Two types of SEO a blogger should know #blogging

A quick guide to On Page SEO and Off Page SEO for bloggers

If you have a blog and post regularly it will take you two weeks of posting before you decide that you need to know more about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).  If you blog but have yet to jump into the whole SEO thing, you’ve probably got a few questions. So let’s start right at the beginning and what is the most useful to know – On Page and Off Page SEO.

On Page SEO for bloggers

On Page SEO refers to the SEO that is on your blog itself and in your blog’s structure as well as in the content (your blog posts and pages).

SEO – Start with the content

It’s always easier to start with the part you are most familiar with. Start with optimising your content. You should start with a keyword or phrase in the title, then check that your permalink shows the words rather than a page or post number. To change your permalinks check out SEO for WordPress blogs for the “how-to”. I also like Scribe for checking over my content and it’s a tool I recommend to all my blog coaching clients; it helps them focus and tweak their content accordingly.


If you use a premium theme such as Genesis or Thesis you need to look at your SEO settings in your Dashboard. If you click the Genesis / Thesis tab you will see SEO settings where you can add information

Genesis Theme SEO settings image

Meta descriptions are also important, not just for On Page SEO but because this is the information that a search engine pulls through and presents to the searcher aka as your ideal customer/ ideal reader.


Internal linking and deep linking <—- sounds heavy, but it’s not.

It’s important that you link to other relevant sections of your blog or website in the content. This helps readers and search engines navigate around your site more efficiently. It also helps you find scraped content.  You can see all through this post I have linked to other useful posts on my site, that’s internal linking.

Tags and Categories

If a blog was a book, the categories would be the chapters and the tags would be the index… Some bloggers love tags, I can’t stand them and although people tell me that tags are great for tag surfing around a site, I have never used them for this purpose. In fact I think I am tag blind…

When you tag your post and display the tags, each tag is a hyperlink.

To me it looks cluttered, but it might work for you and your readers. Also tagging enables some plugins to show related adverts in your sidebar.

Categories can be renamed to work better for your On Page SEO. I tend to post in few categories – blogging, marketing and ebooks. I could have sub categories such as blogging for business, personal blogging or basic blogging. This would make things easier to navigate around for the reader and when I do my site revamp this will take place. I have other categories and sometimes I put them in two – now this is something that a lot of people say you should not do and for good reason – duplicate content penalties. When this happens I make sure not to index the second category.

Birds on the Blog is a multi author blog, the categories are also a persons name so that the content can be ordered by person. To avoid duplicate content penalties the categories section is no index meaning the category searches won’t hinder our SEO efforts. This way of using it means we get the most from accurately categorising the content. I am happy to take further guidance on the whole category thing so feel free to chip in your thoughts on the subject.

Alt tags for images

Images should be tagged so that your readers that need visual aids (screen readers) can have the image described to them. This is a good thing that is often abused, some people love to stuff the alt tags with heaps of keywords. If you choose the right image stuffing the tags with keywords is not needed.  You can always add more images to the content to reflect the changes in your chosen topic.

IMage SEO and alt tags 1

image seo and alt tags 2


Off Page SEO


Backlinks are links to your site from other sites.  They generally come from forum signatures, commenting on other blogs, a guest post or someone on another site talking about you and linking back to your site. You should try and get a few backlinks each week and the easiest most organic way to do this is to comment on other blogs. Don’t obsess over “nofollow” or “dofollow” links, you will need a variety as that looks natural.

Commenting on a blog that uses CommentLuv is cool not only for the backlink but to show your latest post under your comment. Like with the meta description above, if you comment on a blog make sure you leave a good, helpful comment and then a relevant blog link via CommentLuv. This is not just about the links; a helpful comment will mean people will click through and read more of what you have to say.

Digressing just a little… CommentLuv premium allows you to select your popular and relevant posts in the dashboard. This means you don’t have to add a link in the comment and risk looking like a self promoting spammer (even if you are a self promoting spammer ;)), you can select the option in the drop-down menu and choose the most relevant post to the conversation.

Back on track…

Guest posting and article marketing are still popular ways to get the right kind of backlinks. The guest posts should always be relevant to the audience and you should not take liberties with the amount of links you put in the post. Over on Birds we have been known to strip excessive links from guest posts much to the annoyance of the writer (but y’ know what, 17 self serving links in  4 paragraphs is stupidity).

