Any website receives human visits from three major traffic categories – direct visits, referral visits and search engine visits. While you, as a webmaster or blogger do not have much control over direct and referral categories, the search traffic can be improved drastically via simple Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tricks and some discipline.
Assuming that you (1) have submitted your blog to search engines (2) search engine spiders actually crawl your site frequently (3) your blog theme is SEO optimized and (4) you have the All-in-one SEO plugin (or similar) installed on your blog, the following ten-minute touch up for your blog posts will give you more search visitors (Blogger blogs may do only permalink, keyword stuffing and linking part)
#1 Find your keywords and key-phrases
The most basic thing about SEO is that you have to stuff the phrases that typically search visitors search for into your content. Now it doesn’t help if you stuff as many such key-phrases or keywords as possible buy you need to optimally do it and at the right places.
Where to find the keywords?: Google AdWords Keyword Tool is and excellent free tool that gives you a lot of suggestions on what typically people search for. Use ‘Synonyms’ option to get more receommendations and as a thumb rule, don’t go for those keywords that have high competition as your stronger competitors’ pages will beat you in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages)
For our usage, that I will mention soon, you need to pick at least 5 to 6 keywords that are meaning-wise equal to the top keywords and getting reasonable number of searches (I shall write about keyword research and various keyword tools in another post)
#2 Your Post Title
Once you have the keywords with you, you need to modify your post title not only to help the referral visits (by having a killer post title) but also the search traffic. For this, include one (or two max) keyword from our shortlist that has the highest number of searches. While doing so, please remember not to make the title sound artificial (e.g. The original title that I planned for this post was The Ten-Minute SEO before you publish Your Blog Post! but it was changed to the current one after stuffing in a phrase that I thought will receive a few search hits, once indexed.
#3 Your Post Permalink
The post titles are human readable phrases where as the permalinks need not be. You can now work on the post permalink to make it a search friendly link. It can even contain more than one search key-phrase from our list. You can also take out unnecessary connecting words from permalinks unless they are part of the actual searched phrases as per the keyword tool. So our permalink now became quick-blog-post-seo-wordpress-seo! This gives the post the possibility of figuring in three different search phrases, which will be as good as the top keyword that your blog cannot compete for.
(There is a myth that your hottest or best key-phrase should be in the beginning of the permalinks. I am not sure how true it is)
Do not mistake your tags with key phrases or keywords. For example, your WordPress tag should be as generic as possible. For example, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, WordPress can form the tag set for this post where as keywords cannot be a little single word. Tags, in fact, help in aggregation (and hence referral visits from aggregators such as Technorati). Two to four is an ideal number for tags per post, according to me.
#5 First 150 characters of your post content
All-in-one SEO Plugin uses the first 150 characters of your post content as the description for the page and hence, you need to stuff a couple of keyphrases in this ‘locomotive’ part of the post content. When you modify this part to put keywords, please read again and again to make sure that you are not killing the flow of the post or meaning.
If you do not want to change this part, you can still do it via All-in-One SEO Pack’s Description setting for the post.
#6 Stuff in keywords in the post content
You have to now use your keywords in a few places in the post so that the blog post content has some of our keywords. It will be more effective if the keywords are used on H2, H3 tags as well as on anchor links. Again, make sure that the readability is not affected by your changes. If you are using any image in your post, its ‘alt’ tag can contain some key-phrases as well.
(A few people believe that making key-phrases ‘bold’ actually helps, though I do not know anything about it)
#7 Keywords section of All-in-One SEO Pack
Now all those keywords and key-phrases that you have shortlisted from the Keyword Tool can be put under the ‘Keywords’ section for the post as a comma separated string. This more or less completes our blog post SEO
#8 Give love to Google
If you mention any Google product or service in your post, please make sure that you ‘follow’ that link (rel=’nofollow’ removed) and I have found that in most cases you get a PR (at least 0) assigned to your page, faster than other pages.
#9 Internal-link using key-phrases
As per #6, you could use as many key-phrases as possible on anchor links. Hence, look for any old posts that can be potentially linked from the post being edited. Also, in the future, remember to use the opportunity to link from newer posts to this one using the keywords that you have.
#10 Review, Rework and Optimize
The keyword based SEO may not be complete in the first publishing itself. You need to monitor the search visits to this particular post via Google Analytics and see if any modification is required in terms of title changes, keyword additions/changes etc. Usually it is not a good idea to change the permalinks – unless absolutely necessary – while editing an old post to do a quick seo. You can play around with titles and keywords under the All-in-One SEO options for the post.
After making your changes, you need to actually ‘Publish’ the post (not just ‘Save’) again to make sure that the spiders crawl and index your reworked post.
I hope the SEO tips mentioned above are useful to you. Please note that I do not do SEO for all my posts but a selected few that I think need more exposure. You may also read one of my olders posts on how to seo your WordPress blog on your own.