Someone recently asked the question “What do I need to optimise? My whole blog, the pages of my blog, or my blog posts?”
Ever at your service, I will explain what the difference is between these three, from a Search Engine Optimisation perspective. First, an important note!
SEO and the difference between website and blog structure
SEO for websites relies most heavily on optimising static pages. That’s because a website typically has a hierarchical structure like this:
However, a blog relies most heavily on lots and lots of individual optimised posts that contribute to great SEO. That’s because a blog has a flat structure like this:
So, where should you start?
1. Optimising your blog Home Page (that’s your whole blog!)
Your blog homepage should be optimised for the single biggest words in the keyword strategy that you recently developed!
Once you have done this, then all that meaningful, helpful or in other ways valuable content, you publish in your posts will add SEO power to your blog homepage. Then, you will start to rank high on the top line keywords you chose for your blog.
Optimise for your most top-level umbrella term(s). Don’t be shy: aim for the highest!
My business partner Steve Seager is strategy & comms director at we do communications. His blog is optimised for ‘strategy and communications’. It will take quite some time for him to get a decent ranking for those terms. However, Steve will be blogging frequently on topics that all fall under these umbrella terms. At some point it is not unlikely that he will start getting rankings on the combination of both terms (or eventually even on either one of the terms).
- Domain name
- Site title tag
- Site meta description
- Site categories
Steve has his own name in the root domain; www.steveseager.com. Keywords in the root domain have great SEO power. So, only two days after launch the blog was on Google page 1 for the term ‘Steve Seager’.
The site title tag is ‘strategy and communications on the social web’. The blog is already on Google page 1 on that exact key phrase. But it will take some time for the blog to get those results for the individual keywords ‘strategy’ or ‘communications’ or a combination of those two.
The meta description of Steve’s blog is “helping PRs, communicators and business leaders make the best of the social web’. The meta description is the little description that is shown in Google search results right below the title of the search results (which is the title tag). The meta description serves as a call to action, to increase the chance of people clicking on the search result.
The image below shows how the root domain, title tag and meta description appear in Google search results:
Lastly: categories. Categories are a great way for Google as well as users to get a feel of how you sliced and diced your blog’s value proposition. In terms of keywords, your categories give context to the umbrella terms you’ve used in your site level title tag.
Steve could for instance be talking about ‘strategy & communications’ on an academic level. The way Steve structured his categories (PR 2.0, Business strategy, Marketing, etc) are a great way to tell Google and his visitors that he is talking about strategy & communications on the social web for businesses.
2. Optimising the Pages of your blog
Use the Pages in your blog to back up and support your blog’s top line value proposition.
- Keywords in URLs
- Pages title tags
- Page meta description
I’ll stick with Steve’s blog as an example. His top line value proposition is ‘strategy & communications for the social web’. His blog has 5 pages with great copy that back up his story: ‘About me’, ‘Strategy’, ‘Communications’, ‘Explorations’ and of course ‘Contact’
The ‘About me’ page positions Steve and gives him the credibility that enables him to talk about the subject matter. The pages ‘Strategy’ and ‘Communications’ are there to directly back up the top line value proposition of the blog. (In addition they address two different personas: business leaders and communicators.) The way Steve talks about Strategy and Communications – plus the added ‘Explorations’ page – help with positioning the ‘social web’ aspect.
All the pages have keywords in the URL, title tag and custom written meta descriptions. The ‘Contact’ page with links to all Steve’s social media channels tell users and search engines that he is a real person. Not a company – or worse – a bot!
3. Optimising your individual blog posts
In a blog, it’s all about the individual blog posts. These are the little fellows you want people to find in search engines. So, for every blog post you can develop a little mini strategy. My best strategic SEO advise for creating blog posts is: write your blog posts to add value to specific people and provide answers to the specific questions they have.
Summary: SEO for Blog Home Page, Pages & Posts
- You optimise your blog’s home page for your most top level umbrella terms. Over time your blog’s home page can start ranking high as well. But it will take quite a bit of publishing to get you there
- You use the Pages of your blog to back up your blog’s top line value proposition
- With a blog the focus of your search engines optimisation efforts should be on individual blog posts. These are the pieces of content you want to be found in search engines, shared in social media, linked to by other bloggers.
I hope this clears up the SEO differences and relationship between your blog’s home page, other pages and blog posts!