Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 10, 2011
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 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!