Search engine optimization (aka SEO) helps make your blog findable for your potential audience. The challenge for bloggers (and other content creators) is developing content that’s attractive to both humans and search engines.
7 SEO Tips for Bloggers Including Resources
While search engine optimization is a specialized area of digital marketing, you don’t need a specialist to make your blog more findable. Here are seven tips presented at Blogworld Expo to help improve your blog’s rankings in the search engines as well as to spark other blog post ideas.
- Start your post with keyword research. Before you start to write, check your keywords against what the public’s thinking. Bear in mind that strong SEO can make a difference in your blog’s performance regardless of the level of traffic. Since stuffing your posts with keywords is frowned upon, it’s helpful to get other words that you can use. Further, this research can spark new ideas for other words and/or posts. Here are three Google Tools:
- Google AdWords. Put in a word you’re thinking of including to see what words the public uses. This can be a tickler for getting your mind working.
- Google Search Wonder Wheel. This tool provides word associations that can help you find other words to check in AdWords.
- Google Insights is great for brainstorming and can give you other words and ideas.
After you finish your post, check to see the commonality of the words by using Wordle.net. Then rewrite the post for the words you want to see.
- Focus every post on one competitive key phase. Think in terms of the short head (competitive keywords) versus the long tail (longer, less searched terms.) Bear in mind that 15-20% of searches each month are new; this means that Google never saw them before. Therefore, stay focused on one keyword or phrase but think in terms of word neighborhoods. You can change the way search engines see the page by slightly modifying some words.
- Do things the right way. Make your blog cleaner for search engines to read. Webpages built on good HTML structure and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are cleaner and easier to maintain. Front load keywords into your description and keywords meta tags. For those who aren’t programmers, here’s what the organization of the HTML (Geek Alert! This may seem like a foreign language.) should look like on a blog post.
<html> <head> <title>My Title</title> <meta name=“description” content=”this is my page”/> <meta name=”keywords” content=”this, that, other”/> </head> <body> BODY CONTENT (header, post content, sidebar & footer) </body> </html>
The HTML provides the logical structure of the post while the CSS controls its presentation. Since search robots only look at the HTML, separating the two makes it easier for them to understand the page.
- Links information. The goal is to provide additional background and resources that inform your readers while helping the search engines to understand what your content relates to. Avoid writing “Click Here” links. The search robots have only a limited ability to guess what you mean.
- Build up your back link portfolio. You want to expand the number of blogs and websites linking to your site. To be useful, these backlinks have to be from companies and websites with influence. For example, a link from your brother is easy to get but may not be relevant. Guest posts can provide valuable backlinks to your blog due to the authority of your blog. To discover the links currently pointing to your blog, use Google’s Webmasters tools or search Google using the “link” prefix, e.g.: link:www.mywebsite.com .
- Make your post titles sexy. Your post title must lure readers in. You’ve got a limited amount of time to capture your prospect’s attention and pull him into your blog. Use a big head keyword in your headline. Bear in mind that this title will appear on the Google search results.
- Use post permalinks to communicate with search engines. A permalink URL such as: http://mywebsite.com/seo-tips/ provides more information to the search engines than something like: http://mywebsite.com/?p=1234 since it can include and reenforce your title keywords. Use Google’s Webmasters Tools to tell Google that www.mywebsite.com and mywebsite.com are the same website. Bing and Yahoo have similar functions.
Start incorporating these recommendations into your blog posts to support your search optimization efforts. Be aware that search optimization is an evolving field so that it’s a good idea to keep on top of the latest changes by reading blogs and other online source on the topic.
Do you have any other suggestions to help you improve your blog’s search rankings? If so please include them in the comment section below.
Here are some related sources to help you stay abreast of the field.
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Yahoo Site Explorer
- Matt Cutts
- SEOMOZ blog (Rand Fishkin)
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Watch
- All in One SEO Plug-In for WordPress
Photo credit: u2canreed via Flickr