Monday, February 19, 2007

Search Engine Optimization for your blog

So, as you learn more about the technical aspects of blogging and the search-o-sphere (my term so dont freak if you have not heard it before) you will learn one thing consistently - that you know even less than you thought you did on your most modest-ego day.

You could get lost for days in all the very germane topics on ProBlogger - how to make money, how to increase page rank, why you want to increase page rank or traffic or ad payout or vague kharma, etc.

I have decended into recursive fits of anxiety over doing SEO or search engine optimization. Because I use Wordpress on my own server, this can be remedied in a methodical manner but just when I think I have figured it out and thought I had done the "Right" thing, I find that I have missed something.

If you are lost in SEO-land, there is a tool (actually a set of tools) that will help you run diagnostics on your blog SEO status.

Surf over to SEO Tools and start with their free tool called "SEO Analyzer". The other tools on the nav bar across the upper part of the page are good too.

SEO analyzer will tell you if your blog is optimized, by how much, and, more importantly, just how it sucks, if it does indeed suck (as my blogs usually do at some point :-).

If you do not know what SEO is, dont worry about it. Its not important until you are ready to deal with it.

Those of you running Wordpress, you can install nofollow language with a plugin that will help with your pagerank standings and SEO - here is a link to one of those plugins (I am running WP 2.1 with this plugin and it works fine, right now).


This Post was written by Nika from Nika's Culinaria

9 comments:

Kung Foodie Kat said...

I do SEO all the time and I haven't tried those particular tools before but i'll check them out. It'd be interesting to see how accurate they are. I use the keyword tracking and suggestion tools at Digitalpoint.com the most, followed by the Mcdar.net Keyword analysis and Datacenter Check tools. Course...if you don't know much about SEO that info will probably be confusing.

Technically blogs are decently optimized to begin with....just make sure you have RSS turned on (use a ping service if possible) and have your post btitles hyperlink to the post (instead of just using a link that says 'permalink'). Using categories and tags to organize each post also helps, but I suggest only having post summaries and titles listed in each category (not the full post).

The 'no-follow' tag was designed as a quickie fix to deter spammers from linking in comments...the thought being that if they couldn't get a PR bump from your site then there wouldn't be any value in linking. This tag doesn't do anything else and won't help your own Pagerank or search rankings. You do NOT lose Google pagerank by linking to other sites. The one caveat to this is that if you link to a site that has been penalized by Google there is a chance you could also be penalized and filtered from search results. This very rarely happens though and I can't imagine why a typical blogger would link to a shady site to begin with.

Paul said...

Interesting tools but for those who use Blogger I would avoid. It has some issues discerning your site from blogspot.com.

nika said...

Paul: yep - the blogspot suffix will be come more and more an issue from what I understand. It might also currently be protective in some ways and I think its possible that blogspot and just being on blogger with the nav bar helps with PR.
(anectdotal I have no data)

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

As they say, the best SEO is no SEO...

I've done a fair bit, but it comes down to good design really...

1. Less code, more content. Use XHTML1.0 Strict and keep all styles in CSS.

2. Use a sitemap. Every page linked from a sitemap 1 page deep = better distribution of pagerank.

3. Write lots. Of interesting stuff. More for the bots to find.

Kung Foodie Kat said...

Surprisingly enough you don't have to use CSS or a sitemap, or many of the other things that the online tools point out as 'problem areas'. It certainly doesn't hurt, but as long as you hit the top elements that will trump all.

I have to tell my clients this over and over (yes, I get paid to do SEO)...there are hundreds of things you can do to optimize a site, but you don't have to do them. It really just boils down to three main things: descriptive keyword page title tags, descriptive keyword links, and good quality inbound links.

Good content will easily bring in natural links and most blogs are already fairly well optimized. Unless you're trying to make a living off ad sales and Adsense you really don't need to worry about doing more optimization.

nika said...

I am glad you dont really have to do anything because it seems like no matter what I do, its not working :-) (tho I am not trying to get ad revenue AND I know that I have to wait for the next Google public PR publication or what ever you call it)

Why do I even think about SEO? Well, for me, SEO = better exposure. exposure = someone is reading the blog, someone reading the blog = the darn thing isnt completely irrelevant :-)

After an experience today, I am reminded that caprice has a whole hell of a lot to do with blog popularity.

If you look at my blog (permalink to page that is getting all the attention right now http://nikas-culinaria.com/2007/02/22/colombian-star-rising-food-network-gets-a-latino-clue/ ) you will see a post that has gotten my hit count to go through the roof (in relative terms mind you).. I am sure it will settle down but from what I can tell about the links coming in from the board where they are discussing the post one thing rings true - sex sells :-)

Empanadas dont sell, baboombas do.

It was the furthest thing from my mind. Now whats a feminist female food blogger to do?

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