In this day and age, bloggers no longer have to just write content that sparks the interest of potential readers in a flash of an eye… they must also do the same for web crawlers utilized by search engines such as Google and MSN. Since most readers of blogs utilize search engines to find reading material- this is something that simply cannot be skipped. There are a few tips that can make sure you show up as relevant to these search engine crawlers when you post:
1. Always Include Search Terms in Your Post’s Title
When Google reads a website to index it, it reads the code directly, not the snazzy presentation that humans see. The way the majority of blogs are built- the headline/ title of your blog post is one of the first thing the crawlers see. Google generally assumes the words that appear earliest are the most important. That’s why the title is the most important part of your blog post when it comes to SEO.
Always write with your audience in mind- be thinking about who you want to see your post and what you would search for if you were that person. Include critical words in the title from that hypothetical scenario- or take it one step further and do actual research on the hot keywords in your industry. The most important terms should appear as quickly as you can reasonably fit them in… While still making sense.
Here’s a pro tip: You’re not likely to win strong ranking for more than one or two search terms at once, so minimalism is a virtue here. Don’t get over-ambitious. Focus on one potential search term, then if you want to rank for a second term, write a separate and unique post specifically with it in mind.
2. Link Important Words to Earlier Blog Posts
Search engines generally assume that a blog post that has been linked to has more authority than one that has not. They also consider exactly what word or phrase linked to the post; a blog post about the iPhone is going to be more likely to show up in Google searches on the subject if another page links the word “iPhone” to the post.
The higher the authority (according to Google) of external pages that link to your posts, the better. However, all incoming links will still pass rank to your page, even those from elsewhere on your site. So be sure to utilize what you already have and and link important keywords to other pages or previous posts on your blog. Gain it some credibility without having to look for outside links. It will make a big difference.
3. Hit the Tagging Sweet Spot
Most blogging platforms let you apply tags to your posts. Tags help organize your blog so both humans and search engines can find what they’re looking for. They’re terms like “consulting,” “local” or “technology” that reflect the topics and content of the post.
Google tries to recognize tags and use them to prioritize your site in its search ranking for those terms. The tags are usually links to other pages on your blog (usually a backlog of other posts with the same tag).
Add pertinent tags to your blog post, but be warned that Google and other search engines are wary of sites that try to pull a fast one on the crawlers… Believe me, you do not want to cross Google. They will penalize you in the search rankings if you use so many tags that the web indexing bots might suspect foul play.
Rule of thumb from a pro blogger is that five to 10 appropriate tags are usually right in the sweet spot.
4. Use Google Insights to Find the Best Search Terms
As I mentioned previously, if you want to go beyond the hypothetical and actually do some research on your terms, Google Insights is the perfect place to start
Google is the most popular search engine, it therefore makes sense to focus your efforts on them. Whenever you’re not sure which terms to go with, hit up Google Insights, a web-based tool that compares the popularity of any search terms you want to know about.
For example, if your business is a coffee shop but you’re not sure whether would-be customers are more likely to search for “café” or “coffee shop,” Insights can tell you which one is more popular.
Good luck, and happy blogging!