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How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of November 2006 Search Engine Optimization 0 Comments

So you’re looking to increase the profitability of your blog for the Christmas period (and beyond). You’ve optimized your AdSense, Chitika and Affiliate programs, you’ve even written a little seasonal content…. but there’s one missing element…. Traffic.

Unless you actually have people viewing your blog it is very difficult to actually earn anything from it.

So how do you drive traffic to your blog?

I’ve written quite a bit of this previously in a number of posts (for example here) but want to spend a little time talking today about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Why SEO?

When you are looking online for information on a topic where do you go first?

While I’m sure there will be a variety of answers given to that question – the majority of average web users would answer with one word – ‘Google’.

Every day Search Engines like Google send many millions of web users to websites in their index. While there are plenty of Web 2.0 web indexing services around that are increasing in popularity – the fact is that search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN are still the biggest source of traffic to websites on the web.

As a result – learning how to be indexed and ranked well by them seems like a no brainer.

Writing for Search Engines and Humans

Some bloggers have a problem with the idea of optimizing a blog for search engines. They argue that rather than writing for search engines a blogger’s sole focus should be that they write quality content for humans.

I personally don’t see that writing for humans and search engines have to be mutually exclusive things – in my opinion both can be achieved without compromising either.

Some bloggers argue that if you write for humans that SEO looks after itself. To some extent I agree with that – if you do write quality content that others like you will find that they link up to your site (a key in SEO) – however I would argue that incoming links from other sites is just one part of climbing the rankings in Search Engines (an important part but not the only one).

There are other factors that come into play also and I believe that by knowing them and naturally incorporating them into your blogging you can increase your chances of being found by readers in Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Of course – some people become a little obsessed with SEO and forget the human reader, don’t fall for this trap and keep a balanced approach and you’ll benefit both from traffic from the search engines as well as a loyal readership who keeps coming back for more quality content.

Basic SEO tips for Bloggers

I’ve written previously on this topic so rather than writing the same thing again in a slightly different way will republish some of my previous tips below. I hope you find them useful.


About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. It’s always nice to get a ‘refresher’ course in optimizing blogs for search engines. Thanks for the post.

  2. Yes, i think that SEO it’s one of the first things to learn and remember….
    Finally, it’s very very important that others popular website link your blog.
    Good blog, I’ve added it in http://www.bloxpo.com database.

  3. Thanks a lot for this post. It is a great entry about SEO. Thanks for writing it in a plain and simple language. Often, we can see posts about SEO full of technical jargons. So, I really appreciate your effort to present SEO in a comprehensible language to us- the visitors.
    As for me, I feel that there should be a good combination of SEO skills and natural writing abilities for a blogger. Most of us do not go more than the first page of Google search. So, being in the first page can literally be the do or die situation for the bloggers if they want to survive.

  4. What can I say Darren? As a regular reader of your blog this particular post compels me to comment here for the first time :)

    Firstly wearing my ‘educator hat’ I have to say that this is the most informative and practical advice I have seen on the subject. Also the cautionary note interjected at appropriate times strikes a perfect balance. I know how difficult it is to get across some of the more complicated facets of SEO and you have written a masterly summary.

    Secondly wearing my ‘SEO hat’ I have a couple of clarifications which might further help your readers.

    You say that “Most SEO experts recommend getting your keyword density up to between 5-20%”. I don’t think this is true anymore and all the better SEOs that I know are now quite rightly unconcerned with keyword density.

    Keyword density is not a phrase or even a concept that is used by search engineers working for Google, Yahoo or MSN because the importance of a keyword or a keyphrase on a page for any given query depends on the content in which the term is used not on frequency counts. Search engines actually use ‘term vector models’ which are mathematically complex but infinitely superior, not keyword density. The best advice is that which you hinted at – write your pages for the reader/user and do not write what you think the search engines would like to see.

    You also say “You might also like to tryout some of the services around that offer to submit your sites to search engines for you…” but go on to say that you would “…be wary of paying for this sort of service..”. The plain fact is that using a paid for or even a free search engine submission service is to be avoided.

