I started this series with a post about commenting. Today, I would like to share 7 ideas that will help you optimize for search. If your blog is BFF with Google and Yahoo!, your traffic will not only spike, but continue to grow over time. First, start with your title. There are 3 things that are especially important to remember:
- Be descriptive, not clever - Write your title using words that describe your topic, even at the risk of sounding boring. When I was preparing a post about the iTouch, BG suggested that I call it "Steve Jobs Bytes." Pretty good, right? However, we need to think about what words the person searching for information would use. "Steve Jobs Sucks" has been the most common search phrase leading people to my blog since I started.
- Keywords, keywords, keywords - Your title is one of the most important factors in determining search ranking. Pack in commonly searched words on your topic.
- Be concise - Remember that your title will also serve as your subject line for anyone with RSS or with services like Feedburner. Conventional wisdom recommends keeping a subject line to 50 characters or less (this is the amount that generally shows up across the spectrum of email services). If you can't get under 50 characters, at least make those first 50 especially intriguing!
There are also important rules to keep in mind about your main content that will help you rank high in online search.
- Don't try to entertain - Spiders search only the first couple paragraphs of each post, so keep introductory stories and jokes short. Your extensive metaphor about Paul Revere's ride in a blog about human communication won't help you show up earlier in your subject. Instead, you will show up whenever someone searches for his name or The Revolutionary War. Likewise, if you ease in your audience with an Aristocrats-style joke, expect to suffer the search consequences.
- Smart links - There are two aspects to keep in mind in regards to links. A) Use links. it shows you have depth and are connected to a larger community. Spiders see this as a good thing. B) Use anchor text to your advantage. In the "don't try to entertain" section above, the word "Aristocrats" is the anchor text - it is the word to which the link is harnessed. Again, don't try to be too clever! Spiders read these to determine what you're writing about.
- Be Opportunistic - Feel free to use commonly searched terms. When I posted about the marketing at the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana show, you can bet I used those words in the title. Since then, I continue to get a handful of readers every day who find me through search.
Do you know an aspiring blogger? How about a college student or small business owner who needs help dipping a toe into the online marketing water? Forward them this post and ask them to subscribe.
Good luck optimizing for search!