15 Tips to SEO-Optimize ANY Blog

by Mark Brimm on November 15, 2010

Social media alone can

Many have started blogs to achieve a high output of content. This, in addition to providing fuel for social media consumption and traffic, is also excellent for search engine traffic, which is still more meaningful in terms of revenue.  There is one small catch. Just having the content in blog post format, even with a streamlined theme, will not equate to high rankings in organic search results. There are good reasons for this.

14 SEO Tips for Your Blog

1. Content optimization is key, but not enough!

All of the “experts” on social media sites these days will tell you just a few cutesy ways to increase SEO. Usually these won’t work by themselves anyway. You’ll need more than “clean code” and well-placed keyword-containing H1 tags to really compete in organic search results.

2. Inbound links

(not “exchanged” links) are needed to tell the major search engines your content is important. If they seem to be coming from your own network of sites, not so good. Get others to link to your sites as much as possible. It’s not that hard, and not that many are needed if these are truly quality sites linking to you.

3. Twitter links count, but not enough

It’s often advisable for a site to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else that your target audience can be found. This creates a higher ratio of discounted inbound links, so you still need to go outside social media to create 1/2 to 1/3 of your inbound links. Balance is important in the type of inbound links your site receives.

4. Use keyword phrases as anchor text for 30-40% of all inbound links

Sometiomes you can get away with more without losing the link juice per link, but don’t count on it.

5. Practice link vigilance!

At least 10-20% of your inbound links need to come from powerful (PR4+) sites, not just directories (those do help provide a limited foundation of site “importance”). There is software to help with this aspect of the process. Just make sure that you do not get involved in any link farms, the kiss of death in SEO. Once your site is banned for obvious gaming of the system, it’s hard to come back.

6. Balance content creation rate with link popularity

Don’t over-publish if nobody much is linking to you. That is an unbalanced ratio that spells out in flashing neon characters: “not relevant, demote my rank, please”.

7. Validate on-site links and pages once a month

Dead links and the like are a tip to Google that your content is not prime AdSense-ready content, and so why should they care to help that? (Answer: they don’t.)

8. Test your site for viruses once a month

especially the more popular it gets. Failing to catch a virus early enough can sink your rankings and not just short-term.

9. Don’t over-nav your site menus

If you have over 35 topic links anywhere on your site, and if that site does not even have a hundred pages of heavily-linked-to content, stop the madness. You’re not going anywhere but down with that strategy in place. Keyword-optimize the navigation menus, but be modest and sparing in your zeal. Keyword phrase components are good enough, you don’t need the whole phrase listed each time!

10. Trim image & code size to streamline download

This is a usability issue every bit as much as an SEO issue. Search engines can’t slurp your site into their index quickly enough if your code and images are needlessly bulky and slow it down. You don’t want search engines to skip over most of your content. You want to be indexed. Trim the fat!

11. Keyword-optimize site navigation

Do you have superflous links to various parts of your site? Maybe you don’t have enough? Do you nav menus all match on every page? Do you have special links in place? Do your nav links reflect sound keyword research and best keyword phrases for your site/business? Component of keyword phrases are enough, you don’t need the full phrase in correct word order each time.

12. Optimize custom title tags a 1-4 weeks AFTER post is published

This serves both to prevent clunky titles while the links are being passed around on social bookmarking sites, as well as to optimize the post for search engine indexing once it’s cooled a tad.

13. Optimize the permalink a lot, the post title only a little

This avoids bookmarking sites and retweets from reflecting a clunky post title much the same as in the above tip. (I separate them here because they are different areas of the posting process).

14. Be vigilant about your software’s current standing with Google

This is a crucial area as increasingly more and more site owners are trying to DIY on their own SEO and using their own software to manage the process instead of paying an experienced outfit. The dangers of trusting too much in any one software program are huge. Ranking programs can be banned, and their users penalized. The truth is you can never know what the ill affects are until after it’s begun. So keep tabs on your software’s standing with Google. This is one particular case where PageRank most definitely matters. If your software publisher has recently lost all their PageRank (a zero rank or worst of all, NO rank), take a break from that program and shop for another one. This can apply to ranking software and all other software programs that cover the other aspects of SEO–link management, on-page keyword density, etc.

