Blog Optimization Series: Search Engine Optimzation (1/3)

by Janith

As we all know Search Engine Optimization is a long term process, that needs to be attended intuitively. As webmasters – we all have different techniques and we all go to different depths of optimizing our blogs. However, it’s fair to say that we all have one common goal; which is rank high for our keywords and start getting organic traffic.

Still, most bloggers neglect the basics and don’t understand the fundamental power of SEO.

What’s worse than neglecting SEO? Completely ignoring our work in the Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) aspects of blog-promotion. Join us in a series-post to help explain and reveal the secrets behind the trio!

Search Engine Optimization

First up in the three will be SEO.

Why? Well, I decided it’s better for us to start off on the right foot – and ease into the idea with something we already have a rough idea about.

Let’s face it – ranking high for our keywords is (if not should be) one of our focal points when it comes to maintaining our blog. Getting to the front page of SERPs and maintaining high positions is not an easy task, but I want to take the consistently regurgitated SEO advice and give it to you straight.

These techniques alone will cover most on-site optimization and you’ll be ranking for most of your keywords + a few more!

Research + Target Keywords

A website without targeted keywords is like a fishing line without any bait. Only difference being, your hunting for search engine spiders that eat words/phrases. Without having targeted keywords, you aren’t giving them anything to bite on. It’s absolutely critical you have researched a handful of well define search terms.

A few months ago, I wrote up an article titled: What’s the key to Keywords? It covers the basics of utilizing keywords and optimizing your blog to them. If you need some insight or perhaps just a recap of keywords – I would recommend reading that post once more.

XML Sitemaps

Sitemaps (XML ones to be exact, but non-XML ones are not a problem) are loved by crawlers. Why? Because they can crawl off to different pages from one single page. It’s just perfect and makes their job so much easier.

If a crawler can find all links within a site from just one page – its more likely to spend more time on that site. By having a constant flow of new content + pages to crawl or re-crawl older pages – it will inherently spend more time on your blog.

There are several plugins that can automatically create XML Sitemaps for you, such as Google XML Sitemap Generator (WordPress Users) or you can install your own coding/scripting.

ALT Attributes

Not so long ago, I wrote Debate: DoFollow V NoFollow Links. It sparked quite some discussion, and several arguments (least to say) on a couple of external forums. It’s interesting because everyone has their own thoughts about ALT Attributes such as “rel=nofollow” but end of the day – it really is up to you.

Internal Links

Internal links are important because it allows crawlers to navigate your website’s deeper pages more conveniently. So, link to old posts if it’s appropriate and whenever you can, mention other internal pages. Not only will this benefit from a SEO perspective – but it will also drive traffic to your older posts.

Link Building

One of the most popular posts here is 45 Link Building Tips To Help You Promote Your Blog. Why? Well, simply because of the SEO value it contains. There’s almost a million ways people build links on the internet, these were just 45 ways I personally use/plan to use.

Analysis + Reports

Search Engine Optimization doesn’t end when you’ve done all the practical techniques. Just like any on-going project; you need to keep a constant watch on how your optimization is performing. Identify both the positively performing aspects and also the aspects that are lacking attention.

Nicholas Pruhdon’s Tracking Your SEO Performance is an excellent read on this topic. Mr. Pruhdon carefully takes into consideration the different methods and the different information you can extract from from possible “SEO trackers.” Definitely a worthy read!

Quick mentions on Search Engine Optimization;

As a blogger, you should soak in information like a sponge – listen to everything you can – then decide for yourself the best technique/method. Don’t believe everything you hear but take educated guesses and some calculated risks when it comes to SEO.

What do you think is the most critical aspects of Search Engine Optimization? If you have any recommendations – drop by a comment below :)

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Kai Lo April 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm

“A website without targeted keywords is like a fishing line without any bait.” That analogy is nothing but the truth. Some people still ignore keywords in title tags, and they wonder why they are not getting traffic through search engines.

Kai Lo’s last blog post..SEO: Keyword Optimization Example

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Janith April 28, 2009 at 5:39 am

Exactly and those are the ones left in the dark left wondering, unfortunately.
This explain most of the spammy-threads on most SEO Forums too – people just don’t think the basics apply!

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teenwebguru April 28, 2009 at 10:53 am

Looking forward to the series. What are Blogussion’s targeted keywords?

teenwebguru’s last blog post..Two New Link Bait Ideas

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Janith May 1, 2009 at 7:43 am

Sorry for the late reply, TWG but been pretty busy lately! I’m putting together the second installment at the moment and will be published shortly.

Blogussion’s keywords are; blogging tips, blog for beginners, creating a successful community, wordpress tips. Many web masters don’t share these with you but I don’t see what the big fuss is? A simple look up of the Source Code will reveal this information easily.

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Dennis Edell April 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm

One good internal link tip I give that goes over well is, not only link new posts to old, but also go back over old posts and link them to the new…every 10-20 posts is good.

