Make Your Blog Search Engine Friendly

Posted November 14, 2005 by katy8439 in Internet

Ensuring that search engine spiders find your site attractive and can locate it easily are keys to maintaining a successful blog. This tutorial contains useful tips and instructions for achieving this goal.


After researching this article, I implemented many of the suggestions that I found. I have been amazed by how much better my site is performing in searches just with a few minor changes such as linking titles through and avoiding “click here” links.

Here are a few of my tips to optimize your blog for search engines.

1. Avoid the use of nested tables.

Unlike a human, spiders navigate around your site via the code. If you have table within table within table, this is a lot of extra code that the spider has to get through in order to actually get to your content.

The old version of my site http://www.katywhitton.com/blogold used nested tables for layout, which looks nice but is difficult for the spider to parse. The newest version of the site (http://www.flippingheck.com) uses pure CSS for the main layout. There are a couple of small tables dotted around for various reasons, but these are only one layer deep. Thus the spiders are able to read them easily.

2. Validate your code.

If your code contains errors, the spider might not parse your page easily. It may even stop parsing your page altogether. Not only that (and more importantly), it may not load properly on your visitors’ browsers. Check that the site works in Internet Explorer, Netscape, FireFox and Opera. Then validate it.

HTML validation: W3c HTML/XHTML validator

CSS Validation: w3C CSS Validator

Make sure that you have the correct Document Type Declaration associated with your page. (HTML, XML, etc.)

3. Use “Robots.txt.”

The robots.txt tells the search engine spider which files it can access on your site and which it cannot. This is useful if you want to hide files or directories from the search engine, but it also points the spider in the right direction when it enters the site.

4. Do not use woolly titles.

Use post titles that contain keywords found in the article instead of some generic-sounding text. Be as descriptive as possible for the benefit of your search engines and your readers. See Writing effective post titles from Problogger for more.

5. Link your titles.

Simply linking my titles to the permalink article page has improved search engine rankings quite considerably. According to some sites, search engines use the posts’ titles over any other content first as a means to spider the site. It is a simple and yet highly effective solution.

6. Permalinks and Featured Posts

As mentioned above, permalinks provide an excellent way for spiders to find key terms on your site. Some blogging software makes it very difficult for you to find articles once they have “fallen off” the homepage, meaning that the spider (and the user) has to wade through what could be hundreds of links in your archive section.

Add a “Featured Posts” section to your blog navigation so that search engines can see your best/most popular/most interesting posts from your homepage. This will help your users find relevant content as well.

7. Interlinking

Link to previous posts or articles on related themes, or provide tags that pull up related articles for you. Interlinking provides an excellent way of providing more detailed information about the subject and allows the spider and user to jump to related posts quickly and easily without having to navigate the dreaded archives again.

8. Linking to Other Sites

If you link to other sites, this can be a means of increasing your search engine spidering (although getting a reciprocal link is much better). Try to avoid using blogrolling code that outputs these links using javascript as search engines tend to ignore this type of code.

9. Trackback

Trackbacks are a great way to get your site listed on another persons site. Have look at the free trackback and commenting tool run by HaloScan.

10. Post in Forums

Post relevant content in forums. You should link to posts that you have written as long as they are relevant to the forum discussion. This will get the search engines to your site in no time.

11. Content – The Most Important Factor!

Make sure that the content is up-to-date, has no spelling errors, and contains the keywords that you would expect a user to type in when they are looking for a similar post.

Remember: If your keywords are spelled incorrectly, then only users using the same spelling will find your post.

Also, if you are referencing other people’s posts, do not put an exact copy of their post into your blog even if you give them credit and link to them. Not only is this rude, but search engines, like Google, remove what they perceive to be duplicate posts from their indexes. Therefore, you would not get counted in the results.

12. General Points

Make sure that your meta tags are relevant to the content. Use alt tags on images and title tags on links. The more descriptive you can make your page and its content the easier it will be for a search engine spider to put the content in context.

For further information, see the following article:

Top 5 Mistakes in Search Engine Optimization
Check Your Link Popularity
Blog directories and submission sites

Thismay seem like a lot of hard work, but a little effort will take you a long way.

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