Love it or hate it, organic search traffic is a very effective method of driving free traffic to your website. People search the Internet when they’re researching and buying. It’s a fact. So, what can you do to optimize your website to be search engine friendly while still writing quality content that your visitors will want to read? Last week, in my #FridayFinds series, I focused on new SEO tactics that you can use to help website visitors find your blog in Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages). One of the resources that I cited suggested that we limit the length of our post titles to 55 characters. In this week’s finds, you’ll learn SEO tips and tools to either get you started with SEO or help take you to the next level.
Tips for Optimizing Your Blog for the Search Engines:
In his post, Starting Over, Part 3 – Optimize by Dr. Peter J. Meyers on MOZ.com, Pete talks about 4 tools that bloggers can use to get a snapshot of how well you’ve optimized your site for the search engines. He uses one of his sites as an example and has included screen shots to illustrate his points. The four tools that he discusses include:
1) Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages):
One of the simplest things that a blogger can do is to Google on the keywords that you think someone would search on if they were looking for your article. For example, last week, I used the words “google website signals serps” in my post title and I used those keywords throughout my article. Following Pete’s suggestion, I Googled on those 4 words and found my article in the SERPs and this is what I saw in the results:
As Pete mentions in his article, the results pulled the meta-description that I had entered and it pulled my profile pic from my Google authorship. Also, my title did not get cut off. So, that quick look provided quite a bit of insight into how my post appeared in the results.
I also saw that my post appeared in the 10th position of the first result page. #2 was my post on Scoop.It, #3 was a tweet of my post by Pam Moore, (@PamMktgNut), #4 was a Google+ share by Adrienne Smith (@AdrienneSmith40) and the 5th position was my article on BizSugar.com. That was interesting too since it confirms that social shares have the potential of driving more traffic to my site than my SEO efforts.
2) Google Webmaster Tools:
I’ve blogged before about the importance of creating an XML sitemap and submitting it to Google using their Webmaster Tools and this made Pete’s list as the second thing that’s worth a look. In his article, Pete shares screenshots of some of the things to look for including: the number of pages indexed and crawl errors.
3) MOZ Analytics:
As we probably should have expected, the third set of tools that Pete recommends in his article (on Moz.com) is Moz Analytics. Personally, I use some of the free tools that Moz offers but I have not invested in any of their paid products. (Hopefully, some readers here are subscribers and will share their insight with us in the comments.) Their premium plans start at $99 per month and they offer a 30-day free trial.
4) Google Analytics:
While Google offers an extensive amount of help in their official Analytics Help Center, there is also an abundance of tutorials, eBooks and videos available on the web. I know many of you here are already using Google Analytics. For those of you who are looking either to get started or for more information, a good place to start is 50 Resources for Getting the Most Out of Google Analytics on KISSmetrics.com.
A Public Service Announcement by a Bodiless Matt Cutts
In her post Bodiless Matt Cutts Explains Why Body Content Matters to Google on SearchEngineWatch.com, Jennifer Slegg shares a Google Webmasters video where Matt talks about the importance of meta tag information but he also stresses the importance of content. In summary, Jennifer closes with the following statement:
“Since Cutts did this video as a PSA, it does also raise the question if the upcoming algo update that he has hinted about will also more heavily stress quality content over thin content than webmasters have seen up until now.”
Getting Started with SEO:
I was wrapping up this post when I thought to myself that I really wish I could share an article with more actionable items. That’s when I did one final search and I came upon Your First 9 SEO Tasks by Eric Enge on PlusYourBusiness.com.
One of my favorite things about writing this series is that I discover new blogs and new resources for helpful information. Up until today, I had not been aware of Eric but I certainly will be following him now. (He has 16,429 followers on Google Plus as I’m writing this.) In his article, Eric shares nine things that we really should be doing if we’re hoping to optimize our sites and increase our organic search traffic.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining what Eric has discussed in his article. Instead, I highly recommend that you give it a read yourself. What I will do is bullet-point the nine tips to pique your interest:
- Set up Google Analytics
- Set up Google Webmaster Tools
- Check your Indexing Status
- Check for 404 Errors with a Crawling Tool
- Do some Keyword Research
- Optimize your Title Tags
- Eliminate Duplicate Content
- Create Quality Content
- Spread the Word
In summary, I found Eric’s article to be a fairly easy read packed with useful tips and screenshots to get you started. For another easy to follow post with tips that apply specifically your WordPress blog posts, check out my article 4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress Blog.
Over To You:
What are your thoughts? Have you ever Googled one of your posts to see if (and how) it shows up in the search results? Do you use Google Analytics and/or Moz tools? What are some of your favorite SEO tips? We’d love to know.