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Gini Dietrich

SEO Search Engine Optimization for Blogs

By: Gini Dietrich | February 22, 2010 | 
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Google.SEO.Blogs

In all of my years working with Web guys, I’ve never found someone as good at search engine optimization (SEO) as Nick Harrison at Dashal. Watching him work SEO is like watching a carefully choreographed ballet. Everything he does has a part and, when it all comes together, you suddenly own not just the first couple of listings, you own the entire first page. I asked him to share his wisdom here…SEO for bloggers.

When asked about SEO, most people will tell you they have no clue how it is achieved, even after reading everything they can find. In fact, most people don’t realize they can do things on their own to improve their site’s SEO with nominal effort and knowledge.

But I’m not going to lie to you, SEO isn’t easy. There is a lot to know and most of that knowledge is obtained by doing it, rather than reading about it. A true SEO professional spends a lot of his time learning how the search engine spider thinks, what it likes to eat, and what makes it feel warm fuzziness. So, I am not going to write a 300 page blog post and teach you every intricate detail about SEO. What I do share is that you can improve your blog’s SEO without being an expert coder or reading five books to understand only about a third.

Here are five key points and tips that will help increase your blog’s SEO as soon as you start:

  1. Plan before you write: Remember, it doesn’t matter how well you wrote that article or blog post if nobody reads it! Think to yourself, what are the terms and words that are relevant to my article I am about to write? I suggest using a keyword tool, such as Google AdWords. And really think about how people search for your topic. It may not be what you think it is. Imagine yourself going to Google to search the topic. What do you search?
  2. Title and META tag lengths: Most blogging software has numerous plug-ins dedicated to SEO. I like the All in One SEO Pack for WordPress. Google only uses about 60 to 66 characters in your title so make them count! You always want to fit one or two of your main keywords in the title. Unless the article is about your blog, the title should come first, THEN your blog name. Your META description should be around 160 characters and your keywords should be between five and eight (no more than 10).
  3. NO SPAM: Search engines are a lot smarter than you think. The spammer is a search engine’s worst enemy. Even if you don’t think you are spamming, you could be. Don’t be excessive, the spiders aren’t deaf, they can hear what you are saying without you telling them 100 times. Using keywords excessively not only can hinder your results, they can get you kicked off! So use your keywords just a couple of times…not 10 times.
  4. URLs and images: A lot of people don’t realize that what you name your URL (normally your article title) and what you name your images and alt tags really matter. If you go search Google right now, you will notice that the URLs that contain your search term is highlighted. Your title and URL are much more relevant than your META keywords. Other search engines place more importance on META tags, which is why they are less popular. You should always separate your words when naming titles and images. This article should not be called /seoforbloggers. It should be seo-for-bloggers.  If I were to put a Google logo on this post, I wouldn’t name it image_5d4ws3f. I would name it google_seo_logo.jpg.
  5. Blog outreach: Page SEO only goes so far. You could have the perfect titles, META tags and keyword rich articles around, but that won’t get you to the top. These are key components, but there is more. You need sites linking to you in order for the search engines to deem you relevant. When you create a post, plug it! Put it on your public FB fan page, tweet it, yahoo buzz it and more. It is very easy to write a comment on a top site and include a link. Just make sure you create a real comment. There are a ton of social media sites that will let you link away. The most important thing to remember though, is it isn’t about how many sites have your link, it is about “WHO” has your links. Focus on getting your blog post link on the sites Google deems important. 1,000 links on crappy sites will only hurt you.

There is much more involved with SEO and I could write a 300 page book on the topic. The important thing, is that even though you can’t make a site completely SEO friendly yourself, and even though you don’t know everything there is to know about SEO, if you spend this week implementing these five ideas, your SEO results and blog traffic will increase.

Thanks Nick! I learned something myself…I didn’t realize what I name the image is important. So I’m taking your advice and trying it with the image included in this post.

Readers: What other SEO tips do you have for bloggers?

Image courtesy: Shark Space

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

28 comments
Lisa
Lisa

Gini/Nick:

Superb post! It's difficult to find legit practical info on SEO specifically for blogs. All great tips included here and truly, they make a huge difference in make or break. :)

Lisa

bill
bill

Love the All in One SEO plugin. Even us non tech types can work with it.

