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Search Engine Optimization for Blogger Blogs

Wayne has been posing hard til it hurts over at Search Engine Journal where he’s just written a series of excellent Seach Engine Optimization (SEO) posts on optimizing your Blogger Blog. It is a series in four parts (so far):

- Search Engine Optimization and Blogger Blogs Part One

- SEO & Blogger Part 2 – Search Engine Power of Blogs

- SEO & Blogger Part 3 – On Page Blog Optimization Techniques

- SEO & Blogger Part 4 – The Link Power of Blogs

The techniques that Wayne talks about and observations that he makes are good solid SEO strategies that are proven to work – not only on Blogger blogs but on other blogging formats and normal websites. It is easy to be overwhelmed by SEO strategy – I know when I first started looking into it I was totally confused but it is well worth doing a little research and having some of the basics in your mind as you blog. Don’t become obsessed by it – but be informed and where you can use the basics to enhance your chances of being ranked highly by the search engines.

Update: Wayne has also posted this series in full on his own blog at Optimization for Blogger Hosted Blogs

Do Internal links boost Search Engine Ranking?

Interesting thread over at ‘Self Starter’s Weekly Tips’ forums – Do Incoming links from the same URL have less weight than incomeing links from a different domain? was the question that started the thread off.

The advice is good – and can basically be summed up as follows:

Internal links within your blog are good for a number of reasons:

- Firstly they help your readers navigate around your site. A well thought out menu or relevant links within your posts to other post on a similar topic will help you retain your reader for longer and send them deeper within your site.

- They help Search Engine’s robots to navigate your site and hopefully to get every possible page indexed. If you have a site map page or an archives page that links to every page on your blog this helps the SE’s robots index you more comprehensively.

- It seems that most Search Engines (like Google for instance) do give some weight to internal links when it comes to ranking your pages.

However internal links are not the be all and end all when it comes to SEO

- I suspect that Google are decreasing the value/weight of internal links. There is a number of other people that I respect who believe that the last few updates to Google’s algorithm have had something to do with this – and that pages with a lot of internal links have actually seen their search engine page rankings (SERPS) decrease. I don’t think internal links are penalized – but rather have been given less value. Its just my opinion.

- External links are more important to SEO. If you want to build your blog’s ranking and SERPs then it would be a better use of your time to look for external incoming links from other relevant sites than to plaster your own blog with internal links.

SEO Scoop suggests that Google is in a state of chaos

SEO scoop notes what many of us have been suspecting for a while – that Google is in a state of chaos. I’m not sure I’d describe it as chaos – but the past month has seems some odd and unexplainable results including:



- Search for the word “Yahoo” on Google (without the quotes), and it returns less than 40 results. Yes you heard that right. Less than 40 results.

- The PageRank and Backlink update that began on December 31 has still not finished spreading across the datacenters. In fact, some datacenters that had the new information yesterday have reverted back to the old information today.

- The PR update was strange in that a lot of people received higher PR on their interior pages than they did on the home page – without having more backlinks to the interior pages

- Many people lost rankings in the last few weeks for undeterminable reasons. That in itself would not be anything out of the ordinary, but coupled with the above strangeness, it may actually be a part of the whole weirdness being seen.’

Read more of SEO Scoop’s Observations

Why Blogs are Popular with Search Engines

Corporate Blogging Blog writes a very good article about why blogs rank well in Search Engines. Of course one of the big reasons is links – one of the major features of blogging is the interlinking between blogs of a similar theme or topic. If you write good content on a particular topic it is likely that you’ll attract inward bound links from other relevant blogs – this of course is one of the major ways that a Search Engine like Google or Yahoo decide how to rank sites. However Frank argues that there are other reasons in addition to links that make blogs attractive to search engines including:

- Keywords, key phrases

- Straight to the point

- Each post’s page structure

- Coding

- One subject per post

- The blog site’s information structure

- Links then…?

Frank expands each point well and his argument makes perfect sense. In fact they are more than common sense some of his points can actually be built upon as a strategy. Learn from what he’s saying. For example – ‘one subject per point’ – the temptation is often to write 10 points on each post that you do. The smarter way to approach it would be to write 10 posts – each with a punchy title and content that tightly focused upon one point. You’re more willing to get picked up and ranked highly by search engines using this method than by a long general essay.

