Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Get Friendly with Google: Five Easy SEO Tips

Do you know how much traffic your blog gets from search engines? If you don't, check your Google Analytics reports. I'm guessing Google sends a fair amount of readers your way.

The more Google-friendly your site is, then, the more likely it is that a link to one of your fabulous posts will catch a prospective reader's eye. Here are five things--painless, easy-to-do things--that every blogger should do to optimize her/his site for search engines (SEO).

Think Like a Search Engine User.
Think about how you use Google. When you're looking for information, a coupon code for example, you probably type in the name of the store and "coupon." Try this: open a new window in your browser and Google the words "Target coupon." What comes up? Were BOTH the words "Target" and "coupon" in the titles of the top few results?

The words you include in your post titles are important
, since it's the top few results that get the most clicks. For example, if you're posting a coupon, make sure "coupon" is in the title as well as the name of the store, website or product the coupon is for. Keep the most important words near the front of your title rather than the end, if you can.

Use big words.
Big as in type size, not syllables, that is. Look at your blog. Besides the header and post titles, what are the biggest titles you see. Sidebar titles? Headlines of another sort?

What do your "big words" say about your blog? Are you using any keywords, or are they kind of generic, like that "Labels" title I really need to work on in my sidebar? Make your sidebar titles work for you by crafting titles that inform the prospective reader about what helpful info can be found on your site.

Watch your language.
This may seem like a no brainer, but your posts should contain words that search engine users can use to find your blog. I like to use words like baby, coupon, frugal, free, etc. consciously in my posts. It makes sense to do that, since that's what I'm talking about anyway. Making a few of those keywords bold doesn't hurt, either. Just don't force it or go overboard.

Get your link out there.
You want lots of links coming from other sites to your blog. Authentic (non-spammy) links build your cred with Google. One way (okay, THE way) to get such links is by writing useful, creative, original posts that other bloggers will want to link to. You can also email your blogging buds and ask if they're interested in exchanging links or banners.

Blog often.
Google likes frequent updates. Each time you post you create another fresh page with your url for Google to index. To Google, fresh content is more relevant than content from a site that hasn't been updated in six months.

See, I told you they were easy.

Further Reading
Can Meta Tags Help Search Engines Find You? @ BlogCoach
How to Get Search Engine Traffic to Your Blog @ Problogger
Formatting Images for SEO @ Problogger
Using Good Keywords in Titles @ Problogger
Twitter's Little Known SEO Value @ SitePoint
Increase Relevance for Search Engine Spiders with Frequent Updates @ SEO Design Solutions

Wordpress All-In-One SEO Pack @ Wordpress
20 of the best SEO PlugIns for Wordpress@ Mashable
9 SEO Plugins Every Wordpress Blog Should Have @ Problogger

Blogspot SEO Checklist: The Practical Way to Improve Rankings @ Search Optimization

So what are your best SEO tips?