Keli Gwyn
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How to Get Your Blog Post on Google’s First Page

Would you like your blog post to appear on the first page of hits in Google?

Would you like your post to stand out among a million others on a certain topic?

Who wouldn’t?

I read blogs written by several social media gurus, one of them being Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.

Kristen knows her stuff. I took an online workshop from her and learned heaps.

One of many things Kristen taught us was the importance of using tags to label our posts. She suggests using our name as a tag so when anyone searches for us, our posts will appear in the results. She also suggests using search-engine friendly terms in our tags.

I put Kristen’s tag tip in practice last week and met with astonishing results.

On Tuesday, August 23, an earthquake rocked the Eastern Seaboard. I saw a reference to the quake in a blog comment. Knowing news hits Twitter faster than bugs strike my windshield in the spring, I opened TweetDeck and watched as the earthquake trended.

As soon as it became evident that this earthquake was not “the big one” and that injuries and damage to property were minimal, humorous tweets appeared. Some of them were so clever, I shook with laughter as I read them.

I copied some of my favorite tweets and used them in a blog post on August 24: Clever Tweets about the Quake. Following Kristen’s wise counsel, I added three tags to the post: Keli Gwyn, Virginia Earthquake, and Writers on Twitter.

The next day many blog visitors from the East Coast commented, saying where they were and what they were doing when the quake rocked their world. As a native Californian who has experienced a number of quakes, I couldn’t believe how far from the epicenter the Virginia quake was felt. Here in the Golden State, a quake is felt some 30-50 miles away. I live 100 or so miles from the San Francisco Bay Area, and yet we don’t feel the effects from a quake that takes place there.

Being a curious person, I hopped on Google to find the answer (the crust in the East is thicker and less jumbled than the crust here in the West), but I got a surprise as well.

When I input the words Virginia Earthquake in the search bar, my blog post appeared on the very first page of hits – #12 out of over 1,000,000!

After picking my chin off the floor, I shot a hand in the air and said, “Thank you, Kristen!”

Thinking my first-page experience to be a fluke, I input the words Virginia Earthquake in the search bar on 8/29, five days after my quake post first appeared. When I input the words without quotation marks as I did on 8/24, my post was no longer on the first page. Since the hits now topped 105 million, I didn’t find that too surprising.

Just for fun, I input “Virginia Earthquake” in quotation marks as shown in the image above, which narrowed the search to posts where the words appear together in that order.

Guess what I found?

The post still appeared on the first page of the more limited search–out of the 1,240,000 hits Google’s web crawlers found–right up there with the likes of Nova and Wikipedia.

My experience proves two things:

1) If you’re not following Kristen Lamb’s blog and reading her book, you’re missing out.

2) Tagging could get you in trouble with the police if done with spray paint on freeway overpasses, but tagging your posts will get you positive attention in cyberspace. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ€ข โ€ข โ€ข

Do you use tags to label your blog posts? If so, do you have any tagging success stories?

Keli Gwyn


  • candidkerry says:


    That IS amazing! What a cool experiment, and what a great way to get blog traffic.

    I wrote a blog post in late June called Star and Horses. It’s about our trip to Pennsylvania in early June. I usually use two or three pictures in each post, and I included a picture of stars and one of a running horse, plus one of my own pictures of horses (from our trip). I tagged the post according to what I wrote about (Stars, horses, God, Creation, etc…)

    Since the post published, I’ve had over 1300 hits on it!? Every day, I get between 30-60 hits on it, some days as many as 80. The best I can figure is that people search for pictures of stars and horses, and that post pops up because of those pics! So keep that in mind too, when using pictures in blog posts. They also draw in traffic.

    I’m on my way over to Kristin Lamb’s blog now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks! Hope you have a great week!

