Whenever we discuss anything related to SEO, a phrase you will often hear is “SEO Friendly”.
In this article, we will be discussing some search preference settings for Blogger that will make your blog SEO friendly. These settings were not available for use before March 2012.
Earlier when Blogspot compared to WordPress, WordPress came out on top every time. But with the introduction of these settings, Google has done a great job in narrowing the gap between the two.
As we all know Blogspot or Blogger is one of the most popular and easy to use, free platform by Google. Also, certain factors that impact the performance of the blog such as page speed, image compression, and cache are taken care of by the platform itself with a big plus.
But still, there are certain elements that you need to configure manually to make your blog more optimized or SEO friendly.
Some of these settings will dictate which parts of your blog will be indexed in the search engine. So follow these steps carefully.
Before we begin this tutorial, in the previous article we discussed some basic SEO elements such as
- Keyword Research
- Content Planning
- Title Optimization
- Organizing posts
- Image Optimization
- URL Optimization
- Fighting against spam
In case you have already configured the search preference settings, I highly recommend reading this article on Basic Blogspot SEO
Advanced SEO Settings in Blogger
Let’s start with the guide
Login to your Blogspot dashboard and go to Settings >> Search Preferences
Under the meta tags, you will find the description which is by default set to disable. This description is a summary of your blog that will be displayed on the search engine results page.
Try to be as descriptive as possible, because of this description the users will know what your blog is about. Also, it will help boost the CTR which impacts the rankings. Here is what a meta description looks like on SERPs
Before we go ahead and enable this setting I would like to let you know, when you enable this you will also be able to add a description to your pages and posts which otherwise you cannot.
To enable the description, click Edit. It will ask if you want to enable search description. Select yes.
When you select yes, a box will appear where you can add a search description for your blog.
The length of the meta description is 150 characters max and after you have entered the description, the last thing you need to do is save the changes.
Adding Meta Description to Posts and Pages in Blogger
As mentioned above when you enable meta description in search preference, it allows you to meta description to your posts and pages as well.
To add a meta description to any post or page. Go to Posts or Pages and click Edit. It will take you to the editor and on the right, you will a new option that says Search Description.
Click it and it will show you the place where you can enter the description. Click done once you are finished adding and then press update to save the changes you have made.
Points to remember
- The description of your blog is the prime advertisement spot on the SERPs. Keep the user intent in mind while writing one.
- You can add keywords, but stay away from using too many as it will look spammed.
- Do not use a single description on multiple pages. Search engines will not display such descriptions.
Custom Page Not Found
As the name suggests, using this setting will allow you to create a custom HTML message that will be displayed on the 404 error page instead of a generic message.
What is 404 error
A 404 error occurs when a webpage is not found. This can happen in two conditions
- Either the link is broken or in other words, the page has been moved.
- The URL is mistyped
Above is a screenshot of a 404 page and it clearly conveys the message “the page you are looking for does not exist”.
How can you create a custom 404 page on Blogspot
Under the section “Errors and Redirections” in the search preferences, you will the setting for Custom page not found. By default, it says not set.
Click edit and it will show you a box where you can add the HTML code.
Once you have entered the code the last thing you need to do is save the changes you have made. For the demonstration purpose, we created a custom HTML message. Below is the screenshot.
This is a very simple 404 message, you can add images and also link your social media accounts. It can act as a CTA. All I want to say here is be as creative as you want with your custom message possibilities are endless.
Custom redirect is a very important setting when you want to redirect a broken page from your site to a relevant working page.
For example, you had a page on your blog with the URL example.com/broken-link and due to some reason, the page was removed. What this means is the link is now broken. Anyone visiting that page will end up landing on a 404 page.
And you don’t want that. You want those visitors to land on a relevant page instead. And that page is example.com/new-link and the feature you need for this redirection is Custom Redirect.
How to set custom redirects in Blogger
This feature is available in the search preference setting under the heading Errors and Redirections.
To set custom redirects all you need to do is click Edit and enter the broken link or deleted URL in “From” and the new in ” To”.
And the last thing you need to do is click Save Changes
To understand and use this setting, the first thing you need to do is understand
What is Robots.txt
Robots.txt is a text file that is used by websites to instruct search engine crawlers or bots about which parts of the website should not be indexed or processed.
With Blogger or Blogspot, the platform takes care of creating the robots.txt file for you and using Custom Robots.txt setting you can make changes to it.
To check for robots.txt, all you need to do is type the below-mentioned URL in the address bar of the browser and replace “example” with your domain name.
And here is how the robots.txt file looks like
With that said, there are certain parts of your website that you don’t want search engine bots to crawl such as categories, archives, labels, search pages, thank you pages, pages with duplicate content and more and you can do it via this file.
