Monday, 6 July 2009

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When you write any page for the Internet, be it a page on a website or a blogpost, you're writing in a language that is searchable for a target audience. Your text should therefore contain keywords that surfers in your target group would be looking for. While I am by no means an expert and have a long way to go before I do things just right, this is basic conventional wisdom:

You should follow these rules in general:
  1. Use the essential keywords 3 times in your text and once in the title. Using them more often will work against you.
  2. Make your page or blogpost title long and telling enough to be a searchable phrase by itself.
  3. The ideal amount of text is about 160 words, or between 100 and about 220 words.
  4. In addition, your content should change frequently; this makes a blog a good marketing tool.
  5. The more links you put in, the more Google will love you
Now, in addition to the text on the page, each page (including each blogpost) can contain meta tags, namely meta keywords and a meta description. This text is what a surfer finds in Google before the link to your page. You will see these when you change the view (Ansicht) on your browser to "sourcecode" ("Quelltext").
If you want to add meta tags you will need to install an SEO pack to your blog. My home blog uses WordPress, and I have a plugin called "All In One SEO Pack 1.5.7"
My (brand new) marketing page, entitled "Englischlernen mit Anne Hodgson"(, contains the following meta text:
  • "description" = "Anne Hodgson bietet Ihnen Business Englischtraining mit SpaƟ, Niveau und aktuellem Praxisbezug im Blended Learning Paket. Und bloggen Sie auf Englisch mit."
Most search engines use a maximum of 160 characters for the description.
  • "keywords" = "englischlernen, online, business english, blog, praxis"
The ideal number of keywords is about 6, and you should have no more than 10, so I could in fact add a few. And will people really look for "praxis"? Hmmm....

I don't know how this works for a blog using Blogger, such as this one. Do any of you readers use an SEO plugin for Blogger? Is there one? Your tips and advice would be very welcome.

Also, since (as I said above) I am a newcomer to web marketing using SEO, if you have any tricks to share I'd appreciate your insight.

Thank you very much to Shelly Terrell for suggesting this topic!


Shelly Terrell said...

Thank you so much for explaining SEO! I've downloaded e-books but they are written for pros! This information helps quite a bit because right now most of my traffic is from Twitter and I keep my titles short for retweet purposes. I will try following this advice, though. There is so much tech savvy to learn when using a blog and sharing information with one another really improves our field's blog qualities. Hence, our field looks more professional!

Anne Hodgson said...

Good thinking. I do understand the retweet problem. Perhaps it can be solved by using tinyurl for the tweet in combination with an abbreviated title. Karenne was saying she doesn't like Blogfeeds into Twitter, and this would be yet another argument supporting her position against using feeds.

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Kate Bell said...

Hi Anne,
I've worked on SEO for large and small sites for several years. I'm new to TEFL but really enjoy reading your blog as well as those of other TEFL experts. If I can answer any SEO questions for you or your readers, please just send them my way, by e-mail or on twitter (@galactadon). I'd be pleased to get a chance to share a tiny bit of my specialty knowledge after learning so much from the TEFL blogging community.