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Learning to optimize your blog for search engines will allow you to increase its page rank, and give you the chance to increase your following. While you may already be using relevant keywords in your targeted content, there is still a chance that there are some keywords you’re missing. Find these “extra” keywords, improve your overall ranking, and connect with more readers.

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More blog optimization tips:

Research relevant keywords.

To optimize your blog posts, know which keywords you should be using. You’re likely already using relevant keywords related to your niche, but there are other keywords that may have slipped your mind. Use keyword research tools to find out all of the other keywords relevant to your blog’s topic. Many of these tools also make it possible to research the keywords used by your competitors. Use them to make a more informed decision regarding the keywords used on your blog.

Don’t forget to optimize your images.

It’s not just text that helps improve your search engine ranking. Images can also help. Whenever you upload or save a photo to your computer, be sure to put relevant keywords in the file name. That way, when the photo is uploaded to your blog, the keywords are already there. Also, always fill out the alternative text on the image. Add a brief description of the photo, including the most relevant keywords related to the image and your niche.

Link to other blogs.

When networking, one way to broaden your reach is by linking to other blogs related to your niche, and receiving a link back. When linking to another blog post, use relevant keywords in the link, instead of a “click here” option. Not only does it optimize your blog post, but it shows search engines that you’re linking to sites that are also in your niche, which makes your website more credible.

Utilize social media.

On every social media site where your blog’s link is listed counts as a back link. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google + are among the most popular, but there are other sites, such as StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Digg where you can also promote your blog’s content for even more exposure. Finally, submitting guest posts on blogs that are relevant to your niche will also provide you with a link back to your site.

Avoid using blackhat SEO.

Bad SEO practices include hiding keywords in random areas on your blog, stuffing your posts full of keywords so that they are nearly unreadable, and using traffic bots to visit your website to increase your stats. All of these practices can get you penalized by Google, and in some cases, even completely removed by the search engine.

When optimizing your blog, remember that being natural is the key to success. Everything should flow very smoothly, and nothing should be forced, including keywords used for search engine optimization. You want to please both your readers and web crawlers, not just web crawlers alone.