Avoid The 10 Surprisingly Common Blog SEO Mistakes

June 22, 2010

in Tech

Why Do People Make Common Blog SEO Mistakes?

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Probably because blogs have been, mistakenly, touted as natural search engine magnets, all on their own and without help. This isn’t 100% correct.

The good news is that blog SEO (search engine optimization), once it becomes a habit, is relatively easy to do. Basically, you want to be found in search engines for some common keywords in your niche that everyone is searching for, right?

Surprisingly, people mess up in the beginning, get 6 or 7 (or longer) months down the road, and then realize that their blogs are totally off the search engine radar.

Here is my promise: these 10 blog SEO mistakes can be easily avoided from day one, and that’s definitely the best place to start if your blog is new or you’re creating another one. With the exception of the URL mistake, all of them can be made right today.

Note: this information deals primarily with WordPress blogs, but some of it can be applied to a blog on another platform as well.

Here are 10 really common SEO mistakes and how you can avoid them on your blog or posts.

1. Choosing keywords that no one searches for.

This is probably the most common mistake, and it’s really easy to make. It applies to optimizing your home page as well as individual posts that you want to get special attention.

You think, hey, I like anchovy flavored donuts, so I think I’ll write about it and make it my main keyword phrase! But then you discover that no one is actually searching for anchovy flavored donuts. Lack of keyword research is the surest way to rank poorly in search engines. You must do your research and figure out what people are really searching for. This is not the time to go with your gut, either, as I’ve seen first-hand a few real estate agents (who rely on heavy search traffic) totally bite the dust on this one. It’s a very natural thing to assume that people are searching for your brand or your location or title, but until you research it, you shouldn’t bet on it.

2. Choosing a totally bizarre blog title.

BizChickBlogs may be out there, but at least it’s got blogs in there. Recently, I changed my blog’s title to Complete Guide to Blogging, and it’s already ranked highly in Google for that phrase (as of today, it is #7; subject to change). If your blog is about cars and cars is not in your blog title, you should probably work it in there. For best results, put it first. Easy way to do this is Cars: Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Them (note: you should NOT make cars alone your desired keyword phrase, lol).

I’ve seen some weird blog titles like Alzheimer’s Back Pain Kidney Disease Remedies Cures Information. LOL Way too many keywords going on in there. That’s not necessarily good, either… the idea is to choose a blog title that fits what your blog is about, and that has your keyword phrase in it.

3. Choosing a totally bizarre URL.

This goes completely with number 1 and number 2. The research I’ve conducted across a handful of various blogs now, as well as the advice of SEO gurus out there, says that your URL really does matter. Different search engines place varied amounts of weight on it, and of course domain age and quality backlinks can make up for it, but Google – the big search monster – does in fact place significance in URL.

Does this mean the base URL has to be an exact match? No. If you write a post, just make sure the slug (for WordPress users who can control this) reflects your keywords. Example: bizchickblogs.com/common-blog-seo-mistakes.

Huge tip: Your blog title, blog URL, and blog description should all reflect your primary keyword phrase. It may be too late for your URL but you can always change your blog title and description.

4. Ignoring meta data.

Ouch. What does your blog, or your blog’s posts meta data look like? Do you know? Have you even checked?

If you aren’t using All in One SEO, or Meta SEO Pack, or an SEO-ready theme, or one of the other bajillions of SEO plugins out there, chances are, you’ve got just one meta data field filled out correctly – the title – and you’ve got no meta description or keywords to speak of. This is probably #2 in the most common mistakes bucket.

WordPress doesn’t automatically create that meta data for you; you have to handle that part.

Huge tip: Your meta description is priceless. It is the 2 lines of text that show up right underneath your listing in search engine results and it could mean the difference between someone clicking on that result or not. Make it relevant, and make it count. Always start it off with your keyword phrase, and then write a decent sentence as to why someone should come read your post/page.

5. Ignoring pretty permalinks.

Double-ouch. I say double-ouch because it’s as easy as turning the lights on and yet 50% of the blogs I come across don’t do this. It’s either on purpose or out of ignorance. Going back up to number 3, I think ?p=1272 counts as a totally bizarre URL, don’t you? And that’s the type of URL you have if you haven’t turned on pretty permalinks on your blog.

My suggestion: in the WordPress permalinks options panel (Settings>Permalinks), choose the custom option, and type in: /%postname%.html. This will cause all of your posts to have a very keyword-rich URL that ends in .html. The SEO benefit of the .html ending is hotly debated, but I can tell you that it seems to work well for me and many of the major blogs out there have already been doing that for some time.

Whether or not you use the /month/year option is totally up to you. I had already started getting back links with that option and so I decided to keep it turned on to avoid 404 errors/broken links.

6. Not having a sitemap.

Sitemaps *help* web crawlers figure out what is on your site, and they can be incredibly useful if you have pages on your site that are not linked to from the home page. They have other uses, such as telling the search engine which pages to ignore, or how often you update your site (which probably means nothing these days).

