At the end of 2006, I had the pleasure (those who watched me said it was one of my life’s greatest pains) of writing my first book: Millennial Leaders. As with all new book authors, I set out to travel around the country to speak on the topic of Generation Y, their views of the world and “how they do things in the world of work”. And, to my surprise, as I polled over 5,000 Baby Boomers in the course of 9 months, I discovered that only about 10% of the men and women ages 45-65 were using a blog in their business. And…even more surprising…of the 90% who were not blogging, approximately 45% of these folks did not even know what a blog was. They looked at me like I was from Mars.
So, I set out to start teaching more mature folks (like me) how to blog. I started the Become a Blogging Maniac course, and I realized that in order to really get into the program and do this up right, I had to get my own blogging act together. I looked at my old, outdated websites, began doing a bit of searching on Google to try to “find them” under keywords like leadership coaching and training or leadership coaching companies, and I think I finally found them on the 35th or 40th page on Google...way out there where no one goes but me. Argh…all that hard work…no wonder no one could find me!
So…that was that! I turned my Bea Fields Companies, Inc. static website into a blog, pulled all of my blog posts from an old blog into the new site and started working the process of getting my new blog on the first page of Google…without spending a dime.
Many people don’t believe me when I tell them that now, when I go to Google and type in “Leadership Coaching and Training”, either my BeaFields.com site or my FiveStarLeader.com site shows up on the first (sometimes second) page. And…everyone thinks I am paying for this…well…I guess if you call good old sweat equity payment, then, yes…I paid…in time, strategy and watching what other people did. But, I don’t pay Google a dime for this wonderful top placement.
So, in this post today, I am going to tell you how to do this…so here goes. I am not telling you to do this…I am telling you that this is what worked for me and is now working for other people I have trained.
- If you have a static website, turn it into a WordPress blog (install a WordPress blog directly onto your main website and not on a 3rd party site like WordPress.com, Blogger or Typepad). Google loves blogs, because they are filled with rich text content. And…the good news is that there are hundreds of great looking blog templates for WordPress (a blogging tool that is super slick and really great for search engine optimization) that look just like websites. As a matter of fact, the BeaFields.com site is built on a theme called i-Real Estate. It is a template designed specifically for realtors, and I changed it around to have it look and read more like a consulting site. Easy as pie!
- Choose a keyword rich title and sub title for your blog. Once you have chosen your name and sub-title, I highly recommend that you simply “lay this text on top of the header”. I would suggest not using a graphic header with your text embedded into the graphic, because Google really does not care about images…they DO care about rich text. With WordPress, you will have a title and sub-title area to type in this information, and I recommend that you simply follow this one step…it will instantly help your searchability.
- Write, write, write. Over the past two years, I think I have written close to 500 posts on every subject under the sun…both related and pretty unrelated…to leadership and business development. If I find an oddball subject that is unelated, I always find an angle back into the topic of leadership. I make sure to write valuable content, tips, and strategies. I use popular keywords, edgy titles, photographs and relevant subject matter each time I post so that it keeps the reader interested.
- Tag, tag, tag. Tags are keywords. Each time you write a post, you have the opportunity to add tags to your blog. When you write your posts, make sure that you are using hot keywords in your blog copy and then use the tags area of your post to add about 10 keywords. Don’t go overboard on the keywords…it may throw up a red flag for Google. When I blog, I use Mozilla Firefox browser and an add-on called Wordtracker SEO Blogger. When you blog, you simply pop open the tool, type in one “teaser keyword” and SEO Blogger will show you a quick list of the hot keywords connected to your teaser word.
- Name drop. I think I have written about almost every celebrity under the sun…President O’Bama, Governor Palin, Michael Jackson, Jack Welch, Madonna, Tiger Woods, Paris Hilton, Bono…the list goes on and on. The hot celebrity of the week gets a prime post on my blog, and I find a way to draw a parallel to what they’re up to and how it’s relevant to my target audience. So, as an example, you may write a blog post that says something like this “I was driving to work this morning thinking about Tiger Woods and all of his many homes…wondering which ones he will now be forced to sell after he hands over 75% of his assets to his ex-wife…and then I began wondering about how many people out there have multiple homes they are trying to unload”. So…in this one sentence, you hit the jackpot with the name Tiger Woods. You get my point.
- Invite guest bloggers to blog for your site. This is critical. If you interview other people or invite them to be a guest blogger, they will then link back to your blog. This creates quality links for your blog that Google will just gobble up! On the same note, comment on other people’s blogs, and use your website when you comment. But for heaven’s sake, don’t just say “I like this post”…if you like the post, say why. If you disagree, give your point of view. If you are just dropping by and saying “Hey…great post”…you may appear to be a spammer, and your comment will be disapproved or flagged for spam.
- Use internal linking (but not too much…it can be a pain for the reader and Google may slap you on the wrist). The plug in I use for WordPress for internal linking is called SEO Smart Links. It is a great tool, because as I type, if I write the name of a page, category, post title or category is already somewhere on my blog, SEO Smart Links will automatically link that word back to that page, post, category or tag. Internal linking is great for keeping people surfing your blog and for higher search engine ranking.
- Install an SEO optimization tool onto your blog. I use Greg’s High Performance SEO plug-in. It is fabulous and is already fully designed to optimize every single page and every single post with a title, description and keywords…just ready for the search engines to grab. The great thing about Greg’s tool is that it also gives you the ability to write a secondary title, description and keywords which may help more specifically describe what is going on on this page.
- Keep your main “blog page” to full posts. I love excerpts, but there is one tiny problem with excerpts: Your main blog page then gets minimized to about 5-6 posts with 3-4 sentences in each post. Why do this when you can put 6 full blog posts on one page…filled with great titles, descriptions and keywords?
- Get your blog talking to Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. I use a little pinging service called http://ping.fm and a tool called the Wping-FM plug in for WordPress. Once all of this is installed, your published posts and updates blog will automatically show up on all of your social networks without you having to lift a finger! It’s truly just like magic!
I could certainly talk about this subject all day long. For now, I will just leave you with these 10 strategies, and if you need more information, check out our blog at http://blog.becomeabloggingmaniac.com.