Welcome to part one of what will be a long-running series on the ins and outs of SEO (illustrated above as six excited otters because we’ll make any excuse to post pictures of otters – the best aquatic mammal hands down).
In this article, I’m going to provide tips and tricks that should help shed some light on how SEO may differ depending on if you want to optimize your blog versus website.
What You Should Know as a Blogger
Knowing the basics of SEO is an obvious prerequisite before we can understand how strategy may differ when it comes to optimize your blog. Blogging is a part of the entire SEO process in general so I would highly recommend familiarizing yourself with these basics before you read on. Here’s a useful guide if you want to dig deeper.
In general, it’s difficult to differentiate between blog SEO strategy versus regular SEO strategy since blogs are a component of the overall strategy. But regardless, blogging technology in tandem with search engine capabilities have great potential to provide the most useful and meaningful information in the most efficient way possible.
They say “content is king” in the SEO world, and it’s for this reason why blogs actually have a nice advantage over your average website. After all, creating a blog for your brand is at the heart of every good SEO plan to begin with.
1. Familiarize yourself with your master keyword list.
Your master keyword list is pretty much your own personal marketing thesaurus. Understanding your audience and how keyword phrases interact with search engines and your users is the most important part of creating a solid keyword list. Group relevant phrases together that you think a user may search for and put more of an emphasis on thinking like a human (really). And remember, search bots can’t read the content of images so take advantage of the images alt tags by making sure you add any relevant keywords here…only if it makes sense of course.
2. Post content on a regular basis to maintain “freshness”.
Website and blogs that generate new pages on a regular basis have the potential to create higher freshness scores, which will inevitably contribute to positive results. By “freshness” I mean new and relevant content that is up to date and useful. Search engines take this into consideration. The rate at which a blog increases in pages can also make search gods happy.
On the contrary, content that does become stale doesn’t necessarily lose value since search engines realize new content isn’t always better. Many factors are taken into account when deeming a page’s relevance with average amount of queries playing a large role. Take a look at this article if you’re interested in more information on freshness scores.
3. URL’s, Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions, Categories, H1 tags
Search engines cache all of this information and return relevant queries based on the keyword entered. Ensuring all of these elements are well polished is important, takes a low amount of effort, and ultimately necessary for a strong showing in search engine results. Tying this all together with your master keyword plan makes it easy to drive organic traffic to your blog. If you want to increase unique visits and build organic traffic, understanding how keyword frequency works here is very important.
4. Add a rel=publisher tag if you have a google+ page to help optimize your blog.
As the name doesn’t suggest, this is for all branded websites, not just publishers. What rel=publisher does is allow the webmaster to form a verified connection between their site and google+. To get started with google authorship and publisher, check out this guide.
5. To paginate or not to paginate?
There is much debate in this area, but we here at SumAll planted our flag firmly in the pagination camp. For one, it provides smaller chunks to the viewer allowing for an easier read, and two, it places more attention on important call to actions. More siginificantly are the affects it has on page crawling. Your blog may be much more difficult for a search engine to crawl if it can’t define any logical site structure. This is also where maintaining clean URL rewriting comes into play.
6. Sharing buttons
Yes, we all are very familiar with overused sharing button that seems to exist on every webpage out there. The reason they (literally) stick around? They just work…but especially on blogs. My advice to to make it easy and engaging for the viewer to be inclined to use these buttons. You may as well design a new and engaging functionality here to stand out from the crowd since so many social media sharing plugins out there all look the same and soon become nothing more than graphic “noise” to the viewer.
In the next article I’ll cover how website differs from blog SEO and provide tips on how to optimize your site.