Contrary to old, popular, belief, sitemaps don’t have to be human-readable and you don’t have to link to them from anywhere on your blog. It’s behind the scenes. Just have it there when the search engines start crawling your site (for example, when I publish a new blog, I actually will refrain from doing any pinging until the sitemap is built).

You can create a sitemap for a WordPress blog in a second using the XML-sitemap plugin. For non-Wordpress blogs, a popular Google Sitemap generator is: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/.

7. Excessive pinging.

What happens when you update a WordPress page or post is that, by default, WordPress sends a ping to a tool called Pingomatic. Pingomatic then pings a whole list of ping servers, which basically have the effect on the web of saying

“Ta-da!! Something new is here, go check it out!”

So then, web crawlers that listen for those pings put the new URL into a queue of other URLs to go crawl. Ultimately, this helps your site get crawled (and indexed) more quickly.

The problem: by default, WordPress pings every time you update. This includes any edits. Excessive pinging can get (and will) get you banned by ping servers, so unknowing WordPress bloggers find themselves not getting crawled at regular intervals because they are being penalized for something they didn’t know was happening.

I use a ping optimizer called MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer to make sure that doesn’t happen on this blog. It controls the rate at which pings are sent. CBNet Ping Optimizer is just as good. Use either of them.

8. Not linking internally.

If your posts have anything to do with each other, you should be linking to them. You can do this automatically with a tool like LinkWithin, or you can do it more organically (and more effectively) by linking the right keywords to their respective pages. Have a page that’s lists all of the 30 minute meals posts on your cooking blog? You should link to it. Linking to relevant pages from your posts tells the search engines that those pages are specifically about those keywords.

9. Writing posts that are too short.

Reserve posts that are less than 100 words for micro-blogs (tumblr, etc.), Twitter statuses or Facebook updates. On your blog (if you want search engine visibility), aim for 400 to 500 words at a minimum, or longer for best results. Don’t kill yourself over it, but you need a decent keyword density and you can’t get that if your posts are too short. Not only that, you want also to snag those long-tail keyword phrases and for that, length is a must.

10. Writing content that doesn’t support your intended keywords.

Unfortunately, search engines know better than to take your word for it with keywords. So you can claim the keyword phrase ‘Tucson high speed internet’ all you want in the meta data, but if that keyword phrase is nowhere to be found in the content, good luck. :) It doesn’t work. Your content must be relevant, and it must support your desired keyword phrase. Don’t overdo it, though. Put it in the first sentence, as well as throughout the content at a rate that is totally natural, and you should be OK. The most important thing here is to write for your audience, not search engines. So, if you have a great piece that isn’t keyword-rich, try adding the keyword phrase at the top, followed by the colon, and again at the end in a sentence.

Questions?

Good luck with your blog SEO efforts! Leave a reply below or [intlink id="2991" type="page" target="_blank"]send me a message[/intlink] should you have any questions. I’m sure I left some things unsaid.

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Bob @ charlotte Dentist May 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Great article..it realy gets you thinking. It will be interesting over the next 2-3 years how google may mix up it important criteria….i gues we’ll all see!!

Rick@Skype March 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

I have to disagree with some of your points. Choosing a bizarre title wont look good for seo, but it shall make your site stand out from others. From an seo point of view, forget about meta tags. Google dont give a damn to them now. But its the 2- 3 lines of text that have to make people who search to become your visitors. Hence make it good. But google has now started using a description for a site that dont comes in the meta tags.

Fran Aslam December 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

Hi Tia:

Your comments say the whole story about your blog post. Great advice here. Well those low number always make me think suppose it did not get optimized, but now I will try to keep in mind and I will check the results. I am happy I came here to read this awesome post.
Thank you
Wishes for the Holiday Season
fran A

Kok Siong @ Cancer Research December 6, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Another point I wish to add on is, most of the people tend to write the blog post that only for the search engine. However, they forgot that is people to read the article. Therefore, we should write the content for our readers but not for the search engine optimization. Great post Tia! Thanks! :)

Rob@Spokane Web Design December 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Thank you for the information, I had no idea about the excessive pinging that was going on. I downloaded cbnet Ping Optimizer (since it was the free one) . Great post!

Tia Peterson December 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

You’re so welcome, Rob!

Joel@hgh October 27, 2010 at 6:03 am

Image optimization and image size does matter too. I use tools like Picnik to resize images (overall file size) since page load speed is also a factor for SERPs.

Lisa Oliver September 26, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Great post, Tia. Lots of useful nuggets in here.

Lisa

Tips For Blog September 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Hey friend,

First of all Thanks for sharing this.

I would like to tell you that this topic is extremely wonderful and I really liked it.
I always like to read on these topics.

