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How People Search the Web and How They Can Find Your Blog

Search Engine OptimizationDid you know that 53% of websites are found by word-of-mouth? Yes, the old gossip method still works. There are many ways of spreading the news among friends, relatives, clients, your industry, and the general public through links on your blog or site or just by telling people about some cool site you’ve just found. While this is the most successful method, the rest of the world finds you through search engines. Let’s look at how your site or blog can be found through search engines and what you can do to improve your changes of being found. After all, your goal is to be found, right?

How Do You Search?

Think about how you search the web. Do you start out vague, guessing at possible keyword combinations? Or do you think it through to come up with the specific phrase or term to narrow your search immediately? Do you often search within those results (refining your search) or start over? How many pages of the results do you go through before you start over or just give up? Do you start with Google or Yahoo, or another search engine? Which search engines are people using the most?

Answering these questions tells you a lot about how people search and about how people would search for you.

Keywords play an important role in your search engine ranking, representing the words that users will use to search for your site. Think about the words you would use to search for your blog. What are the descriptive phrases? Do you have those words in your blog content?

If you talk about or sell toothbrushes, but never mention “teeth”, aren’t you missing something? As professional nature photographers, we redid our main website recently and realized that most of our web page articles and images were related to travel and not so much to nature, so we rearranged our material to be more specific to travel, with nature as a side line. Examine your own site to match what people search for with what content and keywords are featured on your site.

Look at Competitor’s Web Pages

What are people using for keywords to find your competitors? If your keywords bring up other search results than your blog or site, then what are they doing that you aren’t?

You can learn a lot from studying your competitors, what they are doing, and what they are doing right. Some search engines make it even easier for you. Search for your product line or subject and when you see a description that matches your interests, click on “Find Similar Pages”. Also check the links offered below for the most attract attention to themselves.

You can also use tools like Keyword Density Compare from RankQuest to find how their page measures up to yours.

By studying what your competitors are doing, you can improve your own blog’s keywords frequency and density to help search engines put you in the same search results as your competitors. The more you learn about what they are doing, the better your chances of doing it one step even better, helping you rise up naturally through the search engine page ranks, putting your blog in the front of the pack.

Categorize Your Website

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Altavista offer long lists of potential sites when searched. Others categorize their listings like a directory, similar to a yellow pages directory. These include DMOZ Open Directory and All The Web. You can search their site and get specific results, but the better technique is to “drill down” through their categories, getting more and more specific as you move down through the lists.

For instance, our main site, Taking Your Camera on the Road, could be found in a directory under Arts, Photography, Instruction, Workshops or Travel, Activities, Photography. DMOZ requires websites to be categorized very specifically, keeping the listings per category down to a manageable number.

Directories like DMOZ can be very helpful in determining what category your blog belongs. Browse through their categories that apply to your site and check your competition. Are they dealing with the topics you are? Is their focus narrower or broader than yours? This may or may not be the appropriate category for your site.

To help people find you, it helps to be in the category they are searching. Think about it. Where would you find your topic if you were looking in a library or bookstore?

Keep a running list of the words and phrases you see repeated over and over again. Consider how they apply to you. We’ll discuss how to maximize your coverage in a moment, so keep collecting this information as you gather it and begin the process of understanding how people will search for you.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

7 Comments

  1. Posted July 28, 2007 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Hey Lorelle This was a really great article thanks you have some great tips here.

  2. Posted March 23, 2008 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    your link to “Search Engine World’s Keyword Validator” does not appear to be working

  3. Posted March 23, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for letting me know. I’ve updated it with another option.

  4. Posted June 6, 2008 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the excellent advice. I am a raw novice at this and just want to make my blog more available to more people. It’s not so much an excercise in ego as a real interest in seeing how people react to my ideas.

  5. Posted May 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    spreading this flaw all over the web. When I arrive on your Kubrick-based blog from a search engines, I’m landing there because that post came up in the search results. If I want to look around and see what else might be of help, and find out more about the author and this blog, the only way is to go to the front page which offers this information is by clicking the header or blog title. That’s not much help

  6. Posted May 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    navigation other than next and previous posts. No sidebar, no recent posts, no most popular posts, no categories, no Pages, no tags, nothing. Unfortunately, a lot of Themes are now based upon Kubrick, spreading this flaw all over the web.

  7. Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Lovely article, Lorelle. I would like to add that take this description and keyword usage to pages outside your website too. Like your FB profile, Twitter handle, Social profile sites, personal profile sites, directories and others, wherever you can.


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