|Two women that I am indebted to - Kajal on the right and Subala on the left|
I get stumped by terms like meta keywords and meta description that most SEO tutorials speak of, but one easy way that I understood it is that it is the main words and ideas that describe what you are writing about. These help search engines and directories to correctly categorize and display your blog and blog posts. As bloggers, I am told, it is our responsibility to help search engines do their work properly. Usually these words and ideas can be built into the html templates of your blog. In blogger, till now, it was easy to do it for the overall blog if you were ready to try a little html editing. What you could not do easily was to have meta descriptors for each individual post. Now with the new features, this has been made possible.
To use this feature, you first have to enable descriptions in the search settings option. Go to your blogger editor interface and navigate to settings – search settings – meta tags – description and select the yes button. This will give you a text box in which you can enter a meta description for your overall blog. If it is something that is easy to describe in 150 character, go ahead. In my case, I resorted to listing the main words that describe my blog, separated by commas, much like labels. Since I am talking to search bots here, I figure it doesn’t matter. Of course, I could be wrong, but I will wait till the SEO experts tell me otherwise. Before you leave that page, remember to click on save changes.
Now every time that you create a new post, you will find a new option on the right hand post setting sidebar of the editor that says search description. This will be under the labels and location and stuff. Click on that and you will be able to enter a brief description of your post. This will tell search engines what your post is about, and ideally should be built around keywords. So between the labels and the search description, you have really covered one third of your SEO for your blog post.
For this post, I would probably enter something like – a post on how to create custom urls and meta descriptions in blogger interface for blogspot blogs.
You will want to keep in mind that this post description will also show up by default on many of the social networks whenever you promote your link, and while some may give you an option to edit or remove, others might not. So write your search description wisely and accurately, and avoid putting in things that will show you up in poor light either to your social networks or to any one manually monitoring post descriptions. They do exist.
Blogger by default picks up the URL for your blogpost from the title of your post after ignoring the keywords on its ignore list. You always had the option of creating a custom URL by putting in your keywords within the – I think it was 30 characters with spaces – length limit in the title, publishing it, and then editing the post back to the title that you wanted it to have. Now blogger has made it even simpler.
To use this, look on the right hand sidebar when you load your editor to create a new post. If you have not been using post settings, or if you have disabled it, you will need to click on the post settings link and you will find an option for permalink. Clicking on this will give you the option to choose between the automatic URL that blogger creates for you now, or a custom URL. Select custom URL and build your URL around the primary keywords for that particular post. You will want to keep in mind that only alphabets and numerals are permitted separated by dashes and no spaces are permitted in the URL.
If this sounds like greek to you, consider this post. It is about meta descriptions and custom URLs in blogger. Suppose I give this post the title – two new features for blogspot blogs. By default, blogger will give it an URL that reads something like subhorup.blogspot.com/2012/07/two-new-features-blogspot-blogs. See how it skips ignore list words like for, an, the, etc.
For this post, however, my target search audience is people who want to create custom URLs and meta descriptions. So what I will do – I think, since I might change my mind later – is to select custom URL from the permalink option in post settings, and use something like custom-url-meta-description-blogger-blogspot-blogs. I might even add a how-to-create- before it. One nice thing about the custom URL feature now is that there appears to be no limit on length, so you can theoretically use as many characters as you wish.
So now you can write your post on the best eating places in north goa titled A Slice of Heaven but with a URL like best-restaurants-north-goa-eateries-hotels-food-goanese-multi-cuisine, along with a post description that says – a roundup of the best multi-cuisine food and beverage options in north goa, and you have most of your bases covered. I would probably add all of these and the names of a few restaurants in the labels along with keywords like budget, review, and beaches to make it more foolproof – beaches since I guess you would mention them, but otherwise, that would be cheating. Try it and see how it makes a difference to the search traffic to your posts.
There was a time when I used URLs, post meta tags or labels, and post titles as an extension of my creative expression. While that is fine as an art form, it may not be the best idea when you are trying to get your post picked up most efficiently by people looking for something along the lines of what you have written. So I might be getting my kicks out of the tangential creativity in my URLs, post titles and labels, but I would not advise it to another blogger who is looking towards building traffic up. As a matter of fact, such tangential creativity might actually be counterproductive as many of the newer search algorithms actually punish irrelevant – try telling a search bot about creativity - or excessive keyword usage.
These two new features of the editor interface of blogger lets technically challenged people like me take a step forward into the cold and calculating, cruel and competitive world of SEO. I have tried my best to share this using the same layman concepts that I have used to understand it, and I hope it will help some of you out there.