Let's get meta! Improving blog SEO with meta keywords and descriptions

If you've looked at the Settings > SEO page for your blog in Typepad, you may have wondered what the "Meta Keywords" and "Meta Description" fields are about. What does "meta" even mean?

Meta elements for your blog

"Meta" is short for "metadata", meaning data that gives information about other data. Meta elements on a webpage, such as the meta keywords and meta description, give information about the content of that page. Meta elements are typically not visible to human visitors but are picked up by search engines and other computer-based tools that may be visiting your blog.

The metadata that you enter at Settings > SEO should describe the blog as a whole. For instance, if you have a travel blog, listing "travel" as a meta keyword is a good idea, while a cooking blog should use keywords like "food", "cooking" and the like. Try to think of search terms that you would use to find your blog and then list these as meta keywords. The meta description should be written as complete sentences that make sense to a human reader. In some cases, the meta description for your blog may be shown when your blog appears in search results so you'll want to make sure it gives readers a good idea what your blog is about.

Besides metadata for the blog as a whole, you can also enter metadata for each specific post or page that you compose for your blog. To do this, look for the Keywords and Excerpt fields on the Compose page. If you don't see a field to input text into, click the arrow to the left of the name, and that will open up the text-input field.

Meta elements for your post

If you don't enter an excerpt in the Excerpt field, the first 50 words of your blog post will be used (you can change the number of words at Settings > Posts). Text that is a compelling opening for your post is not always a good description of the post as a whole, so it is a good idea to consider whether writing a custom excerpt will be more effective. Keep in mind that if you have turned on the option at Settings > Posts to display excerpts instead of full posts on indexes and archive pages then the custom excerpt you enter will also be used for this.

The Excerpt for the post, whether custom or auto-generated, will be used as the meta description for the post on the individual archive page, while the Keywords will be used for the meta keywords.

Meta elements are easy to overlook, or may seem boring, but they're a great way to improve how easy your blog is to find via search engines and how it appears in search results. Do you regularly enter custom metadata for your posts? Share your tips in the comments!


Help Us Celebrate National Pet Day

PetsHelp us celebrate National Pet Day. All day long we will be posting pictures of our bloggers' pets on social media. We want to flood our social media pages with cute, furry, and unique pet pictures.

We also want to feature all the pet blogs that are hosted on Typepad. Provide your information and you may see your blog highlighted on our social media pages.

As a special thank you, anyone that submits their information will also be added to a drawing to win a free Typepad T-shirt. 

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Virtual Visibility in a Tangled Web

Virtual viability in a tangled web
GVIn starting my blog, ASK Harriete, in 2008 with Typepad, my goal was simple:
to increase outreach and visibility, offering professional advice in support of the arts and crafts community. That was eight years ago, and since then the Internet has evolved immensely. There are many more websites, apps, tweets, and social networks all competing for viewers. With ever more sophisticated marketing, targeted content, slick attractions, entertaining diversions, and a spectrum of distractions appealing to potential viewers, it is getting harder to be heard amid the many alternative threads of an increasingly tangled web.

But how can you find visibility in such a rapidly changing and ever more tangled web? How can potential readers find my blog or yours?

SEO experts profess both obvious and secret tricks. They claim expertise in statistics and analytics, Black Hat to White Hat, and A / B tests. Google pushes for more traffic with numbers to boost your ranking, but the only thing that Google will tell you is that quality content is key while revealing very little about the algorithms that they use to rank your content.

Developing a blog is more like creating art. The parallels of creativity are clear. Like great art, great blogs provide unique perspectives, building upon familiar themes, but with new, original, and enlightening perspectives. Readers seek authenticity that emerges from consistently presenting a voice that resonates with their own experiences.

In a more literal sense, images are crucial to virtual visibility. But like the written content, the images must be your own authentic constructs. Images taken from generic photo sites are just that… generic images sourced from tags and keywords. They are another person’s vision of their reality, not yours. They are not speaking to your own truth. I never use other people’s images (except as a specific reference with attribution, of course). I make all my own images.

More constructively, images borrowed from another site is copyright infringement. “Borrowing” images is theft. In the Internet world, with so much competition for time and space, everything on your blog must reflect authenticity and honesty, truth and trust.