Rajnish Kumar

Matthew DC September 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Great list Tia. I’m glad I found this blog (thank James for the referral). While I have been around for a while and know most of these tips, it’s always good to find resources that we can recommend, especially to the newer marketers and bloggers. Thanks for taking the time to post it!

Jan September 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Good list but I’m missing another common mistake: internal duplicate content. For SEO it is important that each crawlable page of a site has unique content. The more duplicate content, the more pages that will vanish in Google’s secondary index, which in the long term can have a negative influence on the entire site/blog. Often this duplicate content is caused by short blog posts (as mentioned #9) combined with a lot of solid content that returns on each page (archives, links, featured articles, latest comments etc.). Another cause is that one individual blog post is often returned on multiple pages (eg index page, archive page AND permalink URL). So, blog post should not only be too short, they should also be organized in an effective way so that the growth of unnecessary pages is prevented.

Tia Peterson September 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Hey Jan – Thanks for your comment. These are great additions. Much appreciated!

Tamara @ bride of frankenstein costume August 31, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Hi Tia,

This is the most precise tips for all the bloggers. I like the no. 7 guide. I started using it and found it very effective. Many thanks for this informative guides.

Matthew H August 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Spot on with this list – #4 and #6 are very much overlooked. Meta data helps build a strong keyword presence and contributes to your websites overall SEO strategy.

Tia Peterson August 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Hi Matthew! Thanks for stopping by the blog. Yes, I think that even with the buzz about meta data not mattering, the description and title will always matter and I am not planning to change that strategy anytime soon!

Sourish @ Jailbreak Iphone 4 August 26, 2010 at 11:19 am

no one knows , exactly what is needed to rank at no 1 , its only experiments , trial and error . The more you try with different variables , the higer your chances to win. One who never tried combination , will never succeed . Even my small time blogger friends get linked by top blogs like LifeHacker , guess that .

Tia Peterson August 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

That’s true. Getting links from high PR or high quality sites is not always something you can do without either paying for it or being lucky to be seen by the owner of the blog.

Alex@niche site marketing August 26, 2010 at 7:07 am

Great post Tia!

really awesome. There’s 99 comments here so I am sure its all been said. Needless to say, you Know how much I love a bit of SEO loving, and you really covered it well here girl.
No. 7 was interesting , never knew about that plugin so thanks!

Tia Peterson August 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Cool! Well anytime you want to write an SEO article for this blog you are welcome to, as people like that stuff. :)

Jamie Saunders August 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Clear, precise and much more easy to understand! Good job on this one Tia! :)

Sudeep@Scraps August 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

these are really good informative and useful tips for novice blogger like me..
thanks Tia Peterson

Daniel Snyder August 19, 2010 at 10:25 am

This is some of the most excellent and concise SEO advice for blogs I’ve ever read… You really lay out the basics for new bloggers, and I appreciate it. For one it brings confirmation that I’ve done (most) of the things you mention properly… and two, it does give me a few more ideas to insure that I’m staying optimized. thanks!

Tia Peterson August 19, 2010 at 10:28 am

Hey Daniel – Thanks! That’s really nice to hear. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

The Genuine Islam August 19, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thank you very much for this amazing post !

Camden@Men's Gifts August 18, 2010 at 6:44 am

Tia,
I did not know that Wordpress pinged after every update…I thought it was just when you added a new post. OOPS!

I’ve been using pingler, like you mentioned. But I’ve never figured out whether you ping the blog URL or the post URL…which do you recommend?

Thanks for your help!

Iphone 4 Jailbreak August 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

Just dont ping too much , or you’ll “ping ban” yourself from the serch engines. Its a normal server behaviour for repeated pings .

Sourish @ Iphone 4 Jailbreak August 16, 2010 at 11:41 am

@ Gwen

I have been working with WP for the last 1.5 years. The more i use it , the more it amazes me . Top of it , WP is FREE , and SEO optimized .

This post must help you regarding your ALL in one SEO plugin use :

http://www.sourishnath.com/blog/how-to-write-an-effective-blog-post-that-is-google-friendly.html

Gwen@gangster dress August 16, 2010 at 10:50 am

I started working with wordpress about 5 months ago and I am just now learning about some of the mistakes I’ve been making. I did take a newbie course but it was mostly about the concept and getting started etc. I only learned about the pinging thing a few days ago and I am constantly making updates while working on my sites and saving them so I can see what they look like and all this time I have been pinging and didn’t know it. I didn’t know there was a plug in for it either so thank you. I had just ended up removing all the services being updated as an alternative. I have a question. Doesn’t the All in one SEO title over ride the title of your post. In other words can’t I call my post jimber jamber and then use the SEO plugin to title it with a keyword rich title? Thanks. I’ll be checking in now that I know you are here.

seospidy@Internet marketing August 10, 2010 at 3:24 am

very useful article newbie’s in blogging industry use to do same mistakes thanks for keeping points so simple and easy to understand.

