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How to evaluate a blog – Part 7:
SEO or Search Engine Optimization

Posted on Nov 28th, 2010 by
Putting up a Vsat

"Being heard" is key in "Seach Engine"-land

Do the test yourself: Google the main keywords which should be relevant to the blog you are evaluating. Does the blog feature on the first search page? If so, cool! That’s what we want!

How about Googling a key phrase, or key title, or some key issues which have been well covered in the blog content? Does the blog appear on the first search page? If so, the blog is on the right track.

If not, the blog needs some tweaking of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

More often than not, there are excellent blogs with superb content, but with a failing SEO. Their content can’t be found easily by search engines and thus won’t be properly indexed. If people can’t find the content on a blog through a search engine, the blog does not live up to its potential. A waste of resources, really…

It is even more frustrating if the blog has a good Page Rank (PR4 and up) and STILL does not feature well in Google searches.

Basic SEO is simple, and does not take a lot of time but it makes a hell of a difference. Here is a basic SEO checklist to run through, as part of your blog evaluation exercise:

  • What is the blog’s pagerank? If PR 4 or higher, they are on the right track.
  • Check the Google backlinks with the URL

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=link:http://www.myblog.com

    (e.g. backlinks for BlogTips) How many other sites link to the blog? 20 or 30 is good. The more the better.
    Ask the blogmaster if any efforts are done to encourage other blogs to link back. The more backlinks, the higher the pagerank, and the more prominent the blog will feature on Google searches, thus the more visitors a blog will get.
    Update: Actually to check backlinks, there are tools available which give you more accurate and up-to-date backlink lists. Try Google Webmaster or Yahoo SiteExplorer for one!
  • Google the content and keywords which are pertinent to the blog. Can you find the blog at all? If some keywords fail to return the blog, you might have to stress these within the blog content, by using them in the blog META description or using them repeatedly within <h> <i> <em> <b> tags within blogposts.
  • Google the blog. What is the blog summary displayed on the search result page, for both the home page, as well as for blog pages? Are those appropriate? If not, you will need to change the metadata description tag.

    Blogtips on Google

    Blogtips on Google

  • When looking at the source code for the blog’s home page, and the post pages, can you see the metadata “Title” and “Description”? These are a must for proper SEO.

    Humanitariannews.org metadata

    Meta data for Humanitariannews.org, one of my blogs

  • Do the images have “alt” and “title” tags, which makes the images easier to index-able by search engines? Often one-third of the search traffic is generated by image searches. Don’t ignore that traffic.
  • Do the posts make proper use of the <h> header tags to emphasize key words? Using <i> <b> <em> tags helps too… Search engines give keywords in phrases with these tags a higher priority
  • Are there any invalid out-links on the home page, and on individual pages? Invalid or outdated links are penalized by search engines, so check our out-links regularly, using this tool for instance:


    http://validator.w3.org/checklink

  • Are the tag-pages, category-pages and archives indexed? They should not, unless if you have a really good reason to do so. Tag-pages and category-pages can return dozens of useless blogposts for a certain Google search. It is better to only index blogposts and pages.
  • Does the blog use an SEO tool or plugin, so they can define the meta data for the blog and the individual posts? Do they use it properly e.g. are they redefining the TITLE meta tag for posts which have a cryptic (but eye-catching) title?
  • Does the blog use canonical URLs for the pages, or are the URLs cryptic? URLs like:

    http://myblog.org/simple-SEO

    are much better than:


    http://myblog.org/?page=130

Proper basic Search Engine Optimization takes just a little effort, but gains significant returns…




10 Comments to “How to evaluate a blog – Part 7:
SEO or Search Engine Optimization”

  1. Ron Bingham says:

    Well, sorry… listing the html tags in my comment caused them to be used as html. I knew this happens but didn’t think about it so here’s the comment again without the brackets…
    This is the first time I’ve heard that SEO would look at not just at the “h” tags but also at the “i”, “em” , and “b” tags as well. Is this really true? I’ve been learning SEO for almost a year now and this is a new one.

    • Peter says:

      Ron,

      Search engine crawlers try to mimic a ‘web visitor’ as closely as possible. Just as a web visitor will ‘anchor’ on emphasized text more than on the normal text, so will crawlers. There has been quite some discussion on this, over the years. The overall opinion is that yes, emphasizing key words and key phrases do make a difference.

      Peter

  2. Google’s command link: is no longer reliable for a long time. I suggest to use tools as yahoo site explorer or open site explorer!

    • Peter says:

      Point taken. Google’s search for backlinks indeed returns incomplete results.
      Will append to the post.

      Peter

      • Seo packages says:

        If you own the site you want to analyze the backlinks for then you can add it to the google webmaster tools and it will tell you some backlinks there. However it is also incomplete but will often be a different set of backlinks than what comes up in the yahoo siteexplorer

  3. Great article, I really enjoyed reading it. The tips are helpful as well.

  4. Kim Bowater says:

    Just like the author said ‘Basic SEO is simple, and does not take a lot of time but it makes a hell of a difference’. I believe every beginner begins with adding comments. It is simple but it is vital. I know it because I am doing it right now in BPOVIA.

  5. Great series on SEO. I hope there are more to come. Thanks.

  6. Tomass says:

    Posts like this is what i was looking for. For company as we, we are looking to make our company recognizable in web and we need such posts. Not yet all is understandable for me, but hope it will come with time.

    Thank You.

    Regards
    Tom

  7. Janet Limm says:

    Wel…I think SEO is very importance for search engine. It’s essential to have a title, H1 tag, H2 tag, etc… meta tags, proper description. All of these factor into search engine optimization. From my experience Javascript prevents Search Engine to crawl your site. Why? Spiders have a hard time going through Javascript. In conclusion, always make a website with good content but don’t stuff with too much keywords. But always put proper title, h1 tag etc.. as mentioned earlier.

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