You have opened your blog half a year ago. You were excited by the first few feedbacks, and you even got to know two or three people you would not have met otherwise. But visits to your blog are still slow: twenty or thirty people for each post, and you want more, much more. One way of increasing the number of visits is using search engines. This means ensuring that your blog will be ranked higher, for some topics, in Google, Yahoo, or MSN web and blog search.

Focus in Your Blog Marketing
The first step towards improving search engine ranking is examining your blog’s focus. You must understand whether your blog deals with a specific topic – such as the capital market, politics, advertising and marketing or surfing – or with your own private life, meaning a variety of topics, for example, one post on love, another post on love between the sheets, and a third post on computers. If your blog is focused on one topic, you must focus your promotion efforts on search strings which are relevant to that topic. If you blog is concerned with many topics, you must focus your efforts on the “long tail”, meaning, in many searches, with each one brining in a relatively small number of visitors to the blog, but accumulating in a significant traffic increase to your blog. So, how is “focusing” manifests itself in action?
Below are five considerations you might want to address:

Headlines – Pay attention to the post’s heading. Search engines give more importance to text at the top of the page, as well as to text with unusual design instructions, such as underscored or bold text. Therefore, ensure that the headline describes the post’s topic in a concise and informative manner. For example, if you wish to write your opinion on the new Apple iPhone, the headline “iPhone – Apple strikes again” is preferable to “Steve Strikes Again”. The first headline clarifies the post’s topic, and it is more likely that search engines will rank it higher for a search for “iPhone”, and that surfers will actually click this search result when they see it.
Links – One of the most important ways of promoting your blog in search engines is increasing the number of links pointing to it from other web pages. You can do this by exchanging links with blogs you like, or with other blogs dealing with topics similar to the one your blog is concerned with. Ideal links are links from blogs with a higher ranking than your blog, which deal with a topic which is relevant to your website, and which include and use the keywords relevant to your blog. Avoid exchanging links with “link farm” sites, or irrelevant sites (excluding indices). For example, if your blog deals with computers, it is better to exchange links with other sites dealing with computers, rather than with sports sites.
Archive – The post you are writing today could be at the center of public attention tomorrow. Therefore, it is important to maintain a surfer-accessible and search-engine-accessible archive. Ensure that your archive is accessible from any page in the blog, and that the archive is arranged in such a way that would categorize and aggregate the posts by conext and enable the search engine to “crawl” from page to page with no problem. Of course, it is also important to ensure that surfers can find their way in it easily. If you have favorite posts, you should consider putting them on a special list on the blog’s main page, so that search engines and surfers can access it easily.
Blog directories – List your blog in directories intended for this purpose. These blog lists are frequently visited by search engines, and therefore a link from such a directory is vital to your blog. In addition, these lists draw many surfers, and they will assist in improving your blog’s internet presence. If you are writing a blog in Hebrew, you can list it on the following sites: Israelated, Ozrox, Blogish and Grapes.
Tags – Tags assist search engines in linking your posts with the topics they deal with more efficiently. Therefore, if your blog is on a blog system which supports the use of tags, tag each post according to the relevant topics, using popular search words in that field. You should use tags which are general enough to match searches by surfers who are different from you. If, for example, you were on a trip to the Sea of Galilee together with Yossi’s sister, it is better to tag it as “Sea_of_Galilee_Tour” rather than “Yossi’s_sister”. Remember that there is no point in adding twenty or thirty tags per post; such a long list could confuse surfers, and the search engine could consider it to be spam.
Web activity – Do your own blog’s PR. It is likely that your blog deals with a topic you are interested in. If this is the case, than it is likely that you know the community of surfers interested in the same topics, and that you even visit blogs, sites or forums which deal with similar topics, and leave feedbacks or comments there. Place a link to your site whenever you post a comment in those blogs, and you will reap two benefits: you will achieve focused exposure for your blog, among people interested in the same field, and you will also increase the number of links to your blog from relevant websites.
In other words, the way of ensuring a good buzz about your blog, is ensuring that any person that you believe should know your blog, does know it. For example, if you blog deals with cooking or baking recipes, visit cooking forums and place a link to your blog or to a specific recipe. You should note, however, that leaving links in blogs or forums must be done according to the rules of etiquette in that place. You do not want your blog to be remembered as the blog of that kid who did not behave well.
Your First Step in Blog Marketing
Simple techniques can assist search engines in understanding that your blog contains high quality contents which should be exposed to many surfers. However, remember that the only thing which will bring surfers to your blog and will keep them coming back again and again is high quality contents, updated frequently, giving the surfers an added value. Good luck in your search engine blog promotion.

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