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SEO: Answers to Your Questions

A couple months ago, I started using the Qualaroo (formerly Kissinsights) box you see in the lower right hand corner of this blog.   I installed this feature because I wanted to get a better idea of the types of posts people want to read on this blog.

I set it up with the thought that I would take a look at the results whenever I needed to jumpstart my ideas for writing.  The first couple of weeks, I’d look at it – there didn’t seem to be anything that stood out.  Everyone kept asking for SEO tips – I’m thinking, aren’t there tons of these tips everywhere – this blog including?  What new information could I add?

I thought about it and since I hadn’t come up with anything new, I continued to ignore this request.  But then week after week, this same topic kept popping up.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that either people haven’t found what they needed or the tips that they’ve found haven’t worked.

I never pretend to be an SEO expert, but perhaps if I just share exactly what I do to optimize this blog, it could help others.  SEO encompasses  a great deal of information, so I’ve decided to address this issue in a series format that will address the various ways a blog needs to be optimized for search engines.

Let me first break down the various ways a blog needs to be optimized:

-          Whole-Site Level Optimization

-          Page or Post Level Optimization

-          Incoming Links (Off-site Optimization)

-          Social indicators

Today, I want to focus on the first of these:

Whole-Site Level Optimization

Optimizing your blog for search engines is not a one-dimensional thing.  There are many pieces that must fit together, and none should be forced.  I approach SEO like this:  I do the best I can, but I don’t let it control what I do.  I enhance things where I can, and leave it at that.

Here are some things to consider when optimizing your blog as a whole:

Carefully Choose Your Domain Name

Your domain name should contribute to your whole site optimization.  If you’ve carefully selected your name and it directly relates to one of the main keywords you want to target, then you’ve set yourself up nicely to begin ranking for that phrase.

Ileane Smith has done an excellent job with this – if you search “blog tips” you should see her blog, “BasicBlogTips.com” somewhere on the first page on any given day.  Imagine how much search engine traffic she must pull in from just this one highly searched phrase.

Carefully Choose Your Topics

As a blog continues to grow, if you’ve chosen your niche wisely, eventually you should begin to accumulate some recurring topics that tell search engines what your blog is about.  At this level, you want to make sure you use your categories and tags  when you write new posts to make it easy to identify the topics you want to target and rank for in search engines.

If you’re not getting much search engine traffic, it could be because your blog is all over the place and doesn’t really have a strong focus.  If one week you write about cars and then cheeseburgers the next week, it could be a sign that this aspect of your “whole site level optimization” is going to be weak.

It could also mean that you aren’t posting frequently enough on these topics.

Carefully Choose Your Blogging Platform

WordPress is by far the easiest blogging platform to work with.  The way it presents your blog’s content makes it easier for search engines to analyze and find what people are looking for.  It’s also versatile in that it allows you to add plugins that extend the function of your blog.

I use Headspace2, an SEO plugin that does those vague tasks for me such as dealing with meta tags.  It also makes it easy for me to add descriptions to my blog posts.

The great thing about Headspace2 is that if you failed to target the right phrase with your domain name – you can go in the settings and adjust your Home page’s title to match the main phrase you want to target.  Obviously, in order for this to work, you need to be producing content that addresses the phrase.

These are few areas where you can positively affect your whole site level optimization.  The things I’ve mentioned above are things that I’ve done for this blog.  They are things that I learned as I’ve gone along.   Obviously, I didn’t start out with all of these things in place, but as I learned new things, I made adjustments.   This blog still has more progress to make before I’ll be satisfied with its ranking, but as long as I see improvement, I’m happy.   Now, I get about 57% of my traffic from search engines.

I didn’t have the help of an SEO service, but you might find one such as LiftMyRank to be helpful.

It may take some time before you start seeing the results you want, but your ranking should continue to improve over time if you stay consistent.