I was reading Matt Cutts latest post a couple of days ago about blogging and how to improve your SEO.
The post goes over the basics of blogging:-
- Write about those things your interested in
- Be Relevant
- Be Interesting
- Be original
We all ‘should’ know this already so I am not going to go over these aspects, however what I want to look at, is what we should be doing to increase the rank of our blogs on Google, what SEO measures we need to take in order to move up the SERPS. You will of heard some of this before and some maybe new, remember that repitition is the mother of skill
What really stood out to me was that WordPress is openly endorsed as the prefered SEO platform as it takes care of “80 – 90%” of search engine optimisation mechanics. Something I have been banging on about here and here. Do you think Matt Cutts is secretly reading SEO Wizz?
After Matt makes this declaration regarding the WordPress platform he then goes onto show us exactly how we should be setting up our on page optimisation. This is the part we are interested in here on SEO Wizz. So let’s take a look at a few things;
PageRank Does Matter
I am known for declaring that PageRank makes up a small part of a sites ranking ability, however if were talking blogs it does give a significant advantage and here’s how.
Google crawls the web in order of PageRank or in other words, Google crawls high PR pages first making it’s way down to the lower PR (less important pages). How does this apply.
OK.. let’s say you have an industry specific blog and your competing with 100 other blogs. You all issue stories about a new industry change on a monday morning, Google crawls the higher PR blogs first and the lower PR blogs last, who’s story do you think is going to rank higher for the breaking news?
The higher the PR the Higher the importance of the content.
Matt goes on to give this very simple formula:
“PageRank = The number and importance of links pointing to you”
The number of links is easy to understand, the more the better.
Importance is something that is a little more ambigious. In my opinion link importance is made up of:-
- Anchor Text
- Page Relevance
- Link Age
- Link profile of linking page
- Number of outbound links on linking page
There are probably 100′s more but these are the main elements of importance.
I am only applying this theory to new fresh content and believe ranking for specific keywords involves a lot more than PageRank.
On Page Tips
There was some very specific advice given on page optimisation.
- You should be looking to use keywords you think a searcher may type in and use with different variations of it on your page. I have always felt it is important to use variation in your on and off page content.
I target keywords like: – seo, search engine optimisation, google seo, seo services.
However I don’t simply use these keywords over and over again, I use 100′s of variations from a list I compiled before developing my site. This is why keyword research is so important.
- A mention is given to the alt attribute which made me chuckle a bit, not because I don’t agree with it, but because I have read so many ‘authoritve’ SEO blogs recently that rubbish the alt attribute, claiming it is a waste of time.
Well not according to Google
It not only helps build online relevance but also helps optimise your site for image search. Don’t leave it out when it is so easy to implement.
- Your url paths were the next topic. Are you using them to create relevance? Well you should be. Matt Cutts has always stressed the benefit of adding keywords to your URL, so if your using wordpress you should create custom urls in your settings and if your using blogger, once you have posted, a url made from your blog title is automatically created.
(If you want the title tags of your pages on Blogger to be the same as your post title, you need to implement the advice in this post on blogger title tags)
WordPress gives you the option to fully customise your urls so maximum focus can be passed to your important keywords, whilst keeping your post title natural.
- Use your keywords in your categories is important. Even though this point is not expanded any further I have managed to pick up good rankings on keywords I have emphasised in my categorie list.
Frequency of New Content
Matt stresses the importance of updating your blog regularly, however the advice is given from a brand/reputation point of view with no mention of how the frequecy of updated information can effect SEO.
I have a little info to add in this area.
Over the past 2 months I have been involved in some research into how changing content can effect SEO inparticularly rank. The research related to a product created by Gerry Cullen at Prengines.com. The product is a news box which creates spider friendly, “natural” content for your pages.
One of the tests indicated to us that a site with frequently changing content is deep crawled twice as much as a static site. This was confirmed in Webmaster Tools.
Just explain deep crawl a little……
Deep crawl is the ‘main’ mechanism by which Google index’s content and updates page info. It happens once a month usually and the pages of your site are updated in the index.
So if you have regular changing content on your site or you update your blog more, Google will be more inclined to deep crawling your site and making any necessary updates, faster.
One of the last things to be mentioned on the slides was the use of the canonical tag “rel=canonical”. This has been a popular topic recently as it allows you to completely avoid the perils of duplicate content. WordPress allows a canonical tag with each wordpress page/post, defining the ‘master’ url that should be indexed. This is something that Blogger does not allow you to do and could prove detrimental.
I have spoken with a number of clients over the past month who have had pages taken from the index due to multiple urls that have been created for the same content. This is why the canonical tag is a must.
The slides also talk about reputation management and how to enhance your blogging experience by using Googles tools such as webmaster tools, feedburner and analytics. I literally wanted to comment on the SEO advice and tips. If you want to see all the slides visit Matt’s Blog.
Hope you got something from this,
Author: Tim (294 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.