As a few of you may know, I do SEO in my day job and have had a bit of fun toying around with my own blog. For today’s post in Armchair BEA, I thought I’d share a few pro SEO tips to help you rank better, should you be interested in doing so! For those who aren’t aware, SEO is short for search engine optimisation and is the process of improving your site’s quality and authority to rank better in search engines. There are people who go about this very badly, called black hat SEOs (the spammers of the internet who leave annoying comments on your blogs with names like ‘play poker online’), but if your reviews and posts are genuinely good and will help others to decide what to read, there’s no reason you can’t use a few tweaks to take advantage of the stuff you’re already writing.
Before you worry about your search engine rankings, you should put some thought into what exactly you want to rank for. What do you think others will be happy to find if they land on your blog from a search engine? A particular book review? A book review blog? A historical fiction blog? Choose a few terms that you think you’d like to rank higher for and make sure you actually use them somewhere in your blog’s copy. Perhaps an intro sidebar or on your ‘about me’ page.
It’s easiest to rank for what you already do on your blog. For example, I put ‘review’ in the title of all of my book review posts because it gives potential people clicking through a better idea of what they’ll get when they land here. Plus it’s easier to rank for something like ‘The White Queen review’ than it is for just ‘The White Queen’.
2. Title Tags
A title tag is the text that shows up in the tab on your browser. This post’s reads ‘Blogging about Blogging: SEO | Medieval Bookworm’. If I were serious about ranking for, say, ‘Historical Fiction Blog’, I’d stick that in there on the home page, so it would say ‘Historical Fiction Blog | Medieval Bookworm’. This is one of the more important aspects of on-site SEO, surprisingly enough, and can really make a big difference with a simple change. I am actually on the first page for ‘Historical Fiction Blog’, so I haven’t invested much in this personally, however if you all take my advice I may start.
Title tags are easily modified through a variety of SEO plug-ins. All in One SEO Pack is a good one.
3. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is when you can find the same page on two different URLs. So when someone scrapes your site, they’ve made duplicate content out there; it’s not only theft it’s also hurting your site’s rankings. If your site is pulled using the RSS feed and published online, you’re also creating duplicate content, a real problem for those of us who have full RSS feeds.
You can also get duplicate content on your own site. If you can access the same post with two different URLs, then you have a problem. WordPress can do this if you put a post in two different categories (I actually have one here: http://medievalbookworm.com/guest-blog/guest-review-the-trinity-six-charles-cumming/ is also http://medievalbookworm.com/reviews/guest-review-the-trinity-six-charles-cumming/).
To solve this problem, keep your posts to one category wherever possible and use tags more extensively. Alternatively you can change your URL structure to remove any category parameters, but changing the URL structure on an already established blog can be difficult since you’ll have to redirect all of your own links. It’s easiest just to stick with a single category for WordPress blog if you do have it in your URL.
Please let me know if these tips were at all helpful for you and whether you’re interested in hearing more!