Blog, Blogging and SEO

spider web

Until I thought of this..

I was supposed to post about “Blog, WordPress and YOU!” until I thought about the growing need of a future blogger to know about owning readership in the web space. That once you created a blog, you’re already a part of the world wide web consortium and you may as well have a better if not the best share of the pie, which is the internet traffic plus knowing, understanding and applying how you stand in the internet before going through the wonderful experience of creating a blog is much advisable than post editing everything . This traffic pie is very well related to SEO and SEM,  I myself have to honor these steps although it’s a little late for me knowing this, still it’s better late than never. But for those future wannabe bloggers, let’s try to avoid it now.

How your blog… ehem… will be blog started

Not so long time ago, a guy named Jorn Barger coined the term “Weblog” from the words web log on the year of 1997 and the pet name “Blog” of the weblog was started by Peter Merholz in 1999. Evan Williams of Pyra Labs adopted the word blog and conceived the famous term “Blogger”.  And so from there it became so popular, that now you also want to blog. Then came the seemingly infinite chapter of blog sites, blog host services, blog software, blog tools and plugins, whew this is  good business!

Blogs also has multiplied in author source. Before, Single Author Blogs (SAB) were dominating the online blogger space, now Multi Author Blogs (MAB) are everywhere.

Blogs as personal and business platform

The popularity of blogs doesn’t stop  as a personal journal like genre. It even transcends to one of the most effective business tool. Some company websites, if you observe have included a “blog” menu on their main page. Because blogs can attract people with the same interest, likewise these companies can easily convert readers or followers into clients. And since blogs have these personal touch of a human being, so it’s gentle, warm and approachable to the target market. It’s like saying, ‘Hey, we understand you better because behind this company are also humans like you, friends?”

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Now, there are two important terms involved in owning a share of the traffic pie, those are SEO, which means Search Engine Optimization and SEM, which is Search Engine Marketing. Both of these are heavily influence by the Search Engine technology, the power and the brain behind search and retrieval of keywords being search.  Search Engines are also known as spiders or web crawlers may differ in some ways, like for example Google Search Engine. Google Search Engine stores all descriptive information and content about the web page and retrieves information based on what we call Page Ranking (PageRank) whereas others stores and retrieves every word in every page found. Retrieved information or search results are displayed by pages also known as Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) and the top 3 pages and the top 3 slots are the most sought after, SEO and SEM marketers are going to kill for it, joke! Hmmm…

More about Google PageRank it  is a method of retrieving information from the database which give emphasis to the quality of websites linking to your own site. In short, birds of the same feather, flock together. So the sites that links to your website should be good, so you’ll look good too in the eyes of the Google Search Engine, get it? But we’ll talk more about it down, down, down this page please.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

SEO or Search Engine Optimization as its full name are ways and means on how to optimize your site’s internal structures like tags, headings, images and links so you can help Search Engines have an optimized search about your website. This is also known as On-page Optimization, which means web enhancements are done on your web pages Usually web masters handles this but we can do this! Hep, hep hooray!

How about SEM? SEM as in Search Engine Marketing, are ways and means on how to spread the word in the web that you have something to offer and that you’re existing. Entrepreneurs uses SEM and hire SEM experts for this. SEM uses the many opportunities and exposures available in the internet through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Forums and even blog sites like WordPress to create or expand target market across the world in the web. SEM is also known as Off-page Optimization, which means web enhancements are done outside or off your web pages through various Social Media Marketing (SMM) tools. SEM is a continuous relationship and communication with your target market. Responses and regular updates even on a daily basis is recommended. It’s a real task.

So if you want to have a high share of the traffic pie and get that high page ranking slot, use SEO and SEM rituals. Ah right, I didn’t include the SEM on my sub heading because according to my post title, I was going to talk about SEO but it’s a little tempting to brush on the SEM side. Let it be. Okay, SEM stops here.

SEO Rules to follow

Since SEO is primarily within the scope of your website’s structure, so you must as you create your blog or site apply the rules of SEO. Presenting! Drum roll please….. the SEO Experts says portion!

