Search Engine Optimization is the language of the Internet. The rules consistently change and everyone has a point of view on how to do it best. There is also the big debate of whether web design or SEO is the higher priority. All that aside, here are the key things you should focus on that don’t have anything to do with search algorithms and are effective no matter the design of your blog!
Site Traffic: How much traffic your blog gets plays a big role. It validates the information on your blog. After writing, focus as much as you can on driving traffic. You can also do this with backlinks fairly easily, by leaving comments on other blogs that mention your topics and putting your address in the “website field” to drive traffic to your post. You should also share your post on social media, especially Twiter, as this creates backlinks as well.
Post Length: Your post needs to be digestible by Google's web crawlers, although this is not as important as some of the other items on this list. If you can, beef up your post to a decent paragraph, to include enough room for a good “keyword ratio,” and then you’ll be well off.
Links: The links you put into your post that cite sources help your ranking. You could also leave a comment on the original source with a link to your site. Completed link-loops won’t hurt!
Tags/Keywords: Use tags and include keywords as a label/tag. A neat trick is to use the site Wordle.net to create a word cloud of your posts’s source article or, if your post is long enough, your own post. The five largest words in the word cloud will be your keywords. It's also important to use different instances of your keywords, e.g., not just using "light,” but also including "lightbulb," "bulb," "lamps," "light bulb" and "lamp."
Site Info: Make sure you have your site’s general keywords in your site description. You can also create a line that is similar to but not the same as your header in the footer of your site with the keywords, as well as a byline for your posts. For instance, you write a lot about recipes of fruit desserts, so “fruit,” “desserts” and “recipe” should be in your site description and bylines. “Charlie’s tasty creations blog” won’t be nearly as effective.
Other Blogs: If you can manage it, create relationships with other bloggers in similar or complementary topics. Offer to reference their work and link back to their blogs. As a group you can help drive each other up in the ranks through backlinks on similar subject matter. You can also guest blog for these blogs and include your byline in your post on their site, which will also help create relevance in the eyes of the web crawlers.
Avoid Copying and Pasting: Create original headlines and content in your blog. Google will go the original source and ignore your blog entirely when it comes to search results.
Google Authorship: Specifically for Google, the Google Authorship program will help your SEO. You must enter a bit of code on your site or byline and then register with Google. Any content that you create will be tied to your Google profile and Google+ account.
So, don’t get hung up on technicalities of SEO. Just focus on these key concepts and you’ll do fine as a blogger. When your site traffic hits a record amount, you can then dive deeper into the SEO game.
In his short story “The Aleph,” Jorge Luis Borges recalls an experience he had gazing into an aleph. He describes it as “one point in space that contains all other points. The only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.” This fictional story regards the aleph as a both a gift and a curse because it gives the gazer a chance to see and know everything on earth. That is what social media has developed into today. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other sites, we now have the opportunity to see all—to see into people’s lives and to see the world like never before. Social media has opened up the unimaginable universe. Like peering into the aleph, checking your newsfeed or your Twitter timeline provides insight into everything in our world, from every angle—simultaneously, infinitely.
The aleph is significant beyond Borges’ short story. Its symbol is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is literally a part of the word “alphabet.” It is venerated by Kabala and other mystic traditions that put value on an aleph as the pursuit of truth. Like the aleph in these ancient traditions, social media is the means by which we seek truth in modern times. From companies to customers, from artists to fans, from friends to family, and from your PC to mine, we can now paint a more accurate, “truer” picture of the people we interact with via social channels. Social media offers us an endless amount of communication that is continuous and extremely transparent. Through following people, companies, bands, etc. on social media, we can see who their friends are, what interests them, where the have been, where they plan to go, their religious, and political stances and a plethora of other information that we otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.
"Aleph Sanctuary" - Mati Klarwein
Thanks to the advances of social media technology and the massive amounts of information these sites are processing, we have transitioned into the age of the “recommendation.” There are logarithms, programs and software that can now introduce you to more people, places, and things based on what you already like and your physical location. You can discover when concerts and art festivals are happening in your area, what news is breaking, and what song will go well with your mood for the day. Other sites will recommend vacations spots, restaurants, lawyers, and doctors. Heck, these sites can find you a job or an employee—all out of the comfort of your living room! This age of “recommendation” is giving us options like never before and it is shocking how incredibly accurate the recommendations are.
As our technologies grow and progress, we must accept that our lives are no longer veiled in secrecy. You can be a pessimist and see this as an intrusion on your privacy, but if you are receptive to this information exchange, the possibilities are endless. The more you share, the more people will share with you. The more you follow, the better recommendations you will get and the more useful social media will be for you. So instead of being wary of this connectivity, you could revel in the endless possibilities of this aleph. It will undoubtedly open your world to bigger and brighter things while introducing you to more people and experiences you would have never had an opportunity to access before.
— Jake Annear
The business section of Sunday’s Washington Post speculated that corporate curation is becoming a popular marketing campaign for many brands. The article, which had appeared on newspaper’s website six days prior, asserted that companies (particularly fashion and luxury brands) are assembling their own collection of Internet snippets. These “advertorials” combine the affable voice of web editorials with the appeal of stylish ad campaigns.
The Post sited Louis Vuitton’s Nowness and the Harley Davidson Ridebook as two buzz-worthy examples of corporate curation. Here are a few other brands that are dabbling in advertorials and unorthodox content development.
What do you think of these editorial/advertising hybrids? If brands are open about the information they’re curating, can they become key influencers? Please leave comments below.
Free People – The whimsical design and joie de vivre photos echo the spirit of fun fashion bloggers— both stylish and accessible.
Cleanest Line – Patagonia’s blog reads like an adventurist’s journal with a bit of environmental activism sprinkled in the mix.
The IKEA Blog – With quirky comics, product demonstrations and even clips of “Futurama,” the furniture superstore curates creative and eclectic content.
Open Forum – American Express eschews the typical self-promotion of other credit card companies by including timely business news stories and tips.
Secret Life of a Benefit Gal – While this makeup brand spotlights its products, the down-to-earth demonstrators and nifty tricks are reader-friendly.
— Nicole Duncan