How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog

Here are nine blogging tips aimed to assist with creating a reader and search engine friendly blog.

1. Dynamic content on your blog’s front (home) page will be more likely to attract new readers and keep the interest of regular readers. Endeavor to post content that frequently changes while remaining on-topic for your audience.

  • Understand that many readers consider static front page content such as click through each time landing pages with “enter” to be annoying and/or passe`. And causing regular readers to click through content that could bore or annoy them is taking an unnecessary risk that could send them off your blog.
  • The greater the number of posts with images and embeds in them there are, the slower the page loading time will be for your readers. Also be mindful that scrolling can cause readers to become bored and that could send them off your blog. Limit the number of posts on the front page and maintain a high “signal-to-noise” ratio. Keep the content of the front page focused on one or two topics at most.

2. Structure your site for your readersThe way your site is structured either helps or hinders your users to understand what your site is about and to locate content of interest to them. No potential reader likes feeling lost so be sure that the structure is simple and the navigation aids are intuitive. Clarity and simplicity go hand in hand so the KISS principle and the “less is more” motto are applicable.

  • Structure your blog with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • Keep the links on any given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).
  • Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important sections of your blog. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, then break the site map into separate pages.

3. Write for readers because they come to your blog to read your content. So write interesting and informative posts on topics that will draw traffic to your blog.

4. Use Keywords that are the search terms that readers use to locate content that interests them. Think about the words readers would type to find your blog, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.

5. Integrate keywords into your URL structure and into relevant categories and tags. Every wordpress blog post title becomes a permalink so choose strong and relevant keywords to “anchor your text.” Note that link text in the body of your posts should be descriptive of what you are linking to, rather than text like “click here.”

6. Use distinct titles, headers and section headlines and be conscious of the need for “white space”. Writing for the web requires an approach that engages readers and large blocks of text are not reader friendly. The literary rules with regard to paragraph breaks may need to be adapted to keep readers reading until the end of a long post.

  • Break the text into smaller paragraphs and sections and use images and text wrapping to help you achieve engagement.
  • Do not use images to display important names, content, or links because the crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in graphics. Use ALT attributes if the main content and keywords on your page can’t be formatted in regular HTML.

7. Optimize your images.

8. Take time to validate your html and to test that your links in working order prior to publication.

9. Track your links and learn some Blogroll wisdom. It’s a fallacy to believe that a long Blogroll is an asset. Consider that if you have a Blogroll with 100 external links displaying on every page of your blog ( some themes are structured to display Blogrolls on every page) then you need many internal links and reciprocal links to retain your Page Rank.  Consider also that reicprocal links to unrelated sites and especially those that have low pageranks lack the value that links to related high quality high ranking sites have.  Keep your blogroll short and link only to related high quality sites.

Updated and Edited: October 6, 2013,  June 27, 2011,  January 20th, 2009.

References and related posts:
Basic SEO for Bloggers
12 Step Blog Evaluation
Blogging: Learning SEO is worth the effort
Google Webmaster Guidelines
How can I create a Google friendly site?
How to: Google site verification
Improving Your Google Page Rank
Technorati: The Six Month Link Window.

37 thoughts on “How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog

  1. Hi, timethief,

    You were kind enough to give me a prompt answer last week as I was just starting my site, and informed me that it takes a while for search engines to notice a site. However, mine is still invisible (although some pages of it did show up for a couple of days over the weekend). The validating tool you mention here came back with a list of 13 errors. Can anything be done about that? Is this why my website shows up only to people who know its address but not in search engines?

    Thank you.

  2. Hello, i have a question why you put your blog is page indexable ? content you supply is very useful to me thks
    pls give me some advices if you visit my blog benhgout.com thanks and best regard

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for great tips, but some questions.
    How do I integrate keywords in to the URL? Do you have a post about the how to..?
    And about validating html, I just did and there were some errors but I don’t know how to fix it..
    I just started blogging and am trying to learn the basic & increase traffic.

    Thank you for great posts!!

  4. hi!

    thanks a lot for the great tips.

    we are a free improvisation band from brazil using social media tools for the audience.

    all the best!

  5. Thank you fo the tips.
    Overall I agree. It’s just my blog, I use static pages, minimalist. Then I add a list of several recent posts.
    I use it to avoid heavy loading and at the same time provide something new for visitors. What is your opinion.
    Best wishes.

  6. I am loving every minute of your blog. I have been reading many of your articles these last couple of days, and I would like to say “thank you” for all of your tips.

    I have a feeling I will be spending some more time on here through the next couple of days as well.

    Keep up the good work my friend.

      • Thanks for taking time to answer, but I have no idea what a “Firebug add-on for a Firefox browswer is,” where to get it, or how to correct errors once I do whatever I should do.

        Maybe I shouldn’t mess with this?

        • Agreed. Let it be until you know more about what you are doing and avoid copying and pasting content from anywhere else as that’s usually where mark-up errors come from.

  7. Re: #8′

    As far as I am aware, and according to the SEO/SEM training I have had, you do not sacrifice page rank to a site that you link to.

    The site you link to is given some page rank “juice.” IF their rank is lower than yours — but that juice to them does not diminish your rank in any way. It doesn’t come FROM your sites ranking, it comes to them BECAUSE of the difference in ranking between the two sites. It is awarded by Google as a sign of a site’s value and importance because a site with a higher page rank sees fit to link to them.

    I am fairly certain of this, but perhaps you should check it out with Google.

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  10. @misterideas
    You’re welcome. Good luck with your how to site. I’d like to share a word to the wise with you. It’ takes a lot of energy to research and write how to posts so I’m very checking very closely to be sure that no one steals my content. I suggest that you do the same.
    Happy blogging

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  12. Hi Matthew,
    It’s good to met you and better still to hear that you have found useful information in my blog. I’m happy to hear that you will be returning as well. Happy blogging!

  13. Hi there,
    Some great tips here on SEO for blogs. I was already familiar with some of them but not all. I shall start using them today. Great site; I will return!
    Thanks a lot!
    Matthew.

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  15. Hey..one question….how do i get more traffic to my blog?…..I have treid everything..but still i am not getting heavy traffic..

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