How to Use Competitors to Learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Three SEO Practices I Used on My Poetry Sites

The first time I created a website, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Even though I scoured the web, reading tips and tricks from blogging experts, I didn’t know how site changes affected my position on Google.

After spending hundreds of hours in the editor mode of my site and playing around with cascading style sheets (CSS), I eventually learned how to increase my position on major search engines using on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

Find the Leaders in Your Niche

I created several niche poem sites for wedding poemsfuneral poemsfatherly love poems,motherly love poems and inspirational poems.

I’ll level with you, poetry isn’t considered “great” content to rank for, so I created separate sites to specialize on one topic. I didn’t have money to pay for pay-per-click advertising either so I did what SEO pundits suggest, I looked at sites who ranked 1, 2 and 3 for my keywords related to each site.

I downloaded the SEO Quake toolbar in Chrome to find out what 3 and 4-word phrases they used. I studied their layout, navigation menu, monetization techniques, font size, font family and font style. It’s amazing how much someone can learn by studying their competitor.

Organic Search Engine Traffic

I implemented an SEO strategy, which was was born out of trial and error. I’ve never taken a course or workshop. I just searched online, read what others did and played around on my site.

I created separate static pages for specific funeral loss – loss of mother, loss of father, loss of pet – used H2 tags for poem titles, entered the content and ended with keywords related to funeral poems, sympathy poems, condolence poems and memorial poems as the poem description under every poem.

I added a photo on each page and inserted the keywords listed above in the alt-tag section. I did this so people can share my site on Pinterest, Facebook and other image sharing sites.

I’m by no means an SEO expert but the changes I made when I implemented the keywords helped me achieve a PR4 on my funeral poem site, as well as, increase organic traffic.

Focusing on Backlinking

If no one is linking to your site and your on-page SEO is non-existent, you can forget about landing on page 1 or 999 of any search engine. Again, with limited knowledge of backlinking, I took to the Internet and read what to do.

I learned about NoFollow and Dofollow links. Dofollow links tell search engine crawlers to follow the link, whereas Nofollow links tell search engine crawlers not to follow the link.

When Google bots search a site and find a link, behind the glitz and glamour of a webpage, an attribute in the language (nofollow or dofollow) tells the bot to follow or don’t follow the link. If the dofollow attribute appears, the site’s pagerank/authority back-link juice transfers to the link.

I put to the test my new found knowledge and began blog commenting. I searched sites with relevant material and left quality comments with a link by to my website. I also contacted sites similar to what I offered, introducing my site and politely asking to add my site to their list of links. In exchange, I would add their link to my site.

In the near future, I’ll begin guest posting on sites with heavy traffic. Guest posting doesn’t pay but most webmasters I spoke with offer a link back to the author’s site.

So there you have it. A few steps that helped drive traffic to my site. Sounds easy but it’s a lot of work, especially having more than one site.

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