The benefits of SEO for bloggers are enormous: SEO allows you to tap into a never-ending stream of highly targeted traffic at no cost whatsoever.
But how does SEO fit with guest blogging?
Because that's another popular growth strategy for bloggers.
How do the two strategies compare? And are they compatible?
1. SEO or Guest Posting?
They’re both valid approaches to building traffic but they operate in completely different ways.
In fact, they’re so different that you can’t do them both. Not if you want to do either of them well.
Let’s look at these two different approaches to building an audience.
1.1 Guest Posting
People who recommend guest blogging (aka guest posting) often say that it’s the quickest and surest way to get yourself known, build traffic and build your list.
The reasoning is usually along these lines:
- The total volume of traffic in any niche is controlled by a finite number of key players or Influencers (could be anywhere from 10 to 100, depending on the niche you’re in).
- As a beginning blogger you need to tap into those pools of existing traffic. And the best way to do that is to write guest posts for those key Influencers.
At the heart of the guest posting approach is the idea that its connections, not content, that determines whether or not you succeed as a blogger.
You can write the most brilliant blog posts in your niche, but if no one knows who you are, no one will ever get to read those blog posts.
Without a doubt, the guest posting model works. There are many examples of successful bloggers who used this technique to get where they are today.
Three examples that come to mind are:
- Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger
- Sue Anne Dunlevie of Successful Blogging, and
- Ryan Biddulph of Blogging From Paradise.
But there’s another approach to building traffic and getting known within your niche:
Listen To This Podcast: 'Should You Guest Post or Blog on Your Own Property?' | Ep. #102 (12 mins 30 secs)
1.2 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is just as effective as guest posting but it works on completely different principles.
While it may be true that key Influencers control the traffic within your niche, here’s something that’s also true:
Google controls traffic across the entire Internet.
According to Search Engine Journal (SEJ), 93% of all online activities start on a search engine.
That’s a vast river of free traffic.
And it’s not just any old traffic. Search engine traffic is highly targeted.
Because for someone to find you on a search engine results page (SERP) it means they typed in a query that directly matches what you’re offering.
But to tap into search engine traffic (also known as organic traffic) you need to publish high quality content on your own website (not on someone else’s).
That content is going to earn you high authority backlinks.
And the more quality backlinks you get, the higher your blog posts will rank in the search engine results.
This is where guest posting and SEO start to diverge in strategy.
When you guest post, every post you write is an article that could have been published on your website and could have been used to build high authority backlinks to your website.
In fact, it’s fair to say that guest posting and SEO for bloggers pull in opposite directions.
So it’s important to decide which approach you want to pursue.
But if you try to do both, you’ll do neither of them well.
Examples of successful bloggers who used SEO (and not guest posting) to get where they are today include:
Now let’s dive in to the benefits of SEO for bloggers:
2. Benefits of SEO for Bloggers
2.1 The Results are Permanent
One of the key benefits of SEO is that the results are almost permanent.
When you pay for an online ad, the results stop once the ad expires. Same with social media: as soon as your post drops off someone’s feed, it’s gone and the results dry up.
Not so with SEO.
If you manage to get your content listed on Page #1 of Google for a given keyword, you can expect it stay on Page #1 for the foreseeable future.
And if it does move down to Page #2, you can usually get it back on Page #1 with a few tweaks.
2.2 Top SEO Rankings Provide 24/7 Promotion
Another of the key benefits of SEO is that it works for you 24/7. There are not many other marketing channels that work for you around the clock.
2.3 Builds Trust and Credibility
Google confers huge trust and credibility.
The mere fact that your post or page ranks on Page #1 of Google will confer trust and credibility on you and your content.
2.4 Doesn't Require Continual Effort
Unlike other marketing channels (for example social media and email marketing) SEO doesn’t require continual effort.
The most you have to do is check your rankings once or twice a week to make sure none of your ranked content has fallen off Page #1.
2.5 Brings Highly Targeted Traffic
This is one of the major benefits of SEO:
Visitors who find your web page through organic search are already looking for your products or services.
This makes SEO traffic far more effective than ‘push’ advertising.
Other forms of marketing rely on interrupting a potential prospect with a sales pitch.
But SEO is completely aligned with user intent – you’re not trying to persuade someone to do something they’re not already doing (i.e. searching for a product or service).
2.6 Very High Conversion Rate
The targeted nature of organic search translates into high a Click Through Rate (CTR).
New Media Campaigns reports that organic search results are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid search.
And that in turn produces higher conversion rates for organic search compared with paid advertising.
MarketingSherpa reports that organic search has an average conversion rate of 16%.
That compares with:
2.7 Finding Your Audience’s ‘Pain Points’
One of the keys to succeeding with a blog, or any other online business, is finding your audience’s pain points. Business owners go to great efforts to discover what these pain points are.
But when someone lands on your website from organic search you already have a very good idea what their pain point is.
Because people go to search engines to solve problems.
And if they found your website through organic search, it means your content offers a solution to their pain.
2.8 SEO Is Measurable
Through Google Analytics just about every aspect of how your visitors interact with your website is measurable, from acquisition to behaviour to conversion.
In addition, you can use a SERP tracking service to see exactly how your individual pages rank for a given keyword.
These kind of tools will usually also show you key metrics for all the SERP results:
- Domain Authority
- Page Authority
- Citation Flow
- Trust Flow
- Number of Links
- Facebook Shares
This allows you to see where you stand compared with competing web pages and identify metrics that you can improve in order to get a higher rank.
2.9 Organic Search is the Main Source of Traffic on the Internet
Knowing that organic search is the single biggest source of web traffic should make you confident that you’re pursuing a winning strategy.
Conductor carried out a study of 310 million website visits which revealed that 64% of all website traffic across the Internet comes from organic search.
Search Engine Journal (SEJ) reports an even higher figure: 93% of online activities start on a search engine.
2.10 SEO Creates Brand Awareness
Top ranked pages receive 1000’s of impressions.
So the mere fact of having your content listed on the top half of Google’s Page #1 creates exposure for your domain and valuable brand awareness.
It also sends a signal to users that you’re a key player in your niche.
2.11 Long Tail Keyword Research helps with Content Creation
Bloggers often struggle to get new ideas for blog posts.
And when they do come up with an idea for a blog post they often have little idea of the volume of demand for that topic.
By contrast, long tail keyword research gives you an endless stream of new, laser targeted, blog post topics.
And because you’re using a keyword research tool, you’ll know exactly what the monthly search volume is for that keyword.
The benefits of SEO for bloggers are not hard to see.
Many bloggers have built massive monthly page views using this technique alone.
In a nutshell, SEO for blogging involves:
- Doing keyword research to find keywords and topics you can rank for
- Writing blog posts that rank on Page #1 of Google for those keywords
If you'd like to see my technique for finding keywords that I use to rank my blog posts on Page #1 of Google, see my article Using the KWFinder Tool To Get On Page #1 of Google.
This post was most recently updated on May 1st, 2020