Trying to optimize blogs can be a very difficult task. But trying to optimize a blog on a tight budget can be even more daunting a task. I often get asked by clients how to blog and how to write them to show up well in the search engines. This is known as search engine optimization, or SEO. With the current state of the economy many of the clients I help are not at liberty to spend bbuckets of money on advertising and PPC campaigns, so they are trying to optimize a blog on a small to non-existent budget.
So how do you optimize blogs with minimal money? Well, there are plenty of ways. The first step is to start with a small niche. The biggest mistake I normally see is that someone starts up their blog and begins writing with goals and aspirations of dominating search engines for these really broad & generic terms like car batteries, or wedding cakes. But if you go for more specific items like wedding cakes in Myrtle Beach, or a Duralast Gold 24-DLG car battery, then you will start to gain good rankings easier and quicker. The instant gratification will inspire you to continue on writing as well.
Secondly, know what people are searching for. Google Adwords is a great place to get an understanding of what type of terms are being searched and how often they are being searched. Sometimes just the slightest tweaks to your keyword focus can be the difference to getting to the top page of Google with your post. The biggest thing is to choose keywords that are attainable for great rankings. So be realistic in the terms you choose. I guarantee that if you take some time & focus on this before starting to write you will see results. A recent client of mine who has a very small budget and a completely brand new site was able to focus on a few good keywords and has been able to already start receiving clients directly from her blogsite. She also has several terms already ranking #1 in the search engines after only writing a handful of posts.
Thirdly, links can be a difference maker in how your site shows up in the search engines. Look for places you can link back to your blogsite. This can be a large time consumption, but if you can find things like your profiles on other networks, friends who are willing to link to you, it will increase your traffic to the site as well as the number of incoming links your site has. The one warning I would make is that this is where you could end up blowing your budget out of the water that you have set up for optimizing your blog. Companies will try to sell you links and charge you high prices for those links. This also can be the place that your site goes from ranking #1 to being blacklisted if done improperly, so please do some investigating before you start. While there are very reputable ways to do this, there are also several ways that the search engines frown heavily on.
The last way to optimize your blog and drive traffic to your site is to use your imagination and make your business different from everyone else’s online. When all the competition has the same type of advertising campaign you do, step outside the box and be creative. A company that recently did this that comes to mind is Pepsi. They stepped outside the normal box of advertising this year during the Superbowl. Instead of spending millions on 30 second commercials, they decided to use that income to build a giant online community of followers that would spread the word about their site & push traffic to them. Has it worked? Well, take a look at the stats according to compete. Year to date their web traffic is up 10% while their biggest competition, Coca-Cola is down 24%. Coincidence? I don’t believe so. I believe this is due to the change in their focus and doing something unique from the rest of the competition.
These four basic steps to optimize your blog can all be done for relatively no budget at all. It will just take a little bit of time, effort, and creativity to accomplish. Finally, I leave you with this video from the master of SEO, Matt Cutts from Google Webmaster. It seems we agree on this one 100%.