One thing many bloggers fail to realize is that search engine optimization actually starts on your blog, not outside it. Here are the SEO factors you can control on your blog and how to make them better.
On Site SEO Tips
Create a sitemap for your blog. In the “Creating Your Blog” section of this ebook I mentioned plugins you might want to use. One of those created a sitemap for your blog. This is an important on site feature for SEO purposes. Sitemaps give search engine spiders a map to navigate your blog’s content.
Check for any search engine problems. Go to Webmaster Tools in Google and set up your site there. I highly recommend this for bloggers because it will show you where the search engines have problems with your site if there are any errors. It will show you things like broken links, which you can then go back and fix on your blog.
Link within your blog. You should try to create links within your blog posts to other pages or past blog posts. This is a nice benefit for readers as you give them relevant content to read, but it is also helpful for SEO. When you link to those posts using keywords that describe the post, you are telling the search engines how to find the older content on your blog and what it is about. You want to interlink within your blog as much as possible using descriptive keywords.
Use a good SEO focused WordPress theme. The best themes, usually the premium ones that will cost you some money, are the ones that have better features for SEO purposes. This includes things like a better code structure (many free themes have awkward code with errors) that helps search engines crawl through your pages to properly index your blog. Enhanced SEO is one of the main reasons why you might want to consider purchasing a premium Worpress theme.
On Site SEO Tips For Keywords
Focus on keywords. This point is last but it is one of the most important for on page SEO. Using keywords within your content on your blog help search engines determine what your blog is about and what you should rank for. Here is a quick guide to using keywords in your blog.
- Choose your keywords. Before you being to work on search engine optimization, you need to first know what you are trying to rank for. Without a specific goal in mind, your efforts will be muddled and leave your blog lost in the back pages of the search engine results where no one will find you. You will need to take some time and pick the keywords your blog is or will be about. Those keywords will be important for all your SEO efforts. You will want to choose something that people are searching for already. If you choose something obscure you can easily rank in the search engines for it, but no one will be searching for and therefore no one will find your blog. For example, if you blog about treadmills, you would want your blog to appear in top search for “treadmill reviews.” Treadmill reviews would be your blog’s main keyword that you would focus on because whoever types that into Google would be interested in your site. You will also have other supporting related keywords. Pick a few related keywords and keyword phrases to target as well.
- Domain name. The best place you can have your main keyword is in your domain name, because that is where SEO begins. Having a brandable website that people remember is nice, but if you want to rank for a word the best place to have it is in your domain name. With a little work you will have a good chance ranking high in the search engines for whatever recognizable words are contained in your domain name. So if you want to rank for “treadmill reviews” you would want a domain name like besttreadmillreviews.com. It’s not necessary to have your keywords in the domain, but it makes the process of ranking for them faster and easier.
- Blog name. Using your main keywords in your blog title is another great idea for SEO. If you want to rank for the words “treadmill reviews” then naming your blog “Joe’s Treadmill Reviews” will give you a better shot at doing so. Your blog name, which will be your website title, is another tool for letting Google know what your blog is about and an important place to have your main keywords.
- Content. Putting your keywords in your content is critical but can easily be abused to the point of hurting your search engine rankings. You want to make sure you include your keywords in your writing but don’t use them so much that your writing is awkward and readers question why you used a certain phrase so many times. The best idea is to just write for your readers and include a keyword when you can because it is relevant. When you write to use a certain keyword, also use variations or longer versions of your keywords. If you are blogging to rank for “treadmill reviews,” you would also try to rank for things like specific name brand reviews or things like “where to buy treadmills.” Anything that people type into Google often can be a good keyword. You will rank for those longer keywords more easily than your main one because it is likely that they have far less competition. You can check out the number of searches for keywords and the competition here. It is easy to get caught up in this when you see it working, but the most important thing to do is write naturally for your reader remembering to include a keyword now and again instead of writing purely for the search engines.
- Post titles. The next best place for your keywords after your domain name is in the post title. If you have your permalinks set up to show the post name (which you should!), this will give you a huge SEO benefit as the keywords will be part of the post’s url. This will help you target your keyword more easily when you are using all the other methods.
- Use Meta tags. These tags are another way to tell the search engines what your site is about, even though Google recently announced that they don’t use the keywords tag anymore. Using the All In One SEO plugin, you can edit the meta description of your site that will show up in the search engine under your link as well as the keywords that other search engines will use.
- Use title tags. Your title tags are an important on-site factor for the search engines. The title tag is the wording that appears at the top of the browser when someone views a page. It tells the search engine what your site or page is about. If you are using the All In One SEO plugin then it will set all your title tags to to show the title and your blog name. You can edit these to remove your blog name so the search engines only focus on the titles. In your theme (if it allows) or SEO plugin you can also change the title tags on individual posts and pages to show something to the search engine that only appears at the top of the browser when someone views your page. This allows you to keep witty, fun titles for your blog readers while creating titles that improve your search engine rankings.
- Use alt attributes. Google uses the alt attribute to determine what images on your site are about. WordPress applies alt attributes to your images automatically without you doing anything. These automatically generated alt attributes are based on the file name of the image. If you have saved the image under a name using your keywords, those will be the alt attributes and will rank in Google image search. If you want to add your own alt tags to give the search engines a better idea of what the images are about, you can add alt tags within the html like this: <img src=“http://www.yourblog.com/yourimage.jpg” alt=“keywords to describe image” />
Those are the main things you can work on for your blog’s on site search engine optimization. Once you take care of these elements you will be setting yourself up for better rankings than the majority of bloggers in the niche and then you can tackle SEO factors off your blog.
You could read for ages on SEO and what works and what doesn’t. The basics don’t really ever change but Google constantly updates it’s algorithm. This sometimes means SEO tactics that once worked well no longer work. The following books and websites will help you get a better grasp on SEO and how it can improve your blog.
moz.com is a great website with a ton of content about SEO and inbound marketing.
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