  • Hi Keli! I took Kristen’s online class as well and try to always use tags but your experience is awesome. So, you’re saying that we should put quotation marks around the important words that show what we’re blogging about? I was a bit confused.
    Thanks SO much for that tip.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Patti, the quotation marks refer to the search terms I input in Google’s search bar. If I input Virginia Earthquake without quotation marks, Google’s web crawlers will locate all posts that use both of the words anywhere in a post, website page, etc. By putting quotation marks around “Virginia Earthquake” the search is limited to posts, website pages, etc. that contain those words used together.

      For example, if I input “Keli Gwyn” in Google’s search bar, all 14,000+ hits are for me, since I’m the only Keli Gwyn in cyberspace. However, if I input Keli Gwyn without using quotation marks, any posts with the name Keli or the name Gwyn show up.

  • Erica Vetsch says:

    I just started using tags on my blog, and I’m so glad I did.

    How did the weekend conference go?

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Erica, the conference was good. I’ll be blogging about it on Friday. I also attended Sarah Sundin’s launch party Sunday and will blog about that Wednesday. It was a fun-filled weekend!

  • candidkerry says:

    Hi again, Keli. I was way off about the number of hits for my post, Star and Horses. It’s now 2,050 hits. I really do think it’s the pictures that are drawing all the hits, but still, I’ll take it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thanks for sharing this tip, Keli. I use tags, but never thought to include my name. I got sidetracked halfway through reading Kristen’s book. Obviously, I need to go back and finish it! BTW, I was responding to your comment on another blog when the quake hit…felt it in Ontario, Canada.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sandra, your comment was the first I heard of the quake–the one I referenced in the post, in fact. When I first read it I wondered if my comment had shaken you up a bit, and then I thought I’d better see if there really had been an earthquake somewhere. =)

  • This is amazing, Keli! Wow. I’m impressed.

    I don’t have my own blog but I’m doing a blog tour soon. Can I tag in guest posts, too? How would I do that? You sold me!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Rochelle, you could ask the blogger to add certain tags for you on a guest post. I know I’d be happy to do that for a guest. Even if a guest doesn’t ask me to do so, I still add tags I think will help direct traffic to posts on my blog.

  • Loree Huebner says:

    Pretty good information. Actually my son’s guest blog post on my blog gets many hits because of his tags. His post is one of the top most popular posts on my blog. Ha! Figures!

  • Jessica R. Patch says:

    That is incredible! I use tags, but probably not as thoughtful as you are doing. I follow Kristen’s blog, but her book is still in my TBR pile. Guess I need to bump it up, eh?

  • Nancy says:

    This is an exciting thing to try. Thanks for the information.

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    This is so cool, Keli! I loved Kristen’s book, and I learned a ton from her blog, too. Tags ARE important. I use them with every post!

  • THat is AWESOME!!! Also…that would never happen if you had blogger. More proof that maybe WordPress is the way to go!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Katie, I’ve heard it’s easier to get WordPress posts to rank than those on other blog providers’ sites. Sounds like that’s been your experience.

  • Edie Melson says:

    I had the same experience. I wrote a post about honing your conference pitch and later when I Googled “Hone Your Pitch,’ my post was 4 out of 291,000. Tags do make a huge difference!

  • Edie Melson says:

    And just to add – I DO have blogger – and this isn’t the only time it’s happened. WordPress is good, too, but I’m just sayin’ . . . .

  • How cool, Keli!!! I started tagging my posts after reading Kristen’s book. I’m pretty sure I have tags to thank for some really cool connections I’ve made.

  • Wow, Keli. Those are great tips. Thanks for passing them on. I’ve always used tags, but not used my name. I must do that.

  • ADL says:

    Thank from over here too!

  • Great Post! I read your post about the earthquake, too. Good info for bloggers for sure! Kerrie

  • Wow and great thinking, Keli! I have been reading quotes from Kriten Lamb’s workshops, book and blog on other blogs and decided to go over there and I was blown away. The suggestion to use our name as a tag in each post either came from you in an earlier post or another writer. It worked like a charm since I have a name that is fairly unique. I loved her blog so much, I subscribed on the spot.

