SEO Your Blog; Two Quick Fixes

Man, sometimes I feel really stupid. I’ve been missing something for a long time that I’m betting some of you know, but most of you are also missing. As a matter of fact I just took a quick sample and it seems that some of you knew about this, but aren’t doing it right, and the majority don’t have it right at all. Well, that’s what I’m here for. What am I talking about?

SEO Your Blog

SEO for your blog, of course; didn’t you read the title? Here’s the thing. Many people talk about proper SEO tactics for your blog and they get into talking about your content, keywords, etc. I’ve been on record in saying that it’s rare that I get into doing all that much SEO when it comes to my posts. When I write, I write, and I rarely go backwards I’ve always figured that my content will eventually speak for itself.

But I’ve missed some important concepts of SEO for my blog, something I’ve actually never paid any attention to, that suddenly hit me last night and, dagnabbit, I wanted to slap myself silly. I’ve lost 3 years on this, and now I’m ready to capture my traffic, the search engines, and watch this baby flourish! I’m going to tell you what I’ve done, then I’m going to tell you how I did it.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you, get to the point. Okay, a quick SEO lesson on how search engines begin looking through webpages. They start with the Title, which is the area at the top of your browser that says what your site is all about. If you’re going to do it properly, what you want to have at the top is what your website is about, then the name of your blog. You don’t want any “stop words” or “stop symbols”; these are things like “and”, “the”, and, well, symbols. You never start with the name of your website or blog unless it’s what your site is all about because if people already know your name then you don’t ever have to worry about titles, or even being found on search engines, to begin with.

What did mine say? It used to say “I’m Just Sharing”, which is the name of this blog. Do you think anyone was out there on the search engines searching for that? Nope. What does it say now? It says “Blogging Writing Social Media – I’m Just Sharing“. That’s what it should have said all along. Now it begins with what I mainly write about on this blog. Now the search engines will scan my title, then be able to match up my content with it; nice start.

But that’s my title page. What about all the other pages? Initially, after the first change, all my other pages said that same exact thing. Not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not proper SEO & it doesn’t always work. For instance, when I write my diabetes posts none of what’s in the title is going to help there. What shows up for each article as my Title now? Whatever the name of my post is, that’s what. That’s what I decided to go with, but one doesn’t have to stick with that. However, since for the most part my titles do indicate what I’m going to talk about (like this post, for instance), I think I’m good.

Okay, how did I make the change? By using the All In One SEO plugin, a plugin I beat up on for a couple of years until I learned how to upgrade my server to PHP 5.0 and had it suddenly start doing some of what it was supposed to do. I haven’t fully used it correctly until last night, and now it’s going to help this blog grow; I just know it will.

The first thing I did was change the Home Title to what you see above in quotation marks; that’s what now shows in the Title area. If you decide to hit Save at that point your home title will change and you’ll at least have that taken care of. But that’s not all you want to do.

The next stage, of course, is to fill in the next two boxes for your home description and keywords. Your home description should be what your blog is about, as that’s what will show up on Google if someone is searching for your topic, so either say something, like a line or two, or just type in more words, which will look kind of odd on Google as a description but hey, it’s up to you. In the keywords of course type in some of what you do. This is kind of “meta” like, which search engines don’t exactly look at anymore (actually they don’t look at it at all according to them, but go with me), but it helps the plugin do things for you that you might not want to do for yourself later on. Anyway, once you’ve done that then you need to check the box next to “Rewrite Titles”.

That’s it. Now, every one of your posts will have the title you’ve given for your post as the Title that will show at the top of the browser, the one that Google’s going to be checking out. Leave everything else there the same unless you really understand it all; everything’s pretty set, except for some of the boxes you might want to check or uncheck underneath.

For instance, I really don’t understand the concept of Canonical URLs all that much, even though I read about it, so I left that checked. Further down, I have checked to use Tags for Meta Keywords, which I’ve seen come across here and there through Google Alerts, told it to generate keywords for post pages, and told it to use noindex for my Archives, though I’ll have to think about that one a little bit more. My thought on it is that if everything else is SEO’ing itself properly it might be overkill having it coming through the Archives as well; search engines might not appreciate that too much, as it might seem spammy.

The only thing to finish talking about is when you’re actually writing your post you need to know that you have the option of overriding what you’ve told the plugin to do automatically for your title and description. I rarely change the title, though I’ve seen some people do it, but sometimes I add a specific description, otherwise Google will use the first few words of your post as the description. For someone like me that likes to introduce things in kind of a story form, that’s not the best lead-in for me all the time.

So, I’ve just helped you learn how to SEO your blog better, and trust me, it’ll go much quicker than all this stuff I just wrote. Good luck!

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20 thoughts on “SEO Your Blog; Two Quick Fixes”

  1. I’ve actually thought about this issue in the past myself; I wondered whether I should lead my page title with my site name or what my site was about. Then I figured that a) I wanted to build up my site’s brand and name recognition; b) my site name wasn’t that long anyway; and c) I would follow the examples of sites like Amazon and Youtube who place their names first in just about all of their titles. So from then on, I decided to put my site name first in most (but not all) of my page titles…

    1. Sonny, if that’s how you want to do it that’s fine, but you’re killing any SEO opportunity you might want to have. For instance, as soon as that dash is up, the search engines stop with your title. So, if you want your business, that’s all it’s going to see & nothing else. Works if that’s what you think people will be searching for on the search engines, but if you think they’re going to search for your services instead, then going the other route really is the only way it’ll work best.