    Firstly it is unnecessary (as you noted) because search engines like to find new sites and new pages with their own bots. Secondly most of the sites that these services submit to are there only to collect your email address and then make it available to spammers.

    The best advice for a new site to get indexed is to have a link from at least one site (preferably more) that is in the search engine’s index already. Hand submission to reputable directories is a good way to obtain these first links.

    – Michael

  5. I am always encouraged by posts like this. Especially the last bit about time. Thanks Darren for that reminder. I think that time also helps us improve in our blogging style as well. Hopefully that as I keep posting the quality of my content will improve and it will all come together with a certain synergy.

    I have really tried to implement many of the things that you have mentioned and the growth in traffic has occurred at my blog. Actually if I look at ithe growth in percentages there has been an amazing increase. I know that there is still a lot that I need to do to improve but thanks for letting us know that like most things it takes time and perserverance to build a high traffic site.

  6. Hi Chris,

    Are you aware that your blog doesn’t display correctly in Internet Explorer? The side bar seems to start way at the bottom after all the posts. It looks fine in Firefox. I am using Internet Explorer 6.0. Anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up.

  7. […] I’ve also been reading up on Darren Rowse’s series on building a better blog. I really want to build this blog out to a useful resource for everyone. Whether it remains on the topic of Internet Marketing or I delve into other areas, I definitely need to make sure I’m taking advantage of Word Presses vaulable features. I don’t really care if this blog earns the amount of money that Darren Rowse or Steve Pavlina earns with their blogs, but I would like to earn enough to pay the hosting fees and mamybe take my wife out to dinner every once in a while. […]

  8. I am not really sure still about the value of directories. I had submitted a few blogs to directories but in the end they have not really helped me, maybe it depends on the niche you are in. Anyway the best list probably of directories that I know of is a spreadsheet kept up to date at http://info.vilesilencer.com/

  9. I’ve had two big kickers for my Adsense revenues. The first is content: several very newsworthy posts that drive readers interested in my niche. I’ve always retained a percentage of these new readers and built on things from there.

    The second is submitting a sitemap to Google. They say it doesn’t mean you’ll get a better ranking and blah blah blah but the stats don’t lie: my numbers have increased by about 30% since I started submitting them. Whether it’s just coincidence or not, the extra ranking is very handy indeed.

  10. I very much agree on the subject of keyword and keyphrase optimization.

    I start by writing my article for me, then I go back through it and add in the stuff to make the article better for you (external links, citations, references et cetera) then I make a third pass and look to swap out the likes of: “business initiatives” with: “business driven technology initiatives” which carries a little more weight because the ‘business driven technology’ is a key phrase for me.

    It’s not hard, and in time it’s something that just becomes good practice and second nature.

    Once you commit all of your keywords and key phrases to memory, you start dropping them in quite naturally.

    Great stuff Darren. Good read…

  11. SEO it’s an art and a science as well. I only wonder how it will evolve and adapt now that Web 2.0 sites are sprouting everywhere.

  12. Very good post. This one’s a keeper. Thanks.

  13. […] Darren Rowse is the blogger behind the scenes at ProBlogger.net and author of How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines, a much longer (and more informative) post that I am summarizing here. We speak about many of these techniques from time to time but it is good to see the list in print! SEO is often divided into two categories: on page optimization and off page optimization. […]

  14. Great post darren,

    SEO is in fact the most important element of a site or blog.No matter how well written or designed without traffic you will succeed.

  15. typo

    I meant you will never succeed.

  16. […] Optimized content is the mainstay of any blog. The more optimized content you have on your blog, the more search engine traffic you get. Beside that, there are many things to take care of in order to search engine optimize your blog. There are offsite and there are onsite blog SEO techniques, as explained by Darren on his blog. The offsite blog SEO techniques include generating lots of inbound links. Inbound links are links that belong to you but appear on other websites. They are all the more important if the website publishing your links are ranked higher than your website. This process of getting inbound links is also called linkbaiting and I’ve discussed this topic in a post titled Linkbaiting Explained where you can learn how you can get people to link to you. Darren has rightly said that: Ideally Speaking – The best inbound links have three main qualities to them: […]

  17. Although my bog is in spanish, I am sure this post is going to help me alot in improving my SEO. Thank you very much Darren. Raul.

