Gone are the days when blogging was nothing but a hobby.
Years ago, people find the idea of blogging fascinating because it’s like keeping an online diary, a diary where you can write about your daily activities, what you love doing, your views about issues and other not-so-important stuffs.
In the simplest term, that is what blogging was all about; back then.
But soon, online advertisement became very popular, advertisers were paying huge amount of money to get their businesses online, they were willing to pay a lot of money to get their adverts across to the right set of audience….
As a result of this, blogging took another turn entirely.
Because there were little informational website back then, smart people began to take advantage of blogging as a way of rendering advertisement space to businesses in other to make money while they write about what they love doing.
Two decades down the lane; blogging is still very much popular; albeit much more competitive than it was back then.
As at today, there are millions of websites and blogs on various topics across the internet. Numerous information and resources are now available online to searchers.
The effect of the numerous number of blogs and website online is glaring; fierce competition amidst websites and blogs to get noticed by online community. What was initially a hobby is now a profession.
You now see people introduce themselves as a “professional blogger”.
About two decades ago, if you were to ask somebody what he/she does for a living, and in response he/she said “Oh, I am a blogger”. The next question that would follow the answer would probably be; “Sorry, what does that mean?”
… But now, we don’t just have professional bloggers, we have internet marketers, social media experts, online reputation managers, virtual assistants, freelancers and most importantly as regards to the purpose of this post; we now have SEO specialist.
I had to go into details about how blogging began and how it has transitioned over the years, because I want you to understand how important the decision to start a blog is.
..Right! You can still blog about your hobby; it’s a free world, and the internet isn’t expensive, so it won’t hurt if you choose to take that lane. If you intend to start a blog about your hobby; I am assuming you don’t have the issue of profit in mind; so safe yourself sometime and stop reading this article, because it’s really of no use to you.
If on the other hand, you intend to start a blog because you heard from your friend that people are making huge money from the internet by doing something ridiculously “easy”; something called blogging, and you think “Well, let me give it a shot”. Then this article is mainly for you.
I would first of all enlighten you a bit about how “ridiculously easy” it is to make money from blogging, and then I would show you how to get noticed on the internet through SEO.
By the way; SEO means Search Engine Optimization (I Will come back to this later on in the post).
STARTING A BLOG?
First, let me start by saying this:
Blogging is easy, ridiculously easy; it’s as easy as it was 20 years ago. What is currently not easy is; blogging to make money.
Two decades ago, you can publish a short post (less than 500 words) about your cat playing with the piano (ridiculous huh?) and then get traffic from primitive search engines when people use a search term containing “cats and piano”.
Back then, it’s easy to get traffic from search engine because the competition did not exist; the number of available contents online was not as much as it is right now. So you can get away with crappy content and still get decent traffic from search engines.
Back then search engines were very dumb… They were not as intelligent as they are today.
Today’s search engine does not care about your “cat playing with the piano” in fact it does not care about whatever you have to say about your life. What the modern search engine cares about is the QUALITY of your blog content.
Will the content of your blog answer direct query? If the answer is yes; then it gets crawled to the search engine.
Oh! I am yet to tell you what crawling means?
Ok, Crawling is what happens when you post something on your blog or website and the search engine robots (literally) comes to visit your blog and check if it is valuable information.
If the bot consider it valuable, then it captures the content and the link and send it to Google (or other search engines) servers where it would be queued for indexing.
Now, I would have to tell you what Indexing means…
When you search for something on Google (I would be using Google in my examples because it’s the most popular search engine right now)…
…So when you search for something on Google; take for instance you’re searching for guide on “Starting a Blog”…. The results that show up after clicking on the search button are called indexed page.
These pages have been crawled, and queued over the years, and Google keep sorting them in order of how relevant and how important they are. The most important pages would make the first spot on the result page while the less relevant ones will appear on the last page of the search (often nobody gets to the last page)
Quality content as it is the basis of blogging.
Many expert would tell you about domain name, web hosting, WordPress, logo, blah…blah…blah..
While they are equally important, (they’re like preparing a space for your goods when you plan to start a store), the most important thing that should be of concern when you intend to start a blog should be CONTENT.
Can you write well about your supposed topic? If yes, then you’re a step closer to making money from blogging. If the answer is no, then ask check if your purse is big enough to hire somebody that would do the writing for you? If the answer is yes, you can proceed with your blogging plan, if the answer is no, then blogging is not for you; consider other methods of making money… Speaking of which, a friend of mine is making huge money from the online importation business, you might want to check out his blog, it might just be your way of making money online.
It’s important that you understand how important quality content is as a blogger, because when your content is crappy, all you SEO effort would be nothing but a waste of time.
Now, that you understand the most important ingredient as far as blogging is concern
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. What this means in the literal sense is that, you’re making your blog or website look VERY important to search engine thereby the bot would rank it among the top pages when it somebody search for related terms.
Confused? Don’t be; I would go into details much later:
When the competition wasn’t as fierce as it is right now, there was no need for SEO, bloggers would naturally allow the search engine algorithm (robot) to do its work and hopefully, it would find their post good enough to rank it on the first page.
But now, the competition is very high, bloggers are now expected to do all they can do within their effort to get noticed by search engines. And that is where SEO comes into play.
It’s simply using the right word at the right place, getting the right link from the right page. That’s the basis of search engine optimization.
It would be proper to tell you a little bit about how search engine ranking works:
Google search algorithms consider hundreds if not thousands of factors to decide which of the numerous posts on the same topic would come first in the search result page. But one of the known factor (experts consider it most important) is called backlink.
