Basic SEO elements for bloggers

I’ve had this post on the back burner while coping with several unexpected events in my life that required attention.

It seems that it was a good thing that I did because Tim Grice has published a post  called SEO Content Writing – How To Produce Great Content That Increases Rank that ties in perfectly with this one.

1.   Keywords in <title>

Your title should succinctly state what the contents of the post are. Clever and catchy titles may bring an flush of traffic but they do not continue to deliver readers who are specifically searching for the content that your post has. Use a keyword or keyword phrase as close to the start of the title as possible. Also use them in sub-titles found throughout the blog post. If you need some guidance then check out Writing effective blog headlines.

Take a look at the title tags on your pages, are they targeted towards your chosen keywords? Are they relevant to the pages they are situated on? If not now’s the time to change them. Take into account the keyword prominence … Tim Grice

2.   Keywords in headings <H3>, <H4>, etc.

Using keywords in headings is advisable provided the text does pertain to the  the particular keyword used.

3.   Keywords at the beginning

Search engines put more weight on the earliest words on a page, so if your keywords are near the start of the page title you are more likely to rank well. Potential readers scanning search result pages see the words found at the beginning first, so if your keywords are positioned at the start of your listing your page is more likely to get clicked on.

4.   Keywords in anchor texts

Establishing your credibility around a specific topic with your readers by engaging in ethical practice and linking is important.  Anchoring links with your targeted keyword text us very important.  If you are linking to authoritative posts  within your niche you should anchor those links with your chosen keywords.  Search engines  view  the keyword in the anchor text in a link from another site  as getting a vote from this site and also for the weight of the specific keyword. You ought to be linking to authoritative posts in your niche using correct anchor text,  and also using the correct anchor text in your posts to link to your older related content posts, rather than “click here”.

5.   Keywords in <alt> tags

The Google crawler cannot read image scripts and therefore using the ALT attribute (providing a description) will allow you to tell the crawler what the image is referring to. If you want your images to be indexed by the search spiders then give your images the full treatment (TITLE tag, ALT tag Description).

6.   Keywords in the body

From a SEO perspective keywords or keyword phrases can be used throughout the post. However, take note that Google will penalize those who resort to keyword stuffing that diverges from natural flow of the text. From the readers perspective, keep it natural and use key words or keyword phrases only if it’s a natural “fit”.

7.   Unique content that’s frequently updated

Original content (relevant content, that differs  from the content on other sites both in wording and topics) is a real boost for your blog’s rankings, and frequent changes are favored as they bring search engine attention.  Aim to constantly add new content  and only make small updates to existing content. Do not create 404s (page not found)

8.   Site Accessibility

If the site or any pages on it are inaccessible because of broken links, 404 errors, password-protected areas and other reasons, then the site can’t be indexed. See: WordPress: How to Maintain and Track Links

9.   Sitemap

It is important to get a Google webmasters account and generate and submit an up-to-date sitemap. Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

10.   Self hosting wordpress bloggers

Here is a really good article discussing SEO for self hosted wordpress blogs. There’s also an All in one SEO plugin that I use and recommend. I also recommend reading SEO for WordPress – A quick guide If you search the internet you will find free SEO themes for wordpress installs and over here are more free SEO themes. Lastly, there are paid themes like Thesis that you can purchase.

Related posts found in this blog:

Blogging: SEO images enhance your posts

How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog

Happy blogging!

80 thoughts on “Basic SEO elements for bloggers

  1. Hi there

    I just finished reading your other entry that contains 2 SEO videos and I was also directed here.

    I have a travel blog and my images are usually around 5mb in size. I am not sure if this is too big since you’ve mentioned that Google also takes the page loading into account when it calculates my page ranking.

    The blog I’m referring to is

    I enjoy reading your tips because certainly I have a lot to learn about blogging. Oh yes, the Follow button – there it is.


  2. Good article with good advice. In paragraph number four, I’m not clear about something related to links. I can use keywords in the anchor text for my links, and in those links I vote for the linked site. The only way I can garner a vote for my site, however, is to have the other site link to mine. Paragraph four seems to suggest that when I link intelligently to another site in my own post, I thereby incorporate a vote for my own post. That doesn’t make sense to me. Thanks again for a good article!

    1. Hello there,
      I have attempted to clarify what I meant via editing. Hopefully, I have accomplished that now.

      1. Thanks for your reply, and for staying with this useful blog!

  3. I know i need help with this area of my blog. And most of the tips seem so easy to ad during the writing of it. If you have any time at all could you take a look at my blog and offer any advice on how to better it for visibility. Thanks again for the helpful post.

    1. Your blog looks good to me and your subject is not a run of the mill one. The mazes you post are fascinating. To increase your blog’s presence on the interent I recommend the articles on this page under “SEO Tips”. Best wishes with your blog. :)

  4. Timethief thanks so much, these are all excellent links and I wasnt aware of point 5 (about the mobile devices) so have made that change too.
    I run 2 photoblogs, one for business and the other one is personal and while I have structured the business one ( ) to conform with your 5 points above, on the personal one ( ) I haven’t split any of my posts mainly because, as a frequent photo-blog reader, I prefer to scroll down a page and see post after post without having to click in and out of each one individually. I also have a high-speed internet connection, so perhaps its not as fustrating for me as for someone on dialup. On both blogs I now resize all the images to the exact pixel dimensions the blog displays them, and all low res, so i’m hoping they dont take too long to load.

