As I’ve researched this article I’ve realised how guilty I have personally been of some of the points that follow so I’ve taken some of my own advice and it’s amazing how much better the site is performing in searches just with a few minor changes (such as linking titles through and avoiding “click here” links). So here are a few of my tips for making your blog search engine friendly and not only that, they’ll help your visitors experience as well.
1. Avoid the use of nested tables.
Unlike a human, spiders navigate round your site via the code if you have table within table, within table this is a lot of extra code that the spider has to cut through in order to actually get to your content.
The (very) old version of my site used nested tables for layout which looks nice but is a nightmare for the spider to parse. The newest version of the site (http://www.flippingheck.com) uses pure CSS for the main layout. There are a couple of small tables dotted around for various reasons but these are only one layer deep so are easily read by the spiders.
2. Validate your code
If your code contains errors, this could make the spider throw a bit of a wobbly, it may even stop parsing your page altogether. Not only that (and more importantly) it may not load properly on your visitors browser. Check that the site works in Internet Explorer, Netscape, FireFox and Opera then validate it.
HTML validation: W3c HTML/XHTML validator
CSS Validation: w3C CSS Validator
Make sure that you have the correct doctype associated with your page (HTML, XML etc.) you can find more information on Doctypes at w3Schools Doctype Tutorial
3. Use “Robots.txt”
The robots.txt tells the search enginer spider which files it can access on your site and which it can’t. This is useful if you want to hide files or directories from the search engine, but also points the spider in the right direction when it enters the site. More information can be found at Searchengine world robots tutorial
4. Don’t use woolly titles
Use post titles that contain keywords found in the article instead of some generic-sounding text. Be as descriptive as possible for the benefit of your search engines and your readers. See Writing effective post titles from Problogger for more.
5. Link your titles
As I mentioned at the start of this article, simply linking my titles to the permalink article page has improved search engine rankings quite considerably. Apparently according to some sites, search engines use the Posts titles over any other content first as a means to spider the site. It’s a simple and yet highly effective solution that I can’t believe I didn’t think of before!
6. Permalinks and Featured Posts
As mentioned above permalinks provide an excellent way for spiders to find things on your site, some blogging software makes it very difficult for you to find articles once they have “fallen off” the homepage meaning that the spider (and the user) has to wade through what could be hundreds of links in your archive section.
Add a “Featured Posts” section to your blog navigation so that search engines can see your best/most popular/most interesting posts direct from your homepage. This’ll help your users find relevant content as well.
Link to previous posts or articles on related themes or provide tags that pull up related articles for you. Interlinking provides an excellent way of providing more detailed information about the subject and allows the spider and user to jump to related posts quickly and easily without having to navigate the dreaded archives again!
8. Linking to other sites
Trackbacks are a great way to get your site listed on another persons site. There’s a beginners guide on trackbacking at Movabletype or have look at the free trackback and commenting tool run by HaloScan.
10. Post in forums
Post relevant content in forums. Don’t be shy about linking to posts that you have written as long as they are relevant to the forum discussion, this’ll get the search engines to your site in no time!
11. Content – The most important factor!
Make sure that the content is up-to-date, has no spelling errors and contains the keywords that you would expect a user to type in when they’re looking for a similar post.
Remember, if your keywords are spelt incorrectly then only users using the same spelling will find your post.
Also, if you’re referencing other people’s posts, don’t put an exact copy of their post into your blog – even if you give them credit and link to them. Not only is this rude but search engines like Google remove what they perceive to be duplicate posts from their indexes so you won’t get counted in the results.
12. General Points
Make sure that your meta tags are relevant to the content, use alt tags on images and title tags on links. The more descriptive you can make your page and its content then the easier it will be for a search engine spider to put the content in context.
For further information have a look at
It may seem like a lot of hard work but a little effort will take you a long way!
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