SEO Hacks for Your Kenyan Blog
Successfully Hacking the SEO for a Kenyan Blog will be the life blood that will determine its death or survival.
Let me say that again, SEO for a Kenyan blog is not optional but mandatory to its survival.
Imagine a scenario where an ordinary Kenyan woman is getting married to a man of her dreams. What is the first thing a woman needs for her special day?
Well in most cases it is a wedding dress. Now let’s also imagine that you are a Kenyan wedding dress designer or a Kenyan fashion blogger or you are an expert on wedding dresses in Kenya and have been blogging about it.
So let’s call this lovely lady Eve. Now Eve gets on popular search engine Google or Bing and is searching for the best wedding dresses in Kenya.
A quick search of wedding dresses in Kenya on Google brings out 1.25 million results. This means Google has indexed 1.25 million pages related to wedding dresses in Kenya and if you have been blogging about wedding dresses, you can bet that your blog is one of those results
Now human beings are a lazy bunch by nature, we like things quick and easy, so Eve will most probably just click of the first few links from the results page unless she is really picky, which she should be in the quest for the perfect wedding dress. But in this scenario let’s say she goes beyond page one and all the way to page 3 of the search results in her quest for the perfect wedding dress.
If you are lucky and your blog is in the first 3 pages then she will land there and she will find a wealth of information on wedding dresses, love your designs, advice and even maybe buy her dress from you or one of your recommendations. She will be the most beautiful bride, have the perfect wedding thanks to you and you will be her new bff forever.
In the world of search, statistics show that a first position in ranking in Google serps gets 33% of searchers. Only 8% of searchers click past the first page and only 0.1% click past the second page. It’s even worse for page 3 so if you are on the 3rd page of the search results then most probably than not, Eve will never make it to your blog and all the great insightful content you have to offer. This is the one and only reason why hacking the SEO for a Kenyan blog is crucial.
I hope I have made myself clear as to why you need to have your blog on top of search results for obvious reasons.
Getting your site on top of and on the first page results of search engines is what we are calling SEO for a Kenyan blog.
Search engines use an algorithm to determine the value of information and the rank with which to present this information to searchers. It is in their best interests to create near perfect matches for what someone is looking for otherwise that person will go to the competition. As someone doing SEO for a Kenyan blog you should be thinking the same exact way. In short, provide the most accurate and relevant information that someone is looking for. Doing SEO for a Kenyan blog while important, should be icing on the cake.
Search engine algorithms can be hacked and have been hacked. Am not talking about the dubious black hat affair that hacking evokes but hacking in a sense that one needs to figure out what key factors the algorithm takes fully into account to rank well and then create compelling content with those factors in mind then add the hacks below to achieve the goal of ranking on the top page.
Hacking Page Rank
There are a few factors that search engines use to determine how to rank content and we will hack some of the important ones here.
Onpage optimization factors on SEO for a Kenyan blog
The first part of hacking the SEO for a Kenyan blog is onpage optimization which simply implies the techniques that you as the content creator have control over. They Include:
- Key words – For obvious reasons when someone is searching for something, they will type certain words into the search bar. In Eve’s case it was “wedding dresses in Kenya”. Search engines algorithms look to match exact keyword phrases with search terms so having your blog or blog page or blog post match the exact key word.
- Keyword density – The amount of times you have to sprinkle keywords in the content for the search engine algorithm to rank it. Anything lower than 3% is ideal.
- Keyword use – Using a particular keyword has to be done once to avoid keyword competition between same pages and posts which would lead to cannibalizing any positive ranking effects between them.
- Keyword Location – It is recommended that you make it clear to the search engine immediately what your topic is about. In that spirit you should have the chosen keywords at the beginning of the first paragraph of your content.
- URL – The chosen keywords must be in the URL of the page or post that we are looking to Rank for. In our scenario we can have http://myblog.com/best-wedding-dresses-in-kenya
- Subheadings – Having the chosen keywords in a subheading in the content is beneficial for ranking them as well. It is recommended to have the keywords at least once in a subheading.
- Meta description – The Meta description is the text that accompanies the search result and it must also contain the chosen keyword and because this is the teaser text that draws in a reader then you have to make sure it is enticing. The description has to be more appealing than the competition’s to draw in the reader. In our example something like (These are the best wedding dresses designed in Kenya in 2016 these dresses were chosen by over 10 thousand brides, wedding planners and event organizers.)
- Content – Google has a penalty and devalues content that is less than 300 words. Having post or page below the 300 words threshold is considered thin and will be ranked lower than comparable content.
- Page Title – The page title must be between the recommended 35 to 65 characters which eliminate having the title cut off in the search results. This is obviously advantageous for the potential reader.
- Reading Ease – While not directly an effect of on page optimization, the ease of reading content determines whether a potential reader will stay engaged and read the complete content. If the content is fairly difficult to read, then the reader will leave and take their needs elsewhere. Search engines will track bounce rate (how long a visitor stays on your blog) and will penalize content that has a high bounce rate. Making it easier for a reader to consume content will help rank said content higher.