    Thanks for the info about self hosting, good to know, and i’m definitely not going that way any time soon. I also read the post about the blogger who switched back, from self hosting to, which was enlightening. Love this blog, always full of useful surprises!

    1. I like both of your blogs a lot. You are a very talented photographer. The business blog is very nicely organized. Your personal blog has a different structure and feel and I like it too. Well done.

      I just moved my personal blog which was being domain mapped by back from a install to free hosting here at There are benefits being free hosted. Unless you have a specific reason to self-host and I don’t at this point –> Self Hosting: What’s Your Hurry?

      Bye for now :)

  5. the {} i see here:

    the | is here: and in many other sites.

    and the :: here:

    dont think its source code, but then i wouldnt know!

    Thanks! xx

    [active links removed by timethief]

    1. I have removed the links after I checked them out. I cannot answer the “code” question but I can assure you that you do NOT want to reproduce what they have going.

      All are self hosted blogs. None are not being properly upgraded and maintained. This is despite the fact that every new wordpress upgrade appears on the dashboard and it takes very little time to decativate plugins and click the update button. One barely limps through not being “broken”. All have slow page loading times because they have huge images in the posts on their front page, and because they have far to many posts on their front page. In other words, they may be good photgraphers but they don’t appear to know much about blogging.

      Here are the reports:
      1. Your blog is broken. — “The Pretty Blog | Wedding inspiration, trends & advice | Weddings”
      Your WordPress version (3.0) is insecure. Please upgrade it immediately! Your blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog.
      For support please visit

      2. Your blog is working. — “Christine Meintjes Photography – Cape Town based wedding photographer”
      Your WordPress version (2.8.4) is insecure. Please upgrade it immediately!
      Your blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog. For support please visit

      3. Your blog is broken. — “Charlene Schreuder Photography | Cape Town Photographer”
      Your WordPress version (3.0.3) is insecure. Please upgrade it immediately!
      Your blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog. For support please visit

      1. So theres no need to be including any of those brackest and other funny punctuations in my post titles then? Must admit the thought of self hosting is just a little bit too scary to think about right now… i have a lot to learn in the safety of before i take the leap.
        Its kindof difficult, however, to have a photoblog without having lots of photos on it, it sortof comes with the territory.

        Thanks timethief!

        1. There is no need at all. The examples you showed me were all of photographers who are not competently managing their self hosted sites. Every one of those sites has a security issue and is open to being hacked because presumably the photographers don’t know much about blogging or website management at all.

          I religiously avoid use of punctuation in titles of my blog posts. If I must use any I use formal conventional English punctuation. And, I advise you to do the same. Please be very cautious as a new blogger when it comes to adopting anything you see on other sites.

          Almost all the Volunteers who answer questions at do have installs. We can tell you right now that you are far better served by remaining free hosted at and learning how to use the software than moving prematurely or even moving at all. See here to get a tiny view of what you will be responsible to do on your own with an install.

          What I recommend is purchasing a domain and domain mapping ASAP and remaining free hosted here at
          why –
          how –

          P.S. There is NOTHING preventing you from having lots of photos in your blog. What must be done is simple. It’s exactly what all bloggers must learn how to do.
          1. Have a low number of posts on your front page. remember people hate waiting for pages to load and hate scrolling. Moreover, know that page loading time is a Google pageranking factor.

          2. Learn how to split content in posts. See here and here

          3. Use Categories and Tags effectively – a minimal number of relevant categories and tags on posts. Never be a spamdexer who adds lots of unrelated Categories and Tags. Less is more when it comes to tagging.

          4. Provide readers with navigational aides to locate posts which are not located on the front page but are found more deeply positioned in the blog.

          5. Be aware that not all people viewing your blog have a huge monitor. Many are viewing on laptops and mobile devices. Set the blog to display a mobile theme when accessed by mobile users. > Appearance > Extras

          Guess what? All of those 5 apply equally to websites and to blogs.

  6. Hi timethief

    I have a bit of a random question and wasnt really sure where to post it, so here goes…

    I have noticed in a lot of the blogs i’m reading lately that the title, or headline is structured something like this: Tea Please {Inspiration}
    or this: Tea Please | Inspiration
    or Tea Please :: Inspiration

    What is the point of the {} or | or :: ? Do they serve a purpose, make it easier for search engines to locate the posts or something, or it is just a fashionable thing thats caught on…

    Like i said, random question, sorry… but its been bugging me a while.

    Thanks for an awesome blog, i would still be stuck in the jungle if it werent for you in the forums and onecoolsite! xx

    1. These brackets {} are programming brackets used as part of code. These days folks seem to be using them for all kinds of unintended purposes. Where do you see {} and ::? Are your viewing the source code?

  7. As usual, you have lit up the dark corners of my mind– many thanks!!

    P.S. But what happened to your hairdo?? Have you gone post-punk??

    1. My last avatar was from last summer when my hair was very short and colored. This avatar is from from a recent photo wherein I have allowed my hair to grow out and not covered the gray with color. I have always had thick and messy looking hair and now I’m no longer trying to tame it. What I find remarkable is how accurately the avatar depicts a likeness of me. :)

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