Master your blog’s SEO by understanding Google

39 thoughts on “Master your blog’s SEO by understanding Google”

  1. Thanks for both the explanations and the summary there Steve! I honestly didn’t have a clue about any of this until I started writing (and I still am about one rung above clueless!) Focusing on quality and high interest content (and being on social media) takes a ton of time and adding this layer adds more. It’s great to see that a few changes could make a big difference. I’m certainly not interested in “gaming the system” at all. Would love your thoughts about comment “luv”. I see some folks use it, others not. It’s nice to be able to do a fast link to others when you read their comments but I looked it up and many sites said it wasn’t good to use either.

    1. You’re welcome, Vicki. SEO isn’t the simplest of topics, but we also don’t need to have an in-depth understanding of it to get the most out of SEO. The basics are all that *most* of us need.

      Comment Luv is purely a personal preference. I like to give my readers a chance to link back to their site on mine when they comment. It might encourage some comments. Then again, it might not, but I still like to at least offer the opportunity. It’s working for me, so I’ll probably stick with it for the time being.

  2. Hi Steve, very helpful post for a newby blogger like myself. SEO is something I may need to put a bit more attention to, but like you suggested my primary focus has been on content.

    I had heard though, and was wondering if you knew, that Google puts more weight on blogs that have been around a year or so. Perhaps that gives a boost to PageRank?

    Thanks for the insightful post!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Green Swan. Good on you for making your top priority your content. Even with the best SEO strategy, a web site that doesn’t provide anything meaningful probably won’t make much headway when it comes to traffic generation (and retention!). Create good content and the traffic usually follows.

      Regarding your question, I’ve heard that too, but I’ve also heard that Google flatly refutes that claim. I think in the end we don’t really know (because Google isn’t 100% transparent about how it all works), but the nature of how PageRank works will tend to prioritize the sites that have been around longer anyway. Newer sites just won’t have the incoming links yet, nor the breadth of content available to be indexed.

  3. Thanks for putting this together Steve. I have been looking for an intro book to SEO and found out Google is the authority (shocker) and publish tons of free material – they also have a pretty awesome webmaster tools that is free if you have a gmail account and verify your site.

    From my limited research to date adding an XML site map is pretty important – pretty easy to do if you use Yoast SEO and have the Google webmaster account

    1. Thanks Apathy. It’s true that Google does have a good collection of webmaster tools available to help us bloggers navigate these waters. The keyword planner that I linked to is one of those tools, but certainly not the only one!

      WordPress will put together a default site map as well. But yes, Yoast will do this too.

      1. Do you know if it is enough just to put it together? Or is there a benefit in actually submitting to google through the WebMaster Tools? (This is where my knowledge falls off a steep cliff)

        1. Personally, I’ve tried both mechanisms with different blogs and haven’t noticed a difference. Google will eventually find you and do what it does best. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt, but in my experience, it hasn’t really helped that much, either, as far as I can tell.

  4. That’s really cool stuff. I am always puzzled how search engines rank these search results. I got to second place at google with “Synthetic Roth IRA” and wonder how I can get that old outdated and irrelevant first ranked page off the pedestal, haha. I will try some of your tricks!
    Thanks for explaining these to the rest of us. I also liked your caveat: content comes first, SEO after that. Very important!

    1. That definitely sounds like a keyword without a lot of competition. Even though that #1 link might be outdated, it probably has links from other sites still pointing to it. Just a guess, but that may account for its #1 position despite its age.

      Appreciate the read!

  5. Well a few months of blogging tells us we have done some good things so far and also have much to learn. I guess that is OK. I learn something new every time I come to read your posts and why you can’t get rid of me!!

    Mrs. PIE and I were only commenting recently on a grocery savings post from a relatively new blogger who I will not name that was SOOO geared to hits, it was hilarious reading it. Every other line had budget, frugal, food and / or saving in it. I can only guess if that is the strategy of that blog, then it may not be around for too much longer. Each to their own, I guess.