Before I go on to tell you about backlink and its importance in SEO. It’s very crucial that I tell you about the two main types of SEO:
- OnPage SEO
- OffPage SEO
OnPage SEO: This is one of the basic and the first step t optimizing your blog for proper search engine visibility. You can liken onpage SEO to cleaning your house, clearing cobweb, keeping everywhere neat and getting rid of unwanted materials before inviting house inspection officer to check your house.
If your onpage SEO is not properly done, then your offpage SEO effort would not manifest as expected.
Here is a complete guide on OnPage SEO and Make Your Blog URL SEO Friendly.
Offpage SEO: This is where the real work of SEO lies; it’s where you need the help of authority blog before you make any serious improvement. Most bloggers would rather focus on offpage SEO, but Onpage SEO is equally important because the visitors from search engine would end up on your blog, and if they’re not impressed, they would eventually leave before you know it.
What is a backlink?
Just like the name implies; a backlink is a link from other website or blog, pointing back to your blog or blog post. Consider a backlink as a reference. You know when you read a book or research paper, at the end of the book you see the “Reference” page, where the author would list books or other journals that were of benefits when he was compiling the content of his book?
In the real sense of it; when you reference something, it means you approve the content and you recommend it to others because you trust the content.
In the academia; the higher the number of reference your paper gets, the higher the popularity and importance of your research work.
This is exactly how Google bot treats backlinks.
Blogs with quality contents and high number of backlink would eventually make it to the top page of the search result.
Types of Backlink:
There are majorly four types of backlink: And I would talk about each of them briefly. I cannot be specific with my classification because it might be a little bit difficult to separate them distinctly from one another, but I will do my best.
- Do-Follow Link: This type of backlinks is very rare, but they’re the best of all backlink when it comes to SEO. What do-follow link means is that, the person linking to your blog fully endorse your article, and he’s telling search engines to visit the link because it has more resourceful contents. They’re very rare in the sense that, nobody wants to willingly give out backlink to competitors or potential competitors. But when you get them, be rest assured because the “link juice” is always spectacular.
- No-Follow Link: This type of backlinks is very common, they are the type of link you get when you make comment on most blogs or when you share your post on forums etc. They are mainly good for traffic and not SEO. Search engine bot does not follow they link because they believe they linker does not fully endorse the content of the page.
- Quality Link: These types of links are always from authority website and they’re normally do-follow. If you don’t know what authority site means, check the later part of this post where I define major SEO terms.
- Spammy Links: They’re bad, unreliable and brings penalty to your blog or website in the long run. You should avoid getting this type of link, either in the do-follow or no-follow form. Spammy link would eventually cause more harm to your website than good.
SEO for Poor Bloggers:
Are you offended by the term “poor”? If you are; then accept my apologies; as I don’t mean it in a condescending manner.
As a new blogger, I would generally advice that you focus on creating epic quality content for your blog and not focus on SEO when you’re starting out. Lately I have discovered that starting from the inception is a very good decision, because it gives you more time to learn and make mistakes before Google begins to take your blog serious.
So here are the few things you can do to being SEO for your blog even when you have zero budget:
- Quality Content: First step is to write quality content on your blog. Make it long, valuable and shareable. It’s only when you have this type of post on your blog that other bloggers will begin to take you serious as far as blogging is concern.
Quality content would also promote natural linking. Take for instance, when you write about “starting a blog” and another blogger is compiling a post about “making money online” and he/she finds your article very resourceful, he would definitely link out to your post in his article.
This type of linking is the best when it comes to SEO, because it’s coming naturally and they’re always do-follow.
- Guest Posting: Many experts will tell you that guest posting is dead. To some extent, this is true, but on other note, it might not be as dead as people think. Writing quality guest post on authority blog would give your blog an opportunity to shine. Getting published in authority blog would announce your blog to the world, and you can equally enjoy the traffic benefit that comes with.
- Commenting: Remember what I said earlier about “no-follow” link? Well, No-follow link are not totally useless; they’re valuable when it comes to increasing your domain authority and alexa ranking. You can get as well use the opportunity to establish a lasting relationship with bloggers and get their attention back to your blog. Either ways, blog commenting is not a waste of time as far as SEO is concerned.
- Link Hunt: This is a little bit of grey-hat method on doing SEO for your blog. But it doesn’t hurt when you have quality content on your blog. This method is very simple and straight forward. What you’re doing is to find the articles that are currently linking out to your competitors, and then send them a message that you found a more resourceful post online that is much better than the current post they’re linking to. If the webmaster checks out your post and finds it resourceful then you’re good to do, because they would link to your blog post and give you a do-follow linking reference. Here is a comprehensive guide on link building using buzzsumo.
- Infographics: Infographics are becoming very popular. If you’re good with the use of Photoshop illustrator or any other graphics design software, you can create a stylish infographics for your blog post, and send it out to popular blogs with similar post, telling them to fell free in making use of your graphics but they should be kind enough to link back to your blog. This works all the time, because bloggers are always looking for a way to make their blog content more visual and catchy.
- Videos: Videos just like infographics would equally be of benefit when you’re low on budget and you want to do SEO for your blog.
In conclusion, I would be sharing the meaning of common SEO terms, although I have done my best to explain most of the terms used in the article.
Common SEO Terms and Their Meaning:
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
SERP: Search Engine Result Page
PR: Page Rank
DA: Domain Authority
White Hat: Natural linking to a blog post
Black Hat: Using Google unauthorized method of soliciting link back to a blog. Either through link purchase or PBN
Grey Hat: Mixture of both white and black hat SEO method.
Anchor Text: The text that bears your link.
PBN: Private Blog Network.