SEO & SEM tips for websites and blogs

Whether you’re a business owner or ‘blogger, there are certain prerequisites to creating and then managing a website or ‘blog. Beyond the underlying mechanical aspects of building and designing, there are other duties you would greatly benefit from performing…

In this featured article, I’ll be outlining some SEO tips, tricks and tactics you can put to use on your website or ‘blog to get the most out of them.

1. What is SEO & SEM?

First of all, let’s get the terminology out of the way: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, while SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. They’re similar in some respects, but actually serve very different purposes. Fortunately, they’re also very much complementary.

One of the challenges of having a ‘blog or website is that you want to be found by the search engines. To do that, your ‘blog or website has to make sense to the search engines.

1.1. SEO explained

SEO is about making your ‘blog or website appeal to the search engines. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, then they can’t build up a list (otherwise known as an index) of the things they need to know about and then use to match against a search someone types into Google, for example.

SEO includes not only changes to the mechanical code of your ‘blog or website, but also to the words in your web pages, too. Knowing who you’re writing about or for will help you choose the right words to use in your articles that the search engines can then match search queries against.

1.2. SEM explained

SEM is when you promote an article to specific places, such as web directories, industry forums, email campaigns, or by asking friends or related businesses to add a link from their ‘blog or website to yours.

SEM is also when you add comments to ‘blog articles, which allow you to add a link for a web page from your ‘blog or website. The more links you gain, the greater the value of trust and authority the search engines place on your ‘blog or website.

There are also advanced Search Engine Marketing tactics, like writing articles that are “link-bait”, which means you’re either offering something that is: for free; intrinsically unique, controversial, funny, or a combination of any of those options and more besides.

In this scenario, the added-value of the article encourages people to share your content with others.

2. SEO tips for beginners

2.1. Understanding how the search engines work

Put simply, the search engines can be looked at as very, very fussy readers. So here’s a simple explanation of what the search engines really, really want from your website or ‘blog, which features a list of actionable items to get you going.

2.2. Optimizing your articles and web pages for the search engines

For those wanting a quick SEO tip fix, here’s a 5 minute SEO primer for beginners, which will give you just enough to understand how to create links on your website or ‘blog. To really capitalize on this collection of search engine optimization tips, however, read on.

As you’ll have become aware from reading the 5 minute SEO primer, headlines are an essential aspect of an article, and are something that has to be carefully considered. Your headline (often simply referred to as a title) needs to be magnetic — you have to grab the eye of the casual visitor, or those scanning through news feeds, like Google Reader or Bloglines.

If you’re in the thick of things, writing the actual code for your website or ‘blog, there are some SEO basics for your code that would help you make your website or ‘blog work better – not just with the search engines, but to be more compliant with accessibility laws.

3. SEO & SEM tips for ‘bloggers

3.1. Linking strategies

As a ‘blogger, you’re going to make friends and hopefully influence people. Adding value to your articles with links to other websites and ‘blogs is something that can help you enrich your articles. But, it’s not just a case of adding a link to any piece of text. If you value the links you’re adding, then use the right text with the right words for the link itself.

Additionally, it’s not mandatory to have a ‘Blogroll. A link with relevant text within the conversation of an article is much more compelling than a simple link in a left-hand or right-hand menu.

3.2. Writing compelling, quality articles

As your ‘blog becomes more popular, thoughts will probably turn to monetizing your traffic. Often, the very thing that made those ‘blogs what they are is disrupted or demoted to make room for money-making schemes, like banner advertising and link adverts. Always keep in mind that content is king, and everything else is secondary.

3.3. Better ‘blogging ideas

Writing articles for your ‘blog is only one part of a greater whole. Managing and maintaining your ‘blog is a continuous challenge. You may find that ‘blogging asks some serious questions of you. If so, here are some answers to those ‘blogging questions, detailing some of the things you ought to be doing and why. Furthermore, here are 19 better ‘blogging ideas, to keep you going.

4. Beyond SEO & SEM

I’m pretty sure you’ll make mistakes along the way, but it’s essential you keep going and learn from them. It is how you deal with those mistakes that will determine your success. Either way, this article will still be here, waiting for you to return…

If you have a question regarding Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Marketing for websites and ‘blogs, feel free to ask and I’ll do my utmost to reply as soon as I can…

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