SEO Experts says…

  • Keyword Optimization – experts says that 3-5 keywords per page is the suggested number, some go as far as 7-10 and optimize your first 200 words as or with keywords like your meta tags, meta description tags, title tags, taglines and page headings. Use header tags (h1, h2, h3…), bold, underline and italics in your major headings and sub headings in your content that emphasize your website or page. Search engines give importance to these highlighted words. Keywords must also be seen in the body of the text. Use words that describe your internal and external links, avoid URL and long parameter hot links but apply the actual term about it. Short and easy to remember URL’s are more search engine friendly.
  • Outbound Links – or External Links are other website links you have in your site. Choose wisely on having other sites posted in your pages, remember the Google PageRank I mentioned earlier? This is where it’s useful in SEO. Connect only with good and if possible high ranking sites because Google search engine will see your site basically the same quality as the former. If you’re not sure where and what links to outbound, one tip from the experts is to link your popular words to an equally popular, high ranking and trusted dictionary or informational site. As for example, you mentioned the word “google” on your post. Google is a very known word in the web. Create a hyperlink for google and link it to Wikipedia.com, which is a very popular, high ranking trusted site.
  • Inbound Links – or Inlinks, Incoming Links, Backlinks and Inward Links is the reverse of outbound linking. They are links coming from other sites which includes or post your URL site for example as a reference site or suggested site in their own website. These inlinking sites are in the same way affects your SEO optimization as outbound links do. If a lot of websites are linking to your site then Google Search Engine will see your site as popular thereby increasing your page rank. Inbound links are also a part of SEM for example,  getting a Facebook (a social network site) friend post your site link in her account.
  • Alternate Text – use alternate text to all your images because Search Engines cannot read images or even minimize the use of graphics and animated flash to reveal high key points.
  •  Sitemaps – use sitemaps in your website especially if you’re heavily laden with many menus, submenus and links then tell Google about it by registering your sitemap. Search Engines can easily navigate and view your whole website from one page. A sitemap is a one page map of your website.
  • Long Tail Keywords and Short Keywords – this is a special mention for those who owns a product website. Long tail keywords are tags more than 2 to 3 words describing in specific a particular product for example, “fujifilm finepix hs30exr digital camera” as opposed to “digital camera” only. Experts says long tail keywords has its own advantage compared to short keywords because it can easily slide to higher rank in search engines due to lack of keyword competition in the database and since it’s very descriptive it can boost conversion. So use both short and long tail keywords so you can have virtually a traffic for both short and long keyword web users.
  • Less Punctuations – because most of them are used in programming languages such as ( ‘ + . , | ! ” £ $ % & / ( ) = ? ^ * ç ° § ; : _ > ] [ @ ); -) search engines and some web applications might mistaken it as programming code and not part of the URL,  therefore will affect how it can find your site. Only hypen and underscore are accepted in the domain name while in the blog post itself, avoid punctuations in your titles as much as possible because if like WordPress converts that page into its URL format, search engine will ignore the punctuation and will affect the original URL.
  • Stop Words –  are common words like “the, you, here, a, she, how” by which most search engines ignores to speed up search results or save disk space in the database. This may affect your page ranking slightly because search engines read incomplete data of your site but nevertheless if it’s really relevant to describe your site, go ahead.
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML code – spiders or search engines will stop crawling your site if it encounters a broken link.

Don’t take a break yet, we are not done. What’s next are some SEO bad practices which SEO experts says…don’t!

SEO Bad Strategies

As everything  here in the world, there’s always the good and the bad. The battle continues even in SEO expertise. Bad SEO often targets to manipulate the search engine indexing. This manipulation is also called as Spamdexing. This bad strategies aims to get the highest page ranking as soonest and as easiest. Drum roll again please!

