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Stop Over Complicating Search Engine Optimization For Your Blog

I receive a lot of questions from bloggers who are always concerned about every little nitty gritty detail about their blog when it comes to search engine optimization. The thing is, most of these questions are already answered out there in blogs across the Internet.

So, why is SEO so hard to understand?

Answer: Because the blog author was penalized for over stuffing or linking to sites that Google found to be of dubious nature.

SEO for Article Writing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not that hard to understand. You write naturally, uniquely, and thoroughly on the topic you want. Of course, you can optimize for keywords, but make sure it flows naturally with the rest of the article and not forced.

Truthfully, if you are knowledgeable about a topic, it will come easily when writing. You will not even have too look to your competition for blog inspiration. One of the most competitive niche in blogging are on blogs about blogging or blog tips. Much of the information is rehashed over and over from blog to blog without uniqueness, meaning that many of the bloggers are scraping article ideas (at the very least) and not giving an ounce of new information other than a slightly different way of wording, not much different from the concept article rewriting.

Content is extremely important, but you should not be worrying about being penalized by the search engines unless you are or have participated in trying to optimize or over-optimize your site with black hat methods.

SEO for Your Blog Design

A lot of the themes out there do keep search engines in mind, but some do need tweaking. The thing is, once that theme is in your hands and you are adding articles, imagines, and other things, your theme will not be as fast as it was out of the box. Even taking a general framework and revamping it will alter load time.

For those who use plugins, that also contributes to load time. Your web hosting also contributes to it as well.

The biggest part of design is to brand yourself uniquely and organizing your site in a way that people understand. Remember, the search engines algorithms are designed to try to crawl and decipher, and organize content as close to human as it can.

Design can be in how you place advertisements, your call to action, your navigation for your site, and much more. You have to make it easier for people first because if they can get around your site, then the search engines are most likely going to produce similar results.

SEO When It Comes To Social Networking and Your Blog

Google is social search friendly. This means that if people are sharing your articles, your authority will bring you above your blog niche competition. Syndicating your articles out on the social network sites and social bookmark sites are very important.

Before, the search engines relied a lot on your content, but after some time, companies like Google finally realized that it was a combination of the quality of content and the engagement on a site that mattered. The whole Content is King and Visitors are Queen concept was a big breakthrough and forced bloggers to realize that just because you build a site, does not mean that people will come. You have to engage with others and encourage them to syndicate your content.

Stop Over Complicating SEO for Your Blog

Stop thinking and fearing… just write what you know and are passionate about. If you worry about SEO, your blog starts losing that blog voice that your readers have come to love you for.

#SharingSundays Recap – 2012 Volume 1

Yes, it has been some time since the last #SharingSundays event took place at my Facebook Fan page and here. For those who have been requesting this event to become more regular… you got it. For those not familiar with what #SharingSundays is about, well, I will tell you.

#SharingSundays is an event on Facebook that happens every Sunday from 12:01AM Eastern Standard Time USA, until 11:30PM Eastern Standard Time USA. It occurs on my Facebook fan page – The Facebook Fan Page of Nile Flores. This is an opportunity for bloggers to share their most recent posts, connect with other bloggers, and even perhaps get their content syndicated across the social network and social bookmark sites.

Yes, you do have to be a fan, but the reward of getting traffic and other people sharing your article is well worth it. On top of that, all participants will have their article linked in a mashup post the following Monday…. yep, just like this post.

Without further ado, the following were the most recent articles shared for #SharingSundays- 2012 Volume 1:

Karen Woodham shared An Introduction To Celeb Exposed – Entertainment Photographer

Ileane Smith shared The Ultimate Collection of CommentLuv Blog Lists

Barbara Rozgonyi shared Why Fashion Matters for Marketing and PR

Harneet Bhalla shared What SEOPressor Plugin Taught Me About SEO

Haley Rhine shared DIY: Coconut Hair & Body Cream via Roots4U45

Ramsha Afaq shared Why you should Blog on Blogging?

Deepak Shukla shared How To Blog

Tyler S. McCracken shared Kids Insoles: Toddler to Youth Size Insoles for Arch Support

Karla Campos shared Facebook for WordPress Plugin Features

Royal Prabhat shared List Of Best Android Phones Of 2012

Mariam Williams shared A Women’s Equality Day Wish List

Lydia Brown shared How I Ran a Home Business After I Lost My Job

Meryl Hershey Beck shared How Energized are You?

