Optimizing Your Blog on a Budget

Trying to optimize blogs can be a very difficult task.  But trying to optimize a blog on a tight budget can be even more daunting a task.  I often get asked by clients how to blog and how to write them to show up well in the search engines.  This is known as search engine optimization, or SEO.  With the current state of the economy many of the clients I help are not at liberty to spend bbuckets of money on advertising and PPC campaigns, so they are trying to optimize a blog on a small to non-existent budget.

So how do you optimize blogs with minimal money? Well, there are plenty of ways.  The first step is to start with a small niche. The biggest mistake I normally see is that someone starts up their blog and begins writing with goals and aspirations of dominating search engines for these really broad & generic terms like car batteries, or wedding cakes.  But if you go for more specific items like wedding cakes in Myrtle Beach, or a Duralast Gold 24-DLG car battery, then you will start to gain good rankings easier and quicker.  The instant gratification will inspire you to continue on writing as well.

Secondly, know what people are searching for.  Google Adwords is a great place to get an understanding of what type of terms are being searched and how often they are being searched.  Sometimes just the slightest tweaks to your keyword focus can be the difference to getting to the top page of Google with your post.  The biggest thing is to choose keywords that are attainable for great rankings.  So be realistic in the terms you choose.  I guarantee that if you take some time & focus on this before starting to write you will see results.  A recent client of mine who has a very small budget and a completely brand new site was able to focus on a few good keywords and has been able to already start receiving clients directly from her blogsite.  She also has several terms already ranking #1 in the search engines after only writing a handful of posts.

Thirdly, links can be a difference maker in how your site shows up in the search engines. Look for places you can link back to your blogsite.  This can be a large time consumption, but if you can find things like your profiles on other networks, friends who are willing to link to you, it will increase your traffic to the site as well as the number of incoming links your site has.  The one warning I would make is that this is where you could end up blowing your budget out of the water that you have set up for optimizing your blog.  Companies will try to sell you links and charge you high prices for those links.  This also can be the place that your site goes from ranking #1 to being blacklisted if done improperly, so please do some investigating before you start.  While there are very reputable ways to do this, there are also several ways that the search engines frown heavily on.

The last way to optimize your blog and drive traffic to your site is to use your imagination and make your business different from everyone else’s online. When all the competition has the same type of advertising campaign you do, step outside the box and be creative.  A company that recently did this that comes to mind is Pepsi.  They stepped outside the normal box of advertising this year during the Superbowl.  Instead of spending millions on 30 second commercials, they decided to use that income to build a giant online community of followers that would spread the word about their site & push traffic to them.  Has it worked?  Well, take a look at the stats according to compete. Year to date their web traffic is up 10% while their biggest competition, Coca-Cola is down 24%.  Coincidence? I don’t believe so.  I believe this is due to the change in their focus and doing something unique from the rest of the competition.

These four basic steps to optimize your blog can all be done for relatively no budget at all.  It will just take a little bit of time, effort, and creativity to accomplish.  Finally, I leave you with this video from the master of SEO, Matt Cutts from Google Webmaster.  It seems we agree on this one 100%. View the video here.

Originally Posted at: 210 Consulting- Social Media Advisors

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  1. Suzanne Roy July 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Hey Jeremy – great blog post! I would switch the first step with the second step – you gotta know what your audience wants to learn more about before you can discover a good small niche (or long tail keyword phrase).

    Long tail keyword phrases (such as Brentwood CA Estate neighborhoods) are so imperative to get Realtors found on Google’s first page – for example, the above long tail search term is #1 on google of a client of mine (Hey, Toni Cameron!) after I have been blogging for her for less than a month! And that’s out of over 630,000 search results! The less lengthy keyword phrase of Brentwood CA Estate has her at #2 out of over 1 million search results (only being topped by Homes.com!).

  2. Jeremy Blanton July 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Suzanne, I would agree…I think #1 & #2 go hand in hand. You gotta be hyperlocal and figuring out the keywords will bring your traffic will help you come to the conclusion.

    While some keywords are really simple to gain the #1 spot on, the reason this happens is that there is little to no competition on the terms. If the keyword gets less than 10 searches a month is it really worth it to try & dominate that type of term? I normally suggest that when picking keywords to write about to focus on terms that are going to be around 4-10K in monthly searches. They may take a few blog posts to garner first page results, but they will bring you some good traffic over time.

  3. Valerie Leivo Tran July 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Google Adwords is a great tool! I have found some things that I will add!!

  4. Alex Cortez July 13, 2010 at 2:05 am - Reply

    You’re absolutely right. Google’s adwords/keyword generator has been instrumental in how I have adjusted my SEO. Initially I was targeting terms that I thought would lead to great results and although I was ranking on the first page I wasn’t getting any traffic/visitors off of it. But that’s because nobody was searching those terms! Now I have re-adjusting my SEO/Linkbuilding. Thanks for the insightful post, Jeremy.

  5. Tim Sartori September 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    For being new to the whole SEO thing, this post has really helped out. It’s funny but basic information such as this that’s easy to read is hard to come by. Thanks!

  6. Jeremy Blanton September 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Thanks Tim, Glad the tutorial helped out. You may want to also visit my site for more info on how to blog and use all these social media platforms. I have tons of other posts just like this one 🙂 //210consulting.com

  7. Love Google Adwords

  8. Holly January 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    This is a comprehensive and helpful article Jeremy, thank you. Yup, niches and back links are the way to SEO go. The more you can pin point your topic, the better.

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