Update: This article was previously published on Yahoo Voices, but…
Have you decided to create a blog in addition to your main website? Is it time for a company blog?
How you setup your blog is crucial for SEO.
- Where To Install a Blog:
– Separate Domains?
- How to Integrate the Blog into the Main Website Architecture
- Optimize Website Navigation Anchor Text
- Optimize Blog Categories
- What to Remove from the Blog
Steps 1 and 2 (concerning blog location and navigation) were discussed in a previous article on the 5 step process to setup your blog for SEO. As a quick review of these two steps, the strategy for blog SEO is to integrate your blog within your main company website. Typical blog architecture creates a strong web of interlinking. Blogs also attract links from other blogs and directories. The inbound links hit the web-like framework of interlinking and spread authority throughout the blog. Search engines naturally view a blog as a tightly interlinked section of your website. That is why, if you want your blog to benefit your main website, it must be actively interlinked. That means, install it in a sub-folder of your main website, so link authority will count toward the domain, not toward a sub-domain or separate domain.
Step 3 is your first act of optimizing your blog using keywords. Imagine if you were a s search engine starting at the top level of your website. The first thing you read is the domain name. Optimize it. You might take a quick scan of the text near the top of the homepage, and then go right through the main navigation. What do each of the links say in the navigation? What is the file name of each page where they link? The internet is too big to read every inch of every website, so you pull what information you can from a quick preview. Using meaningful keywords in the main navigation anchor text and file names is only logical. And its something every SEO consultant can agree upon.
This concept carries right into the next topic, optimizing blog categories.
Optimize Blog Categories
Approach SEO for your blog categories the same as you would for your main website categories. Each category of your main website is located in your main navigation and is leg of themed content. Your blog now stands as one of those legs. Within it are its own legs. Pick a theme for each category. If you are writing for the reader, than you choose subjects that you know your readers are searching for. Carefully choose relevant keyword rich categories as the legs for your blog. These category names will appear in the category URLs and provide keyword rich anchor text in the blog-wide menu as well as other links throughout the template. You will naturally gain a high percentage of anchor text keyword density on and pointing to URLs with those keywords.
What to Remove from the Blog
Typical items you find on the side of blogs include
- recent articles
- blog roll links
- date archives
- author archives
… and I’m sure you can find more. These devices provide blogs with their biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses. For every article you post, your blog creates multiple views of it, each with a unique URL. This is great for building up a large body of content, however, take it too far, and search engine bots get lost in duplicate content.
SEO for Categories and Recent Articles
The strategy here is to become aware of the URLs created by each device and trim down the duplicate content, leaving each URL looking as unique as possible, even though most content is reused. We already talked about optimizing categories, so those can stay. Recent articles links can also stay, since they simply link to the individual article URL – the same URL you get from the read-more link or article title link to read the individual article. However, you need to consider limitation or removal for each of the other items.
Blog Roll SEO
Your blog roll links give a LOT of link juice away. This might be a good place to link to your main website or other online properties where you have a vested interest. Some bloggers fill this area with endless links out to other bloggers. In doing so, you just have to consider how much link juice you want to hoard or trade. And in the trade, though there may be a reciprocal link sending authority back to you, the visitors that click off to another website may never come back. Therefore, my strategy in the blog roll is to keep it in the family (unless you have a really, really good resource you want to list).
Calendars and Date Archives
I like to completely eliminate calendars and date archives. Calendars are a long known source of duplicate content. If a client insists on having a calendar, its best to use a rel=nofollow in every link of the calendar and disallow it in the robots.txt. The Robots Meta WordPress SEO plugin even gives you the option to disable calendars and date based archives.
Blog Author Archives
Author archives can go either way, depending on your situation. For example, if you only have one author, that author archive will be an exact duplicate of the blog home page. But if you have several authors contributing evenly, your blog content will be split between them. A nice long description from each author will further contribute to making these pages unique. Category pages can be treated similarly. Create a reasonable number of categories and assign each post to just one category. Give each category a unique description of 100 words or more to appear on the category view and every category page will appear unique from the others, with just a fraction duplicate content on the homepage. For example, if you have 7 categories and you set your blog homepage to show the most recent 7 posts, 1/7th of your homepage will be pulled from each category (assuming you write posts in a rotation of categories).
Blog SEO Tags
Tags are nice to keep in the template because they create on-page keyword anchor text. They in a way have replaced meta keywords. Create a tag for every keyword relevant to the article. Spam should be no temptation here since these appear visibly on the blog. However, I don’t like robots indexing those tag pages, since blog themes are pretty tight and after a while, the same keywords are reused over and over. This means the tag archives pretty much look the same from one tag to another (duplicate content). For this reason, it’s a good idea to disallow tag pages using robots.txt. The bot will still crawl the anchor text link on the page, follow the link, crawl the tag page, but won’t include it the tag page in the search index.