Cassy@HippieCostume July 28, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Great advice about the over pinging. I always wondered about that and now I know. I am guessing that is a WP plug in that you mentioned. I am definitely going to check it out.

nappy headed black girl July 26, 2010 at 3:18 am

Thanks for this post, Tia!

I’ll be moving from Blogger to a self-hosted Wordpress site within the next month and am overwhelmed with all of the information needed to make a successful site. SEO, keywords, page rank, meta tags…it’s enough to drive a girl crazy!

#8 is something I need to work on. I have lots of (what I deem) good older content that I’m afraid will be lost and never seen by anyone. I do use LinkWithin but need to start incorporating my own internal links.

Thanks again!

Sourish | Iphone 4 Jailbreak July 20, 2010 at 12:27 am

thats a very nice list . keyword in the url is quite neccessary for seo , and instant traffic.

Wendy July 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

I’m so confused, but maybe just maybe I’ll get all this blog stuff figured out. I started out with Squidoo and ma now trying my hand at blogging. Thanks again for the free advice.

Tia Peterson July 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

You can never go wrong with just putting out good content and learning as you go along, Wendy!

bobin July 13, 2010 at 3:26 am

Interestingly wonderful !, i just had a cross check with my blog with this check list

Ravi Ahuja July 12, 2010 at 8:41 am

Yes very true points most of us forget this common point and make mistake on SEO.

Judy @ all american pressure cooker July 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm

When I first started, I made alot of these mistakes. Now, I am having alot more success. Great tips.

Rysk@Dating Reviews July 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

A good post and i’m glad you’ve mentioned internal linking. Too many people don’t realise the importance of a good internal linking strategy. Linking progressively from the depper page up to the homepage is best practice from my experience.

mom earns online July 9, 2010 at 9:23 am

This got me laughing so hard… “Alzheimer’s Back Pain Kidney Disease Remedies Cures Information”.. haha

This post is a great reminder for bloggers/webmasters on how some good and important things are actually easy to do and if done right can bring in more benefits.

I always try to take my targeted keywords into consideration when writing a post. Though, I can’t say all my posts are optimized for that. Since its really hard to always hit two birds in one stone like writing posts for search engines and writing for real people. But I think that’s the challenging part of better blogging. hehe

Overall, if we could at least try our best to do both, the price in the end is pretty rewarding. I have to admit I’m guilty on not implementing some tips you gave. And will surely try to change that in the future.

Thanks again for this nice post and I’m sure a lot would find this helpful. =)

James@nail polish rack July 8, 2010 at 5:50 pm

The biggest SEO mistake you can make is not building backlinks. You can do everything else right, but if your site has no links you will not get any sort of worthwhile traffic. Even if you don’t have keyword research perfected, you will still get longtail traffic. But these links HAVE to be anchored with your keyword to help you rank.

Tia Peterson July 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm

It depends on the niche and the topic. You can get away with no back links if your niche is virtually non-competitive and you have perfect on-page SEO. But having poor on-page SEO won’t save you in any case, even if you do have tons of back links. The search engines have to know what your content is about; they have to be able to index it correctly.

iphone July 7, 2010 at 3:01 am

You forgot to remind about the choice of domain zone. As well as the correct usage of h1 tag

macist July 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

Thanks for great explanation, can learn from it.. cheer :)

Paul Tech July 2, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Having a sitemap and placing keywords in the post title is relatively easy but the harder part is writing quality content with good keywords density.

But sometimes traffic doesn’t come from applying these ten tips. I guess backlinks are still important to ranking highly for competitive keywords.

Tia Peterson July 3, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Hi Paul. I agree! Back links, to me, are also the fun part. ;)

Zach July 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Good post Tia.

A lot of bloggers are unaware of the importance of taking SEO steps at the start and the big payoffs they have in the future. Adjusting permalink format is a must as is using the title and description tags – the keyword meta has lost a lot of power in the last few years.

I do believe that SEO is 90% fiction. The key to having a successful website is learning to market and communicate with your audience. As Google and other search engines continue refining their algorithms it will result in SEO have almost no effect on search engine placement. Even now, the tricks we once used are not working anymore.

Just my thoughts,
Zach

Tia Peterson July 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

You and Joseph have some points in common! (His comment on the SEO vs social media post).

Title & description & permalinks are a lot. Even if it’s 10%, it’s a pretty powerful 10%. :) I think once it’s done, it’s done, and then you’re right that it’s about marketing, but numbers don’t lie. Algorithms change but I believe that it’s possible to keep up with them (not me, of course, but there are people that dedicate their whole careers to doing it). Science is science and math is math, and it’s not a mystery. It can be figured out.

Tia Peterson July 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm

P.S. It’s really good to hear from you again, Zach. I was wondering where you’d gone.

Justin July 1, 2010 at 8:21 am

I think my comments keep going into your spam filter :( Please check, thanks.

