Blogging and SEO

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Blogging is the easiest SEO tool in the business.  Why – because search engine optimization is naturally built in without the user having to be an advanced marketer.  Here’s why:

  1. Most blogs will automatically create title tags so that the title of the post becomes the URL of the post.
  2. Tagging and categories also have unique URLs, so you’re category could be a primary keyphrase.  So if you have a credit card site, it will appear as www.yoursite.com/category/credit card, which will be indexed separately from your posts with the same keyphrase.
  3. Interlinking is easy with blogs.  There’s no reason to struggle with an advanced site map on a blog.  On a traditional website, you’re going to want to link between pages to help spiders travel through your site.  Blogs have interlinking built in: archives, recent posts, categories, and tags all link internally to your blog’s pages.  This is the prime argument for including categories and tags on your blog.
  4. It creates a whole new avenue for backlinks, as blogs link to other blogs, whereas they might never link to static website.

Let’s dive a little deeper into these points so you can maximize on how you optimize a blog:

Always host a blog on your domain.  This will include brand recognition and trust for your overall site.  Additionally, a site will have greater authority – both to spiders and surfers – if you have a site with an individual .com domain. People react very differently to creditcardplace.com and creditcardplace.com.  Too often, a site will have pages under a .com and the blog will be listed under Blogspot or other provider.  This both appears unprofessional and can adversely affect the site’s authority.

Use keyword trackers for tags.  It’s getting harder to measure keyword density percentages within posts.  How many words does there have to be between keyphrases?  Not to mention the awkwardness of adding some keyphrases to content.  Tags are a great way to utilize strange keyword formulations that have high value without damaging the SEO capability or readability of your content.

Automatically send tags to Technorat
i.  This can either be done automatically or manually so tags will show up in Technorati’s search results.  After you do this, ping Technorati (again manually or automatically, depending on your platform). While on the subject, ping other sites as well, using services like Pingoat, Feedshark, or Ping-o-matic.

Use keywords for links – both in the sidebar and within posts.  You don’t necessarily have to link to the site’s title, especially if the title is not useful as a keyphrase.  This is especially true in posts, where the link can fit into the content of the post, but you could even have permanent links that are keyword-directed.  Just make sure that the links and title correlate, or else it could be flagged.

Don’t overpromote. Yes this sounds like a contradiction, but overpromoting a blog can lead to accusations of spam.  So using a site like StumbleUpon to promote your less-than-unique content is not going to win you any friends.  Some posts are better viral bait than others – especially those with topical content or pop-culture-related content.  For example, getting back to the credit card example: writing about celebrities and credit cards is going to get more traction than “How to transfer a balance,” which has been written about ad infinitum.

That said, there’s no great damage in Digging a lot of posts.  Even if the post only gets one Digg, this page is going to be indexed as well, and given Digg’s current page rank of 8, your Digg page could rank very high for a specific title phrase.  If you do end up hitting it big one day, that’s the day to become active on the site: writing more posts, responding to comments, generating more interest.  The Diggers who have been banned were those who overpromoted their links – often getting officemates on the same IP to Digg a link, which came off as Digg spamming.  So long as you’re careful about this, adding your own posts to Digg shouldn’t be a problem.

Don’t obsess about NoFollow
.  Yes, it’s disappointing knowing that your hard-earned comment link isn’t going to be followed by search engines.  But given the fact that many high-profile blogs use this tag, it should not stop you from commenting, as it can steal lead to traffic, name recognition, and possible link partnerships in the future.

Finally, I’ll sum up with some of the more obvious tricks to promoting a blog: exchanging links with like-themed blogs and submitting to directories (blog, rss, and css if it’s appropriate).  Remember, your links out will not only be spidered, but they can also show up in search results – such as the Technorati search results for the out-linked blog.  This not only increases possible traffic from that site’s Technorati page, but creates another external link that will be spidered by Google – without the dreaded Nofollow tags.

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