  2. The beauty of tabs. I could tab back and forth and copy what you suggested. I just had to tweak my Home title slightly. I had archives as no follow, but I have that for comments and pages as well. Should I change that to “Follow”? Love these tips as I’m not very technical…just enough to be dangerous.

    1. Nick, the only reason I went to nofollow is because I don’t want to overwhelm the search engines with the same thing over and over. Your post will already be indexed by the search engines, and having it done a second time through archives is overkill.

      And yes, tabs really are a wonderful thing! 🙂

  3. Mitch, All In One SEO is very basic plugin. Generally does give much of advantage even if add different titles and use canonical urls. Canonical URLs were announced by Google about 2 years ago and after few months, the official announcement that it doesn’t really matter as those does not transfer PR of the pages nor the inbound links. One SE friendly post need the following – h1 tag, keyword close to the top, keyword close to the bottom (or variation of keyword), at least one image, at least one link to related post. There is another point, that pages must not be over optimized and sometimes natural look is even better.

    1. Carl, it’s basic but it works a lot better than having nothing at all. If there was another way to get it done using just WordPress I’d do it in a heartbeat, as long as it wasn’t also overly complicated. This thing does just fine for now.

  4. Using that plug-in myself, I especially like how you can set the single meta attributes for each post, something not many people do. Especially the description is fundamental for search engines and plugins like Digg one, which shows the description meta text when you Digg something. Many blogs just show some random text or even some CSS code in the Digg’s description, which is a big no no.

    1. Gabriele, I beat up on it for a long time until I understood the PHP thing. Now it seems to work just great, and I’m ecstatic about that. Course, I don’t have a Digg anything going on.

  5. You made a good choice with your title Mitch, I would go with only the post title on the post page.

    Also, canonical url, is a url which is considered default for a certain page. For example, your page may have the URI and, both are correct from the script’s point of view, but search engines sees it as two different pages, so if the canonical url exist, they will understand that you prefer the first version.

    So, it’s practically just a preferred url in case you have multiple versions of the page indexed.

    1. Thanks for that explanation, Alex. See, that now makes sense; that’s the way to explain stuff so everyone gets it. 🙂

  6. Desktop publishing made a lot more people self-sufficient. For some reason, this SEO stuff seems to be going in the other direction. It reminds me of what happened with cars. I used to tear my Volkswagen Beetle apart, put it back together, and off I went. Now I don’t even change the oil. What you’re describing in this and other posts seems clear and straightforward, but it still leaves my head spinning. I wonder if there are website/blog mechanics, and if they make house calls. What do you think, Mitch? Does the average person have the time to get involved in the research and continuing education that you handle so well?

    1. Charles, overall it’s just being curious about things and of course doing a lot of reading elsewhere and wondering “am I doing that?” The SEO stuff has held pretty steady, but how people apply it seems to change here and there. I’ve done all I need to do with my websites but hadn’t paid as much attention to it for the blog, mainly because I don’t have a niche blog; at least this one. But for those others, man, look at all the time I wasted. Yet I know now; whew!

      And I don’t even know how to check the oil in my car, which is why I have frequent oil changes. lol

  7. As a webmaster that’s the first thing I look at when someone says they don’t appear in google. Title isn’t for branding it’s for how people find you – such a common mistake. Unless you are Pepsi don’t bother with the site name and use the 80 characters for keywords people will search to find you. They wont know about you to search for you. I helped my childhood church jump in google simply by changing the title. No other church was using them right either so that simple change made a huge difference in SERP. Great article! People should use that tag to their advantage and it’s great information. :).

    1. Thanks Melinda. I hadn’t really paid any attention to it for the blog, and on that I’m ashamed of myself because I always go looking for it on regular websites. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this.

  8. If I had only known you didn’t know about this facet of SEO Mitch I would have told you ages ago. Actually you have made a good point about the name of the blog. I may have to rethink the way I have mine set up and have another look at the plugins settings.

    1. Sire, I just didn’t know about it for the plugin; I do know the rules of SEO in general. And making just that one change is way better than dealing with how I might be constructing my content.

  9. Hi Mitch

    Great that you are now sorting SEO. I was taught about it when I first started blogging. Can always improve but it seems to be working for my small niche blog okay.

    Sometimes people complicate SEO and who knows what google is thinking??!! But the things mentioned in the post and I know Melinda knows what she is talking about, are good points to consider when naming a blog post and getting taglines right.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Thanks Pat. I still don’t worry as often about my titles unless I’m talking about something specific; I’ve always been bad at titles, though.

  10. The great thing about on-page SEO is that it isn’t difficult to implement, and shouldn’t affect your writing style or overall content. You just need to obey a simple checklist of features (that you’ve apparently already discovered) and All-in-one SEO will keep you on track anyway.

    I ignored a lot of SEO basics as well — I wouldn’t do any more than pick a good page title until recently. But going back and changing my best posts from the past wasn’t as hard as I thought. I simply broke up large blocks of text and added in H1/H2 sub-headers with more keyword bolding/italics/underline.

    The end result is better SEO’d content, and actually much better reading material for my visitors!

    1. Pretty smart thing to do, Mark. I have to admit that I never go back and add H2 tags, but I have gone back and added tags and SEO descriptions into All in One SEO, very rarely a new title. I’ve been wondering lately if that’s what’s affecting my Alexa ranking, not doing it before, but I haven’t fretted too much about it.

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