Given that blog software, like Blogger and WordPress, is pretty much “optimized” for search engines out of the box, is there much left to do in terms of SEO?
Those who have been around SEO for a while will remember that SEO used to be all about rearranging code, making a site crawlable and repeating keywords. Today, SEO still includes those fundamentals, but now also has a heavy emphasis on marketing and social aspects. As such, there are a lot of things you can do to help ensure that your blog is seen above the rest.
Call it audience optimization
- Post titles are critical. They are headlines. People scan headlines in feed readers. To ensure people click on yours, make your titles both relevant and seductive. Check out the art of writing effective headlines. Don’t over do it. If you sound too “salesy”, it may damage your credibility, so keep your particular audience in mind.
- Use category tags. Such a simple thing to do, and by using categories, the blog software creates thematic pages like this. No extra work required.
- Link out. There are various reasons why this for this. One, webmasters check their inbound links. If they see a link pointing from you to them, they’re bound to follow it, especially if you have something nice/bad to say about them. Nice probably works better, and you may end up with one more subscriber, and/or appear on one more blogroll. Secondly, there is a Google patent which suggests that Google may judge your blog by the company you keep.
- Stay on topic. You’ll get keyword density without thinking about it, and you can use your logs for keyword research.
- Research keywords. If people are leaving comments, note the language they use to describe things. Integrate this language, and semantic variations thereof, into your future posts.
- Grab a list of 100 top keyword searches in your niche and write a post about each one. Self reference thematically related posts.
- Post regularly. No one likes dead blogs.
- If you’re in a crowded area, go niche. A great example of this is my friend Bill, who specializes in analyzing search engine patents. Since he’s the only guy doing it, he gets a ton of links each time he posts.
- Anchor text. Strike a balance between readability and the need to include keyword text in every link. I tend to go for the former, because I favor the needs of readers over the needs of search engines.