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We all want our blogs found and would love to have a steady stream of traffic.

For bloggers, finding a way to meet this goal, usually tops our list of priorities.

Today’s Lesson

When I started blogging, I often felt like I was talking to myself, or just documenting my thoughts in cyberspace.

I searched “how to drive traffic to a blog”, and read about the importance of SEO (search engine optimization). What I read was above my level of expertise, and even though I knew it was important, I didn’t understand what I needed to do.

Several months ago, Catherine Lawson did a guest post on my blog, and wrote an article titled: Increased Search Engine Traffic For Lazy People.

I took her advice and began using the SEO plugin All In One SEO Pack, by uberdose. Whether I have it maximized, is another question.

Additional research on SEO recently took me to Lorelle’s site. In her post titled: Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization, she answers all of our burning questions. Lorelle takes it from the beginning and guides us through the complete process of optimizing our blogs. The post is long, but it’s filled with tons of valuable hints, links and tips. It’s a page worth bookmarking.

As I work my way through the steps she outlines, I continue to realize the importance of working “behind the scenes” of our blogs. It’s one thing to post on a regular schedule, but to get found, we must make time to learn the workings of SEO.

Today’s Assignment

Is your blog optimized for search engines?

Do you fully understand SEO?

What challenges have you met along the way?

What have you found works best?


Photo Credit: sergis blog’s photostream

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  1. Thanks for the pointer!

    These are that worked the best (I got better PgaeRank)
    – Add site map, here is the plugin i used
    http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/

    – Add dynamic titles – here are great articles by the one who’s in the know
    http://www.pearsonified.com/category/seo_for_everybody

    Alik | PracticeThis.coms last blog post..Motivated By Failure

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Alik,

    Thank you for sharing the links.

    I am using the same site map plugin your suggested, but hadn’t heard of adding dynamic titles. I’ll check it out.

  3. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – thanks for the resources.
    – Robin

  4. Something I’ve seen people do is whenever they write a post that contains their main keyword, they’ll link that keyword to their home page. I find it slightly spammy because it’s useless for your readers to see a link to your home page when they’re already on your blog. Still, I hear that it’s effective in getting you ranked for that keyword.

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..Desegregating Our Minds

  5. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, now you know I don’t know what SEO is, lol. I think I tried to explain it on my blog and compared it to LoJack..people can find you if you use it.

    Is your blog optimized for search engines? No, unfortunately it isn’t.

    Do you fully understand SEO? Nope. I will, however, since you break things down so nicely give it a second look and see if I see an increase. Now does this involve checking your stats cause I don’t. Do you have to spend a lot of time optimizing it and putting in key words.

    What challenges have you met along the way? Um, just trying to understand it all, but not tryig to do it all.

    What have you found works best? Prayer?

    Naturals last blog post..But I Can’t Feel Anything – Does Using Plastic Desensitize the Act of Spending Money

  6. Hey Barb – I’ll check out Caths link because seriously, I don’t know anything about SEO. Everytime I tried to get into it, my eyes glaze over

    But my posting stall is because I’m doing all this “admin” stuff to my blog so no time like the present! :)

    JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, Yous last blog post..The Winner of the InMyHeels/Lipton FUJI Bike Giveaway Is…..!

  7. Interestingly, Lorelle’s page about optimizing your page/site for search engines does not include a page “description” and “keywords” meta tag in the page’s code. ?

    There is a lot of useful info there though. Thanks for sharing Barbara.

    My site and blog are optimized for search engines; however, I do have to say search engine optimization is never ending.

    I understand SEO but unless you’re Aaron Wall or one of the designers of a search engine, it’s pretty hard to know it all.

    The challenges I’ve met on the way is time. With so many other things to do in business and life in general, learning SEO is just another thing I need to do (and it comes easier for me because I have a programming degree – so I could only imagine how hard it would be for others).

    What works best for me is knowledge, of course. But for those who don’t know much about SEO, here’s 7 quick things you should know and do:

    1. install All-in-one SEO pack for WordPress

    2. install WP-Cache for wordpress (speeds things up)

    3. When you write blog posts, try to make sure your title has a keyword in it that people would type in a search engine to find your post. Keyword phrases, like “how to start a blog” is best. Just remember writing for humans though is more important than writing for Googlebot.

    4. for every post you write, you’ll see just below your text editor (after you’ve installed SEO pack) a bar that you can expand, I think it says “All-In-One SEO Pack.”

    Fill in a description of what your article is about and fill in the keywords box as well.

    5. Know that search engines place a lot of weight on what the text says in links – like a link that says “how to start a blog.” That would be more important to our buddy Googlebot than a link that says, “Click here.”

    6. Get a lot of people linking to you. Google likes that. It’s best if the people linking to you have sites similar and/or compliments yours.

    7. Most importantly – write for humans, not search engines. If you can write for both, that’s best. But humans are more important, especially since Google heavily weighs your website based on how many relevant links come to you. So write for humans and get them linking.

    There’s a lot more to SEO of course, but if you don’t know much about SEO, these 7 are great starting places.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..How To Buy A House Like A Real Estate Investor: Part 5 – Finding a Realtor

  8. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Robin,

    Welcome to BWAB, and you’re welcome. Hope they help.

    Hi Hunter,

    A link to your homepage? That’s an interesting concept.

    Hi Natural,

    I love your “prayer” answer. Grab an “A” :)

    Hi JEMi,

    The admin stuff does take time away from posting, but is essential. It’s just a matter of finding time.

    Hi John,

    How kind of you to share seven tips with the BWAB readers.

    Writing for search engines is something I don’t often think about on this blog. I get a thought and just start typing. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

    #5 Makes a lot of sense. I’ll have to try that.

    These are all great ideas. I do agree, optimizing for search engines is ever changing, time consuming and vital to the success of a blog.

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Aaaahhhhhhhhhh…If I hear about SEO one more time I’m going to shoot myself…LOL

    I like what Jon Hoff said, “Write for humans.”

    Chriss last blog post..14 Things I Learned While Raising Teenagers

  10. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Chris,

    Oh no, don’t shoot. 😆

    Even if you don’t learn it, we’ll still come and visit.

  11. Barbara –

    Knowing SEO is important but as John & Chris suggested, I strongly believe in focusing more on what readers like than to manipulate content to get more readers. Nonetheless, it is essential to know the basics of SEO for more traffic.

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.coms last blog post..Guest Post At AlexShalman

  12. Thanks for writing this post Barbara. I needed it.

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafes last blog post..The Benefits of Daydreaming

  13. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Shilpan,

    Yes, writing good content will always be essential. Even though good content may attract referral traffic and/or direct traffic, SEO is important to gain search engine traffic. With a combination of all sources, a blog should see steady growth.

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    You’re welcome Mark. Hope it helps.

  15. Hi cousin Barbara,

    I haven’t read the articles you’ve listed, but would like to share a great link builder with your community. It’s http://www.socialmarker.com .

    Each time you write a blog post, you can enter the basic info (title, perma link, tags, description) into socialmarker, and then use socialmarker to go to social networking sites like digg/stumbleupon/delicious/etc and post a link to your blog post. (It only works with Firefox).

    It’s very time consuming to set up the initial accounts, but once that’s done, the process is really smooth. You can also post links to articles and web pages by other folks that you like–this can be very helpful to them.

    From a SEO point of view, Google loves links from social networking sites. So these links help you and those whose links you add to your accounts. Socialmarker really makes this process a breeze.

    Have fun! Kaye

  16. J2RNo Gravatar says:

    the problem with SEO, is that there are a lot of companies/people trying to play this game with “gray” methodologies.

    eg: Google gives a lot of importance to linkbacks to your blog.
    Because of that, now there are companies where you can “buy” linkbacks to your site.

    it really makes it hard to do SEO the right way… So while I think it’s important to worry about SEO, I still think the main focus should be in quality posts, which I think you already have nailed down. :)

  17. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Cousin Kaye,

    Thank you for the link to “social maker”. I’ll definitely check it out. It sounds fascinating.

    Hi J2R

    Thank you for your kind words.

    It is unfortunate that we do have to use SEO to some degree and can’t just rely on publishing quality posts to get found.

  18. I just want to know how and why google chooses certain images from my blog and not others, it has chosen close to a dozen and linked those images to every word i put on my blog but completely ignored hundreds of other unique images.

    is there a cut off amount from a certain source? once google indexes a dozen pics then it doesn’t put any new ones in the image list?

    Darren Daz Coxs last blog post..Look at it backwards or from behind

  19. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Darren,

    I wish I had an answer to your question, but I don’t. You could try asking that question on Google’s webmaster tool page. Here’s a link to it: Google.com/webmasters

  20. RokNo Gravatar says:

    Hi! Thanks for some tips about SEO. I think, that I don’t fully understand SEO, but I’m trying to learn about that. I like to read posts like this, too.