12 quick and easy SEO tips for Mummy bloggers

Mummy Bloggers Part of my day job is writing web copy for companies big and small – so over the years, I’ve picked up a bit about search engine optimisation (SEO).

Now, SEO sounds very technical and complicated but at heart, it’s simple – it’s about creating your web content in such a way that people looking for that sort of content using search engines can find it easily.

Seriously, SEO only gets more complicated than that if you’re posting the same sort of content as loads of other people, or you’re trying to hijack search results that aren’t strictly relevant to your content. Presuming you’re not interested in either of those two approaches, here are some quick tips on SEO based on my extremely limited, non-technical perspective.

  1. First, think about keywords and phrases. What will people search for when finding your blog? Think of a couple of global keywords and phrases that you'll use across your whole blog, headlines, images and tags. But don't forget to think of a couple of keywords and phrases for each specific post. So you might have global keyword like "SAHM" alongside a more specific phrase such as "persuading toddlers to eat".
  2. Once you have keywords, it's worth bearing in mind the idea of keyword density – this means using the relevant keywords frequently in your blog. DON'T over-do this or your blog will read like crap, but using a keyword in the headline, opening par and final par won't hurt. 
  3. Sanity check keywords and phrases. Look at your own stats in Google Analytics or Sitemeter to get an idea of what search terms people ARE using to get to your site. You might look at Google Trends or AdWords to see what search terms are being used generally. If a keyword isn't working, don't be afraid to change it. 
  4. Every time you write a post, include keywords in your headline. This is one of the first things search engines look at when indexing your site, so it's vital to include those keywords, rather than relying on witty headlines that might look great, but don't do much for traffic (I must admit to often ignoring this, it's my inner journo – I just can't resist a good headline).
  5. In Typepad, your permalink (the specific URL linking to that blog post) will by default include your headline, but in WordPress you actually need to tweak the settings to do this. So it’s better to have a permalink along the lines of www.blog.wordpress.com/startingschool than www.blog.wordpress.com/page=213
  6. Have categories set up, and try to make them specific and relevant to your keywords. Use categories for every blog post and try to include them in permalinks where you can.
  7. Link to your own content. When you link to earlier posts on your blog, it can boost your search rankings for some weird reason I don’t totally understand. So if you're referring to a previous post, provide a link. Provide round-up posts. Include links in your sidebar to recent posts and comments. It all helps. Of course, only do this if it’s relevant, or readers will just get confused.
  8. Be generous with tags. Set up your blog so readers don’t necessarily have to see that you’ve given each post about 10 tags, but do use them. Tag using your keywords, and they’ll be picked up by Google. Tag images, too, when they’re on your blog, again using keywords.
  9. Update content regularly. It sounds simple but one of the reasons blogs and social networks do better than conventional websites in search results is because Google (other search engines are available) prefers dynamic to static content. Regularly adding fresh, relevant content is one of the best ways to boost your blog’s visibility.
  10. Advertise the blog. Link out, and you’ll start to receive links back. Inbound links from different sites will increase your visibility in search engines. Use Facebook and Twitter to promote your blog, put your blog address on your business cards, on your website, and on your email signature. Add your blog to directories and aggregation services. Make it very easy for people to see that you blog.
  11. Next, if you’re running a business or hoping to monetise the blog, host it on your own domain. That’s sort-of easy to do with both WordPress and Typepad (haven’t used Blogger, but I assume it’s perfectly possible). Your website will also benefit from the SEO, or you’re just wasting the traffic you’re generating. 
  12. Submit your blog to Google and create a Google Sitemap – you can do this from within Typepad and using a plug-in with WordPress, or you can just send Google a sitemap as a txt or xml file

SEO is an ongoing part of blogging – not something you can do once and forget about. So once you've started to build this stuff into your blog, monitor how well it's working. Using Siteeter, Analytics and similar tools will show how well your SEO is working, which keywords work, which posts generated most traffic, where inbound links are coming from. While it's not worth obsessing about (although I do, obviously) you should keep an eye on these metrics and make adjustments where you think performance could be better.

These tips should only be considered once you’ve sorted out what your
blog is about. Writing a blog purely to attract traffic NEVER works.
Nobody ever subscribed to a blog because it had great title tags and
primary keyword density. Get the content right, then think about how
you can add SEO to the mix if you want to.

