Blogger vs. WordPress: Understanding SEO

This is part two in the series: Blogger vs. WordPress, and it does contain affiliate links.

The number one reason I moved from Blogger to WordPress is because of content ownership.

Once I decided I wanted to make the move to WordPress, I purchased hosting space from Bluehost and then did a bit of research about frameworks. One of the reasons I chose Genesis is because of Search Engine Optimization.

Understanding SEO

What is SEO?

Let’s say that every single website (that’s billions, y’all) is a like a piece of metal buried on a sandy beach off the coast of Southern California. Just like websites, the pieces of metal are of varying shapes, sizes, and weight.

For this illustration we’re going to use a metal detector to represent search engines (i.e. google, bing, etc.) When someone types a word or phrase into a search engine, it’s like a metal detector swooping across the sand in search for metal.

SEO sort of draws the most relevant metals (i.e. websites) to the top, making them stand out, and easily detectable. As if telling a metal detector to look for a lost wedding ring, and ignore coins and other scrap metal.

Let’s do a google search together, okay? Let’s search for “Lemonade.”

Google found more than 49 million websites that discuss “Lemonade” in one way or the other. How does it know which websites to bring to the top? SEO.

What is SEO

This video from Search Engine Land describes how SEO works even better than my little analogy above. If you really want to know more about it, go ahead and watch the video, it’s not uber techy or anything like that. I found it to be very helpful!

So why did SEO play a part in my decision to switch from Blogger to WordPress? Last fall I wrote several posts about purpose, knowing my voice, and embracing myself as a leader. Since I have a pretty secure understanding of what I think God wants  A Royal Daughter to be, it is important to me that people are able to find ARD when they search for things like Blogs about Infertility or Blog Design Tutorials, or Inspired Writing.

Unfortunately, Blogger doesn’t have anything built-in that boosts SEO. All of the work is manual, and time-intensive. But with WordPress I’m able to look at how each blog post rates in regards to SEO. Here’s a peek:

SEO In Genesis

So is it working? ARD launched less than a week ago, and already my pageviews are half of what they were for the whole of last month! That doesn’t automatically mean that SEO is working for me, but let’s take a look at five of the top ten organic searches that landed readers at ARD since last Tuesday: (I’m linking them to the recent posts that I suspected contributed to them landing at ARD.)

Blogger Vs. WordPress 2013
Christmas Wrapping Recycling
God Inspired Me To Write
Inspiration Out With the Trash At Christmas
Recycling Fashion Paper

I find that to be pretty exciting, don’t you?

For more (and definitely better!) information about SEO I recommend:

Tent Blogger’s SEO Series

Blogging With Amy’s Excellent SEO Gimme

Search Engine Land

SEOMoz’s downloadable Beginner’s guide to SEO

I’ll be back later this week for part three, in which I do my best to answer reader questions!

_____

Setting Goals Q&A with Mama Marchand’s Nest

Connect on Twitter

RDD: When did you first set goals for your business/blog? How do you hold yourself accountable to accomplish those goals?

MMN: I first set goals when I got “serious” about blogging – about two years ago. Since then, my readership has grown by leaps and bounds but not without struggle on my part. I question myself and my goals regularly, to make sure I’m staying true to myself and my voice.

Amanda
Amanda
Amanda

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Comments

  1. That’s really interesting. I’m impressed that you could see such a difference in traffic so quickly! I’m finding this series to be really helpful because I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with blogger lately. I’m hoping some of the kinks are resolved shortly and I don’t want to make an impulse decision to switch, but it’s good to have the information about other options. Thanks!

  2. Chrissy says:

    That is truly amazing. I am just wondering about the costs…since I am blogging for fun…would it be worth it? I should look into how much it actually is…
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Chrissy! I’ll be addressing the costs tomorrow (hopefully) but I wanted to let you know now. I’d say if you’re going to switch to WP, be prepared to spend between $200-$250 for the hosting + framework + child theme or skin. As far as I can tell, that’s about the cheapest way to go.

  3. Sarah says:

    Awesome. Pinning it to read later. Thanks. Love your new design too!

  4. shelly says:

    I also am considering the switch but finances figure into it as well as having to relearn a whole new platform. Do you find it easy to use?

    • Amanda says:

      Shelly! I’d say the bare minimum to make the switch would be between $200-$250. That’s purchasing hosting space + a framework + a child theme or skin.

      As far as ease of use, on a scale from 1 to 10, and after using it for only a week, I’d give it about a 6. There’s a lot to learn, and it’s not as intuitive as I thought it would be. But for me it is definitely worth the time investment.

  5. Agh, SEO, I know it’s important and I know that WP makes it infinitely easier to incorporate it than blogger, like by entering keywords and such. Great summary!