    1. Ha! Yeah, it’s easy to tell when a post has been written specifically with SEO in mind, isn’t it? It just doesn’t come across as genuine and makes me never want to return to that blog. Like, ever. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Mr. Tako! Oh, and one of your posts might be featured as my favorite post in this week’s Friday Feast. Just sayin’. 🙂

  6. Great overview of SEO. I know the feeling of the Google gift. For a while, Enwealthen was #1 for “rich dad seminar review” which I wrote just because I was checking out Rich Dad products, not seeking traffic. 3 years later I still get a steady stream of traffic. I suppose my next article should be about David Ramsey…

    Personally, I don’t worry about pagerank any longer now that we’re in a Panda / Penguin world. Just keep a clean, fast website, with some high quality content that is updated regularly (my biggest problem with 2 littles underfoot) and the traffic will come.

    1. I think you have the absolute right attitude about this, Jack. Write good content, keep it updated, and the traffic will follow. I’ve found that to be true with my sites as well.

  7. This is a great writeup Steve. SEO is so important to a successful website, but can seem really daunting to someone who has never done it before. I had no understanding of it at all, until I started learning it on the job about a year ago. It’s one of those topics where you can always learn something new and is always changing from year to year.

    1. Thanks for reading, Matt. It does seem to change so very often. Just recently, Google put in place the stipulation that your web site must function well on mobile devices for it to be ranked well. Site speed is another relatively new addition.

  8. I’ve never really wanted to pay attention to my blog stats. I always tell myself that I write my blog for myself, and if others read it, that’s just a bonus. But if I’m really honest with myself, it always thrills me to see a post that is popular, or to have my stats boost. And if my stats go down one week, I feel a bit like I failed… This being my first blog, I know I have so much to learn, SEO being one of those things. I really appreciate your down-to-earth description here. It might be enough to motivate me to get my act together and finally learn all the ins-and-outs of making a successful blog.

    1. It is always nice to know that others are reading your material. Really, there isn’t a lot that you need to do for SEO that you probably aren’t already doing. WordPress plugins can help you situate your keywords. But, high quality content is the foundation for everything else. 🙂

      1. Well, I wouldn’t classify my content as high quality, but it is genuine and honest… That’s got to count for something, right?
        *note to self… work on quality content… 🙂

  9. I guess it’s time to focus some more on this. Clearly we missed the boat on SEO with our blog title though. 🙂 Mmmm, coffee. hahaha

    I figure I could spend some more time researching how to better situate keywords and then edit my posts somewhat during that “write, and let it soak” cycle I try to use anyways. That way I could get some SEO optimization but not necessarily rewrite my post to generate hits. Just sprinkle some SEO throughout.

    Thanks for the dumbed down tips and links to more details!

    1. Hey Mr. SSC – there is virtually unlimited research potential on this topic, but I like your attitude about this. Sprinkle in some SEO here and there for good measure. Keep up the quality content and traffic will definitely follow!

  10. Thanks, Steve – very clear description. When I was working at MegaCorp I had a whole team of people who reported up into me that did SEO for our corporate pages. That said, I have never spent any time optimizing my web page at home.

    1. Thanks MrFireStation. It’s funny that the things we do for work might not get a lot of attention at home. But, it certainly seems like your content quality is more than making up for what you may have missed from an SEO perspective. And that helps to prove that quality content trumps SEO! Or, perhaps better said…quality content IS SEO. 🙂

  11. Appreciate the article and reminder that I need to focus on Keywords! I often put in popular terms for my keywords which is why I probably have very little traffic from Google. Do you always have two words as your keywords to standout from the crowd?

    1. Hey Stefan – not necessarily, but more than one word helps. It helps to reduce the likelihood that another popular and authoritative blog already has a monopoly on that particular keyword. You don’t want them too long, however, or that reduces the chances of someone actually searching for it! It’s a fine line. 🙂

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