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8 First Step SEO Tips for Bloggers

“What are the first steps to optimizing my blog for searches?” – question submitted by @monedays using the #pbquestions hashtag on Twitter.

Much has been written on the topic of search engine optimization for bloggers – but let me give you a few basic first steps:

1. Content is King

The quality of the posts you write is the single most important factor when it comes to Search Optimization on a Blog. I suspect others will argue differently but as I look at my own blogs success in the search engines I’d say that this has been the number one factor.

Quality content that helps people will quite often draw a reader to want to share what they’ve written – of course they do this by passing on the link to your post and often they’ll do it in a way that helps your search rankings (on their own blog for example).

2. Anticipate What People Will be Searching For

Every time you write a post you should be automatically be considering what words people might be putting into search engines to find that type of information. Once you know what kinds of words they’re using you’re in a great position to position yourself for that search.

3. Titles Titles Titles

There are a number of things to keep in mind when it comes to titles. Google pays particular attention to titles – so make sure you get them right:

  • first make sure that the way you set your blog up puts the title of your post in the ‘title tags’ on the back end of your blog. This is really important.
  • if you’re just looking from an SEO perspective don’t include your blog name in the title tags of single posts. This dilutes your keywords. Of course if you’re looking more at branding including your blog’s name in the title tags might be worth doing.
  • next – include the keywords that you identified in point #2 in your post title
  • also, keep in mind that the words you use at the start of a title tend to carry more weight than words you use later in your title

4. Keywords in other parts of your post

Use the keywords you identified in point #2 within your post also. If you want Google to rank you for a term or phrase you need to use that term or phrase. Use it in sub headings in your post (use h tags where you can), use it in the content itself, use the words in the alt tags of images etc. Don’t go over the topic but do use the words where you can naturally in the post.

5. Link to Your Own Posts

Don’t over do this one but while links from other sites are a great way to increase your blog’s rankings so are links from your blog. Interlink your posts to share where readers can find more information on your topic (where relevant) but also consider linking to key posts on your blog from other places on the blog (sidebar, front page etc).

6. Links from Outside Your Blog

Links from other sites to yours are key in SEO but they can be hard to get. Start to linking to your blog from other sites that you have or are active on. Some (like on Twitter) won’t count for anything much as they have no-follow tags but they are all potential ways for people to access your site and some will help with SEO.

Don’t become obsessed with getting links – rather become obsessed about writing great content and the links will generally come in time. However if you’ve written a great post that you think will be relevant to another blog don’t be afraid to let that blogger or website owner know about it – they could just link up.

Also – take note of the type of posts that you write that do well at getting other sites to link to you. You can learn a lot about generating linkable content by doing so and might just develop a technique that will work again and again.

7. Plugins

I don’t tend to do much to the back end of my blog to alter things like meta tags – but there are some good plugins around if you’re using WordPress that can help with some of this and that may give you a small edge. Check out 9 SEO plugins that every WordPress Blog Should have for some suggestions on this.

8. Readers Begat Readers

This isn’t an SEO technique as such but it plays a part. The more readers you have the more likely your blog is to be found by other readers. There’s a certain ‘snowballing’ thing that happens on a site over time – as you get readers quite often momentum grows as those readers pass on your site to others in their network. They link to you, they bookmark you, they tweet about you, they email friends about you, they blog about you, they suggest your site in recommendation engines….

Not all of this counts with SEO but some does and the accumulation of it over time all certainly helps to grow both organic and search traffic. I guess what I’m saying is to get readers any way you can – don’t just focus upon ‘SEO’ as such. It all counts.

My Hunch with SEO

Before I share my hunch…. let me say that I’m not an SEO and this could be completely wrong…. but it’s a hunch that I’ve had for a while now.

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for almost 7 years now and from what I can see the tweaks that many bloggers do on their blogs to optimize it seem to be having less and less impact on the rankings of blogs. Don’t get me wrong – I stand by the above tips completely and would do them as a common sense bare minimum – but from where I sit Google seem to be in the business of finding the best information that they can for their users. They don’t always get it right but I think they do a pretty good job.