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

9 Comments

  1. Joanne Mallon
    18th September 2009 / 4:05 pm

    Thanks for the great tips Sally. The only part of SEO advice I ever remember is that headlines have more ‘Google welly’ than anything else. So if it is a post you want lots of people to find, make the headline as plain and simple as possible. Sometimes I have throwaway posts that I’m not so bothered about people finding as they’re just a bit of fun, so that’s when I let the Headline Pun Monkey run wild.
    It is funny seeing which searches bring traffic. I wrote a deeply thoughtful post about cake making as a metaphor for personal development, now I get lots of hits from people wanting to make cakes for their sports coaches.
    Also, it turns out there is a radio show called Joanne and the Coach, whose bemused listeners often stop by.

  2. Andrew Bruce Smith
    18th September 2009 / 5:20 pm

    Good stuff. Though one major thing I would also add is keyword volume. You can’t expect to generate 000s of visits via a search term if only 1 person is looking for it. Using Google’s free Keyword Tool you can see exactly how many people are looking for your keyword terms. That helps to put some perspective on what level of traffic you could expect to generate via search. Also, it assumes that your page will rank on the first results page – in fact, Google’s own figures show that on average 42pc of the total search volume for a term will go to the site ranked number one. The number two site will get around 12pc, number 3 around 8pc, and so on down to 2.9 pc for position 10. Now, if a term is searched for 100,000 time per day, then being number 10 would be pretty good ie 2900 clickthroughs would be dandy. However, for most terms, the volumes are going to be low – so it becomes crucial to be ranked number one or two to ensure you pick up what little search volume there is.
    So what’s my point? Before investing a lot of time and effort on SEO, get a realistic handle on search volumes and where your pages rank on them. Ideally, if your objective is to maximise traffic, then you should try and pick those terms that have relatively high volumes but relatively low competition in terms of competing pages – both in terms of on page content and things like page titles. Once you’ve identified these, look at which pages currently do rank highest – if these are already highly optimised, move on – pick the terms where you have the most realistic chance of getting a high ranking.
    This may seem like a lot of effort – but worth spending time on this up front to save yourself a lot of wasted time further down the line.
    PS A neat by product of WordPress categories is that the generic WordPress category link often ranks quite highly on Google – this links through to the latest blog posts that are in this category – so providing the search volume makes it worth your while, if you post regularly on that category, it is a neat way of circumventing the fact that your page may not directly rank highest in Google.

  3. 18th September 2009 / 5:50 pm

    Regarding point 7 – “Link to your own content”.
    Google et al. take quite a bit of notice of what keywords are used when people link to your page. The key benefit of internal linking is that it gives you an extra opportunity to associate keywords with your article.
    So, in a future post you might link to this article by writing:
    “I wrote a great article about how to [optimize your SEO]”
    where the phrase “optimize your seo” is the link.
    This allows Google to understand that as well as the keywords and phrases you’ve used in the original post, the article has something to do with the phrase “optimize your SEO” as well.
    This will help your post rank for those terms as well even though you only used “optimisation” once in the actual post.
    The biggest mistake people make would be to write:
    “I wrote a great article about how to optimize your SEO [here]”
    So the link doesn’t include any additional keywords, and hence doesn’t add any extra depth to the list of searches you might be returned for.
    Linking to the article with it’s original title is another common practice e.g.
    “You should check out my article [12 quick and easy SEO tips for Mummy bloggers]”
    This is better, but it’s a missed opportunity in most cases to add more keyword value.
    Of course, having a different site link to you with a great keyword phrase is still more powerful – but internal linking is a great opportunity to help the search engines understand what keywords/phrases are relevant to your post.
    Some further good resources are:
    http://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/ [Heavily wordpress focussed, but the advice is all relevant]
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp [Google-focussed, but again the principles will apply to most search engines]

  4. Sally
    Author
    18th September 2009 / 6:01 pm

    That’s brilliant advice, thanks chaps!

  5. 20th September 2009 / 10:36 am

    Oh my word. Here I am, blogging away, and now there’s SCIENCE? And MATHS? At least that’s what it sounds like. Maybe I need to try this again, but not on a Sunday.

  6. 20th September 2009 / 8:33 pm

    thank you, thank you, thank you…… i must admit I;m a comeplete technophobe – so this is great stuff… now, if only I could find the on button…

  7. 23rd September 2009 / 12:05 pm

    This is all really useful. I didn’t realise that my highly unimaginative choice of post titles (e.g. St Mary’s Park, Prestwich) would actually help me with seo! I purposely chose a straightforward name for my blog on the basis that it would be fairly obvious what it was about, but little did I know there was so much more to it!( A friend has kindly pointed out that I might get people stumbling across it who are actually looking for something rather grubbier though!)

  8. sam
    26th September 2009 / 11:43 am

    some brill advice there, spot on

  9. r4i software
    12th November 2009 / 9:04 am

    Great tips….Really valuable it helps me to improve my skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.