Use Google Search to Increase Blog Traffic
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If you want some attention from your spouse, you need to send some signals. Will it be flowers and dinner, or will it be doing the laundry or being lovey-dovey in ways the person likes? You cannot hope the other person will sense your needs. You cannot act in ways that are contrary to the results you desire. When you send the right signals, you’ll get the outcomes you want. You want to leverage Google Search to increase blog traffic.
Google search algorithm love, then you must tell Google what you want. When Google gets your message, and it meets its algorithm expectations, you’ll show up high in the page ranking for a particular search term. That is a simple equation like X + Y = Z. There is no magic. It is a matter of knowing what Google wants and providing as much of it as you can reasonably give them.
Google Search Algorithm Love Signals
What factors is the Google algorithm seeking? Some say there are over 200 factors (called “signals”), but Google does not reveal them all. Here are seven high profile signals you can control to a large degree. Bloggers can’t afford to spend the time to address all 200 of them, so they need to here are seven that will make a remarkable difference in your search engine ranking results.
If you were to say that I constantly repeat this, I would have to raise my hand and say, “Guilty.” Nothing is more important than writing blog posts that offer a solution to a “felt need,” are well structured (headers and sub-headers), are 1.500 words or more, and meet other criteria I outline in Step 3. You don’t want to be guilty of “thin content.” That alone will invalidate other signals.
Almost all my Plan Steps touch on the importance of high-quality content in one way or another. It starts with picking a blog topic that interests you and others and festooning your blog with the kind of content that readers want to share. High-quality content provides a solution to a problem the reader is experiencing. It is based on your own experience but also involves research of various kinds.
To attract Google algorithm love and readers, you package all this in posts that hook readers and sustain their attention. These posts always have a call-to-action so people know what they can do next to solve the concern your post addresses.
High-quality content will cover a multitude of other blogging sins you may accidentally commit. You want to deal with the following signals too, but it all starts with high-quality content.
Your site must be as easy to read on a smartphone or tablet as it is is on a desktop or laptop computer. I used to think this was optional because I primarily use desktop and laptop computers, so I did not place much importance on mobile devices. Was I wrong!
As I watched my Google Analytics statistics, I saw that vast numbers of people were accessing my sites from mobile devices. The statistics in the chart are just a small sample of the trend. I have seen mobile device access to particular pages jump to 70% in some cases.
In the future, I expect the 55/45 percentages to change permanently to 20/80 as mobile screen sizes increase and reader habits adapt.
That is how important it is that your blog be easy to navigate and read on devices. A mobile-friendly blog is no longer optional. Of course, the easy way to handle this issue is to use one of the “Responsive” WordPress templates I describe in Plan Step 3 and recommend here.
When you use one of the WordPress templates I recommend, this issue vanishes. They are designed to resize your text, images, and videos automatically without any intervention from you. Chose the right kind of them and you do not need to concern yourself further.
Use Domain Name Security
A few years ago, Google started a campaign for sites to switch from “HTTP” (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to “HTTPS” to add this security. Now, it is an important ranking signal, so you must have it. Your site visitors are security conscious and will appreciate your professionalism when they see the Google “padlock icon” next to your domain name in their browser.
You get the “Secure” (HTTPS) service from your host, not from the place where you buy your domain name. It is called an SSL Certificate. The ratbag hosting companies will charge you a significant annual fee for an HTTPS certificate. It is offered free at the hosts I recommend and is an important contributing factor why I recommend them.
Always use HTTPS from your first day. You want Google to index your name in this way: “https://yourdomainname.com.” Note that WWW usually is no longer needed or used in newer sites. The WWW will fade away over time.
Optimize Page Loading Speed
Google cares about how fast your first page loads, and you should also care. Conventional wisdom is that you want your page to load in 3 seconds or less.
Measure Page Load Time
Since I implement these basics from the beginning. My blogs generally load quickly. As you can see, this is the GTmetrix report for this site. I come in at 2 seconds load time, but there are two things I can do to make it load even faster. “B – 82%” relates to the fact that I need to further reduce the resolution of one or two images (see below). “C – 73%” means I need to combine some code on my page so it doesn’t duplicate effort that slows loading. The code change requires some specialized knowledge, but getting a “C” is not bad, and probably can be ignored, when load time is 3 seconds or less.
As you see, several factors influence page loading speed. Some require complex fixes, but most are easy adjustments.