  18. Excellent post – thank you. I’ve added it to my bookmarks.

  19. […] Darren Rowse went all out in a recent post on optimizing your blog for search engines. His post is around four of five times the length of most of his posts and looks at every angle as in depth as possible without being overly technical. If you are gearing up for the holiday season and want to give your blog the best chance as possible, this article is definitely required reading. Why SEO? […]

  20. […] – How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines – Search Engine Optimization for E-commerce: A Tale of Two Shoppers – PubCon: Contextual Advertising Optimization Popularity: 1%Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  21. Long but informative post

    the Time factor is the key there – patience is what’s mostly needed

  22. I’ve found an initial SEO strategy that never fails to get valuable inbounds links and seriously improve the rankings for a new website, is to first submit to as many SEO friendly directories as possible. To increase chances of acceptance, always submit before adding Adsense or advertising of any sort to the website. That valuable listing at DMOZ is also more likely to happen if there are no adverts of any kind whatsoever.

    The merits of outsourcing this time consuming task will soon become apparent, when your chain of websites continue to grow. After all it seems pointless to bicker about thirty to fifty bucks, if it saves a webmaster 4 – 5 hours of valuable time better spent, marketing, writing new articles or constructing a new niche blog or website.

    Checking the validity of a website’s HTML code prior to submission is recommended. New webmasters will appreciate the new HTML Validator – a Mozilla extension that adds HTML validation inside Firefox and Mozilla, available from: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/249/

    The number of errors of a HTML page is seen in the form of an icon on the browser’s status bar when browsing. The “Tiny” add-on checks and reports these HTML source code errors from the “view” source code tab. This great Firefox extension goes on to give a print out of the required changes, so a simple copy and paste of the validated code will simplify the task for a newcomer to web design.

    Chuckle! the HTML validator definitely does not appear to appreciate Google’s Adsense javascript code… often flagging a number of “warnings” related to the Adsense ad block code.

  23. […] Darren Rowse from Problogger.net wrote the article… “How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines.” […]

  24. A comprehensive post Darren. Interlinking is fine but you seem to have forgotten outbound links to most of your original sources. Very important. All of this information can be easily Googled and in fact I have already read elsewhere. I don’t mean to be a critic but it is absolutely necessary to give give credit where credit is due. Otherwise a good post. Cheers!

  25. thanks all for the feedback.

    BB – I agree that outbound links are important – actually there is a section on it above in the Onsite section in the keywords paragraph where I write:

    “Keywords in outbound links. Of course you should always link to sources of content as an ethical consideration but the bonus of this is that many SEO experts think that linking to relevant and quality sites on the same topic of your post with good keywords can also add credibility to YOUR post also.”

    I’m a stickler for giving credit when you use other people’s work in any direct way.

    Of course it can sometimes get difficult when you’ve read things a year or two in the past and lose track of where it was that you read it – or when you’re writing about things that you’ve learned personally but that have also been written about previously by yourself and others. This very post for example is one that has come from a combination of four years of blogging, reading in many discussion forums in my early years, conversations with friends etc. Very difficult to reference.

    My approach is to always link to sources of quotes and when I’m directly inspired by someone else to link up.

  26. Thanks, great post. I think I may need to come back a few times to digest and go through all the things you’ve outlined more thoroughly. One thing I would like to add is that when you comment on other blogs, it can lead to more traffic, but this is generally of the more curious type. Just a thought. Thanks again. ProBlogger is one of my favorite and most frequent reads.

  27. How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines…

    So you’re looking to increase the profitability of your blog for the Christmas period (and beyond). You’ve optimized your AdSense, Chitika and Affiliate programs, you’ve even written a little seasonal content…. but there’s one missing element…

  28. Great article. I’ve taken into account everything you’ve mentioned and I’m working toward optimizing my website for SEO.

    Keep up the good work!

