Blogspot SEO Checklist: The Practical Way to Improve Rankings

So you started a blog on Blogspot, but you’re not seeing the level of traffic for which you’d hoped. Are you going to have to give up your dreams of blogging for a living, or at least making a nice side income from your writing? Maybe not. This article will show you a few ways to improve your visibility in the search engines, and hopefully your traffic.

Background

You can easily get a blog from www.blogger.com , popularly known as “Blogspot.” It is the most famous blogging platform. No wonder most blogs are using the Google blogger platform; it is very easy to set up and FREE!

With a free account comes one weakness, however: the default blogger is highly unfriendly to search engines. If you are a blogger reading this article, it will help you to address the SEO issues of your blogs. Being highly unfriendly to search engines means LOW RANKING = LOW TRAFFIC = LOW BLOG INCOME.

It is every blogger’s dream to earn a high income through blogging. The best way to do this is to get a lot of traffic coming from search engines, particularly Google. You cannot obtain a high level of traffic if your blog posts are not well ranked in the search engines.

This checklist is aimed at Google. The advice in this article should be easy to apply even if you are not tech savvy. In short, what you will find in this article is do-it-yourself SEO advice that can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars hiring SEO firms or consultants. Yes, I am serious.

Before you can implement this diagnostic checklist, make sure you comply with the following basic requirements:

  1. Your content is original, marketable and written to a specific targeted audience, which can be easily understood and applied.

  2. You have the time to update your blog on a periodic basis. It does not matter whether it will be daily, weekly or monthly blog updates.

  3. You know what I’m talking about when I refer to Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics; furthermore, you have registered your blog using those tools.

  4. You are using the Google Blogger Classic Template. The current/default or new version of Blogger does not give you the full control of its source code template that will be used to initiate SEO improvements. If you are using the Beta version, switch to the Classic version before you try to implement the actions on the checklist.

  5. You should back up your blogger template source code before making any alterations. By this, I mean that you should copy and paste all source HTML into a notepad file, and then save it to your desktop. If things go wrong, you can copy and paste this backup source code to your template.

The title is the single most important SEO element in your blog. It is mainly useful for three reasons:

  1. Search engines put more ranking weight on a more descriptive, accurate and relevant title.

  2. Visitors coming from any traffic source on the Internet (such as forums, other blogs, social networking sites and search engines) tend to click more on relevant titles.

  3. Visitors tend to like your blog if your post titles are unique and relevant. This will result in more blog followers or readers.

Therefore, it is of primary importance to make your title accurate, descriptive and relevant.

In Google, there are three primary specifications that are important for a title tag:

  1. The suggested maximum number of characters in a title should not be more than 65 characters. So it is good to check the number of characters in your post title to make sure it will not exceed this amount.

  2. Never spam the title tag. Do not stuff keywords in it; not only will redundant keywords make no sense, but keyword stuffing will result in a penalty which is hard to get rid of and cost you time while you try to regain your rankings.

  3. Make it directly relevant to the page topic, and see to it that the title is captivating to read while being both specific and relevant.

Replace the existing title tag code in the source code template with this:

<title><MainPage><$BlogTitle$></MainPage><ArchivePage><$BlogPageTitle$></ArchivePage>
<itempage><blogger><$BlogItemTitle$></blogger></itempage></title>

To accomplish this, simply go to Dashboard and click the “Template” of your selected blog. Find the title tag indicated by:

<title>This is your old title</title>

Replace this entire line with:

<title><MainPage><$BlogTitle$></MainPage><ArchivePage><$BlogPageTitle$></ArchivePage>
<itempage><blogger><$BlogItemTitle$></blogger></itempage></title>

After that, click “Save Template Changes.”

This is not a highly important ranking factor, but it’s still an important checklist. The meta description is highly responsible for “clicks” from any search engine. Note here that I’m talking about “clicks,” not “rank” or “view.” In technical terms, view is also called “impressions.”

Meta descriptions are important. If your meta description is RELEVANT and directly shows a snippet that is related to what the searcher is looking for, the searcher is more likely to click through and read the whole post. 

Thus, we can see that a simple searcher in the Google results will become a visitor to your blog after clicking on the search results.

Again, in Google, below are the important guidelines you need to follow whey you formulate a meta description for every post.

  1. The suggested maximum number of characters should be around 160. This is to ensure that the meta description you intended to show to visitors can be completely shown by search engines. (They will truncate if it exceeds around 160 characters).