15. Keyword density and keyword tagging

Why last in the list? Because too much importance is placed on it and this is the one area that has thus caused the most distaste for SEO. But the sad news is, SEO isn’t going away any time soon. Smart density means a little lower than recommended by most programs. You can still use the programs (Arkayne SEO Analyzer is one such plug-in available for Thesis and other WordPress.org themes), just be careful to be under the recommended allowance. Normally, these are quite unrealistically high and are due for a penalty if you follow them to the letter. Many themes (like Thesis) take into account SEO tagging already to a large extent, as well. Use one of these underneath your SEO plug-in.

Photo Credit

Mark BrimmMark Brimm is Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Marcana.com and is author of AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords and other previous related books on search marketing. He is currently working on a forthcoming book on social media strategy.

Mark consults on SEO & SEM, and general web marketing at Interface Communications Group and on social media optimization and marketing at Social Labs Media where he is Partner and Director of Digital Marketing. Some of his specialties include SEO (search engine optimization), social media optimization (SMO), as well as PR campaign concepts, marketing plans and general web marketing related project management.

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  • http://twitter.com/AdMediaStore Ad Media Store

    Excellent tips here. Thanks a million!

    • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

      Thanks for reading! Come back for more on SEO in coming weeks. :)

    • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

      Thanks for reading! Come back for more on SEO in coming weeks. :)

  • http://twitter.com/AdMediaStore Ad Media Store

    Excellent tips here. Thanks a million!

  • http://twitter.com/TheStartupGuru TheStartupGuru

    Good SEO tips. I’ll be starting a site soon and will have to try and follow these guidelines. Certainly seems like blogs are more prone to produce content faster than non-blog sites or sites without a good CMS.

    • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

      Thanks! Yeah, regardless of what people say, even though there are a glut of blogs right now on the web, the truth is that they are the new model for websites in the social media age, so you kind of can’t get away from it, nor should you really try to. Google will favor and unfavor the blog over time as it has been in various ways, but blogs are not auto-penalized as some now seem to believe. It’s just that the standards are going up, as they should.

  • http://twitter.com/TheStartupGuru TheStartupGuru

    Good SEO tips. I’ll be starting a site soon and will have to try and follow these guidelines. Certainly seems like blogs are more prone to produce content faster than non-blog sites or sites without a good CMS.

  • http://twitter.com/HomeInspectorTX Steven Cochran

    Mark, you’re giving great DIY SEO tips here for free. This is why I love reading your blog. You really care about what you do and it shows. I think I can actually understand most of this, which is thrilling for me. Good work!

    • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

      Very kind of you Steve. I will giving more on SEO in coming weeks, so stay tuned! :)

  • Anonymous

    Great info. I clearly need to explore the blog format a little more.

    • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

      Thanks, Thanks Ron! It’s worth investigating.

  • http://will.crosscutcommunications.com William Reichard

    Incredibly useful advice here…the kind of article one could print out and work from for years. Thanks, Mark!

    • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

      Much appreciated, Will! If I do say so, my self…you’re absolutely right about that!

  • Anonymous

    This one is extremely amazing contented post about SEO. I totally agree with you that Keyword Density really plays the best role behind the effective SEO. And this one really participating the important role behind quality link building. This one is hugely looking the great source to know about it. Thanks for sharing some extra ordinary information about SEO.
     

    • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

      Thanks Roger. Just be careful with keyword density now that Google has gone Panda. *UPDATE* check out our latest SEO post here for details. :D

  • Anonymous

    I like this all fifteen step to learn SEO. I agree with you that the keyword in the URL is important because when a Google crawl the link it first move to title and then URL and then description. So Finally it is important to use the URL and the title.

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