Sunday, June 20, 2010

Optimize Your Blog For Search Engine Results

If you want your blog posts to place first in search results of Google, Yahoo or Bing, you need to optimize your blog. One particular optimization is modifying what must appear in search results should your posts be indexed by search engines. But why is that? It's because post titles that match closer to the search term rank better.

As a nice example, taken from TycoonBlogger: if you search for make money online, you'll get these results:
Click image to enlarge.
If you'll notice, the top result is a blog with a Blogspot domain, the second still a blog with its own domain, and the third an article from About.com, a more popular website known as a source of information and advice. So how can a blog that is only a subdomain place first? It's because it's a perfect match to the search term.  Similarly, if you want your blog posts place as close to the top as possible, you need to have a close match to terms people likely search for. That also means you need to remove your blog title from the search results.

By default, blogs made in Blogspot have the default format in search results:

Blog Title: Post Title

See all those unnecessary "Conan Hughes" before the post titles?
Click image to enlarge.
You can confirm this by looking at your internet browser's title bar. Bloggers may want to display just the post title instead for three reasons:
  • As I've said before, post titles that match closer to the search term rank better. Your blog name appearing within the search results lowers your posts' ranks.
  • Second, search results are bound to limited character length. When exceeded, the title is truncated and may sometimes become unclear. Blog titles only make search results longer.
  • Third, people want to search for a specific term. Showing the blog title along is somewhat unnecessary.

How to Modify your Blog for Search Engine Results

To modify what the page title of your posts should be, you need to edit your blog's HMTL.

For Blogger,
  1. From your dashboard, choose the blog you wish to modify and click Design.
  2. Under the Design tab are links. Select Edit HMTL.
On the HTML code you need to find

<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>

Replace it with the following:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == data:blog.homepageUrl'>
<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>
<b:else/>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> ~ <data:blog.title/></title>
</b:if>

Understanding the Code

Of course there are people out there curious as to how the replacement code above works. As to what title will be displayed, the browser will have two choices depending on what page you are within your blog. If you are at the homepage, the browser will display your blog title. When you are viewing a subpage/post, what will be displayed in the title bar (and more importantly in search results) is the name of your post followed by the tilde sign (~) and then your blog title.

The Last Step: Patience

If your blog is already indexed in searches, then you will need to wait until the search engines re-index your blog and adjust the results to the recent changes you made. This will take some time so just relax and wait.

Reference: BloggerPlugins.org