5 Things You Must Do to Make Your Blog an SEO Asset
July 8th, 2011 by Brian Posnanski
So you’ve got your content ideas down and a plan for your blog. You’ve got yourself a nice little hub for organic SEO, right? Not just yet. This is where the nitty-gritty details come in to play, and you have to do a bit of technical legwork. Using a blog as an asset in your search arsenal requires a Goldilocks approach – doing too much or too little of one thing can impact your search ranking. Here are five things to keep in mind.
One of the most important methods search engines use to evaluate the relevance of sites on a given topic is link popularity, and cross-linking is a central factor in building it. Cross-linking to other relevant pages within your own site allows visitors to quickly and easily navigate to useful content. It also shows search engines that you are interested in providing your users with the most relevant content on a given topic. Relation, not promotion, is a good rule of thumb.
Stay on the Safe Side: When inter-linking, moderation is key. Don’t try to link every single page on your site. Do it only when the content is relevant. Otherwise search engines might thing you’re trying to pad your search stats. Many consider this a “black-hat” optimization technique.
Don’t just use keywords in the text of the post. Link your exact keywords and keyword phrases to their corresponding or related landing pages. This serves a couple of purposes. From a practical standpoint, it informs your visitors about the content on your website and it gets them to visit your SEO-rich landing pages. What’s more, search engines love linked keywords. That’s why blog posts are a great asset for your landing pages – the engines will take note of the keywords linking to them.
However: Flooding your pages with keywords and keyword links is kryptonite for web crawlers. Try not to include more than one per 100 words.
Finding the right keywords – not too generic, not too specific – is half the battle. The other half is putting them in the right place. You should put keywords in titles and meta-tags, as well as in the body of your text. It’s important to put the keyword near the start of the post, usually within the first paragraph. There are two reasons for this: 1) Keywords carry more weight near the top of HTML code and 2) the user is more likely to find it in the search results.
Heads Up: It sounds like common sense, but place those keywords in a relevant, logical context. Some people try to game the system by jamming keywords in awkwardly or repeating them endlessly, which can lead to adverse search results.
So many tags, so little time. But tags are an important part of the secret formula of search optimization, so don’t skimp on them. Here’s what you need to know:
- Title Tags – Crucial. Make your title tags unique, descriptive, and targeted for keywords. Also, make sure they’re short and to the point. Long title tags will weaken, not strengthen, your SEO strategy. And the first few words in a title or headline are the most critical, so hit them with your best shots first.
- Header Tags – Typically, header tags are designed to highlight important information, paragraphs, news and other important data. What makes them so powerful is that they are hierarchical, and search engines love hierarchies. But make sure not to abuse them, and only use keywords when it makes sense to.
- Meta Tags – Search engines are less attracted to meta tags than they used to be, but they still have some salutary effects. Try to make descriptions syntactical and attractive to visitors, not just a keyword soup of gibberish.
FYI: A lot of companies are tempted to their brand names into the title tags, and if you want to go that route, make sure to put it last so that the power of your keywords is not diluted. That is, unless the name is a keyword, like “Low Price Skates”, in which case we commend you for your frankness.
They’re valuable because they can drive traffic through image search as well as inclusion in universal search results. If you upload an image, you’ll want to use keyword in the filename, if applicable, create alt text so that search engines can determine what the image is about and use descriptive anchor text that accurately describes the image.
Caution: Once again, this is one of those areas in which too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Keep your captions and file names short and sweet.
Just as important as the steps listed here is your choice for a blogging client. This is why we love WordPress. It is free, easy to use and offers a number of essential plugins that make SEO a breeze. For the essential work of linkbuilding, Pingback, Trackbacks, and Blogroll links are already built in. WordPress also interfaces easily with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which are very valuable sources for links and, of course, visitors. Finally, make sure to get the All in One SEO plugin, which streamlines SEO and makes it an important component of the drafting process instead of a cumbersome last step. Happy blogging!Tags: blogging, organic search optimization, SEO