As a quick solution to images, when I want to illustrate some novel aspect of my content, I create an image of words arranged in colorful or striking fonts. I use my words to reinforce either the title or a provocative sentence. This creative approach works at many levels to elevate your content amidst a tangled web of average. Make your own images!

UnnamedOn a very practical level, images are a major vehicle on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Images readily push your content into the primary social networks and literally bring visual visibility for your blog, even on the tangled web. But to be more effective in these visual platforms, you must have great images that reflect your signature voice. I still use an ancient version of Photoshop, so it is quite likely that even a basic level of image editing software will work for you.

Text based images can be created from any raw material, ranging from old typewriter keys to Scrabble tiles. Elevate your signature style and use it to create images. Be imaginative and think about how you can create your own unique images in your visual voice.

Linking your blog to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest is an essential element to maximize your virtual visibility. While a blog offers a platform for posting content and images, I find that posting snippets of my content and images on multiple social platforms generates significant traffic. This leverages the tangled web to your advantage.

Virtical imageCreating images in both vertical and horizontal formats can enhance your reach into different social networking platforms. An extended vertical format works well on Pinterest with a link to my blog. Horizontal images work better for Facebook, where it seems more likely that the conversation and debate picks up steam.

Short excerpts from your blog can connect into social networks. A stand alone blog just doesn’t travel very far on the tangled web. Take a provocative or informative sentence from your blog and share it on your page with an image, title, and link–then your post will travel without you. On Facebook and Pinterest, people will often share your content on their page or Pinterest board. But this is more likely to happen once the content is already posted on a social media platform. Also share posts to other group pages that you know are interested in your content. This has been the most effective way for me to generate visibility for my blog content.

So find your singular voice and type away, finding and revealing your own truth. Create images that support your content, and share in the tangled web. Finding your virtual visibility is a messy process with lots of adventure on the way.

Learn more about Harriete Estel Berman and her blog Ask Harriete by checking out her sites. She creates great blog posts like Search Engines Have No Vision! So Help SEO "SEE" Your Images and Images on your website, Are they lost or found?

 

ASKH


Improve Your Blog SEO With Your Images

Images are a great way to enhance your blog content, but did you know that your images can improve your blog’s SEO too?

Search engines provide image results and just like your meta description, it also scans what information is saved for your image files. Besides using a relevant image that is related to your content, things such as file name, size, and description are just as important.

Usually, when saving an image taken from a camera or uploaded from your smartphone, it will generate a filename of random characters and numbers. If you have a gorgeous photo you took of the Eiffel Town, file name “IMG_325.jpg” does not tell Google that this is an image of the Eiffel Tower. Renaming your file something relevant such as “eiffel_tower.jpg” will increase its chances of being pulled for a search result.

If you’re not aware of your image size settings on your camera, your images may be saved as a very large file. Image size will impact your blog loading time, so if search engines find these images taking too long to load, it will also not show up in search results at a decent rank. Reducing the file size will improve your image visibility in search results. ImageOptim (https://imageoptim.com/) is a great tool you can use to adjust the size of your image files for your blog.

How to use SEO with your blog images

Don't forget your image description! This is what search engines use to categorize your images.  Upload your image in to your post, then double-click the image to make additional edits. In the image edit pop-up window, you can change the description for the image. By default, the file name will appear as the description.  Here you can change this into something more descriptive.  

The description does not appear on the published blog post but it is saved within the HTML for the image:

How to use SEO with your blog images

By paying more attention to the images you add to your blog, it will be easier for search engines to index your images and share your content with others.


Do your readers consider you an authority?

Stack of books

Increasing your readership has less to do with keywords than you might think. Catching viewers is one thing, but retaining and converting them into regular readers should be a priority. Let's discuss an important factor in doing just that: authority.

Are you writing about what you know? Do your posts provide a clear sense of topic mastery? How about clarity? Do you think they trust you, or have you been repeatedly corrected via engagement from readers? Are you expecting readers to base authority purely on your word, or are you citing and linking to credible third party sources that complement your content?

These are all questions you should ask yourself when considering the relationship between you and your readers. If you find that your blog is lacking in some respect, make the effort to adjust and improve in those areas. What you'll see may not only be an increase in the trust of your readers, but a boost in how well search engine algorithms view your content.

Want to learn more about authority and how it affects ranking? Make sure you check out Search Engine Journal's article on The Three Pillars of SEO: Authority, Relevance, and Trust.