Blogging is a major tool within search engine optimisation and online marketing, and it’s one that’s very easy to get into. After all, all you have to do is write what you know and the traffic will come flooding in, right?

Wrong.

Whilst it is true that blogging is easy to get into, and anyone can blog, getting it right takes a little more planning, effort and strategy. Today I’m going to cover a few ways in which you can get the most out of your blog, so that you don’t just write, you attract.

The search engines all love blogs, especially if you use a standard platform such as WordPress (which is what we use). This is because of the fact that blogs tend to be well organised, well structured, with a clear and easy to use navigation structure, and features such as tags which all help make it an elegant online source of information.

Additionally blogs tend to be regularly updated, and represent a source of fresh content, and through commenting they tend to encourage feedback and debate. All of this is very much what the search engines are looking for when trying to deliver relevant, fresh up to date results for people looking for the latest news and information. So just by having a blog structured in this way you’re on the right side of the search engines. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are 6 top tips for optimising your blog for real results.

Blogging tips for business1. Make sure you include relevant keywords in your title, within your blog and within your tags sections. Don’t make this sound forced – do it naturally.

2. Create plenty of internal links. Using variations of your primary keywords is good, and linking to older, established posts from newer posts helps revive old content, and generate more through traffic.

3. Create an XML sitemap of your blog. This is often overlooked, but Google will love you even more if you do have one. Don’t worry, it’s very easy – just use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin for WordPress – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator

4. Create external links. Adding links to authoritative, useful external sites (like we did in the point above) is a great way to help boost the authority of your own site as well as helping to provide your visitors with even more helpful advice and information. Bloggers who don’t include any, or many external links tend to look as though they lack the confidence of allowing readers to leave. If you’re providing really useful stuff, don’t worry about your visitors clicking on links – they’ll be back for more.

5. Include images, and optimise them. No matter how scintillating your content, people still like to see the odd image. It might not add a great deal in terms of useful content, but it helps break the page up. But remember to make sure that you optimise your images. This means compressing them for speed, renaming them so that they include the keyword in the name, and using alt text and captions which also include suitable keywords.

6. Enable trackbacks. Enabling trackbacks means that when you link to another person’s blog from within your own blog, then a link will automatically be created back to your blog from within their comments section. This is great news for several reasons, including the fact that it helps boost traffic to your own blog, increases the authority of your site in the eyes of Google, and helps foster a relationship with other bloggers.

These six tips will help boost the value of your blog, but they’re by no means a definitive list of the many ways in which you can boost the effectiveness of your blog. What would you suggest as your top tip? What methods have you used which you feel have had the greatest impact on traffic?