Using Blogger for SEO

Blogging Jun 3, 2006

This is not going to be an exhaustive comparison of the different blogging software packages out there. Instead, it’s going to be an explanation of why just using Blogger is the recommended choice for someone getting started with the HitTail process. It’s true that WordPress and Movable Type are probably better for SEO if you are technical and control your own servers. But if you’re a member of a marketing department, have an IT department to work with, or use off-site hosting and don’t have access to the IT folks, or are just pressed for time, then Blogger is the path of least resistance, and search-optimized well enough to let the HitTail process be effective.

The key differences between Blogger and other systems is that Blogger will FTP the resulting files into any location you wish, and the blog therefore can reside in a subdirectory of your main site. This is important, because the snowball effect of site growth is best performed on just one domain. If your content is good, people will be linking to you organically–one of the biggest accomplishments of a successful HitTail campaign!

What Blogger is missing for SEO is previous/next arrows that put the titles in the anchor-text of the arrows. This is one of the single most influential things you can do to for SEO when stringing together a sequence of pages is your preferred user experience. With blogging, it’s perfect, because you’re just reading a journal with a chronological reading order. Blogger forgoes this device, and instead opts for “previous 10” posts. This is OK for SEO, because the per-page dilution is offset by the fact that every page does it, therefore rendering Blogger as just as influential in search as Movable Type or WordPress.

A few alterations need to be done to the Blogger template, and I’ll just skim over them here until I have time to elaborate. First-off, the link leading to the “permalink” page of the post needs the words from the title in the link. Most default templates put the time-of-posting in the link–an inadequate clue for search engines as to what the page is about. So, the permalink needs to be changed to something like “Permalink: title”. The next thing, and it’s a user-interface issue more than an SEO issue, is that the “Previous 10” links forces you to go back in time as you surf, with now way to return to the most recent post. Therefore, you need to find in the template where the previous 10 posts are being inserted, and put above it a link back to your most recent post. That way, no matter how people surf around, they can always “go back to the top” without being trapped.

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