Tia Peterson July 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

Yep. LOL Probably because of the word “poker.” Not sure if Akismet associates it with spam or not. Next time, don’t hesitate to just contact me via the contact page. I don’t check the spam folder every day (probably 1 time per week).

Justin July 1, 2010 at 8:20 am

Did my comment go into your spam filter? :(

ashok July 1, 2010 at 6:16 am

Bookmarked: your point about meta-data is something I have to look into and start working on. Actually, do you have or recommend a guide to using the All-in-One SEO pack? I have it installed but am like “okay, now what?”

Tia Peterson July 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

That’s a good question re: all in one SEO pack. Once it’s installed, I just worry about the home title and description, and leave the rest as defaults. It works out of the box.

Justin@No deposit poker July 1, 2010 at 5:09 am

Regarding meta data, Google doesn’t care about “meta keywords” any more – so there’s no need to spend much time on those, except of course some other/smaller search engines might still use them, but I doubt it. It’s too easy to exploit meta keywords.

Tia Peterson July 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

Agreed. I still use them but I know that they don’t carry much SEO weight.

Gloson June 30, 2010 at 2:29 am

Wow.. Excellent advice Tia! I’ve tweeted and bookmarked this post! :-)

I admit that I’m guilty of not having a sitemap. Thank you very much for reminding me and I’m installing Google XML Sitemaps now :-) .

Tia Peterson June 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

Hey Gloson – Thanks for stopping by! :) It may help your site get crawled more quickly. It depends. I have a site that’s been up for 2 years, and every new posts is indexed within just a couple of hours. The sitemap plugin notifies the search engines whenever a change is made to your blog. So it’s not just a lazy sitemap creator; it’s sort of like a ping/sitemap combined and I think it works well.

Gloson July 1, 2010 at 4:51 am

Cool! I have a sitemap now!

http://www.glosonblog.com/sitemap.xml

Thanks once again :-) .

Tia Peterson July 2, 2010 at 9:56 am

You’re welcome, Gloson! Sorry just now replying. It got caught in the spam filter. :)

BestWicklessCandles@scentsy candle warmers June 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Wow, that is alot of info, but what a great checklist. Sometimes I feel like I am behind the curve trying to learn all that is necessary.

Tia Peterson June 30, 2010 at 7:48 am

That’s OK! Just take your time with it because there’s really no rush.

Kerstin Poulsen June 29, 2010 at 6:04 am

Hi Tia
Thank you for a very good list. There is just one thing I don’t fully understand. In which way is the length of the blog post relevant for the key word density? A short text with about 100 words and 2 keywords has the same density as a 400 word text with 8 keywords, hasn’t it?
That’s why I don’t allways see the importance of writing very long blog posts, because if you do it right you can get a very good keyword density with short blog posts.
Am I totally wrong here?

Tia Peterson June 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

Hey Kerstin – You may be right. And the plus is that keyword density is only one part of on-page SEO also!

apartment guarantor June 29, 2010 at 3:29 am

thanks for the share i would i have made a copy for my use..this will help me for a better PR

Kathy June 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm

These are some good tips. Pretty much all of them address on-page SEO though. You didn’t mention off-page SEO (a.k.a. links). A person could build a 500 page blog about some really in depth information that adds real value to her niche. However, if she never gets any links pointing at the site, all of those deep pages aren’t going to get indexed in Google and therefore will get no traffic. Promoting your website is a must, at least to some degree. If the content on it is good enough, it will begin to take off on its own. But, you have to get it started. For those people who don’t have impressive content, you will need to promote it with links even more.

Remember if you are in a competitive niche, links are at least equally as important as on-page SEO, if not more so.

Tia Peterson June 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Thanks, Kathy! Search engine indexing is not dependent on back links, but you’re right that in a competitive niche, back links are key!

Daniel Sharkov@Marketing product reviews June 28, 2010 at 5:15 am

All of those tips are great, but I found the first one to be the most interesting. It seems that these days finding good keywords that people are searching for, but which are not fully dominated is a tough task. I have hard time achieving that goal and I believe that it is the main reason why my blog is not search engine friendly. Internal linking also seems to be a decisive factor. Two weeks ago when I wasn’t using internal links, the traffic was pretty poor, but know after adding several links in each article, things are starting to change for the better. Thanks for sharing!

Tia Peterson June 28, 2010 at 8:57 am

Hey Daniel – You’re welcome. I noticed my time on site increased after implementing internal linking with regularity.

Jacob Maslow June 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm

I usually use short posts. It works well for me and I use a very SEO optimized platform (compendium blogware).

It is a bit different for me as we do over 100 posts a month. So there is plenty of content for google to see.

As far as picking the right keywords, you can use the google / awords keyword tool (it is free). It shows degree of competition and volume. Make sure to look up US only (if you are targeting a US audience).