Nick
Nick

Davina, not sure what is going on with your blog. It doesn't look like the all in one pack is really active and that you may have some other automated thing. I would look at your plug-ins. It appears you may have another SEO plugin that is automated.

I did a quick look at your source code.

Nick
Nick

Scott, great question. It actually doesn't get asked enough, so glad you brought it up. Your link is actually already on the blog when you comment on it. So if you hover over your name on this post, you will see it is a link to your Twitter account.

Depending upon how your blog is set up, it could be nofollow or follow. Which is why some SEO people like myself included, will add another a link as well.

Here is the general etiquette regarding links in comments. Someone should only include a link if they gave a meaningful comment. So if someone says "cool post LINK" I would delete it. If however it looks like they read the article and posted something with actual meaning and adds value, I would leave it.

Davina K. Brewer
Davina K. Brewer

Gini, I have the All in One SEO, but think I'm not using it correctly (I think it's automated; maybe I need to configure it manually?)

Never thought about using something like Yahoo to Buzz my own blog, not sure if it'd be too much self promotion. But then I tweet my own links a few times, so... new strategy. Thanks.

Scott Hepburn
Scott Hepburn

Hey Nick, I have a question for you about linking in blog comments.

As a blogger, I have mixed feelings when someone includes a link to their own site in my comments. If it's a regular reader that I have a relationship with, I'm more tolerant. If it's a valuable comment, I'm more tolerant. But still, even under those circumstances, my gut reaction is "Well, you coulda asked before you used my blog to build your linkjuice."

Not that I even know whether my comment section is no-follow. It probably is.

So here's my question: Do you think bloggers should have a "URLs in the Comments" policy on their blog? Is a blogger's follow/no-follow status a defacto policy? Or is this just one of those etiquette things that can never truly be addressed with silly policies?

Thanks, Gini, for inviting Nick in.

SEO Melbourne
SEO Melbourne

Nice post on Search engine optimization for blogs.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Thanks to Lud and Jennifer for the additional tips!

Nick
Nick

Hey John,

Great question. Actually, it is untrue regarding the hyphen versus underscore. You can use either or. The point is that the words are separate. The truth is that Google is so smart, that in a lot of cases, even grouped words, Google can differentiate. The problem though is that Google doesn't conduct 100% of the searches, although they control a majority.

So here is the thing. In regards to "Google SEO Logo", Google will take the keyword "SEO" and deem your article more relevant. Also, people searching for Google under images, could see your Google logo.

Every word is separate and then combined. Just search anything in Google and you will see what is highlighted.

If you want to use hyphens instead of underscores that is up to you. The key point I was trying to drive, is to have your keywords involved with the naming and alt tags of your images, versus 3423432.jpg.

It is all the little things combined, that increases your SEO.

John White
John White

One comment about
>I would name it google_seo_logo.jpg

My understanding is that the search engines would regard this as one single word, which nobody is likely to search for. OTOH, google-seo-logo.jpg would attract searches on "google seo logo". See http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-underscores-hyphens/6010/

Isn't it better to use hyphens rather than underscores?

Jennifer Haubein
Jennifer Haubein

Hi Gini,

So great to find your blog and thanks Ces for the props on the seo work on your web site. Really appreciate it!

This is a great article and just have a few tip to share as well. When thinking of your domain name it's very important to use the keywords that you want to target actually in your domain name. This is one of the easiest things you can do to push up to the top of the rankings. After just doing a check on Ces's site after only a few weeks of just initial set up his site is now #1 for one of his keywords.

Another thing you can do to get on the front page of Google is to create and distribute videos. These videos provide hundreds of back links back to your site and also people watching your videos back to your site. And just like your blog posts the same tips for the title of the video apply.

So great to connect with Gini and what a great article for those wanting to know more about SEO.

Jennifer

Ces
Ces

This is great information and reflects many of the things that @jhaubein has been doing to help push my new website up the google search engine! I'm on page three now!

Thanks Gini! Right on time as usual!!!

Ces

Elizabeth Beskin
Elizabeth Beskin

im lucky enough to be working with nick so i know how easy he makes it all seem. all i can tell you is that im being found since working with him. his sound advise seems so easy-but persistence and it works!

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