As a blogger your job should be to provide the best information that you can.

It strikes me that Google have an ever increasing way of working out if your information is good. It’s not just about what keywords you have or how many links that you get – but these days they own Feedburner (know how many people subscribe to your blog and what links people are clicking on), they own Google Reader (again giving them all kinds of great data), they own Gmail, Google Analytics, YouTube etc…..

Now they may or may not use all the data in their ranking of sites but they certainly could know a lot about your blog and the posts you write. There’s also been increasing talk over the last 6 months or so about how easy it’d be for search engines to start generating data on what content is being shared in social networks and bookmarking sites.

My hunch is that many traditional SEO methods are less important (NOT irrelevant though) and that other factors are increasingly going to come into play. I’m sure that some will work out ways to manipulate this (SEO 2.0?) but increasingly the way to get ranked high in Google will be that you just need to keep producing great content and making sure that it’s sneezed out to your network.

Help this process along by giving your readers way to share your content (and seed it to social networks) as well as to become subscribers.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ead says:

    I Agree about the content, a content is the key.
    make your website interesting and google will rank it high.

  2. Sara says:

    Great suggestions. I would also add that registering with the search engines using webmaster tools with Google, Yahoo, and MSN also help. You can use their verification codes, find out information on your site links, keyworlds, crawl errors, etc.
    I have two blogs in which I have used most your top 8 and a few others including the webmaster tools.
    http://lanternmarketing.com
    http://caregiversupport.wordpress.com
    Thanks!
    Sara

  3. purwonugroho says:

    Seo is complicated. i learn for high trafic rank but i cant. what the most importan on Seo? keyword, discription, or articles post?.i have 4 blog, but the rank is to poor.can u tellme how i can fix it?thank.

  4. Edsil says:

    Thank you so much for the info. I have a blog but it’s kind of a personal one. I’m planning to have another blog and I’ll be taking your tips in SEO. more power!!

  5. Reese says:

    This is so helpful and supports what I’ve believed all along…content is key!

  6. I liked the snowballing effect analogy. What I think you were saying that makes a lot of sense is that if you have a high traffic site, if people are reading your content – because it is informative well written content – then google is going to know and you are going to rank well.

    It is as if the algorithm is becoming more human.

    Would love to know how to figure out what content people will be searching for in the future though.

  7. Thank you for this useful information. I have been writing the best content I can, but can never seem to get beyond 300 hits a day. Still, I’ll keep writing. Thank you.

  8. eslam says:

    thank you , good point .. I’ve already opend my blog I’ll try to do this insaa allah

    thanks again

    http://techjou.com

  9. Crazy Frog says:

    “Content is King” most controversal statment those days. For all other 7 I totaly agree and thanks for this great reminding what to do.

  10. I completely agree that great content is the key for better ranking in search engine. I have stumbled upon a software that says it can create hundreds to thousands of articles from a single article which can be used as entries for your sites and submission to article directories. Do you believe it’s a great way?

  11. Thanks for the tips Darren. I follow your blog all the time and I can’t agree with you more about titles. Google pays alot of attention to the titles. All you have to do is seach on google to see what comes back on a particular search.

  12. Lots of great information in that post. As a relatively new blogger you worry that you aren’t doing enough SEO and if you are marketing within the massive IM niche then you wonder if it is worth it at all. After all how can you compete with some of the big boys out there?

    So as much as I will try to optimize my posts as well as I can I have to agree that more and more factors may be taken into consideration in the future.

    Best Regards

    Andy Michaels

  13. james says:

    Great article, I found it helpful. Ive been looking around researching this and along with sites like http://theinternetcashcow.blogspot.com/ I think Im on my way!

  14. Ashley says:

    Great tips Darren,
    I wish I had these tips when I started off my blog! I would say Title is the most important as it does not matter how good your post is if the title does not catch the readers eye they will not then continue to read on to find out how good the post is..

  15. Clark says:

    I’m glad someone is extolling common sense when it comes to seo.

  16. Opportunity2 says:

    Very good post SEO is a very important key when it comes to online promotion.