Tia Peterson June 28, 2010 at 8:56 am

Oh wow. lol Over 100 posts a month – authority site?

I’m going to have to take a look at compendium blogware…

I prefer Market Samurai, just because I can see multiple factors at once; and I’ve heard more than once that Google’s own search volumes are inaccurate… but who knows, I guess.

Udegbunam Chukwudi@Sell Blogger Blogs June 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

You could change your permalinks and still avoid the 404 errors/broken link using Permalink Redirect by Scott Yang ;-)

I’ve used CBNet Ping Optimizer and MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer and for some reason they’ve stopped pinging accurately. There are instances where they even ping scheduled posts. Frustration has gotten the best of me and I’ve deleted them without hopes of reinstalling them until they get a new update.

Tia Peterson June 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Oh wow! Thanks for the tips about the permalinks and the ping optimizers. I actually usually disable pinging until I am ready. It’s worth just having them there to keep from pinging and then to either use pingler.com or pingomatic.com.

Udegbunam Chukwudi@Sell Blogger Blogs June 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Tia, I can be quite lazy and having to log onto pingler.com or pingomatic.com each time, i want to ping my blog will be tedious for me. lol Maybe with a little practice, i’ll get better @ it ;-)

DiTesco June 27, 2010 at 5:43 am

A very solid list of “do nots” when working on your SEO. Actually these are just about all there is to it for optimizing your blog and get those search engines crawling your pages. Why pay for expensive SEO when all you have to do is be creative, write good related content and the not so complicated SEO work. Maybe I’ll just add a little and that pertains to images. Not using the “alt” tags for your images is also a big no, no. If you are using images then use the tag and you are in for a big surprise :)

Tia Peterson June 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Hi DiTescpo – precisely! That’s what I wonder, too. But I guess it’s the same as starting a blog. Technically it’s very easy but people feel overwhelmed, so they outsource.

I agree about the alt tag and I often forget it.

Robert Bravery June 26, 2010 at 2:28 am

Nice Post Tia,

All those ambiguous, bizarre and totally unrelated Titles, keywords and URL are the key. SO many SEO professionals use this tactic to prove to their clients that they are number 1 on Google.
Hey I can get #1 on Google every time, just use Upside “Down Wooden Ark”. But really, who searches for that, and who are the competition.

I really like your point about meta tags, although they do not carry as much weight in the SE’s ranking algorithms, they are truly invaluable for users.

Great stuff

Tia Peterson June 28, 2010 at 8:54 am

Thanks Robert!

Vivek Krishnan June 25, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I think 400-500 words is very necessary to get ranked well in Google. Research articles have more SEO – as referenced from Matt Cuttes.

Tia Peterson June 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Hey Vivek – Great name! One of my favorites.

Agree. Then again, things can always change. But for now, I think 400 is a minimum IF a person cares about SEO for that particular post.

Vivek Krishnan June 26, 2010 at 5:38 am

Glad you like the name! See you again in your future posts.

Cheers.

Eve @ Designing WIth Eve June 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I see this all over in my design work, I recently had a client that broke just about every one of those rules!

Tia Peterson June 25, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Hi Eve!

So sorry it took me this long to approve the comment. I’ve been wrestling with dehydration.

I think it’s really easy to break the rules. Depending on what a person’s background with the web is, a lot of SEO is counter-intuitive to the way someone thinks and relates to the world. Most people don’t think in terms of keywords. lol :) To me, it’s common sense but the definition of common truly depends on the circles we float around in.

Kok Siong @ Blogging Guide June 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hi Tia Peterson! Thanks for your sharing! I think the most common blog SEO mistake for most of the bloggers in the beginning of blogging is build up the links without considering the quality of the links. Sometimes, the no quality link will deadly bring our site down from search engine.

Tia Peterson June 25, 2010 at 9:44 pm

You’re welcome, Kok Siong! :)

Yes, I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. As well as deciding on a topic for my site, building up a ton of back links for it, and then changing the topic, LOL Yes, I made that unfortunate mistake. However, the flip side is that I get a lot of visitors coming for something specific who the stick around for the other stuff. I carefully watch the time on site for those visits.

John R.@Rotary tools June 25, 2010 at 10:45 am

The problem with titles is huge. Bloggers often want to have a brand in their title but forget about the keyword.

Let’s say their domain in example.com and they use the title “Example.com” on every page instead of “Their main keyword | Example.com” for their home page and “Post title | Example.com” for post pages.

Tia Peterson June 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Hola, John. Yes, I agree. The title is huge, and what most bloggers don’t know (hopefully they do now) is that changing the title can make a HUGE difference. See my post on Google ranking and how I changed my title and almost overnight (not kidding) started ranking for that keyword phrase.

Tola June 25, 2010 at 5:22 am

Great tips!
This should keep people in the right direction.
#1 & 2 are major issues! When I started blogging that was the first mistake I made! Picked a Blog title cos I liked the sound of it, big mistake! Usually your blog title should go hand in hand with your keywords. So once I make the blog title mistake, the keyword mistake came naturally…
All sorted now though!

