Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Blog maintenance - SEO stuff

A diversion from photography for some blog maintenance ...and whew, am I glad that's over!

I'm slightly technical—just enough to be dangerous—and have long been trying to make something happen in my classic template that is a piece of cake in the layouts types of templates.

Wobbly knees?

If your knees wobble at the mention of html, then this is not for you—nor if you use layouts templates (where you get to click and drag page elements around). If this is you, please go and do something more interesting—maybe have a look at my main site instead :)

Still here? Hokay, it's like this. I wanted to make sure that the 'titles' of the pages (the names that appear in you browser's tabs or in the browser's windows title bar) were 'friendly' to search engines.

Trivial? No...

What I'm talking about might seem fairly trivial but is one of those things that helps propel your blog to the top of the pile in search engine results. Well, maybe not so much a propelling, more of a bubbling up.

Before I started messing, every single page used my blog's name in the titles, as generated by the template.

Instead, I wanted my posts' titles (this post's title is 'Blog maintenance - SEO stuff') to be used on the post pages (the one you get to when you click a post's title). I know this will improve things from the search engines' points of view.

Now the greedy little search engine spiders, when feeding on the title meta tags on my pages, will get to dine on what I'm posting about (the post's title) rather than the same old, same old of my blog's name.

Template change

In my blog template (remember, this is a classic template) right at the very top, where it used to have:
  • <head>
  • <title><$BlogPageTitle$></title>
I changed it to:
  • <head>
  • <MainPage><title>Musings in Monochrome - the art of bw photography</title></MainPage>
  • <ArchivePage><title><$BlogPageTitle$></title></ArchivePage>
  • <itempage><title><blogger><$BlogItemTitle$></title></blogger></itempage>
NB The tags in the last bullet look strange, with </title></blogger> seeming to be the wrong way round—but trust me, they're not. But I don't know why!

What is the effect?

Look at the title displayed by your browser in its title bar (or on the tab that this page is displaying in).
  • If you're viewing my main page, the title will be 'Musings in Monochrome - the art of bw photography'.
  • However if you're viewing it on its own post page it will have the title 'Blog maintenance - SEO stuff'.
  • Finally, if you're viewing it in the archive the page will have the title 'Musings In Monochrome: August 2009'
    NB The words "Musings In Monochrome" in this last example comes from my blog setup (blogger dashboard->settings->Basic->Title).
So that's 180 post pages that will now benefit. Surely that's got to result in more people finding me/my blog in searches? I use Google Analytics, so I'll be able to keep an eye on whether it does.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share :)

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)
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