SEO or Search Engine Optimization refers to the practice of writing for the web in a way that makes it easier for search engines, like Google, to rank and list your site. Industry jargon can make learning about SEO seem like an overwhelming task. Bloggers, especially those whose primary purpose is informational, can and should keep SEO in mind as they write for their websites.
26 SEO Tips for Bloggers, Part 1
Always write for your reader.
If your page shows up first on Google, but isn’t useful, readers will leave immediately. With the use of the Chrome browser on the rise, Google can track how long readers stay on a page and whether or not they interact with the page or if they leave immediately. The amount of time and interaction that occurs on your site is now factored into how your site is ranked. Always write for your reader, the engineers working on search engines are constantly improving the way they work to weed out spammers and other people who try to game the system.
Beware of Bounce rates
This term refers to when a reader lands on your site and leaves by closing the browser / tab, entering a new URL, or hitting the back arrow. The reader has had no interaction with your page and bounced out. In general the goal is to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. Use site analytics to determine what pages readers are landing on and if the bounce rate is high, try a little adjusting, perhaps adding a link to another page or related articles.
Consistently Create Valuable Content
Every post you write for your blog is content. Search engines -and readers- like sites that are regularly updated. This doesn’t mean you have to write every single day to rank in Google. However every post you add to your site is another page added to your body of work that can be indexed by search engines. Every post is a chance to rank for a search term. Make every post count. If you post just a quick off-topic update and have a theme that is optimized for SEO, go ahead and tick the “noindex” box. This will prevent a “low quality” post from diluting how search engines see your site. Your readers care if you are taking a vacation or taking a break to deal with a family emergency, Google doesn’t and your site probably isn’t about vacations or family emergencies so there is no reason to have that post indexed.
Dofollow / Nofollow your links
Whenever you link to a site you are telling the search engines that you believe the site behind the link has value. It is against Google’s TOS to sell links. It is perfectly acceptable to have sponsored content on your site, but all the links within that sponsored content need to be nofollow. This usually takes an extra step. Click the HTML tab on your text editor. Your link will look like <a href=”url.com”>Link Text</a>. To make the link nofollow, just add rel=”nofollow” in between the a href=. It will then look like this: <a rel=”nofollow” href=”url.com”>Link Text</a>.
Bonus Tip: If there is a site you want to link to, but don’t want to pass along any value to, use the nofollow tag. This is useful when you want to call out an example of poor behavior, but don’t want to boost their rankings.
Edit your permalinks:
Permalinks are just one way that search engines determine what your post is about. In general search engines only process about sixty characters, so keep your URLs short and sweet by eliminating words like the, and, or, etc. Your post title does not have to exactly match your permalink, write your title for your reader and limit the permalink to exactly what the search engine needs to know about your post.
50 Irresistible Cute and Cuddly Crocheted Teddybear Patterns should look something like:
Keep your copy focused. Instead of trying to encompass every term you’d like people to use to land on your site, focus your writing on a single term. Treat each post or page as if it were a mini-website. Are the search terms, or keywords, you hope people will be using to find your page mentioned in the title, the introductory paragraph, and headings?
Related: As you learn more about SEO and Keywords, you’re going to hear a lot of people referencing Google’s External Keyword Tool. This tool is great for working related keywords into your content. It is completely useless as a tagging tool. Do not search for related keywords and add meta tags to your post and call that optimizing. Search engines pretty much ignore meta tagging. What is the point of tagging? Tagging is useful for interlinking related content within your own site. Some themes and plugins use meta tags to display related posts.
Google Wants to Help
Google has an entire section of help for webmasters. If you run your own blog, you are your own webmaster. Spend time looking around and learning to use the tools that Google has for free. If you are taking the time to build a useful site for your readers, Google wants you to succeed. The information is free, take advantage of this resource. Don’t know where to start, try Google 101: How Google Crawls, Indexes, and Searches the Web. Also keep up to date with changes in Google by reading Matt Cutts’ blog.
Headings have purpose
Most good web content writers know that web savvy readers don’t enjoy staring at big chunks of text. Information is broken up into short paragraphs with lists and headings that make content easily scan-able. Search engines also look at headings to help decide how to index your site. Be sure when you use <h2> and <h3> tags within your content that you include your keywords, whenever possible.
Links from other websites are the quickest and most surefire way to raise your site’s authority, but internal links -or links from one page on your site to another- also help search engines index your site. Whenever you want to reference a post or page already on your site be sure to use carefully chosen anchor text. (Anchor text refers to the linked words).
Bad Anchor Text:
Click here to read about how to access real time analytics.
Good Anchor Text:
You may find my previous article on how to access Google’s Real Time Analytics helpful.
Linking to your own content whenever possible, with carefully chosen anchor text, helps spiders (programs that index your site, not the eight-legged creepy crawlies) decide how to organize and rank your content.
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