If you’re running a blog in 2016, you probably know that the phrase “build it and they will come” certainly doesn’t hold true in today’s digital landscape. Once you’ve built a beautiful site with awesome content, a solid SEO or SEM strategy will be necessary to drive traffic to your blog.
Traditionally, business owners have turned to agencies to help with online marketing. However, as a blog owner, the DIY approach might be a bit more cost effective – especially if you’re just started.
If you’re currently in the process of developing SEO or SEM skills to build your blog’s online presence, it doesn’t need to be as costly as you may think. In fact, there are many simple steps you can take to build your blog’s SEO value without breaking the bank. Here are some of my top ways to getting started.
Pay to Play on Social Media
Though this guide is all about keeping costs down, one area where bloggers shouldn't be skimping is social media. The good news is, promoting your content on social media is relatively inexpensive.
By putting $10-$50 behind a few of your top posts on social media, you’ll see a major increase in traffic. The best part is, most platforms let you get pretty granular in your targeting so you’ll see readers coming to your site. If you’re new to social media advertising, resources like Hootsuite offers a good guide for beginners.
Run a Low-Cost Audit
Having an SEO audit run by an agency can cost you hundreds, and often doesn’t result in actionable steps you can take on your own. Why? Because agencies would prefer that the time they spend running a professional audit will result in you becoming a long-term client that relies on them for all of your SEO needs.
Rather than look to an agency to run an SEO audit on your blog, utilize free tools such as this one that will give you tons of useful information. These options are tailored to bloggers and business owners who would prefer to optimize their sites on their own, but also need a little guidance to get started.
Keep Readers on Your Site
Once you’ve got the traffic coming to your site, it'll be your priority to keep it there. Search engines reward sites that are not only able to get a ton of traffic but are also able to keep readers engaged once they’ve entered the site. To optimize your site for engagement, be sure to avoid clickbait titles that can’t deliver on their promises, opting instead for content that serves the needs of the reader.
Linking additional resources on your site within all of your articles also ensures an extended visit on your site. You might even consider adding a “suggested read” section to your blog posts to give readers recommendations for similar content they might like on your blog.
Build Relationships with Industry Influencers
Other bloggers may seem like your competition at first, but they can actually help you establish your blog when you choose to make them your friends rather than your enemies.
Reach out to other influencers in your area of expertise for tips and advice. Share their content on your social pages and maybe even link to a few of their resources in your posts when you feel that what they have to say might add some value to your topic of choice.
Once you’ve established a relationship with another influencer, reach out to them every once in a while with an “ask” to share your content when you feel their audience would stand to benefit from what you have to say. While it’s important not to expect them to promote your content simply because you promoted theirs, building a relationship first will significantly increase the chances they’ll feel good about sharing your work.
You can use tools like Buzzsumo, Follower Wonk, and Kloutto find other bloggers in your area of expertise.
Keep Up on Digital Marketing Trends
The final piece of advice I have to offer is to keep up on SEO/SEM trends as they come about. The digital marketing world is constantly evolving, which means you’ll need to keep up with it in order to prevent your blog from dropping in rankings.
Now that you’ve got the steps you need to build a solid foundation for your SEO strategy, it’s time to get started! If you have any questions throughout the process, let me know in the comments below. You’ll notice that your efforts will consist mainly of trial and error at first, but once you get the hang of things, you’ll be able to dial in your strategy for optimal results.