Search Engine Optimization is the language of the Internet. The rules consistently change and everyone has a point of view on how to do it best. There is also the big debate of whether web design or SEO is the higher priority. All that aside, here are the key things you should focus on that don’t have anything to do with search algorithms and are effective no matter the design of your blog!
- Site Traffic: How much traffic your blog gets plays a big role. It validates the information on your blog. After writing, focus as much as you can on driving traffic. You can also do this with backlinks fairly easily, by leaving comments on other blogs that mention your topics and putting your address in the “website field” to drive traffic to your post. You should also share your post on social media, especially Twiter, as this creates backlinks as well.
- Post Length: Your post needs to be digestible by Google’s web crawlers, although this is not as important as some of the other items on this list. If you can, beef up your post to a decent paragraph, to include enough room for a good “keyword ratio,” and then you’ll be well off.
- Links: The links you put into your post that cite sources help your ranking. You could also leave a comment on the original source with a link to your site. Completed link-loops won’t hurt!
- Tags/Keywords: Use tags and include keywords as a label/tag. A neat trick is to use the site Wordle.net to create a word cloud of your posts’s source article or, if your post is long enough, your own post. The five largest words in the word cloud will be your keywords. It’s also important to use different instances of your keywords, e.g., not just using “light,” but also including “lightbulb,” “bulb,” “lamps,” “light bulb” and “lamp.”
- Site Info: Make sure you have your site’s general keywords in your site description. You can also create a line that is similar to but not the same as your header in the footer of your site with the keywords, as well as a byline for your posts. For instance, you write a lot about recipes of fruit desserts, so “fruit,” “desserts” and “recipe” should be in your site description and bylines. “Charlie’s tasty creations blog” won’t be nearly as effective.
- Other Blogs: If you can manage it, create relationships with other bloggers in similar or complementary topics. Offer to reference their work and link back to their blogs. As a group you can help drive each other up in the ranks through backlinks on similar subject matter. You can also guest blog for these blogs and include your byline in your post on their site, which will also help create relevance in the eyes of the web crawlers.
- Avoid Copying and Pasting: Create original headlines and content in your blog. Google will go the original source and ignore your blog entirely when it comes to search results.
- Google Authorship: Specifically for Google, the Google Authorship program will help your SEO. You must enter a bit of code on your site or byline and then register with Google. Any content that you create will be tied to your Google profile and Google+ account.
So, don’t get hung up on technicalities of SEO. Just focus on these key concepts and you’ll do fine as a blogger. When your site traffic hits a record amount, you can then dive deeper into the SEO game.