Essential tips for making your new blog search engine friendly
The following steps are the basic starting point for a new blog. Many more techniques exist and can be utilized but these starter steps will get results and help you understand the process of Search Engine Optimization and how it relates to your blog.
Step One – Check that you’re in Google search
Go to Google search page and type “site:example.com” This will list your site pages that have been recognized by Google and are available to be searched via their search engine.
If Google has not placed your site in search you need to get an outside link from an established site to link to your site. Do this by identifying a high ranking blog and then commenting on a blog post from that blog. Don’t choose an old post; make it one that has been written within 5 days. Be sure to provide a link from the blog comment back to your blog.
To find a Blog to comment to, search via Google for topics that match your blogs topics and then select the blog tab at the left of the screen. This will cull all the search results to Blogs only. Then locate a blog and post that sounds good and enter the domain name into Alexa.com search. If the score comes back below 500,000 use that blog to try and get a backlink. The odds are that if the search result is on the first page of Google it probably has a good ranking in Alexa. But this is not always true.
Different opinions exist for how to measure and identify a well ranked site but the reason I mention using the Alexa score is that you may have picked some obscure topic in your search that in reality has very little written about it on the web. So if you check the other blogs location on Alexa, you have a better chance of getting success the first time.
For more reading on backlinks
Step Two – Develop your keywords and keep a handy list
All search engines will rank your blog post by identifying your keywords. It is important that you understand what your keywords should be and to use them efficiently.
Get out a sheet of paper and write down 10 words that are unique or semi unique to your industry, hobby, sport, or activity. Next do a web search for each of these words one at a time and see what comes up in the search engine. If the first few results for each word are yielding positive results then you probably found a keyword that will work for your writings.
Google Keyword Tool works well and is free. The best way to access the page is to search for “Google Keyword Tool” and then follow the link from the search result. The reason I have you doing the search for the Keyword Tool is that if you are signed into Google you may get a different link to follow than the one I would post here.
Once you have started to develop a list of keywords keep the list handy and use the words in your post. And over time when you learn more keywords, add them to your list. It may sound overly simple to keep a list of keywords on hand but you will be surprised how often you will have a memory lapse and find yourself only writing around a small group of keywords and not utilizing your full list.
Step Three – Using your keywords properly and in the right place
Every area of your blog article page has different power in how the search engines give credence to your keyword usage. If you follow this short list it will help you get the most return from your keyword usage. The list is in order of importance.
- Header 1
- Header 2,3,4,5…
Title – It is important that the title of your post includes some keywords
e.g. Chocolate cake recipe This is weak, while you do have three strong words they lack the substance for making them unique.
Try this: Easy Chocolate cake recipe like grandma use to make
While you still have the three keywords from the first title, adding the word “easy” helps define how people think and will search for recipes. The same holds true for “grandma”
Now when a search is done for “easy chocolate cake recipe” or “grandmas chocolate cake” you have a better chance of being found.
This takes a bit of practice and understanding how people search the web. We tend to search like we speak and ask questions to our friends and family. It is important to not only use your keywords but words that define your topic in ways that live people speak, think, and will write in the search box.
My personal observation is that people who read a lot for pleasure, education, or work tend to search the web better than those who don’t. I theorize this to the fact that they think in standard structured sentences with a noun and a verb from all their exposure to the written word; whereas people who read less speak in more broken sentences with a higher use of emotional expressions such as OMG.
More reading on titles
Header 1 or H1 Tag – how to use properly
Where the title defines the topic for an entire page, the H1 tag defines the content that is just below the tag. When you open a printed book and read the title for the book on the inside cover sheet, this is the main title. Next comes the chapter titles, these are the H1 tags. They are very powerful in identifying your content and the search engines use them to help classify and understand what is on the page.
It is important to use a sub variant of your keywords in your H1 tags.
For example, these are the H1 tags for this page up to this point:
- Step One – Check that you’re in Google search
- Step Two – Develop your keywords and keep a handy list
- Step Three – Using your keywords properly and in the right place
Header 2,3,4,5… or H1,2,3,4,5… – proper use and why so many
Several layers of H tags exist. As you move away from H1 they carry less importance in identifying your content. The higher numbers are still important but in reality I find that I usually only use H1 and H2 for my blog post. If I was doing a full white paper with many pages of information I would go deeper into my H tags but in doing short blog writing, H1 and H2 are they only ones I tend to use.
My H2 tags up to this point:
- Title – It is important that the title of your post includes some keywords
- Header 1 or H1 Tag – how to use properly
- Header 2,3,4,5… or H1,2,3,4,5… – proper use and why so many
Body – the real content for the blog article
This is where you put all the great information for your writings. It is where most people start by just laying out words without following any real outline. Not following an outline is fine as long as you are capable of writing long sentences and paragraphs that make since. If you question your ability to write, then read your work out loud to yourself. You will be surprised how it sounds different than when you read it with your inner voice.
The web community has an expression that content is king. This is mostly right. Great content is king but poor content just takes up space and time. You need to give thought to what you write and here is where your keyword list comes in handy.
Once you have your topic, try and write between 200 and 500 words around that topic. And as you write, use your keywords as part of your sentences. Tell a story, provide education, answer a perceived question, or just spout out your opinions; but whatever you do you must use your keywords. Not always all your keywords but you must use some of them.
A tip for writing for the web community is to not use overly long paragraphs. This is not how you were taught to write in school where all the sentences that dealt with the same concept were grouped together. The reason we breakup the paragraphs is that on the computer screen it is easy to get lost when too many sentences are placed in one paragraph.
To ease this problem, break down your paragraphs into smaller units. My personal preference is to not have more than 5 or 6 lines of text in a single paragraph.
Step Four – Tag your post
Now that you have taken all the time to create your blog post it is important that you define your post for search engines. Yes you have done this to some degree by using good keywords and H tags but one more step exists and don’t skip this step.
Your blogging software will allow you to place tags somewhere on the new post creation page. You must place good quality keywords in that little box. When you place these tag words in the box what you are doing is assigning predefined words that classify your blog post. These words will be used by the search engines to help classify the post and bring importance to the post for those tagged keywords.
My tags for this page will be something like this:
Content creation, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Blog Writing, Tips for Blogs, Keywords, Content Tags, H1 Tag, Google Search Results, Backlinks
You can see that many of my keywords are in these tags but I also used action words to help match how people will search the web. E.g. “Tips for Blogs”
These tips are not the only means to help build your blog site but they are the most important ones for new bloggers. What we have covered is how to define your content via a quality title, proper tag usage, and how to develop keywords and use them in you content.
John Wilkerson is a Marketing/Sales Professional specializing in online branding, ecommerce sites, blogging, email advertising, content creation, print media, and direct mail. Follow @johnwilkerson