Off Page Optimization hacks on SEO for a Kenyan blog
- Back Linking – Back links are those tags that link back to your content. When someone shares your content through social media, blogs or website, those are called back links. Back links have always been a key determinant of how content is ranked. The big premise being that if the content is relevant to an audience then most likely the said audience would be willing to share that content with their friends, family and co-workers. In essence, the more back links a certain article has, the higher it will be ranked. This is a key piece of hacking SEO for a Kenyan blog because obviously you have no control over how and who will share your content as the creator. All you can do is create great compelling content and hope it is enticing enough to your audience.
The hack – With this logic in mind it has been the practice of many webmasters to get as many back links as possible in order to manipulate the search engine algorithm and rank their sites higher.
This led to black hat (unethical) ways of getting back links such as link farms and link wheels. Search engines got a lot smarter to combat this and started looking at not just the back link but also where the link was coming from.
The logic being that if the link was coming from a site that had been identified as a bad then any content attached to that link would be penalized and vice versa. With the new Google panda update which happened last year, there is a swelling movement on the importance of back links. While we are not at the point where back links become less relevant to rankings, I do not think we are there yet.
For now keep building those links and make sure the links come from reputable sites.
Are all back links created equal?
To maximize link building efforts for higher rankings you have to get a variety of links from a variety of different places. According to Google, all links are not created equal.
Getting a link from a site that Google has already decided is an authority site will pass on that link juice to your site. Getting such a link is extremely difficult because most authority sites have been around for a long time and are very particular about who they link to for the obvious reason that Google will penalize a link if the outbound location has been blacklisted as well.
Types of links –
All backlinks would primarily fall into two categories:
1) Earned Backlinks
2) Acquired Backlinks
The links that search engines would like you to have are the links you earn, the ones you naturally get. These types of links are usually the result of great branding, being newsworthy, producing great content, giving out stuff for free, etc. To earn links, you need to do things that’ll make people want to talk about you or reference you for some reason. Also, you can’t typically plan to earn links; it would be a byproduct of good marketing, branding and content.
- Content Creation + Promotion: When doing a search for link building strategies online, you’ll often come across this point of “create great content”. That alone is not enough unless you do enough to promote it. You need to actively promote it among your existing subscriber base, on your social channels, advertise it (for an initial boost), comment on related blog posts referencing it in some way, etc. Only when it’s been effectively promoted is there a chance for it to be linked from some blogger who finds it interesting enough to reference from within his article.
- Info-graphic Creation + Promotion: You could create an info-graphic that people would find interesting enough to embed on their sites. Of course again, it needs to be promoted to be successful.
- Interviewing Prominent Individuals + Promotion: When you interview a prominent personality and publish such an interview, there is some likelihood that the keen followers of this personality would link to this interview. Then of course again, this needs to be promoted and would be good if you influenced the personality interviewed to also promote it among his follower base.
- Useful Free Tool + Promotion: A common example is that of a Loan Calculator that is used by some real estate sites. Since these sites offer a free loan/mortgage calculator, the people writing about real estate are likely to reference such a resource to their readers when the context requires it. And again, it’s necessary to promote the tool. Awareness is required before people begin to reference it.
The primary concept behind the strategy of earning links is:
Create an asset or take an existing asset. The asset could be a piece of content, a tool, an info-graphic, an existing contest you’re running, a PR piece, a video, … Market that asset and reach out to possible influencers about sharing it. Repeat the process for each asset.
It takes time. It takes persistence. You will earn links only on deserved assets and sometimes you won’t get that as well 😉 So it’s just important to be persistent with continued quality asset creation. You need to think of earning links as just a by-product of good content and marketing and not focus so much on it as something to do for “link building”.
It’s difficult to compete in SEO for a Kenyan blog owner if they don’t start out with a few link acquisition tactics. It’s hard to just depend on earned links; you need to go out sometimes to get others to link to you.
Examples of link acquisition tactics:
- Guest Posting
- Submitting to Relevant Local / Industry-Specific Directories
- Finding Resource Pages on Websites to submit to
- Paid Directories
- Paid Links (Risky if not done right)
- Do-Follow Blog Commenting
- Researching Competitor Backlinks & acquiring similar links.
- Sponsor an event/conference/talk knowing full well that there is a link to be had.
The process of link acquisition is getting harder and tougher to scale with Google being stricter about the quality of links required and going to the extent of penalizing sites for acquiring links in mass using spammy tactics. Ideally, your link building strategy should be a combination of some acquisition tactics (done in moderation) and more importantly about creating high quality assets on your site that can earn you some links. Credit Quora
These few SEO for a Kenyan blog hacks will catapult you on top of search results, Increase your audience, authority and eventually search engines will consider your blog an authority site which is the Holy Grail for any webmaster and blogger.
I hope I haven’t forgotten any SEO for a Kenyan blog techniques but if I have then feel free to add yours in the comment section below and continue the conversation…