Tia Peterson June 25, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Hey Tola!! So glad you stopped by. And I’m honored that you would read and comment on an SEO post, since you are the SEO expert!

Thanks for your comment! The nice thing about the keywords and title is that they can change and make a difference. :)

Shashank June 24, 2010 at 9:04 am

These common SEO mistakes often prove to be very costly for a blog. I learnt it the hard way. This time around I’ve considered everything before starting a new blog.
Very informative post and a must read for every amateur blogger.

Tia Peterson June 24, 2010 at 9:41 am

Every time I start a new blog, I look at things differently. :) The way this blog was launched vs the way I’m launching new blogs today are totally different.

I’m off to read your URL canonicalization post now… very intrigued!

David @ SEO Ottawa consultant June 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

Very good list. I agree with all of these except item #6 An XML sitemap really is not necessary and brings no benefits to a blog unless for some reason the search engines are having difficulty finding some of your pages. Even for a huge e-commerce website, all the sitemap will do (under normal conditions), is get the deep pages indexed faster. But those pages won’t rank well for almost any searches until the domain has a bit of a link profile…by which time the search engines will crawl and index the deeper pages (in other words, the XML sitemap is generally redundant)

Regarding the meta data, there is another reason this is important. Some social bookmarking websites pull this information as the description of the story, and that can make a difference how many votes your story gets (and to some extent, how many inbound links).

Tia Peterson June 24, 2010 at 9:39 am

Hey David – Totally agree with you re: meta data and social bookmarking – and even social media. Facebook, for example, will use the meta description when you insert a link on a wall.

I see what you’re saying about XML sitemaps; thanks. Old habits die hard. But the thing that you mentioned about getting pages indexed faster… seems worth it for me. I’m in re-consideration mode on that one, now… :)

Zadling June 24, 2010 at 7:34 am

Great tips on SEO. I think you covered it all here from A to Z. I will certainly refer anyone who has questions about SEO to this article. I myself have wondered whether the .html at the end really makes the difference. I know that Google might prefer it for some reason, but I like the “prettiness” of my links without it. One tip I would add is to occasionally bold some relevant keywords in your article since Google will recognize the emphasis on those keywords.

Tia Peterson June 24, 2010 at 9:42 am

That’s funny! I like the look of the posts “with” the .html. LOL

Right on about bolding relevant keywords.

TechDubDoob June 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm

A lot of people get it wrong, with these SEO concepts and more, and that's why just getting the basics right will put you far ahead of the majority of the pack.
My recent post Toy Story 3 Review

Tia Peterson June 24, 2010 at 9:42 am

That much is certainly true. :)

Joseph June 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Oops, I skipped past the other comments as I'm in a bit of rush (I'll be sure to go back and read them, of course!!).

Great post as always Tia!

May I add a little in here, for what its worth…

1 Keep your TITLE to within 70 characters long – that includes spaces. Google will not read any further than 70 characters in a title – meaning, get your primary keyword phrase at or very near the beginning of your post title to make sure it is actually showing up in Google.

2 Secondly, for internal links (which are as Tia says, very important) keep the anchor text to no more than 55 characters in length. Again, Google refuses to recognize longer tags than 55 characters on internal links (links you insert between pages on your blog or site).

3 Yeah, and meta data as you said Tia is still important – not for Google any longer (and not so much for Yahoo! or Bing now either, although folks still argue over that), but for potential site visitors. Keep the meta description to within 160 characters and make sure you get your primary keyword phrase in there some place!! The meta will show up in Google & the other search engines just under your post title and if that meta has your primary keywords that you are ranking for then they will be nicely highlighted by Google, thereby enhancing the chances that visitors will indeed come to your blog or site.

4 And that is the same if you got a near exact domain name match – Google highlight the primary keywords if they match up with the search text. But I personally don't worry too much about exact matches now as it takes too long to find really good ones on a regular basis. There are ways and means to get around that little issue, so its not sensible use of time to get too hooked on finding an exact match every single time you want to start building a new site.

Kindest regards
Joseph
My recent post Mistakes Made with Google ADSENSE Leads to a Pleasant Surprise!

Tia Peterson June 24, 2010 at 9:46 am

I think you and I should embark on some little SEO projects. Could be a lot of fun.

P.S. Everyone: Jo here has a great site called Affordable SEO Tips and Tricks and you should really check it out. I’m learning a lot.

Firegirl June 23, 2010 at 7:56 am

Was a great post. Made me realize how important permalinks are and how I've ignored them for quite some time. Just went through and painfully modified several sections on my site, then realized that it won't mean anything without proper SEO. Thanks for the tips!

Toronto Dentist :) June 22, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Solid post.
Funny, I focused on this stuff right off the bat. I did make mistakes on URL name, going through 3 versions in a month and thereby discovering what Google Sandbox means.