Google PageRank Update Under Way

As we predicted a couple of weeks ago – it seems that Google is now doing a PageRank Update. As with the back link update a week or two back this will take a few days (a week or more some suggest) to settle down. Google have chosen to do these updates over the Christmas break which of course is good for some as its traditionally a quiet period – however it makes it difficult to discern how their new results are impacting your blog.

Good luck all!

MSN Search Engine Beta Optimization Techniques

MSN’s Search is one of the latest entries into the Search Engine market and many are tipping it to rival Yahoo and then Google in the popularity stakes for those wanting to get the best results from their searching of the billions of web pages currently online. Whilst it is still in beta – the initial reports about MSN Search are very positive.

As a blogger this is another Search Engine it is worth getting your blog optimized for to position yourself for an increase in popularity of the tool over the next year.

SEO Chat has just published a very helpful article on how to get Optimized for MSN Search. It is written by our friend – Wayne Hurlbert. Here are a few snippets:

‘Achieving high search engine rankings in MSN has some similarities to the techniques already used in Google and Yahoo. As expected, the MSN algorithm has a few twists and turns for SEO professionals to navigate as well….

Perhaps the first and probably most important aspect of the MSN Search Beta is the need for good keyword rich content. Relevance of theme and topic appears to be very important to MSN, as it is becoming for Google optimization. There are also additional considerations for levels of on page keyword density that differ somewhat from Google. On the other hand, MSN seems to strongly dislike keyword stuffing, and will drop a site’s ranking accordingly….

As expected, links are important to MSN, as they are important to Yahoo, and of course to the legendarily link obsessed Google algorithm….

Clean coding is a must with MSN Search, as its spider has a strong preference for well written code….

Like Yahoo, MSN Search seems to still place some importance on meta tags.’

Read the full article at MSN Search Engine Beta Optimization Techniques

Search Engine Strategies Chicago Recap

Rebecca Lieb has a worthwhile summary of the recent Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference and expo in Chicago. One of her more interesting paragraphs is a description of some comments by keynote speaker Danny Sullivan:

‘“Personal search is here,” Sullivan observed. Last year’s dream is this year’s reality, with the launch of more personalized engines such as A9 and MSN Search and moves like the Eurekster alliance. “Personal changed this year to memory/history, or discovery versus recovery,” said Sullivan. “There are shortcuts and direct display, like Yahoo shortcuts, AOL Snapshots, and AskJeeves’ Smart Search.” All these, in some, way funnel Web results into vertical or local results. “Marketers need to get it. Marketers need to plan for it,” is Sullivan’s message. Are you optimizing solely for organic Web search results? One day soon, your listing could vanish from the results screen.’

Read more at Search-A-Palooza ’04

Google’s Christmas Present – Ouch

PunchThis is a little of how I’m feeling this morning waking up for the third day with a sick feeling in my stomach.

The feeling is partly physical – I suspect somewhere in the past week of three birthday parties, one work break up party, two Christmas parties and one wedding that I ate something a little dodgy which has left me feeling queasy.

The other part of it is a sinking feeling in the guts as I look at the impact of Google’s latest update upon my blogging ventures. I mentioned a couple of days back that the update was in full swing and that bloggers were reporting a wide diversity of results – some record high traffic, others record lows and still others no impact.

The main advice coming from experienced webmasters was to hang in there and wait unitl things settle – good advice which I’ve been taking heed of. However the news so far for this problogger isn’t too good as can be seen from the following traffic graph (click to enlarge) from my Digital Photography Blog.

Statsdpb-1Of course its too soon to tell what the lasting results will be but the last two day’s traffic isn’t looking particularly positive. Traffic is down to around 25% of ‘normal’ levels and SERPS (search engine results positions) are way down. Not the nicest Christmas present Google could have given me.

[Read more...]

Google’s Update Chaos Continues

Google’s update seems to still be in full swing with chaos being reported on many sites. Check out this thread at Webmaster World to see the impact that some are reporting to their SERP results in Google and the resulting traffic effects. Preliminary results are seeing people reporting both good increases but also some pretty massive losses in traffic.

The results seem pretty diverse with bloggers that I’ve spoken with. Like everyone else they seem to be at the mercy of Google here and some are seeing little change whilst others are seeing both positive and negative swings.

Most of the wise advice around is that its too early to make a call on what impact Google’s update is having on any one individual site. Give things a few more days to see how things settle before making any huge changes to your blog’s SEO strategy.

How are things impacting your blog?