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There are a variety of different ways to drive traffic to your blog. You can run Facebook/Google ads, post on Facebook groups, share your posts with your friends, and more. However, the source that truly drives long-term sustainable traffic at low cost is from Google’s very own organic search traffic. To best ensure that you’re getting this free traffic from Google, you’ll want to focus on search engine optimization (SEO). Here are 9 mistakes you don’t want to be making as you build out your SEO strategy:
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1. Not looking at Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) is the most powerful free tool that you can be using to better understand your traffic. With GA, you can learn more about the pages your readers are spending the most time on, what they’re clicking, where they’re coming from, and much more. It’s easy to set up, so there should be no reason that you’re not using it!
Your ultimate goal is to deliver great value. Part of delivering great value is helping your readers solve their problems and also solve problems they didn’t know they had. This can be in the form of external or internal links.
For example, when someone lands on your site to read about how to cook a dish, towards the end of your post you may want to link out to another site that talks about how to choose fresh ingredients. Or even better, if you had an article yourself about choosing fresh ingredients, you could link to that in the article.
Linking out to high-quality sites is an indicator to Google that you’re helping deliver value. Alternatively, internal linking is also great because you maximize the time that a reader spends on your site, thus telling Google that you have a valuable site.
Having backlinks, links from other sites to your site, is a key part of telling Google that you are a legitimate site and should be higher in search results. More backlinks signify to Google that you have content that other people find worth sharing. Backlinks are why you want to focus on creating link-worthy content. This is often in the form of ultimate guides or lists. Just remember, think about how to be helpful to your readers and they will naturally want to share the content.
Having backlinks is a key part of telling Google that you are a legitimate site and should be higher in search results.Click To Tweet
4. Focusing on quantity over quality
This is one of the biggest, and probably the most common mistakes you can make as a blogger. When you’re in the situation of having little to no traffic, it can be encouraging to think you just need more content. While having more content does indirectly help, it’s not the right mindset. One way to think about this is: would you rather have one high-quality 4000-word article that people will want to share or 10 low-quality articles that no one will even care about or share?
5. Not spending time on title and meta description
Given that your post title and meta description are the first things that people see before deciding whether or not to click on your site, this is definitely an important piece to SEO. This is one of those things that don’t require a tonne of time but is valuable to rank on search results.
6. No mobile-optimized site
More and more people are spending time on their phones. In fact, bloggers typically see approximately 50% of traffic from mobile. This means that it’s more important than ever to ensure that your site is mobile optimized. The more mobile-friendly your site is, the more Google likes it (and thus higher search ranking) and the longer your readers will also want to stay on your site. You can check out your mobile score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool.
7. Not submitting a sitemap
Typically, Google crawls every website on the internet, which is how your site shows up on Google in the first place. However, with the millions of sites and pages out there, sometimes certain pages can be hard to find. When you submit a sitemap to Google, you make sure that Google crawls all the right pages and understands your site structure. A sitemap is essentially a roadmap for your site that includes all your important pages.
Make sure that Google crawls all the right pages and understands your site structure by submitting a sitemap.Click To Tweet
8. Not doing your keyword research
While writing about your own passions is important, it’s almost just as important to write about things that people actually care about. Make sure that you do your homework around keyword research. You’ll want to write about topics that people are searching for so that you can own a portion of the traffic. However, keep in mind the competition of the keyword as well. For example, if you see that there are already 50 ultimate “start your own blog” guides on the first few pages of search results each with high domain authority, maybe it makes sense to not compete with others there.
9. Not thinking about site speed
One of the many factors that Google looks at in ranking pages in the search results is site speed. If your site is slow, then Google sees that as a poor user experience (and for good reason). This is why you should always be thinking about doing things on your site that don’t burden your site speed. For example, you’ll want to be mindful of all the different plugins you have installed. Avoid having too many plugins as this may slow down your site. Another way to help improve your site speed is to compress any images before uploading them to your site.
To check your site speed, you can use Pingdom’s free tool.
Unfortunately, the Google algorithm is not an open-book so you won’t be able to just follow a certain set of rules that will guarantee a higher rank. However, at the end of the day, it’s important to think from Google’s perspective. What kind of search results would Google value and what would make them want to put you at the top? When you start thinking from Google’s shoes, you’ll start seeing more organic traffic!
Thanks for reading,