Lakesha Brown shared If Not Now, Then When?

Melodie Kantner shared 5 Tips to Make Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone Easier

Thank you to everyone who participated to kickstart #SharingSundays back up. For those who are reading or participating, please read, connect, share, and overall… enjoy! :)

Case Study: What Happens When You Stop Blogging Or Go On Hiatus?

Blogging is definitely not a glamourous career to have, even in the beginning. It takes a lot of typing and hours, quality content, and social networking, to even try to become an authority. However, once you have become an authority blog and you decide to go on a vacation, what happens to your blog?

This article will give you some small insight to exactly what happens and why I always say you should have a good blog hiatus by scheduling posts ahead of time. It might take a little extra work and time, but in the end, if you are trying to build a competitive blog or website in your niche, then you MUST keep fueling your blog’s content.

The Experiment Rules

While I did not want to just stop blogging, I made sure to blog very little, sometimes not even once in a week. It was difficult, and believe me, this was a painful experiment as I knew I was going to be hurting my site stats.

As a side note: I had unintentionally went on a hiatus back in 2008 for several months, only blogging once or twice in a month. The results reduced my PageRank from 4 to 2, but went back up within months of frequent blogging. At that time, I did not really focus on looking at any other stats.

I decided to pull in just a couple factors for this experiment: length of time, number of posts, PageRank, and Alexa Rank.

The Beginning Stats of the Experiment

On May 15, 2012, Blondish.net was:

Google PageRank 5
Blog posts averaged .22 day for the past 457 days. (180 posts between May 15, 2011 and August 15, 2012)
Alexa rank at 49,627

End Stats of this Experiment

Experiment official ended on August 15, 2012, giving this a 3 month window to see what results occurred. Here were the results

Google PageRank 4
Blog posts averaged .22 per day for the past 92 days. (21 posts between May 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012)
Alexa rank at 80,067

Experiment Summary

Although I saw a 30,440 decrease in Alexa Rank and 1 point down from Google Page Rank, I did not suffer any loss in comments. This is the reason I did not include the number of comments in with my posts. In fact, that remained fairly steady as visitors went to other evergreen posts on the website.

I also received more than 70 messages from social network sites and even my email asking when I would publish my next post. For that, I apologize for the inconvenience, but this experiment is something I have wanted to do for some time, even if it meant hurting my site stats.

As for traffic, I also did not go into detailed traffic stats religiously, but of course, unique traffic did decrease. I relied on Alexa rank as that has been a great reflection of how my site has gone. That, and I really am not going to go through a lot of different services out there that monitor traffic. I wanted to share stats that bloggers usually look at.

I already knew that my results before this experiment would show what I already knew and blogged about in the past, mainly due to the fact I have been blogging for many years, and have seen what hiatus or lack of blogging has done to other sites.

It is important to keep your blog fueled with content even when you want to take a break from blogging. It might take writing and scheduling posts, but do not just leave your readers hanging.

Graphic: Don’t Quit Your Day Job Too Early

I am sure that many of you who are blogging or have a business, have or at one point worked a regular job. However, I always hear people wanting to quit early to focusing solely on their business.

While it seems great, logically it is not a wise decision. Food and shelter cost money. If you are supporting a family, then life can be expensive. Your business will not earn you tons of money right away, whether you are freelancing or starting an online business. It even takes money to start a business.

So, before you embark on a business venture, keep your day job, even if you hate it. It will be what helps you stay afloat if your business takes a while to get going or even fails.

Graphic: Blog With Passion

I see a lot of websites and talk to many blog owners. Many of them are always asking me to look at their website because they are having problems ranking in the search engines or getting the right traffic.

It is great when a blogger can make money from their own website, but it is important to remember that without the content first… there is no website. And if you are a blogger solely trying to make it financially free with blogging, it will take lots of time and effort to get there.

It takes having a passion to blog in order to continue when you almost want to give up.

Blog Comment Removal Request Policy: Do you need one?

A lot of people know that you can get backlinks from just leaving comments on blogs. It is usually a tedious process for those who are trying to build links as it would take commenting on thousands of sites to amount to even a small boost in search engine traffic.

