Increase Blog Rank, Improve Search Engine Optimization

* Monitor blogs. Like any other market, blogging is evolving. What worked last year or even a few months ago may change. Keep track of changes you made to blogs or in the way you update your blogs. If blog hits change, pursue possible causes. I use Google Analytics, Google Adsense and Statcounter to monitor performance.

* Watch SEO trends. Best SEO practices evolve too. I follow Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land (though that site is currently running ads that cause computer freezes).

* Do what works– cautiously. Early on, I used a sharing tool to add snippets of my articles with embedded links. This tool was the product of a reputable company and generated lots of hits. Google’s Panda update didn’t like it though. When Google dropped its ranking, my blogs were demoted by association. They didn’t lose indexing immediately, so I didn’t change anything. Eventually, they were affected. Had I changed gears sooner, I might have staved off the drop.

* Flesh out posts. Search engines favor text-rich blogs, not link-heavy sites. Those were prime targets of the Panda updates. Before blogger had a “label” tool, we made our own link lists. When I converted to labels, I forgot to remove link lists. That negatively impacted. Purge excess links and write content-heavy posts.

* Use full links. For awhile, URL shortening tools were popular. Replace with full links where possible. Full links contain vital keywords that help search engines find your blog.

* Link carefully. Google is cracking down on link content. My original share service created blog posts with three links: post title, another title and a closing “read more” link. The first two used title words. I know use keywords only in the title link. Search engines see additional linked keywords as “stuffing.” Use no more than two links including title.

* Don’t bold or italicize links. Earlier, this was acceptable, but search engines now see this as cheating. In blog post titles, either doesn’t use keyword phrases or unbold post title fonts.

* Beware of text formatting. When I add a snippet of text from one of my linked articles, I’m offered “paste” or “paste as plain text” in the dialog box. I use “plain text.” As-is text may have extra links or formatting which appears to search engines as cheating.

These techniques will help you weather SEO changes and maximize blog performance.