Sunday, June 6, 2010

Five SEO Best Practices to Enhance Visitor Traffic to Your Blog!

I have been blogging for nearly 15 months.  In that time I have learned much about this online world of writing, and collaborative learning.  One topic that continuously mystifies me is the subject of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Does SEO confuse you too?

SEOConceptually, I completely understand the point behind SEO.  I have made small tweaks, along the way, to my blog, with the notion of improving my ranking among the “Big Boy” Search Engines.  Yet, I have been yearning to dig deeper into this topic and understand, with more depth, some best practices to really improve my blog traffic.  After all, that’s why I have a blog, right?  I not only want to write, but I want my content to be read and provide value to people!

This weekend I attended WordCamp Chicago, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza.  This was a terrific event, and I thoroughly enjoyed the outstanding education content and F2F networking! I plan to generate several blog posts, sharing my insights and takeaways from the conference.

I participated, in two sessions addressing SEO topics, and learned a great deal from both of them!  I discovered, while I  have been doing some things correctly, with SEO, I’ve also been making some fairly significant mistakes, which have been inhibiting my blog traffic generation efforts.

Five SEO Best Practices

Here are some tips that should be helpful to any blogger seeking to improve their website traffic through SEO:

Tip #1:  Choose Blog Post Titles Wisely — Search Engines only acknowledge the first 70 characters in a blog post title.  Depending on length of words, this translates to 8-12 words, on average.

Tip #2:  Assign Only One Category to Each Blog Post— If you assign more than one category to a blog post, you run the risk of Search Engines perceiving this as “duplication” (AKA Spam) which can result in a “ding” to your search engine ranking score.

Tip #3:  Attach a Maximum of 12 tags per post — To point to additional tags is overkill, and may be perceived by the search engines negatively.  In addition it is most effective to have some tags present in both the Blog Post Title and the body of the article itself.  This is called “keyword density.”

Tip #4:  “Broken Links” Will Choke Your blog — Before publishing an article double check that all your links are operational.  Search engines don’t look kindly upon blog sites that are dysfunctional.  Essentially their perception is if you don’t invest the time to ensure your blog posts are functional then why should they bother pointing users to read them.

Tip #5:  Website Size & Load Time is Very Important to search engines (and readers) — Do not overload your blog with excess CSS Code, graphics and plugins.  In general, the website should load in less than 30 seconds.

This list is not intended to be a complete list of SEO techniques, as there are other points to consider.  I will address those in future blog posts.

I would like to acknowledge two people that contributed helpful information, making this article possible.  They are Scott Stawarz and Shannon Steffen, both presenters at WordCamp Chicago, and very knowledgeable, helpful people.

Question:  What are some techniques I did not mention that you have used, or know of, that have a positive impact on SEO?  I can’t wait to hear about them!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Frances Archer June 7, 2010 at 7:56 am

I had no idea you’ve only been blogging for 15 months. You’ve got a lot of useful posts that I’m looking forward to reading. I really appreciate your summary of the presentation I missed at WordCamp Chicago.


Michael M McCurry CMP June 7, 2010 at 8:48 am

Hi Frances,

Yep, only 15 months, but it seems like so long ago that I started :)

I am glad you found value in this post … it is only the tip of the iceberg.. more is coming.

I look forward to your feedback on my articles and to reading your comments!

Thanks for contributing. Great meeting you f2f this past weekend.



Heidi Thorne June 7, 2010 at 8:48 am

It’s in the numbers! From doing a lot of articles on Ezine, I was aware of the first 70 characters (or sometimes first 4-5 words) being an SEO guideline. But never realized the multiple category and 12 tag guidelines. Have to review my posts!

Thanks for the usual helpful content.


Michael M McCurry CMP June 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Hi Heidi,

It’s amazing all the things I don’t know and everyday I am learning more new stuff about this crazy online world of ours.

I really picked up a lot of great information from the wordcamp event this weekend… I was very impressed with the quality of the presenters and they were for the most part, very engaging.

Thanks for contributing.



Carrie Ferenac June 7, 2010 at 8:48 am

Very helpful tips! I am fairly new to blogging, and have often wondered about SEO. Thanks for the information. Looking forward to seeing you at PCMA.


Michael M McCurry CMP June 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Hi Carrie,

Glad the tips are helpful. I promise there is more coming. Lots of valuable takeaways from that conference.

Thanks for commenting! Look forward to seeing you as well.



Christine Hancock June 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Great recap, I also missed this presentation. Thanks for all the tips you gave me over the weekend, and the heads up on BlueHost. Keep in touch..Chris


Michael M McCurry CMP June 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Hi Chris,

It was a pleasure to meet you at Wordcamp Chicago.

I am glad you found value in this article and appreciated the tips I shared with you. I look forward to keeping in touch!



Design and Promote June 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for the article, good overview of good SEO practices for blogs. Looking forward to reading more of your articles.


Michael M McCurry CMP June 16, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Thanks so much for stopping by and I appreciate your comments.

Please stop by often!



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