Firefox has some great little plug-in tools like SEO Doctor. I've been able to learn lots just by optimizing pages. Thesis and SEO Scribe are the combo I use now.
My recent post Dental Sins and Dentists to Avoid – Pain Exploiters II

bizchickblogs June 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm

You're smart. :)

Scribe SEO is one of my favorite tools. I don't use it on BizChickBlogs but I installed it with a client (showed him how) and really, I was amazed at how easy it is to use and how, with regular use, you start to not need it, because you memorize the steps.

For those who are wondering, you can check out Scribe SEO here.

Sandra Lee June 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Excellent advice! This has really got me thinking again about my blog title and blog description. Thanks!
My recent post Healing images and guides

bizchickblogs June 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Hey Sandra Lee! Awesome. I'll be checking out your blog! Thanks for your comment.

@andrewrondeau June 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Tia,

That's a great post and the only thing I can add is naming your categories. A lot of people don't use their keyword phrases as their category names and they should.

Andrew
My recent post WordPress SEO Plugin: Do We Need Another One?

bizchickblogs June 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Right! It definitely makes a difference and I should have included it. Thanks!

Chethan July 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

yeah category should be taken care

Marc Romero June 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Hey Tia! This is great stuff – thanks for the tips! I'm trying to get my site optimized for the music school I run with Cyndi. I will definitely keep checking back here in the future.
My recent post Allegro Youth Orchestra takes 1st place!

bizchickblogs June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Hey Marc! Awesome to see you here; looks like posting on Facebook works. lol Was beginning to wonder…

You're welcome for the tips and congrats on the blog. Let me know if you ever need anything!

Jeff S June 22, 2010 at 9:17 am

Hi Tia,
I searched for the XML-sitemap plugin in Wordpress and got a lot of different options. Which one would your recommend?
Thanks, and keep the great advice coming!
My recent post 10 Tips for Paying Back Your Student Loans

bizchickblogs June 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Hey Jeff,

I recommend using http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitema…. It's got the most reviews, has worked 100% of the time and you can download it from the WP codex, which means it's totally compliant with Wordpress.

Note: There are two things I do when I first activate that plugin: (1) Add the Yahoo API key. Your sitemap won't be submitted to Yahoo unless you do that. You'll see a place for it in the options, and there's even a link you can follow to go and get your API key. (2) Turn off "Rebuild Sitemap if my content changes" option until you're ready.

Your blog is ready, so you can leave it on. For brand new blogs that don't have any content yet, I always turn it off and then turn it back on when the content is ready.

However, I have that auto-rebuild sitemap option turned off completely on BizChickBlogs because I want to control the rate at which I submit the sitemap. Since I often have to make edits to published content (since I'm lazy and make mistakes), I don't want to be submitting rebuilds several times in a row (similar to the excessive pinging problem).

Udegbunam Chukwudi@Make Money Online July 14, 2010 at 7:17 am

How did you get your Yahoo API? I’ve tried several times but it seems to be reserved for Developers only :-(

Tia Peterson July 15, 2010 at 9:19 am

Hey! I just make sure I’m logged into Yahoo! and follow the link provided in the xml sitemap options panel in Wordpress. I don’t think I had to do anything special. Do you need me to give you that link?

Truth be told, if you’re developing your own site, you’re a developer. :)

Udegbunam Chukwudi@Make Money Online Nigeria July 17, 2010 at 3:27 am

Thanks a million for the tip. For some reason I just couldn’t get that application ID before but I just tried it now using the Generic Authentication Method and it worked.

Here’s hoping that this will in some way contribute to an increase in traffic from Yahoo.

Gracias ;-)

Tia Peterson July 17, 2010 at 7:25 am

It probably will. I noticed that my sites started ranking higher in Yahoo once I began submitting updated sitemaps. Good luck!

bizchickblogs June 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Thanks, Michelle. So much of this will be different since you have a hosted WP.com blog. Much of this only applies to self-hosted blogs.

You should really consider making the switch; your blog is great and everyone enjoys it. There's so much more that can be done (like the above).

italianmamachef June 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm

How do I switch? Would that mean I have a .com instead of the wordpress in the address? I have seriously thought about it but if I can't work through the technology, I don't want it to be a waste. I could use some step by step help.

Chethan July 1, 2010 at 12:00 am

Yeah.. It is very easy to switch from abc.worpress.com to abc.com … Let me know if i can help… what you want to do is.. just buy a hosting plan and host ur own abc.com domain…

do not worry about ur old posts in abc.wordpress.com .. we can easily import that and always use redirections.. so that u wont lose single traffic!!

Cheers :)

italianmamachef June 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Great help and advice as usual and as usual I am lost! Let me think of my specific questions and I'll email you soon. My head is a mess at the moment with all this techno stuff.

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