How to enable custom Robots.txt in Blogspot
You will find Custom Robots.txt setting under the section “Crawlers and Indexing”. All you need to do is click Edit and it will ask you if you want to “enable custom robots.txt”
If you want to create a custom robots.txt file select Yes and it will show a box where you can enter the robots.txt code and once done click Save Changes.
Note– As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a warning by the platform to use this setting carefully. I would also like to ask you to use this setting only if you are comfortable with the Robots directives or else a small mistake can cause the deindexing of important parts of your website.
Now, if you are thinking about block archives, search and other similar pages, let me tell you you can easily block these using Custom robots header tags and we are going to discuss it next.
Custom robots header tags are meta tags that follow a page specific approach and instruct the search engines on how to crawl and index individual pages.
Here is a list of all directives
To set custom robots header tags, you need to go to search preference and under the heading “Crawlers and Indexing” you will find custom robots header tags.
Click the Edit button and it will ask if you want to enable it.
Select yes and it will show a form where you can select and apply robots header tags to pages such as
- Archive and Search
- Default post and page
We went ahead and completed the settings and you can use the same settings for your blog.
After completing the settings, the last thing you need to do is save changes.
Like, I mentioned before these tags work at the individual page level. When you configure these, you can also set these tags while writing new posts or on existing posts as well.
And that’s it you have successfully configured your search preference settings. But there are still 2 more points that we will be discussing in this article.
One of the very first thing people look for on a website is security. And a website is secured using an SSL certificate. Before you start thinking from where can you get one for your blog.
Let me tell you one of the best things about the Blogger platform is that you can secure your blog with a single click. This feature is not limited to blogs with the Blogspot sub-domain. This means if you are using a custom domain name on your Blogger blog you can also use this feature.
How to enable HTTPS in Blogger
To enable HTTPS in Blogger navigate to Settings >> Basic >> HTTPS
Under the heading HTTPS, you will see the setting for HTTPS redirect and right in front of it is a dropdown. Select yes
As you can see in the screenshot above if the HTTPS redirect is activated all the visitors will be served pages on an encrypted connection. Else there will be 2 accessible versions of your website, visitors landing on HTTP will be served over an unencrypted connection and those landing on HTTPS will be served over a secured connection.
Also, we have written a detailed guide on this that you may like to read- How to enable HTTPS on Blogspot blog
Remember Google prefers HTTPS over HTTP and it is a ranking signal.
Nofollow links get its name from the Nofollow value that is assigned to the HTML attribute “rel”. As the name suggests, Nofollow tells the search engines to not follow the specific link or the page it is applied to. This means the bots will ignore this link and will also pass no value.
Which outbound links should be NoFollow
- Any links intended for the purpose of the advertisement. Be it affiliate links or sponsored content, it needs to be NoFollow.
- Spam is a huge problem. Often you will notice if your website allows commenting without moderation, you will find spam links in the comment section. Using NoFollow will allow your blog to avoid passing credit to bad sites. Filtering spam in WordPress is easy as you can use plugins such as Akismet anti-spam and in Blogspot, you need to activate the comment moderation.
- Similarly, if your site allows posting of user-generated content without moderation, NoFollow will again help you not crediting the spam sites and staying away from penalty.
With that said, to add NoFollow to a link is a very easy task. All you need to do is when you can linking to a source in the editor select “Add rel=nofollow” attribute. And press ok to save the changes
Also, you may have noticed right above the “rel nofollow” attribute, there is another option that says open links in a new tab.
When you select this option it will open links in a new tab. I highly recommend using this option when linking to third-party sources.
Using this feature will also improve the dwell time or bounce rate as the person clicking on the link will stay on your page instead of the link opening in the same tab wherein they have to leave your site.
When we talk about SEO and increasing the online reach, a very important role in this is played by your domain name. By using these settings your blog will definitely be more SEO friendly, but a brand is incomplete without a personalized domain name.
If you are using a sub-domain, I will highly recommend you move to a custom domain name as it looks more professional, trustworthy and is more preferred by search engines than a sub-domain.
Recommended read– Benefits of custom domain name
Before you leave, I would again like to stress on carefully using the custom robots.txt and custom robots header tags settings. These settings are very powerful and it is important to understand the directives before putting them to use.
You may like to read next –
- On-Page SEO Cheat Sheet
- Getting started with Pinterest for Business
- How to add Pinterest Pin it Button to images
I hope you find this article and use these settings to make your blog more SEO friendly. If you have any queries feel free to contact us via the comment section and also don’t forget to share this tutorial with your friends on Social Media.
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