Live Blog | SEO for Fitness Bloggers

This session covers some basic (ethical) search engine optimization practices you can implement right away, to help search engines find you when potential readers search on the terms you wish to rank for.

But once you start getting all that traffic, the question becomes “What do you do with it?” This session covers that too.

Thanks for Matt of NoMeatAthlete.com for a great session.

Click here for Matt’s Slides

Why focus on search engine optimization (SEO)?

  • Steady, no-cost traffic
  • Unique visitors who are brand new to your site…will get those viewers even on days you don’t post
  • Ranking high signals authority
  • Ranking high is self-reinforcing…as you start ranking better in Google, people will link back to you, thereby upping your page rank more
  • Faster than spending time commenting on blogs hoping to attract attention back to your site
  • Remember: most people don’t read blogs

How Google Works

  • Google wants to provide searchers with the most useful webpages
  • They are constantly changing and improving their algorithm
  • How do they decide?
    • Relevance (keywords, tags)
    • Authority and Trust (links, age of domain)
      • The longer you’ve been around, the more legitimate and trusted you seem to be

Google is changing

  • Google doesn’t want to be ‘gamed’
    • Keyword stuffing
    • Content farms
      • Livestrong.com (Demand studios) just got hit earlier this year for having lots of freelance writers generating lots of low-quality content
    • Paid links
  • SEO ‘ninja’ tactics are starting to become less effective as Google evolves
  • Google has said they now value social media links
    • Haven’t in the past cared about tweets, facebook shares

THE NEW SEO

Links, links, links:
Nothing is more important for SEO than quality links from trusted sites

  • Cumulative effect.  If 3 blogs link to blog A, who then links to blog B along with 2 other blogs … better ranking than if 4 blogs link to blog B

Not all links are created equal

  • Anchor text is extremely important… link to the keywords, not words like “post” or “click here”
  • Keywords = phrase typed into Google
  • “nofollowed” links don’t count (ex: blog comments on another site are generally ‘nofollow’… so won’t drive traffic to you just because you commented on a ton of other blogs)
  • When you link out to another blog, use good anchor text…we can help each other more out in that way!

How to get links?

  • Number 1 best way: Guest Posting
    • Many benefits beyond SEO
      • Relationships with ‘popular’ bloggers
      • Direct traffic and trust
      • Often easier than getting a big blogger to link to you on his/her own
      • Content links are ideal
      • You control the anchor text
    • Trick: write your own bio/byline for your guest posts
      • Instead of using your blog name as anchor text, use keywords
        • ex: highlight “vegetarian running” rather than “Matt Frazier”
      • Bonus: to increase clickthroughs, link to something useful in your bio
      • Use Google’s Keyword tool

Relationships lead to links

  • Guest blogging opportunities come from relationships
  • What else can you do with relationships?
    • Have a circle of friends you can ask for links, shares or tweets
    • Nurture your social media followings
    • People who use social media are people with the ability to link
  • Social media and SEO are becoming two sides of the same coin.

CONTENT

The Power of Headlines

  • Write strong headlines (post titles) to explode traffic
  • People will often retweet or share without even reading the post!
  • Visit copyblogger.com for their headline tutorial
  • Cosmopolitan trick
    • Look at the cover of a Cosmo and steal their headlines and replace words with your terms
      • example: 78 Ways to Turn Him On –> 78 Ways to Stretch After a Run
      • example: Bump-Proof Your Bikini Line –> Cheat-Proof Your Diet
  • Don’t over do it….readers will get sick of it

Writing Linkable Content

  • Starting with the headline leads to posts that get links
  • Starting with headline can help you generate post ideas
    • What kind of stuff do you want to read?
  • Other ideas to shake things up
    • Lists
    • How-to’s
    • Resource posts (“the Ultimate Guide to ____ “)
    • Interviews
    • Compilations involving popular bloggers… helps build relationships with those bloggers, and they will likely link to it/repost it
  • Stick to one topic with each post …. too much fluff around the  list or topic (putting your meals before the list, etc) = people are less likely to link to it
  • Try this stuff once every few posts if you’re worried about how your readers will react

Other SEO Tricks

  • Google has stated that they value brands
  • When people type your blog name into Google, it signals that you are a trusted brand
  • As you strengthen your domain’s brand, you strengthen the ranking of all your posts

How can you get people to search for your blog?

  • Highly-visible offline presence
  • Advertising
  • YouTube …if it happens to go viral and you have your blog name in there (but not the URL), people will type it into search engines to find you
  • Purposely failing to link to your site… people may search for your blog name if they see it and want to read more but can’t click on the link … don’t do this too often
  • Inventing a phrase
  • Anything that builds buzz

TECHNICAL SEO BASICS (or: How to Write for Robots)

Is Your Code Clean?