  6. Alli says:

    Wow! That’s incredible. And this post answered a question that I had on my handy dandy “list of things to look up regarding WP” We switched just before New Year’s and I was expecting to see a drop in views because of the switch, but the numbers went up. Not as substantially as yours did, but enough to make me wonder if there was a glitch in the stat plug-in because everything I’ve read said to expect to see a drop at first.
    This is a great series, I can’t wait to see what insights you have to share next!

    • Amanda says:

      Great, thanks Alli! It sounds like you got the feed transferred without any problems – that’s GREAT!

      • Alli says:

        Transfering the feed was easier than I thought it would be, much of the switch was easier than I thought it would be. I’m really happy with how relatively smoothly it went.

  7. So is that WordPress SEO by Yoast a plug in you got? I’m on the Genesis framework as well and all I have is a little Theme SEO settings box. I’ll be honest, I haven’t made the effort to really pay attention to SEO, but that video you shared was very helpful!

  8. Liz says:

    You may have already answered this question, but, I wanted to know how your WordPress posts is still showing up in my blogger dashboard reading list? Did you lose all of your GFC followers after you switch to WordPress? (kooky question after I just told you that you are still showing up in my reading list.)

  9. Great Article! I have been toying with the idea of switching to wordpress (mainly because everyone else is doing it,) but this is my question: I have spent the last couple of years tweaking the way my blog looks on blogger and I am pretty happy with it. I also have my own domain that blogger redirects to. I use the google keyword tool to come up with keywords for many of my posts, I use the permalink and search description feature to incorporate the keywords and well as naming my photos and adding “alt and title text” to the pictures.
    Does switching to wordpress improve your SEO just because you are on wordpress or because wordpress makes it easier to do the things I am already doing?

    Thanks for your input,
    ~Jamie

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Jamie!

      It sounds like you’re doing AWESOME at managing your SEO as much as you can – way to go!

      What I like about WP is that I can see how my SEO ranks in each post I write. It gives me a rating so I know if and when I need to make improvements to the content.

      Also, from what I understand, search engines are drawn to self-hosted sites. Since blogger-based blogs are all hosted in the same place (blogger/google) their SEO automatically drops because it’s not self-hosted.

      I hope this helps. It really does sound like you’re doing great! Keep up the good work!

  10. Cassidy says:

    Hey there! Just wanted to mention (for those that are interested) that it is totally possible to self-host on WordPress for pretty cheap. My husband and I have been using WordPress for years and love it! Basically we host through Godaddy and pay 4.99/mo. We own our domains, which was a one time fee (ranging from 2.99-12.99 depending on what you want!) And we have used anything from a free premium theme to (just recently) purchasing the Standard theme for $99. But there is so many great, free themes that you can have your own self-hosted blog up and running for a small starting fee!

    I just wanted to throw that out there for those that may have been scared off by the $200-$250 price point! Genesis Framework is definitely one of the best – but most expensive frameworks out there! But your site looks AMAZING, so the money was well spent. :)

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Cassidy! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with WP! Your website is beautiful! I guess I should have clarified that my start up cost included purchasing 3 years of hosting space at about $ per month. I knew I wanted a long commitment, and the 36 month price was the cheapest deal. That was right at $145 right there. :)

      Thanks for clarifying – and for offering a recommendation for a less expensive way to go!

  11. Ruben says:

    First result looking for “Blogger vs. WordPress SEO” =P
    Are you using like a plugin to manage the SEO part of your blog?
    Interesting, thank you!

  12. g Vijayank says:

    Hey Amanda ,
    Loved your blog a lot .I am also thinking of changing from blogger to wordpress,your suggestions and simple explaination would definitely help me take an informed decision.
    Thanks very much !!!!!!

  13. Hi.. I just want to say that it was a nice reading material. I hope you come out with more interesting posts, because I bookmarked your website. All the best.

  14. abhinav says:

    Researched and experimented with these two, after the research i’ve seen the results that wordpress is really an seo friendly blog site. blogspot is also good but couldnt obtain better results when compared to the wordpress site.

  15. Shruti says:

    Personally I had found Blogger to be better for SEO and ranking, they have a simple yet very effective interface when it comes to SEO. If you use the webmaster tools along with the simple tools like “add description” and write up a keyword targeted description within the editing box, you are good to go. At this point in time blogger is the only platform that enable your blog to be seen with your G+profile pic in the search results, and that alone had given me more traffic than my WP blogs. I own 3 WP blogs, aging above 1 year and 2 blogs with blogspot under 6 month old – the 2 blogs on blogger are already ranking out the ones on WP.

    Shruti

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