Blogging Tips: Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, can help you connect with more blog readers, in particular readers who are actively seeking what you have to offer.

But it’s hard to get a good search engine ranking and you need to rank on the first page of the search engine results if you want to build good traffic. Ideally, your blog will rank in the top three for specific keywords or phrases that people are likely to search for.

Like blogging, SEO is a long-term project and you can’t expect to see results immediately, especially if your domain name (eg. is new or doesn’t have Google page rank yet.

Side note: Google Page Rank is a score from 1 to 10 and the higher your blog scores the better it will rank in the search engines. Your blog’s Page Rank is automatically assigned by Google and is influenced by how many incoming external and internal links a page has.

There’s not a lot you can do about your Google Page Rank apart from writing the best content you can because hopefully, other blogs will link to that, and guest posting.

But you can still work on your search engine optimisation in other ways.

If you’re patient and ready to learn about search engine optimisation your blog traffic will grow because of that and should grow over time.

Each month around 36% of traffic to Successful Blogging comes from Google.

You can see the growth in search engine traffic from February 2011 when the blog was launched and over the first five months in this chart from Google Analytics:

SEO Blogging

I’ve been improving my search engine optimisation skills to help more people find my blog via the search engines and these search engine optimisation tips should make it easier for you to do the same.

Search Engine Optimisation Tips for Blogging

1. Research your keywords and phrases

Use the Google Adwords keywords tool to learn what people are actually searching for before choosing your blog topics or naming your blog posts.

For example, I wanted to write about blogging tips for search engine optimisation and discovered “search engine optimisation tips” is a reasonably popular topic with around 12,000 people each month searching for it on Google.

2. Be realistic

Many search engine words or phrases are highly competitive so think of ways to qualify your blog post and focus on a specific area local to you (eg. Wedding photographer Westport) or a specific sub-niche such as (wedding photographer unconventional).

3. Name your blog topics with search engine optimisation in mind

If you use those keywords as topics or sections, on your blog it should also help you rank better with the search engines in the long term.

For example, using the Google Adwords keywords tool I found that “get blog traffic” is a popular search engine term so I named one of my blog topics “Get Blog Traffic” and made sure the permalink to that section had those exact words in it in that order:

Well, named categories with keyword rich permalinks will help improve your search engine ranking for those terms, especially if you fill them with related blog posts.

4. Give blog posts a short permalink

Make sure the website address (permalink) for your blog post contains the key phrase. I’ve been focusing on making my permalinks shorter over the last few months.

Here’s an example of an older post with a long permalink:

This could be improved as

But the long version does contain the keywords and at the beginning which is good.

Here’s an example of a shorter more powerful permalink:

Remember to: choose the blog post permalink before the post goes live.

If you change a permalink after a post has been published other blogs may have linked to it and you’ll need to put a redirect on your page so visitors don’t get a “Page not found” message.

5. Link to your own posts

Link to your blog posts from other related blog posts using the exact keywords you want to optimise your post for, for example, blog post length. Internal links do influence the search engines.

6. Get incoming links from other blogs or websites

If you are writing blog content that is good hopefully other bloggers will link to your posts from their blogs.

If you have more than one blog you can link from them too, even from abandoned blogs you don’t use anymore like old Blogspot or blogs. You can see how I’ve done this here.

You could also add articles to article marketing directories including the keywords. Include a link from your author biography and from within the article. Try to include one link that is your key phrase and ties in with your permalink. Here are some article directories I’ve tried:

  • Ezine Articles
  • Articles Factory
  • Go Articles
  • Squidoo
  • Hubpages

Guest blogging is another great way to build incoming links to your blogs and help give you an immediate boost to your search engine traffic.

7. Be search engine optimisation smart in your HTML

  • Use the search engine optimisation description as a teaser for readers to make them want to click on your search engine listing and read more.
  • Add a maximum of 10 search engine optimisation keywords or phrases.
  • Name your images to include the keywords (eg blog-writing.jpg) and add ALT text to images with the keywords or phrase.

8. Use Thesis

I use the premium WordPress theme Thesis because it makes search engine optimisation easier including all the points mentioned above.

9. Improve blog posts that already rank well

Google Analytics lists the keywords and phrases people used to find your blog and ranks them in order.

Concentrate on optimising blog posts that naturally perform well by:

  • Making sure the keywords appear near the beginning of your blog post and reusing them as often as you can without being repetitive.
  • Work on your blog post layout and include your keywords in the blog post title, headers and sub-headers.

10. Never try to game the search engines.

Focus first on writing useful information on your blog that your ideal readers will be able to easily read and understand.

For example, I’ve been studying SEO for a while and am used to writing content to improve a site’s search engine ranking but I usually get told what the keywords are.

For my personal blogs, I’ve spent time researching, learning more and practising it. You can too.

First, write a great post then follow the steps listed above to improve your search engine ranking.

Then, if a blog post ranks well  go back and optimise it later to see if you can improve its  ranking.

But remember, always blog for people first and for SEO second. That way when those people who are actively seeking what you have to offer find your blog they will enjoy reading it and want to come back for more.