SEO, or search engine optimization, is the technical side of getting blog traffic. These days, you can get a job just doing SEO, so even knowing a little about it will make you more valuable as a journalist for your paper.
In simple terms, SEO is the practice of actively doing things to your blog to make it more easily searchable. Your tags, backlinking and header all help contribute to that, but there are a few other things you can do as well.
Use keywords throughout your blog. Focus your topics. As Google (and other search engines) read your site, the more they see certain words, the more they assume that is what your blog is about. Your Baltimore Orioles beat blog? Keep talking about the O’s, the players, the stadium and Google will start listing you higher and higher in search results for that. Talk about scattered random things and Google won’t know who you are.
Why Google? Google owns the market on search engines right now. You want to be important? Make Google’s job finding you as easy as possible.
Who you are associated with can also help or harm your SEO. Having similar blogs on your blogroll and trading links with other respectable people will help your SEO. Link and backlink to spammers and Google will penalize you. She’s such a cruel mistress.