Image Size and Page Load Speed
The simple answer to speed page loading time for most bloggers is to reduced image dimensions and resolution. Too many bloggers use high-resolution images directly from image providers or from their cameras. Even smartphone cameras are at least 300 dpi (usually 1200 or more), and you simply cannot use them until you reduce the resolution.
Many people think 72 dpi is the ideal resolution. That harkens back to the day when Apple Computer screens were 72 dpi, so allegedly there was no reason to have image resolution higher than that. The fact was, all Microsoft computers were 96 dpi then and are that resolution today when you do a screen capture (screenshot), so changing the resolution to 100 dpi is convenient and meets the technical requirements of most screens, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
For example, the Performance Report image above was a screenshot was 1278 x 550 pixels at 100 dpi. If I would have saved that as a jpeg image, the file size would have been 168 kilobytes. However, I reduced its dimensions to 1000 x 445 pixels and optimized it, so now it is only but is only 28 kilobytes. Saving 140 kilobytes from each image is a big deal and worth the two minutes it takes to optimize one.
Keep in mind that if you were to insert an image directly from your camera or smartphone into a post, it might be 4032 x 3024 pixels (newer iPhone) and 12 megabytes (not kilobytes). That is a good size for printing, but horrible for a website. It would probably take 2-3 minutes for the page with that image to load if it didn’t stall-out in the process.
.You can optimize images using Photoshop, or free Photoshop clones like Paint.net or Gimp. In addition, dozens of sites will compress your images online, and TinyPNG is a good choice if you want to go that route.
If you have a slow blog, you need to fix it. One quick cure before you get into technical cures is to use a Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) if your host offers the service for free. If your page is still loading slowly after you get image resolution under control, you need to explore other technical issues I mentioned.
Easy User Interface
Google cares how easy it is for users to navigate your website. They gather internal signals which influence your ranking. One of my concerns for new bloggers who want a glamorous-looking website. That eye-candy and the exotic navigation that goes with it often kills their opportunity for success. Simplicity is what you want. The main menu on this site is as simple and effective as they come:
Most sites have more options, and that’s okay. But bloggers need to stop, think, and minimize. Google loves sleek, user-friendly interfaces. Make it easy for your site visitors to get to the information they want with the least amount of clicks
Clutter and confusion are eliminated by putting the administrative menu in the footer.
Put the focus on the content. If you use WordPress, and a desirable up-to-date theme (template), then you will already have a Google-friendly interface in place. There is little you need to do to enhance their schema.
You may think you need a fancy blog. You don’t. You want an elegant blog. That means it is easy on the eyes and simple to navigate.
Google gets its ranking signals from many places on your site, so you want to make sure you give them those signals. It is not enough to write your post and save it. There is a lot to do to meet all the Google page optimization criteria, but thankfully it easy to provide Google with all the essential signals. Just add the Yoast SEO plug-in on your WordPress site. This is where you add the meta-data that most interests the Google spider that gathers signals. Never fail to complete the Yoast data before you click the save button when you post your article.
This is the Yoast Analysis Results which appear at the bottom of your post. It tells you what you gave done right and wrong, and what to do to correct issues for page optimization.
The Yoast plug-in also helps you determine if your blog posts meet Google readability standards. It is good to take a quick look at this and make changes to your post content that it suggests. However, remember that you are writing in your own voice for real people, not the Google algorithm, so be selective when it comes to taking these suggestions to heart. They are desirable suggestions that will likely help you, but they are only suggestions.
You can get high-quality SEO page optimization with very little specialized knowledge or effort when you use the Yoast plug-in with every post.
Backlinks are the links on other sites that link back to your site. They are an important signal, and I discuss backlinks in detail here. The essential thing to know is that you need backlines. They should be relevant and authoritative. Also, know that Google is changing backlinks for 2020, and I summarize those changes in the above link.
New bloggers often make the mistake of buying backlinks. That is a near-fatal thing to do because Google tracks seller sources and knows when links are purchased and will penalize you. People buy “guaranteed safe” backlinks and are surprised that their ranking and page views go down, not up. The reason they go down is that Google has penalized your site for your wrongdoing. Learn the correct way to get backlinks in this post.
Your goal as a blogger is to get as many visitors as possible. That increases your authority and your income. One way to get free traffic to your blog is to get on the first page of Google search for the keyword phrases you select.
The seven techniques I have covered here will help you get the search engine love you deserve. Don’t imagine they are too much work to do do. That’s not the case. Invest a few extra minutes optimizing your content before you click the WordPress “Save” button, and you position yourself to reap huge dividends.