When I made the switch from SEO Manager to Account Executive I didn’t realize how deep my SEO roots were until others started asking me about it. Much like topics of religion or raising children, I’m not about to go preaching proper SEO to people.
However, one thing I can’t avoid is helping people with the basics such as search engine optimization on your site that you should or shouldn’t have. One thing I certainly can help with is blogs, including how to optimize and manage them in a way that the search engines and users will find most useful.
- Have the blog hosted on your site. I cannot stress this enough. I see far too many clients with a blog hosted on an entirely different domain. While this builds credibility, authority, and link weight solely to that domain, it does nothing for your main domain. This means you now have two sites to optimize and only one is getting fresh content regularly.
- Use proper navigation. Don’t have your blog hidden or make it hard to find. If you’re going to create a blog and update it, you want people to be able to easily find the blog from your homepage. A simple www.site.com/blog navigation will do.
- Structure your URL the right way. Make sure you structure your URL’s in a way that both the user and the search engines can decipher what the post is about before they even read it. Navigation such as “www.site.com/?p=2342.html” is bad. If you’re using WordPress, here is an easy way to switch over to proper navigation: Go to Settings > Permalinks, and choose either “day and name”, “month and name” or “post name.” Avoid “default” and “numeric” because those URL structure won’t give you any SEO value.
- Optimize your post title. You want to make sure you have a keyword or two in the title for SEO value, but make sure it is natural to read. For example, my keywords for this post were “user friendly SEO optimization” and “blog.” Because I want anyone searching for tips on SEO and blogging to land on my post, I know they’ll probably put “how to” as the search phrase and so I included that phrase in my title as well. Other popular catch phrases include “tips,” “tactics,” and anything with numbers like “5 Awesome Blogging Ideas.”
- Include keywords throughout your post. Having relevant keywords sprinkled throughout your post helps reiterate what your post is about when a search engine spider comes to crawl and index the page. Again, this post can used be an example because in the first paragraph I talk about SEO, search engine optimization, and blogging–just like in the title.
- Use rich media. A picture or video helps engage the reader and gives them a visual to remember the post. It can also clue them in on what you’re talking about or give them more information. When you use rich media, be sure to include a sentence or two describing it if necessary (as search engine spiders can’t spider videos) and use image-alt tags on all images.
- Categorize your posts. Categorizing helps users find related posts to a topic they’re interested in and it creates a tag cloud that search engine spiders can follow, which helps them index deeper into your website.
- Create an RSS feed. With an RSS feed your most dedicated followers immediately are updated when you have a new post. Here’s an interesting blog post about adding social media buttons into your RSS feed so readers can instantly share.
- Add social buttons. AddThis.com has really easy to use social buttons. I would suggest implementing these on every blog post on your website so users can easily share a post they find interesting. It also help you track the outreach of your post.
- Create a blogging schedule. It doesn’t matter if you blog daily or just once a month, as long as you do it regularly. Let your users know when new posts can be expected so you don’t lose readership. The more regularly you can blog, the better. No matter what, make sure you are creating fresh, original content with each post. Nothing is worse than a duplicate content penalty.
These are just 10 tips to help you optimize your blog for SEO. What it really boils down to is thinking of the user first and how to appease Google! As long as you are being original and your posts are easy to find and navigate, you’re on your way to having a stellar blog.