The Visible Post: The Bloggers Battle with Search Engines

        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 the visibility of 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 are used on each page.
  4. There is plenty of good quality content on the page and not all is keyword specific.
  5. There are analysis and metrics available for the site.
Right move by Wokandapix CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay        These may sound very technical but it doesn’t mean they have to 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, indeed 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 should be used as keywords, normally this is 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 has been 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 webuildatlanta.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 that is true is that they can aid the memorability of the site, especially if associated with advertising on other media.
        For a blog there is something else to consider, the permalink or slug that each post uses, most experts agree this should be in English (lower case) with dashes between words, having insignificant 1, 2 and 3 letter words removed. When the title is longer you should edit the permalink to ensure that only important words are used. Permalinks are important because it is how Google will identify that a site is a blog if words in the permalink matches keywords used this actually 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“. It has been suggested that keyword density of 3-5% is necessary for good results, but 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. The best result attained related to a critical analysis about a specific subject, which had many links to other sites that also discussed the same subject, but reached 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 and this must always be remembered by any writer when creating keywords and categorising their post. Remember commercial organisations spend a lot of money on analysing and fine tuning their search performance for every page they publish. Blog articles should have no more than two categories assigned to them, but 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 may be considered 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 MOZ “Internal 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 – this is crucial is making the link seem natural, linking to part of a sentence rather than being 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, a link to the homepage is not normally 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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7 thoughts on “The Visible Post: The Bloggers Battle with Search Engines

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