One of the reasons you’re blogging is to connect with others researching your families and locations. To facilitate this purpose, you need to make your blog as search-friendly as possible by identifying your purpose and the people you’re researching. This is done with metadata.
There are two types of metadata to focus on – site and post. The site metadata is your blog’s name and description. Both of these show up in search results and can help the searcher decide if your blog might be worth visiting.
Check the settings area of your blog and make sure both the name and description are entered. Use the description to define what your blog is about.
Here’s how those entries appear when your site is viewed. You’re blog’s name will always appear in the browser’s title bar. Some blogs, like Posterous, will also include the description.
And here’s how those entries appear in search results. Note that some entries include excerpts from the actual post too.
Creekside Chatter serves as a “news service” for my main Moultrie Creek Gazette blog. When your search includes that site in the results, here’s the description you’ll see:
Family history, local history, cemetery history, genealogy, research technology, howto and a bit of digital publishing too.
While that doesn’t begin to describe all the content that shows up on the Creek, it will help a person decide if my site might have some info related to their search.
Now that we’ve taken care of the site metadata, let’s look at the posts. Blog posts are presented in reverse chronological order, but you have the ability to add metadata which can then be used to organize your information and improve its searchability. Every blog platform offers some kind of keyword organization. Blogger calls it labels. Just about everyone else calls it tags. Every time you post an article, it should include tags describing the contents. If the post is a biographical sketch of one of your Henry ancestors in Georgia, you might include the tags “bio”, “Henry” and “Georgia”. Search engines have been programmed to look for tags when evaluating a site for inclusion in a search.
WordPress and TypePad also provide the ability to organize posts by category. This serves two purposes. Within the blog, it provides a way to organize and present your posts outside the standard reverse chronology format and it adds to its searchability by the major search engines. Every article should be assigned a category as well as appropriate tags. Yes, it takes extra effort, but it’s worth it.
Take a look at your blog settings and make sure you have both a title and description entered. Spend some time thinking like a potential research cousin and craft a description that would catch their eye and spark their interest. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results of your effort.