  29. […] So you ’re looking to increase the profitability of your blog for the Christmas period (and beyond). You’ve optimized your AdSense, Chitika and Affiliate programs, you’ve even written a little seasonal content…. but there’s one missing element…. Traffic.read more | digg story […]

  30. I have to agree on most of the stuffs that you have said. I do care about my sites and hopefully I can take onboard of what you have said into practical use. Thanks, mate.

  31. While I do find this refresher info to be stunning, it doesn’t really give all that much advice on driving traffic in the short term. Christmas is right around the corner (less than a month away). The strategies discussed here are great, but take a lot of time and dedication to build this organic traffic.

    Just my 2 cents…


  32. […] How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines Can’t really ignore SEO any longer, though I’d like to. (tags: seo search pro-blogging google) […]

  33. […] So you ’re looking to increase the profitability of your blog for the Christmas period (and beyond). You’ve optimized your AdSense, Chitika and Affiliate programs, you’ve even written a little seasonal content…. but there’s one missing element…. Traffic.read more | digg story […]

  34. Joseph – you’re right – SEO is not a short term thing. however sometimes changes can have a quicker impact than you might think. I remember the first time I optimized my title tags to make them the post from my blog and noticing around 7 days later the increase in google traffic that that brought.

    So – while I wouldn’t suggest people expect massive upswings in traffic overnight with SEO – you never know :-)

  35. Hi agree with Swade’s second point about Google sitemaps. If I were Google (a big if), this would be a good way to screen for spam sites.

    To submit a sitemap you must have a Google account, create a sitemap in the correct format and then notify Google of its location. While not impossible, it is definitely a hassle for this to be automated so the likelihood is that any site with a sitemap submitted has a loving human owner.

    In any case, submitting can’t do any harm so why not?

  36. […] How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines (tags: howto blog) […]

  37. […] How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines: This is the billionth article written on the topic, but its written by one of the best in the industry, ProBlogger, and one of the few people who can actually say “I make a living from blogging!” Besides, this was posted on my birthday, which gives it an automatic cool factor. […]

  38. […] And Darren Rowse at ProBlogger provides a good blogging SEO summary with How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines. […]

  39. I really enjoyed the post, but I’ll try to add some tips on how you can avoid being a site that’s a Google “supplemental result” (very, very bad).

    1) Be careful what you quote from other sites. For example, don’t quote half an article or Google will push you down! And you may never see that page in Google again.
    2) Keep your title to a maximum of 60 characters.

    Hope it’ll help.

  40. Okay, everything you all are saying sounds interesting – and difficult. I have a little Web site that I’m thinking of adding a blog to. However, I’m having trouble just generating traffic for the Web site. Would it even be beneficial to add the blog to it now…or should I wait? And, is optimizing for a blog and a Web site the same?

    Question: regarding the post on “optimizing title tags.” Can someone explain the “how” and the “why”.

    Thanks in advance..I really appreciate any help you guys can give.

  41. […] How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines […]

  42. […] How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines from Darren Rowse. […]

  43. […] 5. To help your post rank better, stick with one topic per post. How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines […]

  44. […] Search Engine Optimization for Blogs Optimizing your blog for search engines […]

  45. Thanks for the tips…my website is doing great…and might do even better with these tips

    Blessed Be

  46. I just noticed this discussion written back in Nov. 2006. I wish I chimed in then, as we were already well into our beta. But it’s hard to imagine a discussion of SEO these days without the long tail discussion, where you target subject-matter which is just a little bit less than competitive in favor of picking up the top positions repeatedly and quickly. The idea is to start the snowball effect happening, and build your way to a critical mass of natural search traffic. The self-fueling snowball effect happens when you have enough “seed content” on your website, so that new writing suggestions start to automatically come in from your “web analytics” software.

  47. Thanks for reminding about this post. It is written in plain and simple lanuguage. Looks like this was written wayback in 2006. Hope you write another updated SEO tips and tricks article.

  48. Thanks a lot!
    As a beginner we get lot to learn in our very first stage of blogging.
    Now I realised the importance of inbound links and I was not giving much time on SEO, but now very serious.
    And thanks again for your all in one good SEO collection in this post.
    Which will definitely make me a Problogger!!

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