The Visible Post: The Bloggers Battle with Search Engines

        Is yours a vis­i­ble post? There is much hype, myth, fan­ta­sy or voodoo mum­bo-jum­bo asso­ci­at­ed with get­ting your blog post noticed by Google and oth­er search engines, the inten­tion here is to cut through the myths and help blog­gers win the bat­tle of get­ting your posts noticed, iden­ti­fy­ing actions that writ­ers can take to improve vis­i­bil­i­ty for each post, it is like the strate­gies involved in a game of chess.

Accord­ing to an SEO MOZ review of search engine rank­ing fac­tors the fol­low­ing have the most influ­ence in mak­ing your blog and the posts on it visible:

  1. Many links on the site.
  2. Links exist on each post.
  3. Rel­e­vant key­words or tags used on each page.
  4. There is plen­ty of good qual­i­ty con­tent on the page and not all is key­word specific.
  5. There is analy­sis and met­rics avail­able for the site.
Right move by Wokandapix CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay        These sound very tech­ni­cal but it doesn’t mean they must be over­whelm­ing as for exam­ple Word­Press and Blog­ger does offer assis­tance with analy­sis and met­ric tools for the aver­age user. Also in ref­er­ence to the term “good qual­i­ty con­tent” writ­ers must under­stand that search engines now con­sid­er spelling and gram­mar as a part of their rank­ing mech­a­nism, the SEO bat­tle­ground is chang­ing, with Google con­stant­ly look­ing to upgrade its algo­rithm espe­cial­ly as they con­sid­er the user expe­ri­ence and one of the most impor­tant aspects of search.

Embolden those Keywords

        There has been an open ques­tion for many years about whether every key­word used should be either embold­ened or ital­i­cised, yet there is lit­tle evi­dence this must be the case. Bold and ital­ic, even under­lined and coloured fonts have more val­ue to the read­er than to any search engine. Writ­ers use empha­sis tools because the words are cen­tral to the point being made, yet the truth is those impor­tant words and phras­es that are embold­ened become nat­ur­al can­di­dates to use as tags or key­words, you empha­sised them for a rea­son and that should also be cru­cial to indexing.
        There is no clear cor­re­la­tion between bold/italicized key­words and results on search rank­ings. It is pos­si­ble to write effec­tive­ly with­out empha­sis and still have your writ­ing found through search results. Google makes it clear is that key­words you use should be nat­ur­al and be used in the page title, the open­ing para­graph, head­ings, or the main body of the text. Some fur­ther tips I add from my own expe­ri­ence are:
  • Base key­words on words or phras­es you actu­al­ly use in the text.
  • Phras­es are bet­ter than indi­vid­ual words.
  • Use core words, for exam­ple ‘edit’ is a bet­ter key­word than ‘edit­ing’ as it has a wider con­text and search engines under­stand dif­fer­ent forms of the same word.
  • Keep key­words sin­gu­lar, e.g ‘com­put­er’ instead of ‘com­put­ers’.

Keywords Must Appear in the Title

        Think about this con­cept for a sec­ond or two, it is illog­i­cal. First­ly titles draw read­ers in to your site, like pow­er­ful adver­tis­ing slo­gans, sec­ond­ly a good page title has some­where between 6 and 10 words in it. The cor­rect state­ment is: sig­nif­i­cant words from the title are key­words. Nor­mal­ly this lim­it­ed to 2 or 3 words or per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant phrase. Head­ers used with­in the body of the page may also con­tribute to the key­words used, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Fifty to six­ty per­cent of all key­words should come from words or phras­es actu­al­ly used in the body of the writ­ing.

Keywords in the URL

        The URL of the page is the name of the web­site. It is argued that hav­ing the name of the web­site that describes what you do is one way of bring­ing more traf­fic to the site. For exam­ple a build­ing com­pa­ny in Atlanta may wish to use a slo­gan for their web­site webuil​dat​lanta​.com, but there is lit­tle evi­dence this gives any advan­tage in search results. Google’s SEO guide says that this approach can be use­ful, but doesn’t pro­vide supe­ri­or search rank­ings. One aspect is true, they can aid the mem­o­ra­bil­i­ty of the site. Espe­cial­ly if asso­ci­at­ed with adver­tis­ing on oth­er media.
        For a blog con­sid­er, the perma­link, or slug that each post uses. Most experts agree this be in Eng­lish (low­er case) with dash­es between words. Insignif­i­cant 1, 2 and 3 let­ter words are best removed. When the title is longer, edit the perma­link to ensure use of impor­tant words only. Perma­links are impor­tant because it is how Google will iden­ti­fy that a site is a blog. Words in the perma­link should match vital key­words. This assists the rank­ing of the indi­vid­ual post.

