How to Enhance your Blog's SEO and Attract Relevant Traffic in One Easy Step

The constant war to optimize a blog for traffic and gain new visitors is one that any serious blogger understands. I’m about to tell you a trick that I’ve been experimenting with for the past month and have seen pretty good results from. So listen up.

One of the rules of SEO is to keep external links relevant. That means that if this site is about blogging and new media, links to sites discussing blogging and new media are better for me than links to sites about… cats. The other unwritten rule is that every blogger who uses WordPress looks at his dashboard for new inbound links. Of course, there’s the Google search or Technorati search that can do the same thing, but WordPress users have it easy and new inbound links are listed in the dashboard for easy reference.

So leveraging these two rules, we can take one step and improve traffic flow and enhance your blogs SEO – and it can be done on any blog.

First off, go to Technorati or Google Blog Search (I like the latter for speed) and do a search for a relevant search term or phrase. For the last month, I relied on Technorati for the search term WordPress 2.1. I used this term because I wanted to monitor discussion surrounding WordPress after 2.1 had been launched. Now, I use Google blog search to search for the phrase new media blogging. Much more relevant to a greater part of my blog.

Now, having made the search, you can grab the RSS feed for use on your blog. If you’re using WordPress widgets or WordPress.com, you’ll want to make sure you’re grabbing the RSS feed and not the Atom feed.

Now, using whichever sidebar RSS aggregator you wish (again, WordPress.com has widgets and you can find similar functionality for WordPress, TypePad, MovableType or Blogger), use the feed from the search to parse out headlines into your blog sidebar.

Now you might wonder if this is considered spamming and the answer is no. First off, only use headlines. Do NOT produce full content. Make sure that your implementation includes a link back to the source blog. Generally, this is done by making the headline a link. This link will be visible to the source blogs and may attract them to your site. In addition, because your search is a relevant search based on the topic of your blog, search engines will consider your links higher than non-relevant links.

In essence, this one step will not necessarily serve your current readers, but will attract new ones based on curiosity of “who’s linking to me?”. This has had positive results for me. My traffic continues to climb, feed subscribers continue to grow and my Technorati ranking is approaching 2000. Let me know how this trick fares for you.

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

26 thoughts on “How to Enhance your Blog's SEO and Attract Relevant Traffic in One Easy Step

  1. Nice idea… Just spotted it at the top right there…

    Perhaps a plugin is in order? Man, I find myself saying that a little too often… I haven’t made a new plugin in months!

  2. This trick may work, but I don’t see how it’s related to search engine optimization. I am however hesitant about using it, it’s basically spamming people’s incoming links and hoping to catch a few peoples attention.

  3. Philip,

    It is also a great tool to offer your readers to read about industry news or information that they otherwise might not have found otherwise. You probably are using a feed reader yourself, but for many blog readers, they have no idea what is being offered out there related to feed readers and on topic posts. For niche bloggers this is even more valuable.

  4. I agree that this might be useful for niche blogs with a clear topic. I call it spam because it is automated and by the description only serves the purpose of increasing google ranking and traffic. Both of those are things I want too, so calling it spam might have been a bit nasty, hehe.

  5. It’s also not spamming because if you’re using an RSS widget you don’t send out trackbacks when linking.

    They have to see it in a google inbound search or a technorati search.

  6. Aaron, you mentioned that this is a possibility within MT as well. Any ideas on how one would go about this or examples of plugins that may be available.

  7. I’m not overly familiar with MT. A quick search might provide some answers. You could always use Feedburner to burn the feed you want, but that might be frowned on since it’s not yours. However, then Feedburner has widgets to display the feeds on a website.

    There’s also services which you can submit a feed to and it will give you javascript to kick it out in HTML. Feedroll is on e.

    To be clear though, I’m not advocating any of these solutions. I’m merely pointing out options.

  8. This is a great idea for my niche blog. Aside from the SEO benefits, a tight keyword search on Google Blog search is actually a value-added piece of content for my readers! Thanks again!

  9. Good idea Aaron ! I think it is a good opportunity for bloggers interested in your topic to stay longer on your website via that RSS widget. I mean, they know where to get infos on the market…Until they get the feed too !! ;-) But that is interesting for backlinks, for sure !!!

  10. as someone trying to get more traffic, I really appreciate you writing this blog posting. I have read through it twice now and i will apply some of your tactics. Thanks

  11. One of the best way to find relevant posts for me is using Blogpulse or Icerocket, if find it gives me fare better and targeted results than google blog search

  12. Aaron,

    The WordPress RSS widget doesn;t seem to accept the RSS URLS generated by either the Google Blawg Search or the Technorati search. The widget displays an error message. I know the widget works because it works fine if I use a blog’s feed URL. Are you aware of this or do you know how I can get around it?

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