Today I discovered the secret world of magic elves, their arctic pets, and the delicate art of SEO-related magic that had before today remained hidden in the realms of internetgeekyland…
I have always been mystified by SEO. I regularly try and do it on my KiddyCharts site hoping to bring more people there that want the stuff we sell. But talk of white and black hats just makes me get a bit twitchy and want to reach for a glass of red. However, Dave Sottimano who gave the presentation was the no bullshit kind of guy I like. There was no formal presentation, just great information and an excellent dialogue with those that had been invited.
I wanted to take away a few important lessons to help find out what SEO can do for me, and for you, and I wasn’t dissapointed:
- Don’t be scared by it, its not as hard as you think. This was MY most important lesson. You can get the basics right without having to melt your brain a la with Wicked Witch of the West..
- Magic elves do not determine your page rank (PR), of course Google does this. Your PR is all about the links within your site to your own content, but principally links into your site, e.g. Backlinks. If a webmaster decides to remove one of those links, your page rank will go down
- Penguin and Panda are not cute cuddly animals looked after by the Google magic elves, these are actually the last two Google algorithm updates, which happen on an ongoing basis to improve it:
- Penguin, was designed to stop specific anchor text carrying so much weight in page rankings. Its helpful to your site to use anchor tests that is a mixture of your web address and partial keyword matches
- Panda was released to help remove duplicate content from the Google index.
- Page Rank is not the only metric that determines your rank in search results, no-one knows how many there are, but there are at least 200 of them. Therefore, don’t get too hung up on PR…
- Google does what it likes, and it actually has a pretty tough job to do, so let them get on with it, and try not to worry too much about it. We all just need to work out how we fit in around it all. So for example, decide whether or not to follow their terms and conditions around links. That’s your personal choice
- Google works in FOUR steps:
- Robots crawl all the Internet collecting websites typically using links, when they find a page, they
- Add the page source code to a database where they then
- Index some of these pages, and finally
- Serve you the results of your search queries from that index in an order determined by their clever algorithms
- Install an SEO plug in to your blog, they can make your life much simpler. I use Yoast on both my sites. Apologies if you are on Blogger, I am afraid that I can’t help there…
- Meta Descriptions are important as a sales tool, and not as an SEO one. These are the descriptions that appear in Google within the search engine results, as part of the “snippet” of information a searcher sees on the results page. Their content is not relevant to SEO, but should encourage a user to click through to your content. You only need them for pages that generate your income, or you want to get the most hits
- Your title tag should be written as for a person searching for content, and your h1 tag to sell your content, therefore the title should contain your keyword phrase so it appears high in the search results for that phrase, and your h1 tag should be compelling enough for someone to want to spend time reading your content
- ALT tags on all your images are important, these should be keyword phrases that would be used to find the post the image is in, e.g. a picture of a crying boy might carry the Alt tag “toddler tantrums” if the post was about this topic, and you wanted people to find the post when querying Google using this phrase
- Adding a no follow tag to a link means that link does not pass on page rank to the page it points to, however it does not necessarily mean that that page will not be indexed by Google or appear in Google search results
- Write for whomever you want, so you can write about what you want to and then optimise it for search OR you can find out what people want to know and fill a knowledge gap with your writing. For example, look on Yahoo Answers or search a particular keyword phrase. If there is a gap in the knowledge available; fill it. However, it doesn’t matter which way you do things, you can still optimise it for Google searching
- Don’t write content for the top rated terms on in Internet search, e.g. the head. Go for the tail, baby. Pick search terms that it will be easier to rank highly for. For example Soup Recipes is for Heinz, but Slow Cooker Ox Tail Soup Recipes could be for you, Mediocre Mum?
- Community is critical, if you wish to build links, then generating a sense of community is vital; compliment (writing content relevant to another’s post by adding to it), collaborate and communicate. Parent bloggers are great at this, but its an important part of building links into your site. Try to find time to participate in forums, and comment on other blogs. Comment Luv directory?
- Guest posting is good, its great for you and your blog. Author biographies are an excellent place to put in links to your content and your site. Be careful your anchor text isn’t too specific though as this flies in the face of the Penguin Google update. Anchor text should be relevant to the content and the blog hosting
- Set up your Rel Author tag. I am not even going to pretend I know how to do this, so over to Geekilicious for this one…
- Good posts for generating backlinks include:
- Lists, just like this one…ahem
- Curation posts, e.g. Top ten posts for potty training your children. Don’t forget you can curate your own content too, and these are brilliant for pinning
- Posts that flatter, or mention another organisation or blogger; they may just return the favour further down the line….
I’d say that was pretty dam good for a few hours work, wouldn’t you? It’s a bit of a mish-mash, but a useful collection of tip bits for starters I hope you agree.
I did learn some other stuff, but I can’t tell you any of that. If I did, I would have to kill you all…sorry….
Anyone got any other pointers on SEO for blogs? What have you done that’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Do let us know below.
Image above courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net