Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In this article, I will list down and explain in brief the different ways in which a blogger using Google’s Blogging platform can improve the SEO of his blog.
We categorise the available options into two categories – SEO of blog and SEO of posts. SEO of blog lists one time actions which have to be performed only once. These things affect the performance of your blog as a whole in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). SEO of posts lists down those things that have to be kept in mind while creating new posts. These things are related to how to present your content in a way that would be liked by search engines. These techniques affect the performance of individual posts in SERPs. All the items listed under SEO of blog and SEO of posts fall under on page SEO. There are also other techniques which fall under off page SEO and are not specific to the blogging platform.
SEO of Blog
Give a blog description
The description of your blog should contain the keywords you are targeting (the topics on which you blog). The Description can be set at Settings -> Basic -> Description. Your blog description will be shown on all your blog pages in your blog header below the blog name.
If the main aim of your blog is to get traffic and monetize your traffic, then you need to choose keyword rich descriptions over stylish, literary descriptions.
Make blog visible to search engines
Blogger allows blocking search engines from discovering content on your blog content and showing it on search result pages. By default, blogs are visible to search engines. But you might have accidentally changed that option. This setting also is available at Settings -> Basic -> Privacy. Ensure that both ‘Add your blog to our listings?’ and ‘Let search engines find your blog’ are set to true.
Set meta description
The meta description tag is used to give search engines a description of your blog which will be displayed in search results. Note that this meta description is different from the blog description we have referred to earlier.
You can set it at Settings -> Search Preferences
Click Edit near the description option.
Click the ‘Yes’ button for the question ‘Enable search description’.
You will be shown a text box where you can enter a description. Type a description for your blog and click ‘Save changes’.
As already said, this description will be showed in search engine result pages whenever your blog (home page) is shown in search results. Note that this description is shown only for your home page and not any other pages.
Do not play with your robots.txt file
Blogger allows you to customise your robots.txt file. This file specifies how search engines may consume your blog content like ‘Should your blog content be indexed?’ etc. These options are available at Search Preferences -> Crawlers and indexing.
The default blogger settings are fine and it is best not to meddle with these settings. Ensure that both ‘Custom robots.txt’ and ‘Custom robots header tags’ are disabled.
SEO of blog posts
Give proper post title
You should give a proper post title to your blog posts. The title should contain the important keywords (the topic on which you are writing). For example, if you writing an article on ‘Taj Mahal’, it is better to name it as ‘Taj Mahal’ instead of ‘One of the seven wonders of the world’ as the latter does not contain the keyword, even though it sounds better. You can also choose titles like ‘Taj Mahal – One of the Seven Wonders of the World’. The only thing to keep in mind is that the post title should contain the keyword and shouldn’t be too long.
Use heading tags
Instead of writing your posts as an essay in multiple paragraphs, divide it into smaller parts and sub parts and give each of them a heading. The main headings should be in H2, the sub headings in H3, the sub-sub headings in H4. You can add these tags by selecting the text and choosing Heading / Sub Heading / Minor Heading from the formatting toolbar.
Make important sentences bold
Key points in your blog post should be made bold. This not only has SEO benefits but is also useful for your readers if they do not have enough time to read your entire article and want to just skim through your post.
Link to your old posts
Linking to your old posts helps in passing link juice between different posts of your blog thereby helping them rank better in SERPs. Also, it makes your readers stay longer on your site as you are providing them more and content to read. Longer visit duration converts to more revenue.
Choose custom permalinks
The permalink is the text that appear in the URL of a post. For example, if the post title is ‘SEO Tips’, blogger automatically determines the permalink as ‘seo-tips’ and the complete URL of that post will be something like http://blogname.blogspot.com/2014/07/seo-tips.html. But the automatic permalinks calculated by blogger are not always good enough. You can change the permalink by clicking Post Settings -> Permalink -> Custom Permalink.
Include keywords in the permalink separated by dashes. Do not include common words like is, the etc. For example, if your post title is ‘How to remove blogger navbar’, then an appropriate permalink could be ‘remove-blogger-navbar’. It is not necessary that the permalink should contain only those words which are a part of the blog title. You can also include other keywords which are related to your blog post but don’t stuff unrelated keywords. This can penalise you. If you are not sure whether to include a keyword, ask yourself if the blog post deals with that keyword. If the answer is no, then do not include it in the permalink.
Add proper labels
Add proper labels under Post Settings -> Categories. Labels should ideally be one or two words. Think of them as categories on your blog – the different topics that you cover on your blog. For example, if your blog is about blogging, then some keywords could be blogger, wordpress, themes, seo and gadgets. Phrases like ‘remove navbar’, ‘change font size’ etc are not labels. They are a condensed version of the post title. Ideally, you should add a word as a label only if you have (or will have) atleast 10-20 posts under that label.
Add at text for images
Adding alt text ( a description of the image ) for pictures helps the pictures rank well in Google image search. To add alt text, click on the picture and select properties. Give a title text and an alt text. Title text is a title for the post which will be displayed on hovering the mouse on the image. Alt text is a description of the image which will be displayed if the image cannot be loaded. The alt text is also used by screen readers. Both alt text and title text help in improving the rankings of the images.
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