Keyword Density

Search by Peter Giblett        Dur­ing the course of my research I have looked at hun­dreds of posts on blogs and on gen­er­al writ­ing sites, prob­a­bly 50 per­cent of all posts have no key­words asso­ci­at­ed with them at all, the result of this is that Google (or oth­er search engines) has to guess what aspects the writer sees as impor­tant when it index­es the page and of course there is the pos­si­bil­i­ty it will get it wrong.

Writer Shaun Ander­son states “There is no one-size-fits-all opti­mal ‘key­word den­si­ty’ per­cent­age any­body has ever demon­strat­ed had direct pos­i­tive rank­ing improve­ment in a pub­lic are­na“. Sug­ges­tions that key­word den­si­ty of 3 – 5% are nec­es­sary for good results are not true. How Google uses key words will be chang­ing. I think it is hard to deter­mine a spe­cif­ic rule oth­er than the need to use key­words that are a nat­ur­al part of your work.

Per­son­al­ly, I have test­ed key­words and per­for­mance over time for my own arti­cles. Best result attained relate to a crit­i­cal analy­sis about a spe­cif­ic sub­ject. Pages which include many links to oth­er sites that also dis­cuss the same sub­ject. Although those sites may reach dif­fer­ent con­clu­sions. 24 hours after pub­lish­ing my post my arti­cle was ranked num­ber one on a rel­e­vant search in Google.

Gen­er­al­ly blogs rank low­er than com­mer­cial sites on any search result. Writ­ers, remem­ber this when cre­at­ing key­words and cat­e­goris­ing their post. Com­mer­cial organ­i­sa­tions spend a lot of mon­ey on analysing and fine tun­ing their search per­for­mance for every page they pub­lish. Time Blog­gers rarely have. Blog posts should have no more than two cat­e­gories assigned to them. In my expe­ri­ence they should have 1 or 2 key words or phras­es per 100 words writ­ten. If an arti­cle is 400 words in length then 10 to 12 key­words are accept­able. For a larg­er arti­cle, say 1200 words, then 12 to 20 key­words are appro­pri­ate, yet often few­er are per­fect­ly adequate.

One Internal Link Only?

        There is a myth that inter­nal links should be min­imised, but how valid is this? An inter­nal link is a hyper-link that takes a read­er to anoth­er sto­ry or page on your site, sure­ly this is a good thing to do? Accord­ing to SEO MOZInter­nal links are most use­ful for estab­lish­ing site archi­tec­ture and spread­ing link juice” and is about “build­ing an SEO-friend­ly site archi­tec­ture,” thus it can be con­clud­ed that link­ing to oth­er parts of your site brings a pos­i­tive effect, not a neg­a­tive one and is a prac­tice to be encour­aged. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing if a read­er is going to jump some­where else it is bet­ter they jump to anoth­er spot on your site than to anoth­er person’s.
        There are some com­mon­ly accept­ed rules:
  • Cre­ate lots of con­tent – a young blog requires many pages (real­is­ti­cal­ly 50 to 100) added to it before it attracts the seri­ous atten­tion of search engines. Once you have con­tent there is plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty to inter­link mate­r­i­al. Use the time while edit­ing your work to iden­ti­fy mate­r­i­al wor­thy of link­ing to.
  • Links must be anchored to text – Cru­cial in mak­ing the link seem nat­ur­al. Link­ing to part of a sen­tence rather than a list of links where only the URL is mentioned.
  • Be spe­cif­ic with your links – take the read­er to the page that has the detail they are look­ing for. Link­ing to the home­page is not helpful.
  • Pro­vide val­ue to your read­er – engage them by link­ing to oth­er mate­r­i­al that can help solve their prob­lems.
  • Links must be rel­e­vant – each link should have a sim­i­lar theme, for exam­ple a post dis­cussing the qual­i­ties of nat­ur­al spring water may link nat­u­ral­ly to one about min­er­als and the human body, but not to one about mechan­i­cal engineering.

Conclusion

This arti­cle should have cut through some of the myth, fan­ta­sy, and voodoo mum­bo-jum­bo asso­ci­at­ed with mak­ing blog posts more vis­i­ble. If you have a ques­tion please con­tact me and I will do my best to assist.

 

 

Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as a thank you for his research into the chal­lenges of SEO and what the blog­ger needs to be aware of. All images used here are either cre­at­ed or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a pub­lic domain loca­tion, such as Pixabay.

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9 Replies to “The Visible Post: The Bloggers Battle with Search Engines”

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