If you’re reading this you probably have a Blogspot blog and that my friend puts you at a serious disadvantage compared to other bloggers. Why? because onsite SEO for Blogspot blogs sucks. But the good news is few simple tweaks can dramatically improve the situation.
I’m going to start with some very easy fixes and work my way towards some advance stuff. Advance stuff requires some code modifications so the very first thing you should do is backup your template. As a former software engineer I assure you, you’ll be much more comfortable at changing code when you know you have a backup.
Go to your dashboard and go to the “Template” section. You should see the “Backup/Restore” button in the top right corner. Click it and in the resulting pop up click the “Download full template” button and save the file in your hard drive.
Now that you have the backup lets start fixing things. I’ll start with the easy ones and move towards the complex ones. Click on the links for easy navigation.
- Add title and description
- Add meta description tag
- Optimize single blog post title
- Optimizing permalink structure
- Comment moderation and Google+
- Modify custom robot header tag
- Bonus usability tip that help in SEO
- Love SEO for Blogspot guide?
Filling these two fields alone can give you a boost in search engine rankings. To do this go to Settings -> Basic in your dashboard. Click the edit links next to title and description to change them.
A proper keyword rich title is important to rank well in search engines for your target keywords. Remember keyword rich doesn’t mean keyword stuffed. Limit the title to around 60 characters for the best results.
Next fill in the description field. You can use around 140 to 160 characters for this. This gives you an opportunity to expand on your title and give a detailed explanation about your blog. When someone sees this in search engine listings it should tell what the site is about and give them a reason to visit it.
Although there is a place to add a description in Blogspot blogs it isn’t shown as the meta description tag. However this is a very important tag and a must have in any website or blog. In Blogspot you need to manually enable this tag and add a description.
Go to Settings -> Search Preferences. In the meta tags section you should see a disabled filed called description. Click the edit button and you should see a form similar to below. Select yes for “Enable search description” and add a relevant description.
Now we move into changing code. But don’t worry it’s just a matter of copying and pasting in the right place.
Imagine your blog title is “Digital Marketing Tips” and you write a post titled “Optimizing Blogspot Blogs for Search Engines” . By default Blogspot will show this as “Digital Marketing Tips : Optimizing Blogspot Blogs for Search Engines”. This is an awful way to display the title for many reasons.
First of all your main keywords are at the end making it harder to rank in search engines. Also your wasting lots of characters trying to display your blog name. The title itself is more than 60 characters so not everything will be visible in search engine listings. The best way to do this is to show the post title first and add your blog title/brand name later.
To fix this go the the HTML mode as described in the above step. Look for the following code.
Replace it by the below shown code.
Now you should see the title appearing first and you’ll probably see an instant increase in search engine rankings and traffic.
For a long time Blogspot users didn’t have a way to specify the permalink of posts. The first few words of the title was combined and a permalink was generated automatically.
Now you can set your preferred permalink when adding a new blog post. However year and month will be added to your permalink automatically.
When adding a new post go to Post Settings ->Links. You should see a from similar to the image to the right. Select “Custom Permalink” and add a keyword rich relevant title. Avoid using stop words like to, for etc.
You’re responsible for your outgoing links, whether they’re in the sidebar, single post or a comment. Soon as you start getting search engine traffic you’ll attract plenty of spammers as well. This is why comment moderation is critical.
Comments are very important when it comes to search engine rankings. It shows that there’s interaction in your post to search crawlers. Done right it also helps with the keyword density. Plus it helps to build and engaging audience as well.
How you want to handle comments depends on your blog, niche, spam level and lots of other things. If you’re just starting out and want to share your knowledge with the world it’s better to let anyone comment, but make sure to moderate each and every comment.
In Blogspot you have the option of enabling Google+ comments with a single click. To do this go to Google+ section in your dashboard and check “Use Google+ Comments on this blog” .
There are advantages and disadvantages to having Google+ comments. The obvious advantage is the exposure you’ll get via other peoples Google+ social network. However you wont be seeing the comments section in your dashboard anymore and you wont have one central place to moderate your comments. Weigh the pros against cons and make the best decision for your blog.
This simple mechanism allows you to give various instructions to search engine crawlers. As mentioned in the dashboard these are advanced settings and should be used with care. To enable this go to Settings -> Search Preferences. In “Crawlers and Indexing” section you can see a field called “Custom robot header tags“. Click edit and enable it. You should see lots of check boxes similar to the below image. The meaning of these tags can be found in this Google robot help page.
I usually only add noindex to archive and search pages. I mostly do this because they serve little purpose other than good navigation and also because sometimes they outrank the blog posts. Don’t try to fiddle with them fearing a duplicate content penalty because you will not get one. This is not a critical step when it comes to SEO for Blogspot so you can skip this without worrying too much about it.
That concluded the technical aspects of the SEO for Blogpost tutorial. However there are some things you can do to increase the usability and the overall look and feel of the site which can have a positive impact on your search engine rankings.
You might remember I asked you to add a descriptive title around 60-70 characters. Problem is that in Blogspot you see this title at the very top. If you’re using one of the default Blogspot templates that shows the title in large bold fonts then this will look ugly. Especially so if you’re viewing it using a mobile device.
Instead of showing a ugly big bold title you can show a user friendly title like your blog name or brand name. To do this search for the following code snippet. In a default template you should find 3 occurrences.
Replace <b:include name=’title’/> with your brand name/short title like below.
I hope you enjoyed this SEO for Blogger guide. If you found this useful please help me spread the word by using the social media button to the left. If you have any question don’t hesitate t ask in the comments section. I usually reply to all questions within 24 hours. And if you have more killer tips to increase the search engine friendliness of Blogspot blogs make sure to add them in the comments section.