  17. thank’s so much for information. I will try for my site also.

  18. That’s are great tips. I have a website running on Joomla but I think these changes can be made easily trough the template I’m using. Thanx.

  19. These are good tips. My question is my site doesnt actually have a blog, but I still want people to come to my site. I am thinking about starting a blog and possibly a forum, but is there possibly another alternative? If I have a forum where people can comment and discuss thing on my site, with that inturn invite Google to crawl my site and consider it “new content?” I just feel that if I were to blog on my site it would seem too much like a money grab as id likely be talking about other company’s Refer a Friend offers.

  20. Hello Darren,

    Wow! nice information. I should try your tips to make my blog load faster.

    By the way my Darren, I updated a new post on my blog. If you don’t mine, I would to invite you have a visit on it.

    My new post is entitled, “Useful Tips To Boost Your Adsense Earnings?” http://tinyurl.com/kpmjyk

    Thank you and I hope we could be friends.

    Good luck to all your blogging efforts..

  21. Shirish says:

    A very good insight about SEO. You are very true in saying that over a period of time the SEO tools needs to be relooked at to adapt to the changing scenario of information.

    For an overview of SEO you can visit

    http://workathomegenuine.blogspot.com/2009/08/search-engine-optimization-seo-pay-per.html

    Thanks for the valuable info.

  22. Darren,

    Thanks for the repeated focus on RELEVANT AND INTERESTING CONTENT.

    Everything else is TWEAKS. Readers to beget readers, and readers want something worth READING.

    Have an amazing day, and thank you for keeping it REAL!

    Mr. Twenty Twenty

    That guy who really did change his name to the number of perfect vision, because LIVING YOUR VISION matters! Whoo yah!

  23. Great Article, Darren. I have my own blog and have been looking for seo tips to drive relevant traffic to it from google.

    Anybod know how long it takes for the google gods to assign pagerank to your blog?

  24. Usman says:

    Great most for starters :)

  25. SEO Expert says:

    The only things any blogger should pay attention to are producing great content, paying some attention to headlines/titles, and participating in related communities. That last one is really important — you have to really participate and add something to the discussion. This gets you backlinks (that may or may not be followed — the importance of “nofollow” is debatable), but more importantly it draws people with similar interests to your blog.

    For bloggers, all other SEO activities are essentially a waste of time.

    Great post.

  26. Travis says:

    I’ve always been a fan of the “content is king” argument. Too many people I know spend hours and hours making little tweak adjustments to their blog, only to provide terrible content in return. It seems like they make page 1 on google initially, but their terrible content eventually has them drifting further and further backwards as a result.

    In the end, they provide no value to the readers and gain almost nothing! Really digging your work though, as I just found your site today and it’s proved to be immensely helpful.

  27. D says:

    Do you have any tips on getting backlinks to a blog?

  28. Redfokker says:

    Great information. Being new to blogging, I am learning the hard way sometimes what NOT to do. Glad I spent some time here. I’ll be checking in on a regular basis. I feel you have the right ideas…

  29. Payday Loans says:

    Thanks for the seo tips, i am always interested in reading these.

  30. Annette says:

    I really enjoy reading your posts.
    They are very useful for everyone who wants to be a better blogger.

    Thanks

    Annette.

  31. Joshua says:

    Well when they say content is king you must not forget about spelling and grammar. in the first few months of my blog i was having so much trouble with remembering to read over the post. I would think i spell checked it im good. Going back and reading the post they were terrible and that part of the reason i was not turing first time visitors into avid readers subscribing using my Feed ect.

    Now if you go to my blog the first post is long and is completly readable and is enjoyable.

    http://dailycashsaver.blogspot.com/

  32. Ronblogger says:

    I really like this one “Don’t become obsessed with getting links – rather become obsessed about writing great content and the links will generally come in time” and i know that links will automatically come once you created a powerful content

  33. Matt says:

    Great suggestions!
    These would be great for anybody who wants to blog but is having trouble getting started.

  34. michelle says:

    I’m going to put these SEO tips into practice. My blog is new, but I hope these tips will at least get me some steady readers.

