23. September 2009 16:44
Last Modified: 9/12/2010
In this post, we will explore some tips and tricks to improve the search relevancy and page ranking for your custom blog content. This is one article in an ever-growing series : Blogging 101 : Behind the Scenes at SlingAlibi.com. The goal of this series is to provide a step by step guide that you can use as a checklist to host your own website with a customized blog engine.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are several techniques you can use to optimize your site for better search relevancy. Please feel free to use this as an a la carte checklist of options to configure your website.
Run a free search simulator test on your site to see how a search engine views your site. This will help tweak your content to be more search friendly. So when I ran one, I quickly realized the Spider wasn’t able to crawl my links. I realized that I hadn’t properly set the sitemap property in the robots.txt file to point to the sitemap file. Also, I realized that by web hoster has a security guard that is turned on by default. You can turn down from STRONG to MEDIUM inside the Control Panel. Once I did that, I definitely got a slew of results from the spider. Separate your UI markup code from your content. Look at your source. Are you using the FONT tag? Switch those out & use Cascading Style Sheets for setting your UI attributes. Don’t use too many H1 tags (this page is incredibly guilty of it) it confuses the search engines with TMI. That’s probably why I am going to have to break this page up into at least a dozen posts. But don’t get annoying with how granular you are with your site. Personally, I don’t enjoy skipping around between pages for tiny crumbs of information. It’s a balance, not too dense (like this page is in its current form) where ADD people can’t deal and not too sparse, where fast readers are bored and flit away. Always use ALT text with your images. Crawlers can’t “read” images. Get listed in DMOZ – a human maintained yellow pages of the web. This will link you up with other partner sites, such as AOL, AltaVista, Google, etc. (optional) Likewise register with the paid service directories, such as Yahoo and business.com directories, but this is not free. ($299/ and $199 / year respectively). Run a free web site grader against your main page for more tips like this. IT’s great to have a role model in mind when you run this search. Basically do a little investigating and find a blog that’s something similar to what you’d like in reach. I opted to go with the the people who helped me tremendously getting set up here, as a means to understand what a successful site looks like. As you can see I have a long, long way to go:
Get an account at Digg. Add a Plugin for Digg into Livewriter – This puts a link to Digg in each of your posts.This will allow people to stack rank your content as valuable or relevant for the Digg aggregator.
- For .NET Application Development related content, get an account at DotNetShoutout and DZone. Both allow you to submit links to your most important posts and people can vote on them, bumping them up on top 10 lists. Optionally, you can tag your posts with little links that allow your readers to cast their vote directly from your posts. This could be tacky, so verdict is still out on whether this is a best practice. I am experimenting with a DotNetKicks link on some of my posts.
- Likewise, get an account at DotNetKicks. Add the LiveWriter plug in for DotNetKicks, assuming you are writing about software development with .NET.
- Submit your blog to Technorati. Just join, membership is free. Then you can claim your blog by creating a “fake” post with a key that Technorati provides. Once they reach out and touch your post, they’ll authorize the claim. You can track the status of your claim directly on their website. Once your claim has been approved, you will be able edit your settings and see your ranking amongst the -rati. Check out my ranking. I am sure it is 3M out of 3M: Once you are set up you can use the Ping button to have Technorati search your site for new content. You can automate this by entering this into the settings for your blogging engine, in my case, I can go into control panel in BlogEngine.NET and set up the automatic ping service. This establishes a handshake between my blog server and Technorati.
- Submit your site to crawlers and blog indexers, such as Blogged.
- Connect to delicious – sign in – drop in tags into your blog. Tags are basically the equivalent of keywords from way back in the 90s. Keywords provide descriptive terms in the META of a page. Search engine crawlers examine the meta of a page to determine the best place to index the page. More keywords is not necessarily better. Be very selective with which keywords you choose. Read the section on SEO for more information.
- Submit your blog to search engines. There are tons of techniques on how to this. For starters, you can hit the big 3:
Don’t create hyperlinks that are called “here” or “this”. Apparently poor anchor texts do not allow search engine crawlers to properly categorize your site. Don’t have any broken links. This is an obvious one, but good to remember for regular monthly maintenance. You can use a validation spider to clean your site up. I plan to get rid of my 2nd subdomain blogs.slingalibi.com to avoid confusion and keep my site focused on one domain, so I’ll definitely be running this tool in the next day or so. But I did a quick run through, not expecting to find much after less than a week of being up, and (er) I am guilty. The crawler crawled for several minutes: And then it told me I had 11 bad links (and I haven’t even killed my subdomain yet!) So most likely 1/month is not frequent enough:
How you do redirection is also very critical for SEO. (ASP.NET 4.0 has new features to support 301 redirection – which signifies a permanent redirection – much better for search crawlers.). Why do you want redirects? To make things nice and neat with setting subdomains. For example, I have a redirect from about.slingalibi.com to an ASPX file sitting deep inside a folder. When it comes to your own personal ASP.NET code, you should consider the new routing features of ASP.NET 4.0. Leverage the Text Template Add In if you are using Live Writer. This will make it easy for you to automatically insert links to chicklets so you don’t have to manually add the line of code for each of your chicklets, like the tweet me script:
Technorati Tags: SEO