    Thanks once more for giving us the edge we need, not only with your suggestions, but in the references to others you always provide on your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  • bethkvogt says:

    OK. Point made in black and white and in color. Going to follow Kristin Lamb right now.

  • This is great Keli — thanks so much. I don’t even use tags and I’ve been thinking about how I am generally clueless about this whole blogging traffic stuff. I guess I need to read her book!

  • the writ and the wrote says:

    I am tagging my blog posts now. I wish I had done it from the beginning. I didn’t even think of using my name as one of the tags. Is there a way to batch tag posts in WordPress? I’ve already spent so many hours doing this….

  • Brandi says:

    Thanks for the info, Keli. I use tags on my blog posts, but didn’t know they were capable of this. I’ve probably been doing it all wrong. Thanks again for the link to Kristen’s tips.

  • Sherrinda says:

    Okay, that is one cool experiment, girl! I love it! I recently started following Kristen’s blog and have been extremely impressed with the wealth of information there.

  • Congrats! I use tags too and have noticed an increase in traffic on my web. However, not as many hits as that. Go girl!

  • SylverBlaque says:

    Just discovered your site from a tweet. Thanks so much for sharing this tip! Are the quotations the equivalent to the plus sign? (i.e. Virginia + Earthquake?)

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sylver, the use of a + sign tells the search engine crawlers to search for the word(s) on either side of the plus sign. In my experience, though, using a + sign in the search bar doesn’t limit the search to those words used together the way using quotation marks does.

      When I searched for “Keli Gwyn” this morning, Google reported finding around 13,800 results for Keli Gwyn used together. However, when I searched for Keli + Gwyn, Google reported finding about 397,000 results for entries with Keli and Gwyn. They aren’t used together to form my name in many cases, though. Since I’m the only Keli Gwyn in cyberspace, the first pages of entries are for me, but by the time I got a few pages into the results, I saw the names separated.

  • Sometimes the things that show up on my stat page make me go “huhn?” until I see where they came from – you just never know what may lead someone to your site! But I have been lacking in remembering the tags and have tried to do better. It was a Kristen’s place that I learned to put my name in there – duh! never even thought about it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • jleary says:

    Thank you both (Keli and Kristen) for passing on this valuable knowledge. As Iยดve recently started my own blog and am interested in moving into the publishing inudstry, all of these tips are extraordinarily helpful! The idea of adding my name as a tag is deceptively obvious and Iยดm going to try it on my next post.

  • Joanna Aislinn says:

    I’m a Kristen Lamb follower too–she’s amazing! I also started tagging and was pleasantly surprised when some folks mentioned finding my blog via tag or topic search. So yes, it all works. Working on finishing up ‘Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer’; already went through ‘WANA’ and feel so empowered. Until then, I kept Twitter at arm’s length–now I don’t know what I’d do w/o Tweetdeck and even write social media-related posts of my own, lol! Thanks to you too, Keli, for confirming what I’ve learned!

  • What a great tip–well several actually!

  • Carla Gade says:

    Keli, thanks for this great post. Very helpful stuff. You should have seen what happened to my blog since I posted on the fascinators at the royal wedding! I’ve been getting thousands of hits a week from all over the world since the spring, but I sure wish they all would follow my blog.

  • I’ve been using them since reading Kristen’s book. Only in blogger they’re called Labels I believe. I don’t know if they work as well as tags in WordPress, but I’ll keep doing it, anyway.

  • Great advice, thanks. My greatest issue is knowing which tags to add to my blog. I heard that adding more than five is a really bad idea. Will try appending my name, though, and see what happens.

  • This blog was fascinating. As a new tweeter, I will take your suggestions to heart. i am also a fan of Kristen Lamb and am taking the WANA1011 class with her right now on branding your name.