A Simple Technique to Improve Your Blog’s SEO
By Charles L Harmon
Search engines love WordPress blogs for their dynamic nature. They’re a constant source of search engine “food” in the form of fresh content. We’ve all read that Google loves fresh content as I am sure the other search engines do too. You’d think that all you need to do is write something new would be great for the search engines.
However things are not always like they seem, especially with search engines and their constant changing of their algorithms. It’s surprising to know this same feature of fresh content that they love could cause your blog not to rank as well.
What’s that – how can that be? Read on to find out, but in the meantime consider building a static homepage as a way to get around this conundrum. Personally I thought stat home pages were just the thing for content sites and other types of sites and not really very well suited for blogs.
Why use a Static Homepage?
Recent WordPress developments have made WordPress blog platform more SEO-friendly than ever. Not only that, but there are plenty of both free and paid plugins to make your WordPress blog do a lot more than the straight out-of-the-box implementation is capable of. In addition, there are WordPress plug-ins to automate a variety of SEO processes in the background, without complicated coding or any coding at all.
But this seemingly simple software comes with a drawback as far as a blogger is concerned. If they want to show a summary of their latest blog posts or even the complete blog posts of a few posts, that’s where the SEO problem occurs. It’s the home page of a typical blogger’s site that’s the problem.
Here’s the dope on that. If you want a page to rank for a keyword phrase, there are standard on-page optimization procedures to follow, the most basic of which is to include keywords in the header tags and content. Just be sure not to overdo the keyword phrase in the content. Some SEO “Experts” still say to use a certain percentage of your keyword phrase in the content. But if you do you might find yourself with a penalty for over optimizing the content.
Search engines crawl the page content to figure out the theme of your page. However, with blog posts as your homepage, the content constantly changes. So while your header tags say your page is about “X”, the words on the page say something different. As if that wasn’t bad enough, even the comments readers leave on blog posts can also dilute on-page optimization.
Here’s an example of a homepage on one of my blogs; http://ayurvedahealthtips.com.
This particular blog is somewhat unusual in the fact that it shows a complete first article then the remaining blog posts show up as a paragraph size snippet.
Publishing a static homepage is a smart way to make your SEO intentions loud and clear. It’s not a mixture of several posts or post snippets like most blog home pages are. A static page is always the same (unless you change it or update it) and tells the search engines exactly what your blog is about.
How to Create a Static Homepage
Building a static homepage is a fairly simple process. Here are the steps:
- Go to Pages in the WordPress Dashboard
- Write and design the page you want to appear as your homepage. Remember to apply all the SEO basics for optimizing a page. (Tip: If you want this page to override the “Home” tab in your navigation bar, then just save it without a title).
- From the Admin Dashboard, click the Settings module and select the Reading section.
- For the “front page displays” field, click on the radio button for “A static page (select below)”
- In the front page dropdown box, look for the page you created. (Note: If there’s no name for the page, it will show up as a blank space holder amidst any other pages published to the blog).
- Be sure to save the change you just made.
Here is an example of a static homepage on one of my blogs; http://travellistics.com.
Be sure to check it later to verify results
That’s all there is to it! Now you have a static homepage which should help in the SEO aspects for the search engines. If you do make this change give yourself enough time to evaluate if the change made any difference in your search engine placement.
It might be a good idea before you make any change of the latest posts to a static home page to note your position in Google’s rankings (where you show up for your site’s keyword phrase). Then after your change to a static home page, maybe two to four months later, check to see if there is any improvement in position.
Now I will be the first one to admit that a static home page may not be right, or the best solution for all blogs or other types of sites. It will depend on the specific goals of your blog. If SEO plays a big part in marketing your blog, this technique is definitely one to test. You do need to test this because nowadays nothing seems to be a slam dunk in SEO.
Copyright © 2013 Charles Harmon
Top 3 Search Engine Optimization Tips for 2012 – Matt Cutts from Google
Published on Youtube Nov 13, 2011
Matt Cutts head of Google’s webspam team talks to Benu Aggarwal from Milestone Internet Marketing about the importance of blogging and several other search engine optimization tips for web developers heading into 2012.