Basic SEO for bloggers

The SEO course I mentioned in my last post has got me thinking: while those of us who blog do so because we want to, the majority of us also keep one eye on our readership statistics. After all, if you’ve written something and enjoyed writing it, it follows logic that you hope that others may actually read it. Right?

That being the case, I thought I’d share a few of the tips that I picked up in case they help fellow bloggers get higher up in the search engine rankings. Well, it’s all about sharing after all. Leaving aside the technical stuff – and if you’re using a service like Blogger, a number of these things will probably already be covered in the HTML of the template you are using – there are a few simple things that you can do with your copy to boost your chances of it being read.

By means of a disclaimer, I am no expert on this subject. This is simply my take on how we can use SEO without interfering with the tone and style of our blogs and losing sight of why we started them in the first place. I hope this basic SEO for bloggers is of use…

Content is king

It sounds pretty obvious, but search engines love what they deem to be good quality, authoritative and trustworthy content. Therefore, you should make sure that you are giving your readers some value. Whether it is informative, amusing or just a pleasant distraction from the day, you need to make sure that it’s something that people will relate to or benefit from reading and, hopefully, want to share with others.

Keywords are key

There are a few things that search engines’ bots look for when crawling your copy. And keywords are, well, key. Take my last post for example – I decided that ‘geek’ was my keyword. Once you’ve chosen said word or phrase, ensure that it appears within your post title then once early on in the first paragraph, once in the last and once more somewhere else within the post. Beware of using your keyword too much, however. Doing so could see the search engines penalise your page.

Going back to the post title for a moment, it’s best to keep it relatively short – below 72 characters is ideal – to make sure the whole thing appears in people’s search results. That said, it should have at least four words. It also helps to have some of your keywords as part of your blog’s URL. So if you’ve been looking for the excuse to invest in one, now is the time!

Grammar knows best

Back to the main content of your post – which, by the way, should be at least 300 words – it’s also important to note that, since recent updates have been applied to Google, spelling and grammar are more important than ever.

Again, it sounds obvious, but typos are even more likely to hinder your chances of a higher place in the search results than they used to. Therefore, make sure you give your posts a second read before you click the publish button. It’s also important to break up your copy into bite-size chunks, so don’t skimp on those paragraph breaks!

The links effect

Search engines also like content that links to other pages. So if your posts call for it, adding a link or two will do you no harm – if they’re relevant to your copy, of course. Ideally, you should link to your own content too – as I have done in the first paragraph – but links to some further reading or useful resources will make your post interesting to Google’s bots. That being the case, a good point to leave on is Google’s starter guide to SEO – technical stuff included!

I hope you found this basic SEO for bloggers useful. Good luck!

4 Comments
  • The Dotterel
    July 25, 2011

    You know, is spite of having blogged for three years now I STILL don’t understand this stuff… So thanks for the simple ‘how to’ guide.
    Maybe one day I’ll get there!

  • A Thirty Something Mum
    July 26, 2011

    I have to say I agree with The Dotterel, I’m a complete beginner and even the simple stuff is a challenge, so thanks!

  • Tom Briggs
    July 26, 2011

    No problem. I’m glad people have found the information as useful as I have!

  • Chuckalicious
    July 28, 2011

    Very useful post. It’s tricky to try and structure things in a way that is good for the web but also good for the readers (if you’re lucky enough to have any!). Sometimes you just want to say something and say it before you’ve even considered things like SEO!

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