Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Blog’s Search Rank

seo

Guest post by Aidan Henry, edited by James Yeang

Everyone wants to improve their search rank and drive more qualified traffic. Bloggers are no exception. However, blogs should be treated differently than ordinary websites. Blogs function as content management systems (CMS) and therefore require a different type of optimization than traditional non-CMS driven sites. Having said that, let’s take a look at the top 5 ways to increase your blog’s search rank:

5. Provide descriptive categorization or ‘tags’ for every post.

With most blog platforms, an author is given the ability to categorize ‘tag’ a given post. This provides context and meta-data. These tags facilitate reader navigation, as well as thorough indexing by the search engines due to internal navigation.

4. Acquire external back-links to your blog.

Search engines are not going to index or crawl your site unless you have back-links. In addition, the more back-links you acquire, the more often your blog will get crawled. Back-links are also a great way to drive direct, qualified traffic. The best way to accomplish this is by commenting on your blog posts and reciprocating blogroll links with other bloggers.

3. Blog post URLs should be optimized with keywords.

In other words, a blog post URL should look as follows:

www.domain/post-title – which is meaningful… rather than something like www.domain/?p=122 which is rather meaningless to most search engines.

Most of the big platforms number individual posts or provide IDs by default. However, the post title format should be an option with most blog platforms. In a case where no keywords or descriptive text is used in the post title, a descriptive, custom ‘post slug’ may be the answer. Once again, this option is available for every individual post in WordPress, as well as other platforms.

2. Focus on simple page Title tags

Every post Title tag should be worded the same as the post title. What this means is that the blog name should NOT be in title. This is of my opinion. I do not believe branding to be a big attraction for small blogs – especially on the search engine results pages. The content is what drives the traffic. Therefore, focus should be placed on simple, well-described page titles.

Because the blog name is placed in the page title by default, replacing the title tag code (usually found in your header) with the following pieces of code will help solve this problem:

Movable Type blog:

<title><$MTEntryTitle$></title>

WordPress blog:

<title><?php if (is_home () ) { bloginfo(‘name’); } elseif ( is_category() ) { single_cat_title(); echo ” – “; bloginfo(‘name’); } elseif (is_single() || is_page() ) { single_post_title(); } elseif (is_search() ) { bloginfo(‘name’); echo ” search results: “; echo wp_specialchars($s); } else { wp_title(”,true); } ?> </title>

1. Ensure that your META descriptions are unique for every post.

The META description tag may very well be the most overlooked aspect of blog SEO. By default, most blogging platforms simply pull the generic META description given to the homepage. This means that an individual post is not as well optimized as it could be and that the description is inconsistent with the content within the post.

  • If you run WordPress, install the META description plug-in to solve the problem. This will pull the first 25 words of the post and use them as the META description.
  • If you run Movable Type, use the following code to solve the problem and create a default META description: <meta name=”description” content=”<$MTEntryBody words=”25″$> …” />

NOTE: ‘Pinging’ is also a huge component of blogging. A ‘ping’ essentially lets a blog search engine know that you have updated your content or added a new post. This will prompt a new crawl of your blog, ensuring that you appear in the results when users search for recent, relevant topics. 

If you can implement these 5 little changes (or have already done so), you’re well on your way to driving qualified, search traffic. The last step is to write high-quality content on a consistent basis. All the best and I hope to hear some success stories in the months to come.

 

Based in Canada, Aidan Henry runs MappingTheWeb.com, a 9Rules blog about Web 2.0.  Want to do a guest post for this site?  Just drop me a line.

[tags] SEO, google, search, blogs, keywords, tags [/tags]

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