  2. It should be different from the meta description on other pages, or it will not be friendly to search engines or users. 

  3. Meta descriptions should reflect the page topic.

To optimize the meta descriptions in Blogger, copy and paste the following code into the template:


<MainPage><meta name="description" content="<$BlogDescription$>" /></MainPage><ArchivePage><meta name="description"content="<$BlogPageTitle$> Archive, <$BlogDescription$>" /></ArchivePage><ItemPage><meta name="description" content="<Blogger><$BlogItemTitle$></Blogger> – <$BlogTitle$>" /></ItemPage>


Insert it below the <title> tag section of the template source code.

Also, you must tweak your front page meta description by going to Dashboard—Settings—Basic—and changing the text under the “Description” fields.

It should comply with the above guidelines. Basically this description is the one that is returned by

<$BlogDescription$>

This is one of the most influential search engine ranking factors. Google places much more emphasis on the keywords in links more than in other places.

This can be done by using the keywords in the anchor text. In Google Blogger there are basically two approach that are important.

First approach: Blog front page targeted keywords

It is important that all of your posts link to your front page. Using this setup will give the front page the highest number of internal links, so it becomes more important to rank for the selected front page targeted keywords only (not the ones targeted by your post).

Second approach: Actual post URLs keyword in the title

Long tail traffic goes to your post. This means that the post titles themselves are sets of keyword phrases for which someone may be searching in the search engines. For example, a post title might be a phrase such as “How to Record Audio using your Laptop." It is important that these phrases should be in hyperlinks and point to the actual post URL. This is in order for the post’s URL to rank in Google, and not other URLs in your blog, or the blog front page which is common.

Below I explain the tweaks you will need to make for each approach to work.

For the First approach

To make links point to the main page/front page of your blog from all URLs in the blog, you need to use the footer section of the classic blogger template.

Find the code in your blogger template and replace the information contained within <p> (colored red only) with your preferences:

<!– Begin #footer –>


<div id="footer"><div><div><hr />




<p><a href= "http://thisisyourbloghomepageURL.blogspot.com/" ><fontsize=2>Back to Replace this with your main targeted keyword Homepage</font></a> Copyright &copy; 2008 Yourname . All Rights Reserved</p>




</div></div></div>


<!– End #footer –>



For example, your blog’s home page URL is http://neverbeenlost.blogspot.com/ and your targeted keywords are “Secrets to Winning” and “Nothing is Impossible.” Therefore, your footer source code in the template should look like this:


<!– Begin #footer –>


<div id="footer"><div><div><hr />




<p><a href=”http://neverbeenlost.blogspot.com /” ><fontsize=2>Back to Secrets to Winning and Nothing is Impossible Homepage</font></a> Copyright &copy; 2008   Codex-m. All Rights Reserved</p>




</div></div></div>


<!– End #footer –>

By default, Google Blogger may or may not use hyperlinks in a post title pointing to the exact post URL. Find out if your blog templates have this type of problem. To minimize duplicate content, it is good to limit this to three to four posts. Since you are using a blog structure, your post will appear on the home page as well.

The problem starts when the post title is not linked to the post URL. In Google, it is the home page that will rank, not your post URL. This means that visitors cannot find the exact information, since the home page will change after you load it with a new post.

To prevent this from happening if your post title on the front page is not hyperlinked to the post URLs,  find this piece of code in the template:


<!– Begin .post –>

<div class="post"><a name="<$BlogItemNumber$>"></a>

<BlogItemTitle>

<h3 class="post-title">

<BlogItemUrl><a href="<$BlogItemUrl$>" title="external link"></BlogItemUrl>

<$BlogItemTitle$>

<BlogItemUrl></a></BlogItemUrl>

</h3>

</BlogItemTitle>




Replace it with:


<!– Begin .post –>


<div class="post"><a name="<$BlogItemNumber$>"></a>



<BlogItemTitle>

<h3 class="post-title">

<a href="<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>"><$BlogItemTitle$></a>

</h3>

</BlogItemTitle>

Typically other templates will use H2 or H4 headings; in the above example, the post title is hyperlinked using an H3 heading.

Once you have done that, the post title shown in any sections (front page or archived page) will be hyperlinked pointing to the specific and exact post URL.

SUMMARY: There are only three things you need to seriously tweak to make your blog search engine friendly:

  1. Title tags.

  2. Meta description

  3. Internal links


Remember that these are just onsite factors. The primary driver for ranking is links pointing to your blog from other domains, especially if they use keywords in the anchor text. Good luck!

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