Blogspot SEO Guide
Posted on 12. May, 2009 by Julius.
Every blogger knows about search engine optimization these days. Most of these people try to really optimize their blogs but some fail because they use special software or certain blogging platform, e.g. Blogspot.
Because there are only few guides that exist for improving your search engine ranking with Blogspot blogs I will cover some of the main aspects that should ultimately improve your ranking.
Just a short note: There is no Blogspot plugin that will help you with SEO like there is in WordPress. Blogger doesn’t have plugins so all you can do is what I have outlined below.
There are lots of different aspects that you should change on your blog in order to rank better with search engines.
Structure Your Text
This is actually a not so obvious thing to do but it is extremely important for humans and for search engines.
With structuring your text I mean that you should make part of the text stand out from the rest, e.g. headlines. You should wrap your headlines in <h1>, <h2> or <h3> tags depending on how important the headline is (h1 being the most important). Headlines are also great for dividing text.
You should further underline text or make it bold or italic to set it apart from the other content. Do you notice how I used headlines in this article to mark important sections?
Header and Description Optimization
Go to your control panel, to Settings -> Basics then enter the title and a keyword rich description of your blog.
You then of course need to save the changes you made. This is one step that is essential for ranking better with search engines.
Let Search Engines Find Your Blog
Another very simple step you could take is to go to your dashboard again to Settings -> Basics and then look for Add blog to our listings and Let search engines find your blog and make sure both of these options are set to Yes.
The default Blogspot titles are not optimized for search engines and that is why we need to change them. Here is what we are going to change:
Default Blogspot Title: Blog Title: Post Title
SEO Post Title: Post Title: Blog Title
SEO Homepage Title: Blog Title – Keywords
We are only going to use the two latter titles since they are constructed for SEO purposes.
This might seem like a small difference but search engines actually pay a lot of attention to the first few words of your title, therefore is this change necessary.
To implement this change we need to replace the old code including the title tags with the following:
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "item"'> <title><data:blog.pageName/> - <data:blog.title/></title> <b:else/> <title><data:blog.pageTitle/> - Keyword1 - Keyword2</title> </b:if>
The code above checks to see whether the page loaded is an article page and then uses the SEO post title. Otherwise it loads the homepage SEO title.
Now the last part between the <b:else/> and the </b:if> only shows up on your Homepage. Therefore you should add some keywords and replace Keyword1 etc. with keywords that you want your Blogger blog to rank for, e.g. you could replace Keyword1 with Internet Marketing.
If you are not using advanced blogger templates then go ahead and use this code, taken from an excellent article on Blogspot SEO:
<title><MainPage><$BlogTitle$></MainPage><ArchivePage> <$BlogPageTitle$></ArchivePage> <itempage><blogger><$BlogItemTitle$></blogger> </itempage></title>
Change Your Meta Data
The meta data is another way to tell search engines what your web site is about. The <meta name=”description”> offers you a way to sum up your web sites in a few words (around 160 characters).
The keywords tag <meta name=”keywords”> gives you the possibility to do the same as above just by using keywords.
In order to make it easier for you I’ve provided some code for rather old Blogspot templates:
<MainPage><meta name="description" content="<$BlogDescription$>" /> </MainPage><ArchivePage><meta name="description"content="<$BlogPageTitle$> Archive, <$BlogDescription$>" /></ArchivePage><ItemPage> <meta name="description" content="<Blogger><$BlogItemTitle$> </Blogger> - <$BlogTitle$>" /></ItemPage>
If you are using new advanced Blogger templates then I recommend going ahead and using this code:
<b:if cond='data:blog.url == data:blog.homepageUrl'> <meta name="description" content="this is the blog description" /> <meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, keyword3" /> </b:if>
This code was taken from a different Blogger SEO guide.
Optimizing Your Links
Everyone uses links but there is one thing you need to know about them. First of all when linking to an article of yours or of somebody else, it is always advisable to change the link anchor text to something that contains keywords that you want to rank for. Here is an example of a bad anchor text:
<a href="http://myhomepage.com/image-editing">This is the Link Anchor Text </a>
In this case, let’s assume that the article located under the URL from above is about image editing. Linking to it with the following anchor text would be much better than the above, in terms of SEO.
<a href="http://myhomepage.com/image-editing">A New Image Editing Guide</a>
Notice how the keywords image, editing and guide are included. This is for SEO purposes.
One way to take this even further is to add a title attribute to the link. The title attribute is the text that will be shown when people hover over the link. Usually it is advisable to include a similar text as the anchor text:
<a title="Image Editing Guide" href="http://myhomepage.com/image-editing"> A New Image Editing Guide</a>
Of course you can vary a little bit to make it look more human but that should be a good way to increase your search engine ranking.
Improving Images Tags
One way you can improve the ranking of your pictures is to add the alt attribute to your pictures. Actually it is necessary to do so since otherwise the HTML code will be invalid. Add keywords to the alt attribute as shown in the section above.
<img src="http://myhomepage.com/image_editing_guide.jpg" alt="image editing guide" />
Change the File Name of your Pictures
Another way to optimize images is to use a descriptive file name. Again instead of using a file name such as DSC_001.jpg you could change it to image_editing_guide.jpg if the file is about image editing.
Adding a Related Post Plug-in
Related posts are a great way to show readers what other content you have similar to the one they just viewed. When using WordPress there a lots of these plug-ins but on Blogspot the whole thing is a little more complicated.
Luckily there is a way to add related posts to your blog, just follow the steps outlined in the related posts article.
You do not have a lot of options with which you can optimize comments in Blogspot. However there are a few changes that you can make to get a lot more and better comments.
First of all one of the things people keep complaining about is that on Blogger blogs only registered users can post comments but there is actually a way that other people can post comments too.
Again visit your dashboard and go to Settings -> Comments and enable the showing of comments (should be enabled by default), otherwise the all the comments will be hidden.
Then go down further to the section Who Can Comment? and click on Anyone.
In the next section (shown in the picture above) choose the option Embedded below post to add the comment form to the article footer.
The RSS feed is very important on blogs since that is the way your followers receive articles. In Blogspot you are very limited to enchance your feed but there are still a few options you can change.
To change a few options go to your dashboard and then click on Settings -> Site Feed. Set the option Allow Blog Feeds to Full in order to gain more RSS subscribers.
Then go to the section below labeled Post Feed Redirect URL and enter a URL if you are using a special feed service such as Feedburner.
This article covered some very basic techniques and also some more advanced ones. If you are still not sure whether what you are doing is right than just contact me via Twitter or leave a comment.