Before I get started on the meat of this article, let me just say the workouts are going extremely well right now. I am completely focused on improving my cycling speed and endurance and yes, my plan is working. Right now Monday and Wednesday I am riding 30 miles and going really hard. Sometimes I do intervals and others I will just go really hard from beginning to end. Tuesday and Thursday I am riding at a pace that keeps my heart rate between 145 and 150 bpm to help continue to build the engine. Saturdays I have been riding 50 miles with a group I ride with and they are extremely fast. Like “push your legs until you want to remove them because the pain is really that much” hard. Then I lift weights three nights a week and complete a tough core workout those same nights. My fitness levels are improving significantly and I think I will be at my goal weight of 175 lbs. by the end of March. BAM! April I am taking a trip that will get me out of the saddle for about 10 days, so I will be running on the road then.
Just FYI on my brother Jake’s deployment to Kandahar, he checked in via Facebook today and I have to say I am very happy. His message was simple, but money. Check it out. I am not sure it could have gotten any better.
SEO for Bloggers
We all want to drive traffic to our blogs, right? There are several ways to accomplish that goal — leaving comments on triathlon, cycling, and running blogs is time consuming but somewhat effective. Personally when I am reading the comments on a blog that I like and the person sounds somewhat intelligent and knowledgeable, I will often click on the link that follows their name and explore their blog a bit. If I really like it, I will put that blog into my list of “must-reads” and make sure I check back often. I have found some awesome like-minded people this way and have learned a ton from them.
Another way that you can drive traffic to your blog and open the world’s eyes to your amazing talents is through practicing smart SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization”. Now you have to know that I am not the smartest person nor am I an expert at SEO. Shoot, I don’t even play an SEO expert on TV. What I have learned about SEO over the years is self-taught and is probably a little behind the times. Those of you who are experts should feel free to comment and tell me where the holes are in my approach.
In this article, I want to talk about the links that you place and how they can help drive traffic to your site. I use the concept of “Cornerstone Pages” to help focus my traffic to the landing pages that I want. It is an effective way to build up the links to specific pages that contain quality content and to improve your ranking at the same time.
If you look at the top of my site, you will notice there are several pages that contain content that most readers want to see. The list starts with “About Me” and ends with “Contact Me”. I use WordPress as my platform. Within WordPress I created a page for three separate categories, “Motivation”, “Product Reviews”, “Training Tips”, and “Race Reports”. When I am assigning a category to my articles, the ones I categorize in these areas automatically appear on these pages. That really isn’t anything new and something you can do from Blogger as well. I call these my “Cornerstone Pages”.
When I am writing an article, I try to place one link to each of these four pages inside of the text and then I link to the appropriate Cornerstone Page. I don’t use the same words that I used as the title of the page, but word strings that I know are more popular searches on Google and Bing. For example, I may include “running training tips” in the text of my article and then link that string to the “Training Tips” cornerstone page. Using generic search strings is good to cast a wide net, but I have gotten the best results from specific search strings. How do I know? I use Google Analytics to tell me what searches people are using to find my website.
I don’t feel Cornerstone Pages should replace any other strategies you have, but they can help round out your overall approach to SEO. You really should educate yourself to the benefits of SEO and how with a couple of simple steps, you can start increasing the traffic to your site. Here is a great Beginners Guide to SEO. Is SEO important to you or do you just let your writing do the talking? And in the meantime, here is a great image I saw the other day that I thought I should share.