  35. Çiçekçi says:

    I look at what the original text of ge google and meta tag in the original article lada be specified in the last geimelerin must be outstanding in the title
    Thanks for sharing

  36. Marcy says:

    Thanks for the tips! The list helps and I need more traffic to our blog!

    http://witchcraftmagicspells.blogspot.com/

  37. web design says:

    content is indeed the most important, and the effect of its is also the longest. but it really takes time. and keyword research is also important

  38. Mukund says:

    Yes! Those are some wonderful suggestions! I have tried few of them and they work well with my blog! And I have question Darren. I am selling LinkWorth Text Ads (LinkWords), I would like to know whether these links will pull my PR? I have got a PR1 for a long time and it has never improved from that. Please get me few suggestions.
    My Blog URL : Everything About Blogging

  39. tv says:

    it’s useful i really like it i hope that’s gonna be useful in my blog

  40. Maria says:

    Thank you Darren for this blog post! I agree with you very much. I believe great content, whether on a website or a blog is the key to success. Rather than focusing on Search Engine Optimization, bloggers and webmasters should focus on Customer Experience Optimization. What is it worth, if you get traffic from Search Engines, but people will scream and flee as soon as the site loads? The layout, the content and easy navigation are the keys to keep your visitors coming back and staying longer on your site. Simply keeping search engines happy is too short sighted. Try to see the overall picture!

    Thanks for all this great content! I always learn something new from your blog!
    Maria

  41. playlistpk says:

    Content is always the king but we need to work on the whole campaign to manupilate the keywords streamline and links to be placed

  42. Gr8 tips as usual darren .. and I have to agree that the content is the king .. Even I haven’t seen much result with seo stuff … If you have good content and have submitted your blog/website to all the directories .. people will come

    Rock on!!

    Super Blogger

    http://superbloggertricks.blogspot.com/

  43. I agree with your hunch, I think, in the case of blogs, content may actually begin to start replacing solely focusing on backlinks.

  44. Master B says:

    It’s always nice to come back to this blog and read all the useful posts. I started serious blogging few months back. But I decided to focus on one, about 2 months ago. It still struggling with the traffic. The niche is about money making. But I get confuse now and then between stick to the niche or writing other things like SEO related or computer tech. Should I just compile it in one blog or make scattered blog for each topic?

    And another things about keyword stuffing. How many keywords should be in our particular posts to be count as effective one rather than stuffing? I heard 4-5 phrase (if you run after phrase).

    I totally agree when u say content is king. Take this blog for example, you have wonderful posts all over. I am still learning from scratch. But you have 7 years experiences, so I guess I am not that dump after all :D

    Btw, this is actually should be commented in other post, but since the comment already closed, so I should just add here. I think, not only newbie, but anyone out there who want to earn quick cash by blogging, they should just try with blogspot. I know i know, you might disagree for I realize you are doing with WP under your own hosting. But here’s the fact, check out keywords related to money making in google, and spotted who takes the number 1? and look again, how many with blogspot url in it? (Compare it to wp).

    ——
    Money Making Blogspot

  45. Nice reading, I came across this blog searching in google, i found out your blog. This Tips are very useful Who initially start SEO for their Websites. I recommend this blog. Keep it up

    Thanks sharing

  46. Colleges In says:

    Seems to me that many of the major SEO factors have remained the same. I have been reading some older articles with week to get some SEO insight and has many points that this post does. Thanks.

  47. Thanks for 8 first tips SEO, but if we have nice content but search engine do not know about our post, what will we doing so that search engine know our post

  48. PVC Doors says:

    Thanks for sharing, Content is very important In the factor of SEO for every web site. Only creating the unique content can be attractted by Web search engine

  49. It is all about giving your readers an enjoyable ride. Writing good content is the obvious way to do this, but make the experience fun is certainly something that you can bear in mind as you prepare your blog. Quizzes, games etc are things you could consider.

  50. Very helpful tips for bloggers. I have never really implemented any of these in my blog. Better I should start now! Thanks for the reminder.