The life of a busy blogger is all play and no fun. Wait – is that right? More like all blogging and no SEO! Optimizing each post for proper search engine indexing and better search engine ranking can be annoying and time consuming. Some bloggers have written it off altogether.
Don’t write off blog SEO. You will regret it if you do. We talk this subject to death and people get sick off of it and turn away, but it’s worth paying attention to these tips because they are easy and will go an extra long way toward increasing your individual post page rank, search engine ranking for your blog in general, and will increase traffic over time.
Think Top Down
The most important elements on your page in terms of SEO are the page title, the URL, and the h1 tag. If you have a WordPress blog, you’re in luck because you can control all three of these elements easily.
The Scary, Ugly Truth
All of this is subject to change. To me, that’s the most important reason NOT to check out of SEO class too early. At least stay tuned, because as search engines get smarter and make better indexing decisions, things change and what was once important becomes less important.
#1: Page Title
The page title is NOT the post title; don’t get confused about that. Here is what the page title looks like in a browser:
It’s the text that appears at the very top of your browser window. Depending on your blog’s site configuration, this is usually the same as the post title.
Sometimes, the blog’s name precedes the post title, and that is a big no-no. This can easily be fixed in WordPress if you use All in One SEO or have Thesis theme for WordPress, but it can also be fixed on Blogger blogs. In terms of on-page SEO, this is the top and most important element to get right.
#2: URL – Shorten that slug!
Again, this is an area WordPress users can easily manage that Blogger users cannot. Search engines, particularly Google, pay very close attention to URLs when trying to determine how relevant a page is to a keyword. Your slug is the portion of the URL that applies to your post specifically (see below). Your keywords should be at the very beginning of that slug.
Tip: For best practices, simply reduce the slug to just the keyword itself. not only does this make for a better, shorter URL all around, it’s very clear what the post is about.
#3 The h1 tag – the Post Title (usually)
WordPress default functionality makes the page and post titles the h1 tag on single post pages. The h1 tag tells search engines, “this is the name of this page.” It’s a header. Like a section header in a book. You only need 1 of these! Only the first one counts. So if you’re using WordPress, don’t apply the h1 tag to other text in the post.
Why the h1 tag: Back in the day, search engine algorithms placed significant importance on two major things: the very first text to show up on a page, and the largest text to show up on a page. With the implementation of the h1 tag, people no longer need to specially format their text so it’s much larger than all of the other text. It’s still pretty important to put the h1 tag first, but it’s not as crucial now.
For WordPress blogs, the h1 tag on your home page will differ based on your theme. Thesis themes use the tagline as the h1, which is very smart. All you have to do is make your tagline keyword-rich and you’re good to go. Other themes may simply use all of the post titles on the home page as h1 which is less effective, as only one h1 will count.
Tip: Your post title needs to contain keywords, but it also needs to be written for human readers! A smart trick is to use colons or dashes to separate the keyword out, and then add a nicely written title after it. For example, “Cheap Sesame Street Videos: Great Places to Find Them” as opposed to “Great Places to Find Cheap Sesame Street Videos.” This is especially important with very competitive phrases.
#4 Inbound Links Anchored with Keywords
This is simple: pick up some keyword-contextual inbound links. Easy ways to do it:
- When blogging on open platforms such as BlogHer, create a signature that contains anchor text links.
- Vary your author resource boxes in article directories so it links to a specific post.
- Use a service like Amplify to create a single sentence blog update that links anchor text to your new post.
Simple as that! Those are just a few ideas. Do that a lot, and do it differently based on specific posts.
Special Tip for Amplify: If you write a post on pilates exercise videos, update your Amplog (your Amplify blog) with a sentence like, “Just published a post on pilates exercise videos that lists four places to find them for under $10. Have a look!” Link ‘pilates exercise videos’ to your new post, and when you update your Amplog, be sure to connect all of the services to it (Blogger, Tumblr, Diigo, Plurk, etc.) so that your anchor text link gets everywhere.
Don’t go overboard! Quite frankly, for many of your posts, if the target keyword is largely non-competitive, one to two inbound anchor text links is going to be enough, and then if your content is sticky, more people will link to it on your behalf so you don’t need to. Contrary to popular belief, most people publishing content on the Internet know little to nothing about SEO. You are at a major advantage.
SEO-Related Posts You Might Want to Read
Take the time now to educate yourself on just a little bit of on-page SEO. I’m not going to go into detail on the other, very big part of SEO, which is inbound linking, as if you’re a busy blogger, that’s for another day! But here are some posts you should bookmark and read when you’ve got time!
- 5 SEO tips for bloggers that won’t make people gouge their eyes out
- Avoid the 10 Common Blog SEO Mistakes
- Ever Consider Blogging without SEO
- Quick SEO Content Writing Tips You Should Know
Share your blog SEO tips, if you have them. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask!