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Making your blog look pretty is fun. It’s the gateway to share your perfectly composed (obviously) content with the world.

Crawlers

A search engine crawler, spider or bot is an automated script or program, which ‘crawls’ the web in order to feed data to the search engine. The crawler collects information such as your URL, page titles, meta tag, content and links. In order for this information to be indexed correctly, it needs to be able to find or access the relevant information.

Natural Content

All though having a layout, which you think looks good is fantastic, usability should really be your main focus. This includes the content you write on your blog. Search engine’s like Google will reward you for your efforts  as your content will be recognised as relevant to certain keywords.

Focus!

Unlike a store, you’re selling your content to those stumbling across your blog. Whereas a commercial site may focus on areas such as products, offers, locations and reviews you will be focusing on the posts you create. The focus of your blog should be relevant to the search terms you want to rank for. Feature your prize articles and interesting content in order to stop people closing the tab.

URL

Ideally, you should have your own domain name, something which naturally fits with your blog. It terms of SEO a .blogspot or .wordpress blog etc may not be held worthy to others seeking to engage with you (natural and relevant collaborations of course!). The problem .blogspot etc is that the domain authority filters from .blogspot giving what is really a false domain authority, rather than your real ranking based on your content alone. And a URL just looks nice doesn’t it? It gives you more credibility when you get that click.

Internal links

It’s important your site is easy to navigate. Create static pages that categorise your content into relevant sections if you have several subjects. This also means your site is easier to crawl for the bots and us. These categories should have an order that is structured in the most relevant way such as home page, category page. Subcategory page, detail page and so on.

Nofollow links

For links that you do not want to be crawled, no follow links are there to stop link juice flowing through back to that domain (sounds lovely!) Any page which you do not see fit to pass rank to will not receive that benefit from a link.

Images

Although cute pics are fun, use them sparingly unless it’s relevant to your subject (a photography blog would be weird without photos).

Don’t ignore the title or alt text on an image when you are uploading them. When the little crawler bots are browsing your page, they can’t see your pictures.

The title tag provides additional information (which can be seen in some browsers if you hover over an image) and the alt text provides a description for those who may have images disabled in their browser.

This also means that your visitors will be able to find you via images, they may be searching for a picture of something or other but it’s unlikely they’ll find yours if it’s not labelled correctly. However this is not an excuse to keyword-stuff, that’s still naughty.

General tips for optimising your blog

• Consider your audience, your content should sell itself to them
• Make sure your titles are suitable for your target keyword
• Navigation should be simple and quick (unnecessary drop-downs and animations are irritating)
• Make use of meta, title, h1/2/3 tags where you can
• Include easy access for social engagement
• Use crawlable web fonts where possible
• Include a call to action (to follow your blog or view more etc.)
• Update as regularly as you can
• Avoid keyword stuffing. If you have to overload your content with keywords to get notice then it’s probably not very good…
• Test it. When you visit a page on your blog what do you think? Look for anything that could affect usability

This is another haphazard guide which will hopefully give you a little insight into how your website is ranked. Tweet me @sarahxsarahh

Sarah x