March 24, 2009

SEO Suggestions

I am not going to write a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A lot of the suggestions people make about SEO are hotly contested by others. If I mention a rule here, there will probably be other experts who don’t agree. So I am just going to say what I have done, which seems to have worked pretty well. I am also not going to go into a great deal of detail about these suggestions. I consider them more advanced, and I am not an expert at SEO yet.

Your blog will do just fine even if you don’t do any of this. WordPress is already SEO optimized in the way it was built, so it is not really necessary to do a lot more SEO. At most, it will give you a bit of an edge, unless the topic is really competitive.

So here are my (admittedly subjective) suggestions:

1. Use the SEO Title Tag plugin. This allows you to have a different page title than your post title. If the two are different, it helps you with Google, because if you have too much the same on a page – title tag, post title, anchor text of people linking to you, etc., it can start to look over-
optimized, which Google does not like.

2. I use the Related Posts plugin. The version I use is an older version that doesn’t seem to be available any more, but if you search in google for “related post plugin” or “related entries plugin”, you should be able to find a similar one.
This plugin searches through your posts and gives you a list of related posts that you can put at the end of your blog post. The good thing about this for SEO purposes is that older posts get linked to from the front page once in a while, and it is good to interlink your blog somewhat anyway.

3. The more good links you get to your blog, the better, just be sure they are good quality links.

4. I don’t worry much about things like keyword density. The search engines are not fooled by this kind of stuff any more. Just write naturally about the subjects that you want to rank for.

5. Don’t buy any links to your blog, unless they are “nofollow” links. Google has been penalizing paid links unless they are “nofollowed”. You never know how Google could find out if links are paid or not. I would not risk it, if you want to rank in Google.

In the same vein, if you sell links on your blog, make sure they are “nofollow” links. Google has been penalizing or threatening to penalize both parties to the transaction, if links are sold without “nofollow”.

6. Link out to authority blogs in your topic area. This will help you with the search engines. People are afraid to link out sometimes, but as long as it is a good site, it benefits both you and your visitors when you link out. Don’t link to bad or spammy sites, though.