  • Without clean code, Google robots won’t know where your content is
  • Look for “SEO-friendly” themes
  • Premium themes
    • Genesis, Headway, Thesis
  • Clean code is a minimum requirement

Custom Tags

  • You must be able to edit the title and description of your posts that Google sees
  • Often your post title is not the ideal one for Google because it doesn’t contain keywords that people use to search
  • Plugins and premium themes allow you to easily edit these tags
    • WordPress SEO, All-in-One SEO Pack
    • So you can change the permalinks/tags to include your keywords rather than your creative headlines, but readers will still see creative headlines
      • <title> tags, <meta> descriptions, <meta> keywords … if you don’t put in your own description, it will be automatically generated and won’t rank as high in search engines
        • Google “SEO title tags,” “SEO meta descriptions,” etc for more
        • Put too many keywords in and you could get penalized because a lot of people abused it in the past = less trusted than description/title tags

Link Juice

  • What happens when you link out to other blogs
  • your blog is a big bucket.  Every link out is a little hole in your bucket
    • Some leaking out is good.  If you don’t do it, it won’t look good to Google.
    • BUT, too many links gives away all your “link juice,” especially if on your home page

Linking Practices

  • Internal links matter, but not as much as links from other sites
    • Linkwithin v. nRelate
    • Linkwithin not recommended because it redirects all links through their site and generates hits for them, but doesn’t benefit you
  • Place a link every 75 words or so, on average
  • Links near the beginning of your content matter the most
  • Remember to use good anchor text for all content links
  • Sidebar and navigation links don’t matter much
    • Because Google has noticed that is a way people try to “cheat”
    • Don’t overdo them
    • Don’t worry about anchor text for these

Content practices

  • Don’t keyword stuff!
    • Don’t write for robots, write for people
    • Choose primary keyword phrase ad use it in the title and first paragraph, and then only as needed
  • Stick to one topic in your post
  • Please the recipe search engines: use hRecipe
  • Again, make your content awesome, so people share it and link to it
  • Rule of thumb: write for humans, tweak for robots

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT TRAFFIC

  • Ad networks may not be the most beneficial… you’re only getting a few cents per thousands of unique visitors who probably won’t be back
    • That’s not the people the ad networks are targeting, and you’re losing that potential audience

Search traffic is easy to monetize!

  • When you write a popular search post, you can target readers’ interests specifically
    • If you’re worried about selling to your readers (and their reaction), you can go back and add the affiliate links, etc after it is no longer on the front page… try it on an old post
  • Compare to Foodbuzz or other ads
  • Searchers are often trying to solve a problem, so sell them a solution!
  • Great if you’re worried about selling to your everyday readers

Alternative to Ads

  • Creating your own products
    • Takes time, builds brand, you keep 100% of sales
  • Affiliate marketing
    • Very little time, can be looked down on, you get around 50% for information products/5-20% for physical products
  • BE HONEST ABOUT IT

Affiliate marketing

  • Try a few different things
    • for a running songs post by Matt.  What didn’t work: iPod affiliate links through Amazon, Waterproof headphones affiliate links, “running audio” training program.  What DID work: “iTunes affiliate links”
    • Better to target specifically, rather than setting up a store
  • How to start
    • Browse Clickbank for related products
    • Amazon Associates program
    • Commission Junction
    • Direct programs through companies/bloggers…. look around at blogs within and slightly outside your niche
    • Vitamix/Blendtec
  • Get special link code that tracks your sales
  • Don’t set up a store, just solve problems
  • Always DISCLOSE!  Maybe not for making 5 cents off iTunes song, but anything more substantial

Product Creation

  • More money in creating your own products
    • Tarahumara example (Pinole and Chia recipes ebook)
      • Last month: Post viewed 11,003 times; $1544.60 in net sales…. CPM=$140

If your blog, your posts, and your products are a tree, then what is the soil?

  • Answer: the readers (NOT you), if you want your blogging to be a business

Audience Q: Do you turn your ebooks into affiliate products for other bloggers?

  • Answer: Yes, using  e-junkie.com

Audience Q: For e-books, how much do you offer affiliates?

  • Answer: Aim for more than 50%…will bring lots of traffic and buzz, and most purchases come directly to him anyways (so he doesn’t mind giving a cut of that small percentage of sales to other bloggers)

Audience Q: How does Google view ‘self-pings’ (from going back and editing old posts, etc)

  • Answer:  Not entirely sure, but has heard that the very first indexing matters more than going back and changing it

Other notes:

  • Audience tends to self-select…your audience will change as you change your blog.
  • Don’t write something just to fit a good headline, if it doesn’t fit the rest of your site.

Audience Q: Is it worthwhile to go back and edit something 9 months later or so?  Or is it too late?

  • Answer:  Depends on the post, and Google is constantly changing.  Try changing it and getting a new link to it/link to it within your content, etc

This session was captured by Julie of Savvy Eats.