The most recent updates to the way in which Google gathers and presents its search results have meant that 'white hat SEO' wins the day and that 'black hat SEO' users will be penalised. I recently attended some Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) training at work and the recommendations show that going back to basics is the order of the day.
The big message was quality over quantity. You must be creating original content and you must create that content for the reader, not the search engine. If you are writing with SEO in mind, there has to be a purpose for the content. Also, related content should be kept to one page and even updated regularly. 'Long Tail SEO' should be a major consideration (people search for phrases or answers rather than keywords and voice search is becoming increasing popular too), Examples of posts that work for long tail SEO are articles that answer questions or 'How To...' posts.
If you use Google Analytics to monitor your website activity then you may have noticed that keyword "(not provided)" has accumulated a higher percentage of your search results. Originally, someone searching had to be logged into their Google account in order to produce keyword data. The results were not provided in full if the user requested retained their privacy. Now, keyword "(not provided)" has been extended to all searches which have taken place on a secure internet connection (i.e. a web address that starts with https://), if the the search takes place whilst the user is logged into their Google account (Google Plus, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Analytics) or if the user has just signed out of a Google account as the pages are still considered 'secure'. The final instance is if the user has opted to use a secure search for their own reasons.
Optimising your blog or website for search engines isn't difficult but it has to be done right. Google hasn't changed much over the past few years however the updates to their algorithms over the past three years means that they have got better and finding out who is not conforming to their guidelines.
Top quality content is needed whether you run a website or a blog. Google would rather you push out a quality update once a week or once a month rather than seven pieces of content that have no relevance to your website or that are considered to be space fillers. Updating existing content to reflect new information is also looked upon favourably.
Google is looking for content that creates interaction; you need to get people talking about your content first and foremost. Content that generates natural sharing, likes, mentions around the internet and comments are positive ways in which to move your article or update further up the search engine results.
Now have a read of some hints and tips regarding Search Engine Optimisation that will work really well on blogs
Further reading regarding Penguin 2.1, Hummingbird and Panda can be found on the Google Webmaster blog, SearchEngineLand and the moz.com blog.