6 Overlooked Onsite SEO Techniques for Bloggers

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

6 Overlooked Onsite SEO Techniques for BloggersThere are two main elements of search engine optimization for blogs - onsite SEO, and offsite. When it comes to onsite SEO tactics, I've found that bloggers may in fact be overlooking a few very basic techniques, yet they are very important. Which techniques? The following is a closer look at 6 important onsite blog optimization tactics that will benefit every blogger.

6 Overlooked Onsite SEO Techniques for Bloggers

Today’s post is from guest author Michael Tomlinson. Michael Tomlinson is a professional writer and blogger with a particular interest in online marketing. With a degree in Social Psychology, he has been helping many different companies maintain their professional relationships with clients and business partners since 2007.

There are two main elements of SEO for blogs - onsite and offsite. When it comes to onsite SEO tactics, I've found that bloggers may in fact be overlooking a few very important techniques. Which techniques? The following is a closer look at 6 important onsite SEO tactics that will benefit every blogger.

1. Appropriate Use of rel="nofollow"

In 2005, Google's Matt Cutts and Blogger's Jason Shellen saw how rampant spam was on blogs. They suggested using the nofollow attribute value to address this issue. Using nofollow means that you are blocking the act of giving a vote for the site that a hyperlink points to.

Where and why should you use nofollow? Search engine spiders can't sign-up for a forum or login to an account, so nofollow is useful on those elements. Let Googlebot crawl the pages that benefit most from being indexed. According to a June 2010 YouTube video by Matt Cutts, you should NOT use nofollow on internal links because PageRank judges your site based partly on internal links. If internal links have the nofollow attribute value, they cannot benefit your rank. In other words, they cannot "flow" PageRank.

Matt stated further that it's okay to use nofollow on a login or About page, but that having those pages indexed doesn't hurt. To use nofollow, place rel="nofollow" immediately before the anchor text in a hyperlink, like so:

<a href="http://www.example.org/" rel="nofollow">Anchor text</a>

2. Navigation - Text or JavaScript?

A great number of themes in both the WordPress and Blogger platforms feature JavaScript navigation menus. Javascript menus are more eye catching than plain text, so they are good for human eyes, but search engine spiders cannot read through JavaScript. The navigation links of a blog should always be crawlable.

However, instead of deserting slick JavaScript menus altogether, simply keep them, but add text links that spiders can read. Creating a secondary, text-link navigation along the bottom of a page is one viable solution. Visitors to your blog will see and use the JavaScript option, and search engine spiders can index the other blog pages via the text links. You can have your cake and eat it too.

3. Readable URLs

Blog URLs in the form of "www.myreligion.org/showthread.php?t=18989" are visually displeasing and impossible to remember. A better, clearer version would be "www.myreligion.org/forum/january/sermon3/". This is much easier to recall. In addition, the refined URL also helps search engine spiders categorize pages more effectively. WordPress allows its bloggers to alter URLs, while Blogger does not allow this currently.

4. ALT Image Text

Three events that could preclude a visitor from seeing an image on your blog are SRC attribute errors, a slowed connection, and the use of browsers like Lynx or a screen reader. Naming images appropriately with ALT annotations is considerate to those visitors, and it has SEO benefits. Spiders crawl images, so make sure image file-names reflect what the images portray.

5. Keyword Density Percentage

Keyword density is the ratio of keywords to total text in a given post. For instance, a blog post has 1,000 words. If the same keyword is repeated 20 times within those 1,000 words, that's a density of 2%. So what percentage of total words on your blog should be keywords? Is there an optimal percentage?

In 2006, Matt Cutts wrote a piece about keyword density, and this advice remains true today. The recommended keyword density is between two and eight percent. The longer the post, the greater the density can be.

6. Keywords in Anchor Text

What percentage of anchor text should be keywords? The argument is similar to that of keyword density: if there is a correct percentage, it probably changes.

Some professionals argue that even if an optimal percentage exists, it's a tiny range. The best practice is perhaps to vary your usage: use a combination of keywords and keyword-related text in some links, a mix of keywords and their direct synonyms in other links, and then just keywords for the rest of the links.

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