Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be a daunting task for anyone especially when you first start out, so there are always lots of questions that need to be answered.
In this article I have selected three themes that bloggers will encounter, as part of their website building and SEO process.
- Starting A Blog
Under each of the themes I have chosen some of the common questions that are asked. If you have any other questions please feel free to add them to the comments section and if possible I can add them into the article.
Starting a Blog
Starting a blog can be a challenging process and may seem to be too technical for many people. However there are plenty of blogging platforms and companies that offer WordPress themes that will build your website for you in just a few clicks. Some of the questions that you may find yourself asking under this heading are;
- Where can I buy a Domain Name?
- How much does it cost to build a website?
- Can I access support whilst I am building my site?
- Is it easy to use a blogging platform?
Where Can I Buy A Domain Name?
A website name is an important part of starting out in blogging or establishing an online business. Domain names provide you with a unique link to the internet and makes your website visible for everyone to see.
Companies that offer domain name registrations, will usually lease you a website name for a year.
How to Purchase and Register a Domain Name is a recent article that covers all the information you need about registering domain names and what to consider when choosing a suitable name for your own website.
How Much Does it Cost To Build A Website?
It can cost as much as you want to pay in today’s technological world, there are experts in every sphere willing to custom design a website to your exact needs.
However, you can also build one for free.
Many websites that are built on sub domains are free. A sample of what they look like and how easy they are to establish can be found in this article How to Build a WordPress Website
Can I access Support whilst I’m developing my site?
Support varies depending on who you decide to build your site with. The company I am with does offer support and although I have only used it once, they were very quick to respond. You can read more about them in SiteRubix Free Website Builder and Hosting Platform.
Support is an important point to consider and should be one of the questions that you ask of any hosting service that you are deciding to register with.
Is It Easy To Use A Blogging Platform?
Many blogging platforms use WordPress because it is widely used and there are a wide selection of additional plugins that have been designed specifically for WordPress.
The other advantage of WordPress is the relative ease of its dashboard and editing system.
5 key tips for managing a WordPress site is an article that provides more details on how to operate WordPress and what to expect when you use this as your main blogging platform.
Many people who set up a blog site also look for ways in which they can make money online. One of the common ways is to look at niche or affiliate marketing.
Questions that you might ask under this heading include;
- How do I choose a Niche?
- How long will it take to get ranked?
- Does Google penalise affiliate links?
How DO I Choose a NIche?
A niche is a smaller and specialised area of the market. In niche marketing bloggers focus on a smaller segment of the market and promote and write about content for this particular targeted audience.
Choosing a niche can be challenging as well, since it needs to be something that you are very interested in, otherwise writing content can be difficult.
There are often four areas that people will choose a niche from.
This article called How to Start An Online Business contains more information on selecting a niche and starting your business.
How Long Will It Take to Get Ranked?
Once you have a website and you have started to produce content, the biggest question bloggers ask is when will my posts get ranked.
Search engines use a number of different criteria in order to decide when and where your website should appear in search query results.
There are some ways you can improve your ranking, which is what SEO is all about. But there are also factors that are harder to influence.
Perhaps the two most important factors at the moment that influence ranking are.
- Length of time that the website has been around.
- Amount of content on the subject matter.
Unfortunately this means that there is a bias in search engine findings towards more established sites that have lots of content on the subject.
The advantage with niche marketing is that it doesn’t take long to build up content on a specific subject matter, which can improve ranking considerably. The length of time however is a slow process and Google cannot be rushed on this one.
It is one of the reasons that SEO is considered a slow albeit vital part of attracting customers to your website.
Does Google Penalise Affiliate Links?
For many bloggers affiliate marketing is a way to earn income. This involves placing affiliate links on your blog page to link to another company that is actually selling the goods. Each affiliate link contains code and cookies to identify your blog site as the source of the referral.
This type of coding is very obvious to Google, and in the past affiliate marketeers had noticed their pages losing positions in ranking. The assumption being that it was because of the affiliate links.
However there are some things to remember when using these links and this will prevent your site being adversely affected by affiliate links.
- Limit the number of links, too many is seen as spam by Google and can be penalised.
- Ensure you have plenty of content on your site as well as the links – Google doesn’t like weak content (known as thin sites). If you are just adding a few words and then a link this can be penalised.
- Produce original content – search engines will look at your content and then at the original advertiser’s site. If your content is just copied and pasted directly from the main company then why would they show your page in the results.
- Have some articles on the site that don’t have any links – if every page contains affiliate links it may be seen as a catalogue, or as a link site to the main company (which can also be penalised).
Google has stated that it doesn’t have a problem with affiliate marketing sites, so long as they follow the basic SEO rules mentioned above. Content is key in affiliate marketing and this article Why Affiliate Marketing Sites Need More Content explains it in more detail.
Keywords are a vital part of SEO because these are the words that search engines use to decide where to rank your page, and which search results they will show your website.
The Google search engine in particular has developed a very sophisticated way of analysing websites and matching keywords to search queries. Therefore to a large extent you don’t need to worry very much about keywords, so long as you write good quality content that is useful and relevant to people.
There will still be some questions that need to be answered such as;
- How many times should I use my keyword?
- What is a long tailed keyword?
- Are comments useful or are they just spam?
How Many Times Should I Use My Keyword?
The answer to this is really as many times as it is natural to use. As I mentioned previously Google has become very advanced and can tell what a keyword is (e.g. dog) and it can also link all keyword related words (e.g. bitch, puppy, poodle).
In the older days of SEO, many writers used to have repeat the word dog multiple times in their content, in order to be sure that Google understood that this was a post about dogs. Nowadays Google can work this out from all the other content you have (e.g. caring for a pregnant bitch, dog leads, puppy training).
Writing naturally so that you retain your reader’s interest is now a more important SEO factor than keywords. This is because the longer the reader stays on your site, the more relevant Google sees your work.
What is a Long Tailed Keyword?
Long tailed keywords is a term used for any keyword that consists of more than two words. For example using ‘caring for your pregnant bitch’ is a long tailed keyword.
Most people who search on the internet don’t use one word they type in a phrase or a few words – e.g. pregnant bitch care. Google can see that your article matches some of the terms in this query and will display your post.
Keyword research is a vital part of SEO work. This involves looking at the types of searches that people are making, which ones are most common and how much competition is there for the same search terms.
A good quality keyword tool, such as Jaaxy becomes very important for anyone who is trying to improve their page ranking using SEO techniques. Tools such as this will do a lot of the research process for you.
Are Comments Useful or ARe They Just Spam?
Part of SEO work is showing to search engines that readers are engaged in your content and find it useful.
I have mentioned one of the ways to show this through encouraging readers to stay on your site for as long as possible. Other ways include encouraging and replying to websites comments.
Not all content writers like site comments because they can encourage a lot of spam, but there are advantages to using them as well. This article The Pros and Cons of Website Comments looks at both sides of the argument.
Comments are another way in which your keyword and questions related to the keyword can be added.
If you are interested in reading more articles linked to this topic then here is a list that may prove useful.
- Why Working From Home Is Easier Than You Think
- What is the Definition of a Keyword?
- What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?
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