When commenting in forums your anchor text is important. If I left a link at the end of a comment that said www.saraharrow people would know that I have a vanity website. If the link said “the business of blogging” and when you clicked the link it brought the reader to www.saraharrow .co . uk the reader would have a better idea what to expect.

You should vary your anchor text and when you guest post you should vary the anchor text you use in your bio. The bio is the little bit at the beginning or end of the post that tells you more about the author of the post. Just like the guest post should be written with audience in mind, so should your bio. If you guest post on the blog of a competitor or someone in the same industry make sure you write a suitable bio for that post. Example: You are both copywriters. To write in your bio “for the best copy-writing in the world visit xxx” is a bit strong and very disrespectful. Highlight a non competing service and link to that instead.

For the record, some bloggers just won’t care what you put in your bio and link to. You need to consider how it looks to a first time visitor and act accordingly.

On Page and Off Page SEO play important roles in bringing your blog search engine traffic. Implement both of them for best results.


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Sarah Arrow

Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer.
You want your blog to make a difference, so subscribe hereand stay in touch, my updates will help you achieve content marketing success.


  1. Really useful post, Sarah, thanks.

    Such a clear and succinct overview – it’s going in my ACT ON THIS file! You certainly know your stuff.

    • Thanks Philippa, it’s the little tweaks that make a difference :)
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting

  2. Excellent blog Sarah, with very helpful advice that I am sure will be useful to many people :)

    • Thanks Anita, I wrote it a few weeks back and then lost it… hence my slacking over here :(

  3. arrrgghh, the more I read, the more overwhelmed I become!

    • nah, don’t be overwhelmed just add in a little bit at a time and you don’t have to optimise every post. The most important part is the titles and meta descriptions in my opinion – they attract human beings :)

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Nice post, These are some really basic but important tips for SEO which many bloggers (mostly newbies but sometimes experienced ones too) forget to follow. I think on page optimization is as much as an important SEO factor as offpage optimization and link building.

    • Hey Shiva, thanks for dropping by and commenting. It can be a bit tough doing everything and I have found myself at times focussing too much on one aspect of SEO rather than going for a well rounded approach, and that’s after 5 years of almost non stop blogging! Some habits die hard…

  5. Thanks Sarah, this is such a great and useful post. I need to find the time to focus on my backlinking and comment on other people’s blogs.

    I wish everyone had comment luv installed, I love it:)

    • Comment Luv has just been installed over at I was very pleased to see it there :)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

  6. Hi Sarah
    Congratulation with the Top Chick blogger award :-) This is my first visit on your blog and I like what I am reading. I wish I have read this post when I first started my blog. You really explain everything in a great way that makes it easy to understand. Enjoy your weekend Sarah.

    • Thanks Thomas and thanks for stopping by and commenting, am thrilled to be among so many fab chick bloggers. I am just about to add the badge to my sidebar :)

  7. Nice work, Sarah! Really nice and easy to follow explanations. I recently got told off for writing a post that ‘gave too much away’. Personally, I believe that we should all be sharing and helping each other to learn how to rank.
    Another guru said that when I post on other people’s blogs, I should use keywords in my anchor text. Somehow, it just seems rude to put Essex Local SEO Services as my name on someone else’s blog. Certainly, when I get see this on my own blog, I instantly think ‘spammer’ and check the content of the comment very carefully before deciding whether it adds to the conversation or is there purely for the backlink.

    • Thanks Jo, I don’t think you can give to much away. sure you can monetise things and sell info products, but if nobody is going to pay for it, then what? Showing what you know reassures people to book your services, keep sharing :)

      • Exactly! Nice to know we’re on the same page, Sarah. I always enjoy Birds on the Blog and am an email subcriber :)
        I do have a question about commenting for you. I’ve noticed a lot recently when trying to leave comments that I press submit and the comment disappears. No ‘comment moderation’ notification and it doesn’t appear on the comments list. It just evaporates into the ether. So I tried changing emails. Same thing for three different email addresses. Then I started checking the templates of the blogs in question and it seems to be Genesis that is the consistent factor. Any clues as to why this should be happening to me on some Genesis blogs but not others? Do the comments go to moderation but it just doesn’t tell the poster?



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