Two Neat Promotion Tools for Blogspot Bloggers

Blogger has been my platform of choice from the time I started blogging. There have been a couple of times that I regretted some of the changes at blogger, but by and large, I have not had to regret my choice. With the blogger in draft becoming the default editor interface for everyone, I thought it would be helpful to look at how change can be a friend. This post is a quick look at two new features that are especially useful for bloggers who are not so tech savvy. These are the ability to create custom URLs and the ability to include a search description for individual posts. Both of these are critical SEO tools, but the way blogger has included them makes it easy for people like me to understand and use them to get the most out of them.

Two women that I am indebted to - Kajal on the right and Subala on the left
Search Description for Posts
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.

Custom URLs 
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.

40 comments:

  1. Meta tags are essential subh saabh :)
    nice read, emphasized good points to consider....

    how about commenting with URL ?
    as i do...
    that will help in traffic :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, dee. your urls and anchor texts have been bringing a smile to my face every time i see them, and i think that is an excellent way of attracting traffic as well as improving page rank. i have found it takes a lot of effort to build up internal page rank through backlinks, but in the end, the traffic makes a difference so it is a good idea too.

      Delete
    2. Certainly yes :)
      planning to write a post on it...
      Will help lotsa people..

      i suggest you to implement in SJD as well :)

      Delete
  2. but i'm unable to find premalink?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes! Me too, where is permalink. *blink, blink* :(

      Delete
    2. 1. Updated post with image of where the permalink option shows up. 2. Make sure you are using draft.blogger.com, as this is a new feature that is possibly not there by default for the earlier blogger.com interface. Hope this solves the problem, Anil and Aarathi.

      Delete
  3. Excellent stuff. Thanks for sharing. I do hope you are right though and I can start using all this safely. Even I have no clue about all this stuff. Next why don't you migrate your blog to own domain and then write a step by step dummy's guide for me on how to do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The recent updates in ranking algorithm by Google has finally started looking very closely at ways that people use technology to push up their pages on search. These tools actually give a more human logic to the task of describing and classifying pages.

      The law of cause and effect still works here. If you try to use these to artificially fluff your page, you will be penalized. But if you are honest and accurate, this will translate to real gain.

      Delete
  4. that was very informative. thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad that you found it useful, Deepak bhai.

      Delete
  5. Interesting inputs, Subhorup! I will need to try them out to comment more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It actually is a good bit of fun too, trying out these features and seeing how your pages show up better in directories and searches.

      Delete
  6. Thanks a lot for sharing this valuable info

    Regards
    village girl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to see you back at SJD after a long time. Thanks to this post, we are connected again. Glad you liked this post.

      Delete
  7. This is good stuff. Had missed out on the search description. Good reminder on the SEO of the blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to SJD, Meoww. Glad you found something useful in this post. Do keep coming back for more of the wonderful madness that permeates this space.

      Delete
  8. Interesting...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting and very informative..intend to make use of these tools whenever I can! Thank you Subho:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amit. It means a lot coming from you. Would love to hear back on how easy it was to follow the post.

      Delete
  10. What about wordpress sir, i have shifted t owordpress :(

    but good idea

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my familiarity with wordpress features and plug-ins is next to zero, so i am not of much help, sorry...

      Delete
  11. Keeping aside the promotion policies, good content is a must. That's what I belief and try to deliver ... btw good post ... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you Subho, for that. I've worked on the blog and post descriptions. That was so useful.

    I only can't seem to find the permalink thing. For a while now, I've been putting in a straight title, publishing it and then editing the title again and putting in the title I like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. divya, did you check whether you are using the draft.blogger.com interface...

      Delete
  13. Brilliant tips. If done properly, it will drastically increase the numbers of traffic to your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This was hugely informative..I am going to read this again. I am terribly tech challenged too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so glad you liked it, alka. hope you will be able to put some of these to use.

      Delete
  15. Wow! Thanks Sir for this info. I knew the URL is always crucial for search results. So I have always ended up giving long names for my post, which in-turn ends up as permalink (Obviously omitting words like The, An etc). I never knew we can actually modify the permalink to our advantage. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i used to do the same thing, akshay, customizing my URLs and then editing them back, but this new feature is a great utility. i now have to get used to post titling and permalinking separately in my mind. am still so used to thinking of them together.

      Delete
  16. thank you buddy--you always post things that are useful. I do not have comments because I have never used it. I have to go and do all these things u say and if I stumble, I know where to reach you:)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for this. I'm too old to figure it out though, so I guess I'll stick to writing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Aha.. at last, figured it out. Had to get the draft.blogger.com too :-)
    Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  19. One more doubt. Can I edit my already published pages too, and incorporate these tips?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the url of old posts cannot be changed, they are 'unique' resource locators. however, the post description can be added to already published posts.

      Delete
  20. "Post description" and one's own URL - such useful info. Thanks Subhorup. I'll try and incorporate both into my blog soon.

    ReplyDelete
  21. thanks buddy for sharing this info...i was actually look for similar info. on SEO's...

    thanks once again !

    ReplyDelete
  22. Very informative post.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Jambo from sunny Kenya and thank you for this eye opening post. You make it sound so simple lol, now the newbie Forest Singer need only learn to blog well!

    ReplyDelete
  24. great website, very good information

    ReplyDelete

Dialog is the path to peace, and this blog is all about dialog, peace and love. Go ahead and join in.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...