Blogging For Search Engine Optimization

August 21, 2007

The other my boss and I were examining organic search results for some keywords we were adding to a few AdWords campaigns. Picture me in his office and both of us going, “What is that?” “Wait, what the hell is this?” and “Where did that come from?” The top hits of our results were inundated with blogs (quick caveat: the particular product you advertise for may not give you an overwhelming deluge of blogs on the first page of Google search results, so I’m sorry if this post won’t apply to you), and both of us were fairly surprised. But as I sat down in a chair to take it all in, the hindsight (always 20/20) hit me and it became more obvious: the blogging platform is, in many ways, perfect for search engine optimization.

An Insanely Short Checklist for SEO

Here’s my quick rundown of stuff that matters when working towards SEO… in other words, a) this is from my own personal research, b) it’s also from a few things I’ve picked up from SEO companies I work with (no trade secrets revealed here, though), c) it’s the super-short version, and d) I am in no way an expert.

How popular/relevant are you with others?

  1. How many inbound links point to your site?
  2. Are the inbound links on-topic? From my understanding, if you are advertising a special line of lip moisturizer it may not help to have a link from a gun store.
  3. Of those inbound links, which are hi or low quality (i.e., are they from the New York Times, a .edu or a .gov site? Or, are they from nefarious link farms and no-name blogs?)

Do you take special care of your own links?

  1. What text do you use in your anchor tags (do links to your line of moisturizing lip gloss appear as “Click here for our product line” or the much better “Soothing Lip Balms” [please cut me some slack for my lametard examples]).
  2. Do you make good use of the title attribute?
  3. What do your links point to? Is it a url such as http://www.soothinglipbalms.com/xda=?a18749823196/asdj&%!189.php? Or is it http://www.soothinglipbalms.com/ultracolor/magenta? (I think this has two parts: url’s that are poorly chosen, and/or the use of dynamic url’s… from what I gather, avoid both)

Do you play tag well?

  1. Although meta tags do not play much part in SEO anymore, it’s still necessary to have a kick@$$ meta tag because that’s what typically shows up on the search results page.
  2. Are you title tags on-topic? Not only is this what shows up as the brief description on the search results page, evidently the little spiders that crawl the web give a fair amount of attention to these. That said, your title tag should include hyper-relevant keywords and descriptions.

How’s your writing?

  1. Is your site code tight as a battleship, or is it being held together by toothpicks and bubblegum? (thanks Ross for that analogy)
  2. How is the writing for your content? Did you have little Timmy from across the street write some copy to save a little dinero, or is your writing smooth, coherent and always on-topic?

And most importantly, does your website demonstrate why you are unique? There’s a ton of lip glosses out there, what makes yours so special? Does your site reflect that?

Pulling It Together: Blogging Could Be SEO’s Dream Come True

Now that you’ve read this quick tutorial, does it make sense as to why blogging may be an incredible means to achieve the first organic results on a search? It seems the nuts-and-bolts of blogging itself are ideal for achieving high rankings within search results. Blogs can have an enormous amount of content. Some bloggers are incredibly talented and consistently post well-written entries. Some are really on top of their game and either break special stories or write about old news but with unique angles. The blogging community links to each other obsessively. Links from trusted blogs may weigh more heavily. The list goes on…

Still doesn’t make sense? Okay, here’s a final example: when I started writing a draft for this entry, I wanted to title it “Dude, You Blogs Have It So Easy.” I didn’t; instead I opted for “Blogging For Search Engine Optimization.” Why? Because I learned that the permalink to this post will be something like wordpress.com/blogging-for-search-engine-optimization/, and that is what you’re see on Google. And I want it to be easy for you to find me. To read my blog.

Because it gets lonely in cyberspace.

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