Blogger U: SEO 201

In my Blogger U: SEO 101 post, we talked about the basics of SEO for bloggers– keywords, links, content, all that fun stuff. Now that we have the basics down, let’s delve a little deeper into the world of SEO, shall we? Here are four more advanced SEO tips, once you have the basics in place.

Responsive Design

1. Mobile. Is your site responsive? What that means is: does your site shrink or expand to fit the device being viewed on? The mobile-readiness of your site is important to Google as one of its many ranking factors, given how much time we spend on mobile devices, namely our phones and our tablets. A quick way to check is to shrink the browser window while viewing your site on a desktop. If it responds accordingly, you will know your site is responsive.

A quick way to view what your site looks like across devices? Try ami.responsivedesign.is. Just plug your URL in and make sure to include the http:// or it will error out – and click “go.” You can also run your URL through Google’s mobile-friendly test to see if you pass Google’s mobile standards.

Site Speed

2. Site Speed. We all know bloggers like photos and videos. Photos and videos are great. On the flip side, media can slow your site down. Site speed is yet another one of Google’s ranking factors, and its become a bigger one in recent months. Fortunately, if you have Google Analytics installed (and you should!), there are a number of ways to check and monitor site speed. Click into the behavior menu on the left-hand side and you will see a number of options to review your site speed, as well as suggestions for improving site speed. As a rule of thumb, your site should load in 3 seconds or less.

3. Google Webmaster Tools. Another free Google tool you should have in your arsenal? Google Webmaster Tools. It’s free and set up is pretty straightforward (look for the phrase “search console” after you click the link to Google Webmaster Tools). There is a vast amount of “things” you can do with Google Webmaster tools, but I primarily use it to monitor for any penalties from Google and to submit sitemaps. You can also see the keywords that bring people to your site and tell Google to re-index your site if you make changes.

With Google Webmaster Tools, the best thing you can do is just play with it. I have been using it for 3 years now, and I’m still finding new things. Also, give it about 24 hours after set up to populate with information. It will say “no data available” after the initial set up.

4. Sitemaps. Ever wonder how Google knows what pages are on your site? Sitemaps, that’s how. Sure, Google goes out and crawls sites on their own, but you can create a sitemap and submit through Google Webmaster Tools to tell Google what, exactly, it should be indexing. The best part? As a blogger, all you need to do is submit your RSS feed. That way, each time you update, Google gets the message.

5. Lose the Fancy. Some blogs I visit are super fancy. They have sliders and animation and sparkles and rainbows. That’s great and all and I admit, I like it. But, Google doesn’t. When indexing your site, Google’s bots can’t index flash or javascript. Although, there have been recent tests that say maybe Google CAN index javascript… The guard may be changing here. To see your site as Google sees it, go into the settings of your browser of choice and turn off javascript. If your site stays the same, great! If elements of your site start to disappear, however, particularly the navigation, you may want to reconsider your design.

Also, some bloggers like to “gate” their content, which means you have to put in a name and email to access it. While this has its pros, Google bots can’t type. Make sure there is either a way to opt out or a way for Google to get around the gate.

The world of SEO can be a dark and scary place, especially when you get more advanced. Feel free to reach out to me through Back Home Blue if you have any SEO-related questions!

___

Sarah blogs at Back Home Blue and is an ambassador of The Blogger Collective.

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3 thoughts on “Blogger U: SEO 201

  1. This was an awesome post! I really got a lot out of it as well as your first SEO post. I’ve recently started working with Webmaster Tools as well. Could you go into more detail on how to submit a sitemap? Thanks again for all this great information!

    ~Hillary
    http://www.styleinasmalltown.com

    Like

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