Surprising how many never think of this. ;)

Dennis Edell’s last blog post..100 Marketers Give 100 Strategies – Recommended!

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Janith May 1, 2009 at 7:44 am

Oh my, I missed that pointer myself – I wouldn’t see a benefit for the community but definitely good for inter-linking your site.

Thanks for sharing that with us Dennis, sometimes it’s the simple things that matter the most :P

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Dennis Edell May 1, 2009 at 11:37 am

It’s also the simple things that get missed most…we all have palm shaped indents in our foreheads, don’t we? LOL

Actually it could help community wise as well. One of our main goals should be to make our content so darn engaging that the reader then wishes to start from the beginning….or at least look back a bit. ;)

This is why you don’t want to think of it as you’re writing your 200th post.

Dennis Edell’s last blog post..Who Wants To Sponsor May’s Comment Contest!

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Alex May 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

That is a pretty smart tip Dennis.

The only thing is, I know a lot of people wouldn’t do it because it would take like 20 seconds of their ‘precious time’. Basically, a lot of people are lazy and don’t want worry about old posts, but their new posts. >.>

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Dennis Edell May 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Exactly right Alex, and considering the average “shelf life” of a blog post, this can be very detrimental. Not only should you link from older too newer, you should reuse (reschedule) older to perform as new, assuming it’s a “timeless” article.

(There’s another bloggers block idea also.)

Dennis Edell’s last blog post..May Top Commenter Contest Begins – April Winners Announced!

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Justin Brooke April 28, 2009 at 10:03 pm

This is an interesting reading on search engine optimization, and this is worth suggesting to those who want to be good in this niche.

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Janith May 1, 2009 at 7:45 am

Thank you for dropping by Justin, and glad you found the post interesting.
Hope to see you around the comments more often :)

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Nicolas Prudhon April 29, 2009 at 6:26 am

Just one point I would like to add to your great article Janith:

SEO is an ongoing process, it never stops.

You don’t just go optimize a page, or build some links and then stop. It’s something you must keep doing on a regular ongoing basis.

Ideally, learn about SEO before you start your site, it may saves you lots of time, such as having 400 links to update or so because you used the wrong permalink structure or so…

Nicolas Prudhon’s last blog post..Enjoy atypical SEO with Kai Lo

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Dennis Edell April 29, 2009 at 9:49 am

He’s right on that one….

Dennis Edell’s last blog post..100 Marketers Give 100 Strategies – Recommended!

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Janith May 1, 2009 at 7:46 am

Your right on the money here Nicholas! Couldn’t agree with you more.
In a way; Alex and myself learned this the hard way. We were running our blog smoothly but when we decided to change-over to Thesis – we had to edit each post with it’s respective images.

Now, this had nothing to do with SEO but it still serves the purpose how it’s best to plan everything and prepare for anything. Who knows what you might decide to do in the future?

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Alex May 1, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Well, the images could have something to do with it. Like, the ALT tags. :p Also, we had to change up the heading tags too.

Such a long process, but it was worth it in the end man.

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SERPGenius May 5, 2009 at 5:23 am

Awesome stuff Janith! You’ve summed up 99% of the “SEO Advice” offered on most mediocre blogs, into one post.
This is a great guide for new-comers to the game, and will definitely recommend it to my peers.

Excellent read; Keep it up! (Y)

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LINN May 5, 2009 at 10:47 pm

nice post J.

your facts are precise and interesting to read, great work.

LINN’s last blog post..Top 10 DoFollow Social Bookmarking Websites

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meiyah May 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm

great post…

meiyah’s last blog post..Dare to Challenge MyBrute

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Anders blogger in profitable marketing May 18, 2009 at 9:52 am

Many SEO companies claim that the SEO process can generate profitable traffic. I do not agree to this statement because I think that the issue is far more comprehensive and needs expertise from other professionals, persons who known more than merely the IT business

Anders blogger in profitable marketing’s last blog post..Preferred Industries Hospitality and SPA

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seo tips for blogspot January 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

Nice artice, it can be my article inspiration for my blog. Please visit my ordinary blog!

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best seo February 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm

what about headings structure, not very often mentioned on seo? but above that the content is the king. I’ve seen poor seo sites ranking well in serps because of the good content. IMO, seo should take closer into account the content.
.-= best seo´s last blog ..Who will dominate the internet? =-.

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SEO Tips May 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Great read. I definitely think an often overlooked area in SEO is the submission of sitemaps. It is so simple to create one and yet many webmasters don’t do it and wonder why their sites don’t get indexed for months! I think an emphasis definitely has to be placed on backlinks, as that really is key to ranking well in the major search engines. Thanks for the article.
.-= SEO Tips´s last blog ..Creating Backlinks and its importance in Search Engine Optimization =-.

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