Google and SEO

This post gives some SEO tips for formatting your blog posts.

What’s SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” the quasi-science recommending how your website can achieve a high ranking in Google search reports.  You want your website to appear in the first page of links when a search term is fed to Google.  Why Google?  Because that’s the search engine that most folks use.  If your site doesn’t make the first Google screen it’s unlikely that searchers will scroll down further to find it.

Nobody knows for sure how the Google search algorithms work.  That’s a proprietary secret. However, there is a consensus among experts that the following measures will help make your site more noticeable:

Establish External Links to Your Website

Establish as many external links to your site as possible in an honest way.  (Google sniffs out cheats and demotes them.)  The previous CyberKen blog post talked about some honest ways to get external links:  Comment on other folks’ blogs, send links to your posts in large social networks, ask friends and colleagues to review your posts, noting the urls.  External links to your site is the single most important factor in raising its Google ranking.  At least, so say the experts.

Choose a Keyword or Phrase for Your Post

Devise a key word or short phrase and put that in:
a.  the title of your post (no more than 67 characters)
b.  the first sentence of the first paragraph of your post’s content.
c.  the url of your post (more about this in my video below about the Yoast SEO plugin.)
d.  the meta description of your post (no more than 120 characters).  The meta description provides approximately three short lines immediately following a live link in a search report.  These lines help a viewer decide whether the content is of sufficient interest to click on the link.  The meta description doesn’t appear on a web page, but is contained in the source code of that page.  Using the Yoast plugin you can edit the meta description.  Again, more about this in the video below.

Use <h2> Tags for Subsections of Your Post

It is rumored that Google indexing computers pay most attention to the title of a post and also to the first 90 characters or so of its content.  Also, they pay attention to sub section headings coded with the <h2> tag.  A post title always gets the <h1> tag. The first level of subdivision below the title gets an <h2> tag.  If your post content could use some first-level subdivisions, make sure to mark them with the <h2> tag.  This will not only make your post more readable, but also more attractive to Google indexing computers.  At least, so say the experts.  The video below demonstrates how to apply an <h2> tag to a subsection of your post.

Assign Tags to Your Post

The final SEO tip is to attach internet search terms, called tags, to your posts.  When you have finished writing a post, think what single words or very short phrases people might use to find it.  The WordPress editing window provides a tag section where you can assign tags.  Try to make your tags specific enough that they will  help searchers find your content.  For instance, if you have written about Robins, it is better to use “Robin” as a tag instead of “bird” or “nature”.  These latter terms also apply of course, but they are so general that they will be of little use in guiding searchers to your material.

Click on the right facing arrow below to see the how-to video.

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