as does news if you are the first in your niche to post that news.
5. Use press releases. Many places monitor press releases for relevant content in their niche and then post and link to that news from their own sites. A new product release, a human-interest story, or simply “news” in the real sense of the word can become a press release. You need to write in a specific style for this.
6. Write articles. This can benefit your pagerank in a number of ways, but you should ensure your link is clickable in the article. Submit that article to the major article directories and you will get a pagerank boost from the directory itself, as well as from any other sites that go on to syndicate that article. Google will penalise duplicate content, so if you use the article at your own site consider rewording it for distribution.
7. Use Anchor Text in your links. This can greatly influence your pagerank: instead of simply linking to netpreneurnow.com for example, have the text “Internet Marketing” linking to netpreneurnow.com – so it would be Internet Marketing and not NetpreneurNow.com even though both lead to the same destination.
8. The age of a site also has weight in regards to pagerank. The older your site, the higher it is valued by Google. This also transfers to links from other sites, so links from older sites to yours are valued more. Age isn’t really something you can influence – but it is possible to buy expired domains that in effect are already aged. Whether or not they retain their pagerank after you reuse or recycle them is another matter.
9. Favour one-way incoming links – this basically means if Site A links to yours, but you don’t link back, it is worth more. The thinking behind this is that for a site to link to you the content must be useful, but if it links to you and you to them it may be a simple link trade, and therefore not as valuable.
It’s worth remembering that Pagerank is just one way to influence your search engine rankings, but it is probably the most important. And all those tips will also generate direct traffic as well from people who click your link, so you get two traffic sources for the price of one
A search engines overall goal is to provide a searcher with the content they are seeking. There’s no point trying to cheat the results, but with a little knowledge of how a search engine works you can certainly influence them. All of Googles ranking algorithms are simply an attempt to automate the process of deciding which are quality sites, and which are not. The process isn’t perfect – but it works.