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How to SEO a Blog

Publishing blog content on a regular basis does a lot of good things for your business. It helps build your brand, it gives you a platform to communicate to your followers, it demonstrates your expertise, and it develops relationships between yourself and your most active followers. From an SEO standpoint, it’s powerful as well: the more you publish, the more authority your site gains; truly great content will acquire passive links; blogs generate powerful social media signals; and of course every blog post is a landing page.

But even though blogs have SEO value, it doesn’t mean you can get away without optimizing your blog — and we’re not just talking about picking a keyword and mentioning it a time or two. Here are a few solid tips:

Most default blog themes don’t paginate — they just have a single link that says “Older Posts”, or sometimes that plus a “Newer Posts” button. That’s horrible, because it means that spiders become exponentially less likely to crawl your oldest posts. Instead, your blog should look like Google — with a numbered list of pages at the bottom of each page of posts, so the spiders are likely to crawl the depths as well as the shallows.

Highlight Related Posts
Content that is buried deep in your site or orphaned entirely will eventually get de-indexed or at least lose so much link equity that it won’t rank for anything — rendering it useless. There are several plugins that can analyze each article and create a decent list of suggested “related posts”, and slap that into your sidebar. In addition, if you think as your write that one of your other posts is related, don’t be afraid to link it up on the spot. Even “Previously” and “Next Time” links help a little.

Categories, used correctly, can boost your organic search efforts. Each category you create and use essentially ‘silos’ your posts into topical themes, each of which gets its own webpage, offering you new opportunities to rank for varying search terms. You’ll want to:

  • Pick one category per post — it’s unknown whether having one post show up on many category pages invokes a multiple-content penalty, but it’s better to avoid the potential.
  • Limit the number of categories you have — for smaller blogs, no more than 5; for larger ones, no more than 20.
  • Get a plugin that will allow you to add unique content to your category pages, and create an intro paragraph for each category — that’ll help it rank.

Social Media Buttons are Good
Every blog post should have big, phat buttons on it that will allow any readers to share/like/pin/digg/stumble/splatt/calamix/splendiferize (OK, so I made those last three up…or did I?) that content as easily as possible. Every social share not only exposes your content to new readers, but sends ranking signals to Google if it’s shared early in it’s lifetime. Don’t pass up the ability to get your social on.

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