It's another installment of the New Blogger Series!
This week we're taking a look at SEO, what the heck is it, how SEO affects you, and how to improve / optimize your SEO.
Now, remember- I'm not an expert, this is everything that I've learned from my research and hopefully it will help you in some way.
What the heck is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically it's how far down the list your blog falls when people do a search. For example, let's say I want to learn how to paint a dresser black. I would pull up my search engine (I use google) and type in "How to paint a dresser black". The first site to come up is The Frugal Girl, the second is The French Provincial Furniture, and so on....
The goal is to be within the first 10 pages and preferably the first 2-3 pages to really increase your blog traffic. So, how did these sites get the top spots? Well..... it's a little complicated- hopefully I can help you out, but first...
Why should I care about SEO?
Even if you don't care about people searching google or yahoo or whatever to find you do you have ads? Do you want to make money blogging? Are you interested in companies like SocialSpark paying you to write a post? Would you like to host giveaways on your blog for your readers? Well, in order to do many of these things the companies who sponsor stuff like this are interested in your SEO, Google PR, and Alexa Rank. Many companies will consider your Google PR and Alexa Rank before offering you opportunities or even to make the decision on whether to sponsor you or another blog. You're Google PR numbers, SEO and Alexa Rankings all affect each other.
How do I improve my SEO (and ultimately Improve my Google PR and Alexa Rank)?
Here's a cute little graph that breaks it down a little:
Well, this is where it all begins- the whole reason we're blogging right?! Search engines not only look for what type of content your site has but they also search how often your site is updated- monthly, weekly, daily, multiple times a day, etc. Now, that doesn't mean you get a higher rank with multiple posts a day. It's more about your consistency. Do you consistently post 3 times a week or do you post 3 times a day for 15 days and then nothing for 2 months? You want to be consistent in your posts timing. I find that about 5 times a week is good because you don't want to overload your readers but you want them stopping by regularly. Consistency is key!
This one is a bit more involved but I'm going to stick with the basics that everyone can follow. Let's begin with your post itself. What is your post about? Pick the theme of your post and bold those words. For example, look at this post- it's about SEO and I've bolded phrases that I think people would put in a search box and key words that define the post. Search engines add value to bold words- just don't go into bold overload or else the search engine won't understand what to pull. Hense, picking a theme for your post and making those words bold.
Use your labels function (in Blogger). The key words that you identified for the theme of your post need to be added to your label function. Now, the search engine will pull the theme of your post from your bold words and the labels you apply to your post.
Reference previous posts within your current post. For example, I have all the past New Blogger Series posts referenced at the bottom of this post so new readers can see what they missed. But, this also indicates to search engines that there are other pages on this blog that are relevant to the current page. Make sense?
What is the title of your post? Does it reflect the content or is it something obscure? Be direct in what your post title is. Search engines give a lot of clout to your title. For instance if someone searches "what is SEO" then they are more likely to find my site with the title "New Blogger Series 6 -What's SEO? How to optimize SEO!" whereas they're not going to find it if I called it "NBS 6".
Rename your photos to reflect your theme. Instead of keeping the generic name of your photo (ie: image1, summer2010, june26:1, etc) rename it to reflect what your post is about. Search engines will pick these images up and place them in image searches which will help increase your SEO by associating relevant images in an image search.
Quite possibly the most important aspect in improving your SEO! We already covered internal links. Not only do internal links direct readers to other pages of your blog thus keeping them on your site longer and engaged in your site (which also helps SEO- but we'll cover how when we go over Google Analytics) but they also help your SEO by doing the exact same thing to search engines when they crawl your site.
Now for backlinks. Search engines take into account how many sites you link to. A backlink is simply where you put a link to someone else's site- usually as a "thanks" for hosting a linky party or to give credit for an idea. You can see how to make a backlink here. Backlinks tell search engines that your site is involved and part of a larger community thus they give points to you for backlinks.
Finally inlinks. These are backlinks that others have posted to your site from theirs. Inlinks not only direct people to your site but they also direct search engines there and increase your SEO. If a search engine is crawling someone's site and comes across a link to your site it sends that search engine to your site. Search engines keep up with the number of sites that link to your site and give points based on the number and size of those sites. Here's the catch- search engines do not pick up inlinks out of comments or linky parties. The only way you get an inlink is if someone posts a text backlink to your site, posts your button on their site, or features you with a link to your site.
All links - Inbound and Outbound
1. Post with Consistency
2. Bold key words
3. Use the label function
4. Reference other posts in current post
5. Be direct in your post title
6. Rename your photos
7. Link, Link, Link
Do you understand SEO a little better?
Have you found other tips for improving SEO?
Have you missed a week?
Week 2:Blog Design
Week 3: Ettiquette
Week 4: Legal Stuff
Week 5: Creating a Backlink
Week 3: Ettiquette
Week 4: Legal Stuff
Week 5: Creating a Backlink
Tatertots and Jello, Crafty Moms Share, Craft O Maniac, Crafty Moms Share, Randee's Organized Chaos, Scouts Stitches, Under the Table and Dreaming, Sew Can Do, White Lights on Wednesday,