Lee Odden

Blog Optimization

There’s all sorts of buzz about blogs lately and yet so many companies are still wondering what to do about it. In fact, there are a tremendous number of business blogs that are not realizing much of their potential visibilty on the web. Why? Because they’re not optimized.

This is very much the same scenario that occurred with web sites in the late nineties. Back then I worked with a company that sold web sites – lots of them. But after getting the site up and running, the traffic didn’t come by itself. So we figured out optimizing for search engines and that was the start of my SEO career. Blogs can generate traffic without search engines, but WITH search engines it can be even better.

With blogs, there exist as many or more optimization opportunities to optimize as with a web site. While most blog software is more search engine friendly out of the box than many web sites, the opportunities for blog optimization are readily available. For our SEO and blog marketing consulting service, we have a very long list blog optimization tactics to employ. For this post, I’ll focus on a short list that can make a difference for any blog.

Why optimize your blog?

  • Increase rankings of the blog on BOTH regular search engines as well as blog/RSS search engines
  • Increase traffic to the blog from multiple sources such as social search (Yahoo MyWeb, Google Personalized Search) and social bookmarking sites (del.icio.us, Digg, Furl or Blogmarks)

A blog is just a website that uses a content management system, so most standard SEO tactics apply. There are also optimization tactics specific to blogs.

Consider keywords when writing your blog post titles. Some blog software allows plugins that can suggest keywords. Otherwise, you can use Google Suggest or one of these free keyword suggestion tools: Digital Point, SEO Book or Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Keywords should NOT determine your content (unless it’s an AdSense blog).
Optimize the template. Make sure post titles appear in the title tag and append the title tag (hard code) with the most important phrase for your blog.

Example: ” Interview with Brett Tabke – Online Marketing Blog
Online Marketing Blog is included on every blog post title tag automatically.

Also use the blog post title as the permalink. If you’re using keywords in the blog post title, then they will occur as anchor text in the permanent post link. While you’re at it, just make the post title a permalink.

Make it easy for your blog readers to subscribe and include RSS feed subscription buttons or “chicklets” in a side bar or on a dedicated Subscription Info page.

Optimize Categories. When you create categories for your blog, be sure to consider keywords in the titles. When you post, be sure to default to a general category that is relevant no matter what the post is about. Choose multiple categories on each post when appropriate.

Social bookmarking sites can be excellent sources of traffic to your blog, so be sure to make it easy for readers to bookmark your blog posts. You can do this by adding some code to your blog template for each of the major social bookmarking sites. Here’s a tool for social bookmarking links. Here’s another tool that uses icons instead of text links.

Submit your blog to RSS and Blog directories. Also submit the blog to regular directories such as (DMOZ, JoeAnt, GoGuides, MSN Business Central, etc) that have categories for blogs.

Ping the major RSS feed and Blog search engines each time you post. This can be configured with blog software such as Movable Type or WordPress to work automatically. If you’re using Blogger.com, then you can do this manually with Pingomatic or Pingoat.

Comments and Trackbacks – Be sure your blog software is configured to send a trackback ping to blogs that you cite within your posts. Pay attention to press releases distributed by PRWeb. If you cite a release, and ping the trackback link, the press release will in turn link to your blog. This is better for driving traffic than for link popularity.

Make useful comments on other blogs. Your name will be linked to the blog url that you enter. Do NOT make comments that offer no value to the blog post. Do NOT use keywords in the field for your name, use your name or blog name.

Offer RSS to Email. Almost 30% of our blog traffic comes from readers that perfer to read blog posts via email. There are several free services available for this including: FeedBlitz (what we use), Squeet, Zookoda (this one is more for using blog posts as a weekly newsletter), RMail and Bloglet.

No matter how many optimization tactics you employ on a blog, there is no substitute for quality content. Blog optimization is only as effective as the quality and usefulness of the content you’re optimizing.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.


  1. Thank for these tips, Lee. A little sharpening of the saw makes everything run more successfully. Blog opitimization is a hugely important topic.

  2. “Opitimization?” You can tell it’s past my bedtime. You know what I meant. 🙂 Goodness me, could you please fix my name in the comment above as well? “Easron” … that’s a first. Okay, off to sleep … 🙂

  3. I like opitimization! Fixed your name though. 🙂

  4. Squeeter, I am testing out Squeet on my other blog at: http://www.toprankmarketing.com/onlinemarketing.

  5. Squeeter says:

    be careful with FeedBlitz…they share your information with all the publishers that you subscribe to. Also, feedblitz only provides daily digests. Squeet doesn’t share info, has free “live” subscriptions and a much better UI.

  6. Chad Horenfeldt says:

    Thanks so much – very helpful for a “green” blogger

  7. Igor M. says:

    Lee … very interesting article. I am actually finding my self in a bad spot as I did not check my blog for SEO “compatibility” if you can call it that way.

    Google only spidered my home page. (Blog is only 3 weeks old).

    Another problem is that after I changed code for my Titles now people don’t see my Blog name in their Feed readers. They only see the titles of the articles. It seems that no one has any answers to this. If you have a chance, I’d really appreciate you taking a quick look.

  8. Putting your blog title at the end of the title tag should be fine. That way the important keywords used in your blog post title will appear first in the title tag. Search engines place a lot of emphasis on the text that’s closest to the left in the title tag.

  9. Igor M. says:

    Lee, that’s how it is now, I believe. But once I placed that special code to do this, my blog’s name was gone from those Yahoo blog readers. The only thing that people see is the name of the post. No blog name though.

  10. Interesting topic on blog optimization, I used your RSS Feed Button creation tool. Thanks.

  11. It would be great if you could point to an authoritative site that shows how to do this “configured to send a trackback ping to blogs that you cite within your posts.”

    Perhaps, even link to in from within your post and maybe get a link back from them…

  12. Jason Wilson says:

    Awesome page. I learned a lot of great ideas for marketing my blog, and this opened up my eyes to some strategies I would have never thought of. You Rock!

  13. Solomon Rothman says:

    Seems like a very popular blog post from the page rank and all the track backs. Don’t forget to install a plugin that automatically create an xml sitemap, that way you can get more of your posts listed in a shorter amount of time using Google Sitemaps.

  14. Blake Acheson says:

    You make a very good point about quality content. Sometimes this gets lost in the shuffle.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many search engines and/or resource sites list your blog if you don’t have compelling content.

  15. Heay Lee, thanks for the informations. Usefull for me. Thanks – Jürgen 🙂

  16. Do the search engines take into account repeat traffic as a way to determine the quality of your blog…or is it purely based on unique visitors?

    My blog gets alot of repeat visitors, but not sure what that really means to the search engines.



  17. Dean, if your visitors are logged in to Google, it makes a huge difference for personalized results.

  18. I’ve just started my site and am very new to SEO. This information is all very helpfull. I didn’t even know about RSS to E-Mail!

  19. Very helpful information. Thank u. RSS to eMail is next step for my hp http://www.com-help.de. I am about to send newsfeeds via RSS to my Customers. Is it possible?

  20. Good post! i really appreciate your word
    i am just started a new blog for seo learner

  21. Arlo Gilbert says:

    Wow, a really great tips. I really appreciate this. Keep it up!

  22. Arlo Gilbert says:

    Blog optimization is not a joke for others ranking for keywords that can earn you a lot of money and can make you a well known man in the SEO industry.


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