Many businesses that have gotten into incorporating blog commenting as a means to build backlinks have found that it has effected them negatively due to the fact that they may seem like spam or the sites they comment on are not relevant to their niche.

So, after all that effort they are contacting blog owners to ask them to remove their comments.

What happens if you are the blog owner and you receive a request to remove comments? Do you have a comment removal policy?

Sometimes receiving these requests can become a tedious job as some of these requests mean removing dozens of comments. Let us face it, not everyone has the time to do this. While the request may be asked nicely, it is just an inconvenience for the blog owner.

I know from my own experience, I have had these requests, and my policy is that I do not remove comments for any reason. I already carefully moderate comments, so I have already taken the time to approve them.

My question to other bloggers- What is your policy when it comes to receiving a comment removal request?

Podcast Presentation: PSD to WordPress

I love to work with WordCamp organizers to fill in the topics that their community wants to hear. I was asked to do a 2 session presentation on PSD to WordPress at WordCamp Columbus 2012. I was honored to be invited back for a second year in a row to speak at their conference.

This presentation is NOT PSD to HTML and CSS. This is the part that does contain some short insight on how to visualize a graphic into is basic framework before applying the code. You WILL have to be familiar with HTML and CSS… though it is not required that you know it by heart as many web designers use web page editor programs much like Dreamweaver.

It is however, as I always emphasize… you should take the chance to learn basic HTML and CSS so that you are not totally reliant on web page editor programs as they may not have all the functionalities you truly need.

Please enjoy the podcast presentation for WordPress to PSD. I have also provided the Powerpoint so you can follow along.

Please note that minus the questions and discussion that was included in the hour and a half presentation, this podcast is about 55 minutes long. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask or share.

PSD to WordPress -The Powerpoint Presention

PSD to WordPress – The Podcast Presentation

Play

The Art of Blogging: Revisiting Site Focus

I wrote The Art of Blogging: What is Your Site’s Focus?, and gave quite the list on things you should consider when creating your website’s focus. However, I still get on occasion bloggers who have been blogging and just have not gotten results. When I saw Dragon Blogger’s article, Blogging Without A Purpose, I was further motivate to revisit this topic once more.

Site FocusMy advice for those who have been blogging for a while and have had no success – go back to the focus and use your Google Analytics and other blog tools to see what will work best for your blog.

I will use Blondish.net to convey my own experience. At first, Blondish.net waded around in a pool of content from home life to my internet life. It was a bit disconcerting for some of my tech friends who would look forward to my posts that either contained something about blog tools, social media, but I was having a rough time and kept avoiding that. In fact, it hurt my site a lot and in December 2008, I put down in writing what could go on Blondish.net and what had to go elsewhere. I ended up creating a mommy blog for my home and personal life. Of course, I do put some personal stuff here at Blondish.net, but only if it is relevant to the focus of the site.

See, I have always given a lot of freebie graphics since I got online. While doing that, I kept getting questions on how to make things on just about anything I put on my site. I decided instead of always fielding my instant messenger, I would blog about it. In 2009, I got down and dirty with my blog, starting to clean up section (which I still am), moving contenting off and onto other places, and of course, blogging like a woman on a mission. My mission: to help bring my experience to others as a blogger to become successful and introduce things online that are resourceful. I also vowed to become more active in interacting with my commenters to hopefully continue the discussions beyond my blog’s words.

My blog has become more successful. My Alexa rank at the beginning of 2009 was hanging at 1.6 million, and now it is around mid 2009, it was 217,218. I have connected with quite a few other successful bloggers and have learned from them. I have influenced others in return. Since then I have slowed down some, but still built my site, focusing solely on sharing my knowledge. In the beginning quarter of 2012, I hit 50,000 Alexa, but recently did an experiment on how lack of blogging effects a site’s traffic and ranking….and let it slip to around 72,000 Alexa. As the saying goes- “Content is king.” Without content to attract your visitors, what is the purpose of your website in the end?

With all the tools for blogs to analyze what is being searched, you should not have any trouble on how to develop or even, redevelop your site’s focus.

Have you had a similar experience with your blog? Have you influenced others through your blog? Have any other suggestions?


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