Are you wondering how Google sees your blog? Why SEO is so important for Google? Well, no one likes to blog to an empty room. Beyond your social media platforms and our amazing e-mail newsletters, your biggest source of readers will come from search engines, specifically Google. While, search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge topic one of the quickest things you can do to help Google offer your pages in search is to understand how Googlebots, Google’s little virtual minions, read your page.
What Google Can See
Text and various HTML elements. That’s about it.
If you use Blogger, then your post interface does a good job of only giving you the important items for your blog: Title, Headings, Subheadings and Text. WordPress .com will throw a lot more options at you: Six headings, Categories, Asides, etc.
Self-hosted WordPress can quickly get crazy with a few plugins and you find yourself are dealing with meta-descriptions, keywords, post slugs and… oh my goodness… who has time to fill all that in?
Guess what? You don’t need to!
What Google Will Focus On
- Blog Title: Your blog needs a title (found under settings). The title shows in the tabs of a web browser, is picked up by RSS readers, and is used when people search for your blog by name.
- Post Titles: I like a catchy title, but honestly, Google wants a descriptive title. †Focus on using words that describe the post.
- Headings: If you are using WordPress the heading numbers correlate directly to HTML. Best way to think of them as headings and subheadings. They are meant to tell Google and human readers what is important and break up your post. They are NOT meant to be used to make text bigger or give emphasis to a word.
- Text: Specifically the first 150 or so words. (This is why you shouldn’t put your image first…read more on that here) That long preamble or conversation at the beginning of your post? Google does not care if you are friendly, it wants to delve into the meat of your article. Try to summarize your post or use keywords in those first few sentences. Google will often but not always, use them as the excerpt for the search.
- ALT text*: You know all those pretty pictures that Google cannot see? Well ALT text solves this for you. Write a short (sentence at most) description of what that image is all about. This helps index the picture in Google’s image search, allows Google to read the image, and gives users an idea of what your picture is if they cannot view the actual image.
*ALT text is the one thing Blogger is a pain about. You have to put the image in your post then click and add the alt text under properties. Wordpress allows you to add alt text when you upload the image.
All the pretty layouts, images, and clever writing are what keeps readers coming back to your blog but it is important to give thought about how people can find you. Take a moment to look at your blog. Do your social media icons have alt text? What about your menu buttons? Are you using descriptive titles and making your first paragraph really count? These are your first steps in making each post Google-Friendly. Make changes and the next time Google sweeps your blog you will be ready for it to showcase your posts.
Brianna Willis works in information technology (IT) by day and craft blogging by late night. All other hours are devoted to her two small sons, family, and laundry. You can read more about her at, Craft Thyme, her blog that focuses on step by step seasonal craft tutorials and displays.