Thursday, June 7, 2012

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips for the blogger.

The application of SEO in blogging for the cottage industry and citizens journalism.

Largely, (please feel free to comment if you have a differing view) citizens journalism and sales is apples and apples of a different flavor. In both cases, folks are seeking to get their message to the fore, with some "product" or another. If the sale is a view, or results in a dollar you can say that your goal has been met, at least from a web marketing perspective. 

Here's the breakdown on posting blogs.  There are several very good reasons why main stream media news outlets and larger product outlets are higher in search rankings, lets start with the basics we can break it down into further nuances if questions come up.

The Title:

How a post is titled will largely dictate how it is (at first) received and interpreted by a search engine.  The more specifically targeted the post title, the more likely someone searching for those specific key words will find your information. A fine example was my (completely incorrect) post about "Anti-Foreclosure Law Rally on the Statehouse Steps 6/6/2012" blasted to the top of regional search queries.  1) It was the only post (largely because of it's incorrectness) 2) Anyone who'd heard a rumor and searched "rally on the statehouse steps wednesday 6/6/2012" or "anti-foreclosure law rally statehouse" much to my chagrin, saw my very incorrect post on the first page of search results.

So, the lesson learned: be as specific as possible in the use of your "headlines", specificity coupled with volume will get you more genuine click-throughs than being vague and putting out the same thing over and over. (also be extra very careful that the information is correct)

Subheading or "thesis"

Your subheading should reflect the nature of the body of your post.  In the secondary stages of archiving, search engines correlate the information on your page, with the context of the links, language being used, image meta information, and the labeling and search descriptions of your post.  By making sure that your subheading contextualizes a particular post with the rest of your website you are giving search engines one more "path" to archive.


When in-line linking to provide a resource, be sure to use the option of "open in another tab" or something to that effect. Avoid opening in a pop up window, or a secondary window.  Many web browsers have automatic pop up blockers, and an extra window to contend with is just a pain in the ass.  As to out-linking from your site, there should be just as many links internally to provide context as out.

Your website should be integrated within itself, including in line contextual links, as well as to the outside "interwebs."  Again, this comes down to archiving, you are providing yet another path where contextually correct information "links" to contextually correct information.  From an overall stand point, this will raise your websites level of "awareness" within specific search terms. 

Subject Matter:

Keep it simple with each post.  You can always make several posts, each one laser targeted to a specific subject, and contextually appropriate to the rest of your website.  What you can't undo is several posts worth of out of context rambling.  If you start on one subject, finish that thought, move on to another post.  Blogging is a dynamic platform, there is an expectation for several posts a week.


Personally, I'm a huge fan of comments.  Small businesses may feel different either from a product or customer service perspective.  Here are a couple of reasons why commentary is important in blogging.  By allowing commentary on your website, you are facilitating open discourse, publicly searchable, readily available discourse for others to view and join in on.  From a purely selfish perspective, you are allowing others to generate content for your site, content that, (in theory) has context to the body of the text on your website presently. 

Text formatting:

Use the same sized text for the large majority of the body of your post.  Folks are used to seeing thoughts paragraphed and spaced, with little signposts telling them when the thought process is about to change.  Use that mindset to your advantage.  Keep an eye on your keyword usage and direct it to the left hand side of the post.  Instinctively Western civilization looks to the left side of a page for important information (illuminated lettering probably has something to do with that), make an effort to make points early and to the left.  

That's what I've got for the basics (right now), I'll be following up with more over the next few days, weeks, months about how to more effectively reach your audience.  Now? Off to the common for the Bandstand Meetup!

Happy blogging!


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