SEO Experts says avoid these bad habits…

  • Link Farming – is a means of increasing a site’s popularity by linking to another site or group of sites without related contents  to one another. Often times, we encounter clicking a site about computer but then as we were taken there, no such thing related to computer appears in the website only about monkeys. It only farms links to make it appear to search engines that the site is popular and backup by other several sites so it could go higher on the page ranking, but it’s only for a show. Link farm is also known as buying links.
  • Doorway Passages – Doorway passages are individual web pages created with simple content but uses similar keywords and often times has “Click here to enter” button. Their purpose is to manipulate the search engine to rate an accomplice site as high ranking. Doorway web pages are of no use and without relevant information and then redirects the visitors to the accomplice website. The widely known BMW German site has been busted using this SEO bad technique.
  • Keyword Stuffing – is the act of stuffing bazillions of keywords within a page to trick the web crawler that the site is of relevance even if the page is already not user friendly because of too much repeated keywords. Another similar tactic was the meta-tag keyword stuffing, which obviously stuffs another millions of keywords even not related content keywords in the meta-tag area of a page. Fortunately, meta-tag stuffing had its death sentence on 2005. Let’s not try to stuff our sites, it’s not a turkey.
  • Scraping – is the creation of a website using programs to extract contents from other websites without full permission of the site owners. Copyright is the main violation here.
  • Cloaking – is a way of presenting two different web pages, one is for search engine to read, which is basically an unattractive page maybe full of just keywords and the other one is for humans to use. Once the link is clicked, this pleasing to the eye web page is what the visitors will see.
  • Hidden Keywords – are hidden texts with the same background or image color so it is invisible.

Remember to avoid these bad habits if you don’t want to be banned by the search engines. Spiders are getting brainy by the day. And if you still messed up with the tarantula and got banned, don’t tell me I never told you…”I told you!”

SEO Hat Standards

There are three kinds of hats you can wear on SEO.

  • White Hat – this is the best SEO practices. The angelic ways of getting your site up in the heavens of page ranking and traffic share. What are these angelic ways? The answer is up there, the “SEO Experts says portion” revealed it all. Just follow that and grow your site the natural and acceptable way for the search engine and the web users.  By this clean SEO, you also avoid the wrath of the web spider and that is banning you.
  • Grey Hat – this is somewhere in between the good and the evil. Cloaking is on this area.
  • Black Hat – this is the evil doer, the tempter to do the don’ts just to get the high page ranking and super abundant traffic the fastest way.The bad SEO practice to the highest level and the search engine’s public enemy number one.

Obviously, a good site and a good blogger to be must wear a white hat, looking like a trust worthy earthling angel.

SEO and Website Design

So who says that good web design doesn’t contribute to your site ranking and traffic increase? Let’s simply put it this way, a good looking web site in SEO means:

  • having a good navigational menus
  • clear and precise fonts used
  • harmonious colors used
  • uncluttered theme design

All of these can affect your site ranking because web users always love nice looking and easy to navigate websites. Most of the time they will bookmark it, comment on it and refer your site link for others to see. And the more they stare at it, chances are they will be interested with what your site can offer and spare a few minutes of their time.

Other recommendations

Future bloggers or not must at least have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS Styles. This will help you understand how your site works at least in the first layer of its design and structure. Once you know it, you can now apply some customization to your site’s appearance and also optimize it the SEO white hat way for better search. Go get those tutorials now!

Try these sites:

http://htmldog.com/guides/htmlbeginner/

http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/html-tutorial/

http://webdesign.about.com/od/beginningtutorials/a/bl_htmltutorial.htm

Closing the SEO boardroom

Unfortunately, page ranking is also in the page of reality where political, cultural and economic powers are taking out the fair play in the web space. Some powers in the world would simply buy off that top slot and made the whole industry of organic, tight-budgeted SEO dumb. Don’t lose your peace over that because good search engine optimization is a long term process for a long term success and people will notice it.

There you go, I just hope I did share something essential for you to get you up the runway of blogging,  (well not only blogging but any website should be) boost your confidence and start realizing what you’re getting into, hehe. See you in the bloggers world in my next post about how to make a blog inside WordPress.com entitled “Blog, WordPress and YOU!” and apply some SEO tips in there.

References:

http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/watch-your-punctuation-online.html
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/web/library/wa-seo2/
http://www.searchenginepartner.com/Latest-SEO-News/seo-trends-utilysing-lsi-and-the-long-tail.html
http://websearch.about.com/od/seononos/a/doorways.htm
http://myblogtips.net/seo/seo-practices-avoid-todays-seo-marketing.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spamdexing
http://www.iloveseo.com/a-Page-Cloaking-To-Cloak-or-Not-to-Cloak.php

Other image source aside from me:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images>

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About jennyx duarte

Hi there! I'm a graphic designer by profession with a pinch of programming and web stuffs on the side, also currently advancing to SEO/SEM management and blogging mentored by Jomar Hilario, the Philippines' VA guru.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Review: “Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand” by Molly Greene | Charles Ray's Ramblings

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