Welcome to the Get Your SEO Started Mini Challenge for the Biannual Blogathon Bash! Here you will find some awesome Search Engine Optimized tips to better each and every one of your future blog posts for webcrawlers to collect like limited edition trading cards. And if you want your blog to be discovered by thousands, if not millions of people, then its time to get well acquainted with webcrawlers - aka your best friends on the web!
This challenge will go through some basic steps to get your blog posts webcrawler-friendly, AND it can also help you win awesome PRIZES at the end of the bash, BUT only if you've signed up to participate. If you haven't signed up to join, you are still more than welcome to use these tips to better your blog, you just won't qualify for the contest.
Here's a check list of basic SEO tips I've received from various places to make each and every blog post all that more yummy for Google's et al webcrawlers to eat!
The key to great SEO is picking out the best words for the job. Funnily enough, they're known as keywords, and there are tons of places to add them to your site and to your page for search engines to find. Heck, think of them as tiny lightbulbs... kinda like the ones you'd find strung across a room or a Christmas tree. You have the It Place to be, but the world won't see a thing if there isn't any light to shine on it.
You see, it's like this....
This blank canvas is your fabulous post, but those hungry little webcrawlers are completely blind in the dark. There are no lights (ie keywords) shining for them to devour your post. And if they don't see it, not many others will see it either. I did put some words in there, can you see them?
TIP #1: Put Your Blog Titles to Work
So you've changed the title from something you think is catchy like, "Aeryn wuz here, yo!" to "How this Geek Changed My View of SEO" (36 characters, way to go!) and the webcrawler found something for it to consume! Yay for not starving your new found friend! Webcrawlers are notoriously hungry little buggers (always coming back to the same posts to see if you left any new words for it to eat), so lets make sure a crawler gets the full meal-deal on our blog posts on their first serving.
TIP #2: Maximize Your Use of Keywords in the First Paragraph
Apply a fair amount of keywords into the first paragraph of your post, including a few that will match the words you've used in your title and that are highly relevant about your topic. Webcrawlers, particularly the one owned by Google, use your first paragraph to get an overall gist of what the rest of your post is about. If your post is about cats, make sure you discuss felines instead of canines in the first paragraph, or those webcrawlers will get a bit confused... and just might leave with an upset stomach.
I did mention webcrawlers are hungry little buggers right? You do catch my drift on this? Don't be shy when you're feeding them!
TIP #3: Be Wordy
If nothing else, make sure your post is a minimum 300 words or a crawler won't even bother looking at your post. Crawlers are NOT looking to diet any time soon; they want a full combo, so don't leave them hanging with a multitude of Wordless Wednesday appetizers.
Webcrawlers want to see the full picture, and its up to you to help them view it.
TIP #4: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words...
And at least two pictures in one post are worth some SEO bonuses. Its true that google can't see the actual picture(s), but they can see the alt information embeded within. Nicely placed keywords located within the alt will improve your post's ranking. So the next time you're adding your minimum two pictures to your post include alt="Insert your picture description here." right into the tag. So something like: <img src="//photoservice.com/mypicture.jpg" alt="I would describe the gorgeousness of this picture here." /> There is also a humanitarian factor in including alt tags to every picture on your site. People who are visually impaired use reading browsers to view websites. If your picture has a well defined alt tag, the sentence will properly describe the image to those readers. Wouldn't it be nice if absolutely everyone using the web had an idea of what your pictures were illustrating?
Do you know how to make a hungry webcrawler happy? Give him a buffet!
TIP #5: Use Your Tag Words Wisely
Tags are so helpful for a number of reasons. On the one hand, if you have a number of posts about a specific topic - let's go with Fashion, then every post you ever write about Alexander McQueen better have the tag "Fashion" attached to it. What this does, is allow your readers to click on that tag and find every single post out of your thousands of blog posts that happen to be related to fashion in some way. And if they want to only see posts that happen to mention McQueen, it would be best to include the tag "Alexander McQueen" as well (especially to not be confused with Lightning McQueen.) Also, the more blog posts you have with a specific keyword, the more authority it looks like you have on that topic. For SEO, it's a great place to add searchable keywords for webcrawlers to pick up on. In both cases it's best to be consistent on which words you use. You also have to be careful about spamming a post with tags though! For some reason, the general consensus is to not use more than seven keywords/clusters per blog post.
How about dessert? (And that's with TWO ss's!)
TIP #6: Polish Those Links
Links are important in two different ways. First, if your blog is set up to do so, ensure that your blog link has five to six keywords that are consistent to the blog post. For instance, this post's link is //geekwithstyle.ca/featured/events/biannual-blogathon-bash-mini-challenge-get-your-seo-started-blogathon2. It's a little more wordy than 6, but it states exactly what you'll find in the Title of this post. I could have gone with "basic-SEO-challenges-for-blog-posts" and still have a great title (that actually conforms to the 5-6 word rule... do as I say, not as I do!), but there isn't a huge difference between the two, except that the link I chose to go with coincides exactly to the post title. Secondly, a great way to increase page ranking is by interlinking your blog. That means, find some relevant posts that you've written in the past and link up to them on your latest posts. A great way to handle this automatically, is to use a program like LinkWithin, that does all the interlinking work for you.
I will be the first to point out that I don't know everything there is to know about SEO, 'cause that is near impossible without going just a little bit loopy - and to be honest, I wouldn't worry too much about it. As long as you post consistently about topics that you love, that really is all that matters. But if you do want to see your posts wind up on Google's search, the tips above are a great place to start!
What's a Post Without Some Bonus Material?
If you're concerned about ranking, whether it's on Google's search engine, or just among your blogging friends, there are ways to build your site up to the top of the virtual food chain (everything in this post is about food... I obviously need a snack!)
I mentioned a funky bit of code in my Getting Ready for the Biannual Blogathon Bash! post earlier.... the "SZBCGZHPVFUQ" bit. That code was courtesy of Technorati.com, which is a highly authoritive site on blogs. So much so, that if Technorati gives you a good rank amongst your peers, Google listens and improves your rank in their search engine. So go join!
There is also a website grader that, while it's mainly aimed for online businesses, it can help you get a better idea of the BIG picture that is your website. It's a great tool for giving you suggestions on how to improve your blog, including SEO overall. This post is only dealing with SEO magic for your blog posts, but you should definitely ensure your site also has relevant meta-tags and that simple adjustments are made to the Title section of each page (which is a bit different from your blog post titles.)
And now for the challenge!
It's simple really. I challenge you to create at least one blog post during this bash that utilizes ALL of the tips listed above. Once you're done, come back here and list your post in the comment section below.
Have a happy and safe Biannual Blogathon Bash!! 😀