You’ve heard the stories from the tech echo chamber. Posts proclaiming blogging dead and RSS too slow have been circulating around the web for the last year or so. And yet the blogosphere remains alive and kicking, despite the early adopter pontification.
Not yet running a blog or syndicating your content through RSS feeds? Your competition certainly is, and if you’re not there you’re missing out on a vital area that can boost your SEO efforts.
Joshua Palau, VP, Search, Razorfish moderates this panel of industry leaders (including TopRank Online Marketing CEO Lee Odden) to explore the unique advantages blogs and feeds offer to search engine optimization:
- Amanda Watlington, Owner, Searching for Profit
- Dixon Jones, Managing Director, Receptional LTD
- Sally Falkow, President, PRESSfeed
- Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
- Jim Hedger, Lead Blogger, Webmaster Radio
Each panelist gave a presentation, followed by a brief Q&A:
Amanda Watlington, Owner, Searching for Profit
Avoid the “me too” blog – just because someone else has done it doesn’t mean you can do it just like them too.
Why hasn’t your blog taken off? It probably looks and sounds like everyone else’s blog. Develop the mindset that blogging is not just a tactical SEO project, it’s now a standard part of what you need to do for business.
Strategize how to move new blogs from experiments to mainstream, important marketing elements quickly.
It’s all about content
Develop a long term editorial battle plan to maintain quality. Use your analytics to guide your editorial choices. Build your keyword list early and revisit it frequently.
Tend your investment – address comments in a timely manner. Encourage deeper reading by showing “most popular posts” and “related posts.” Prune the clutter and refresh the look, as needed. If it’s not adding value, get rid of it.
Leverage your readers
Plan to support your content with social media: use Twitter Facebook, etc. to announce posts and expand reach. Treat each post as a “mini campaign” – in other words, spend a good amount of time making them significant. Results may be less frequent, but better reach for content.
Dixon Jones, Managing Director, Receptional LTD
Building links on blogs is vital to get them to rank. One tactic is to build widgets that add value in order to get quality links with keyword rich anchor text. This can be done through things like adding widgets that are interesting, useful or unique.
If you are going to blog, you need to link to people/articles within your industry particularly if you are using WordPress blogs because other bloggers will get pinged.
Sally Falkow, President, PRESSfeed
If you have a web page with an RSS feed, Google considers it a blog. By adding content through feeds, you are reaching people external of your site and connect with end users directly.
All of the social web content is in feeds, so you want to be a part of that by creating content into a feed so others can pick it up and republish it. Search engines like feeds, with constantly updated content in a feed.
If you put a feed on your site within 4-5 months, it is possible to become one of the largest traffic drivers to your site.
Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
Lee shared 8 linking tactics used to make TopRank blog a success:
- Quality out quality in – you get back what you put out there
- Link out – connect with others in the industry who are relevant and connected
- Make a big list – aggregate compelling people or blogs within a niche
- Get on “other” lists – create a page where you talk about this recognition
- Make a killer tool – make something linkable that is niche-specific
- Write guest posts – will get you in front of different audiences
- Power up ReTweets – make it easy for people to ReTweet your blog content
- Network OFFLINE – difficult to get a phenomenal amount of success unless you leverage offline aspects as well. It’s unbelievable what can happen if you can cement those relationships that have been formed online, offline.
Bonus tip: dynamically embed a hard link to the post in your RSS feed (so syndicators and scrapers to link back to the original post).
Jim Hedger, Lead Blogger at Webmaster Radio
Blogs and feeds are the fine arts of wide-casting to a narrow audience.
Distribution is everything – but how to distribute tens of thousands of old files? Simple – use WordPress. Go from old proprietary systems to WordPress and you will reap the benefits of an open source community that gives you the ability to do almost anything. Also, WordPress is highly SEO friendly and customizable to work exactly how you want it.
Titles, tags, descriptive text and the RSS subscription link are all important signals to the engines. Don’t forget these as standard elements of all content.
Feeds also help you rank quickly in the engines when you are frequently adding fresh content to a web site.
Q and A
How can you avoid duplicate content in multiple blogs?
If you are keeping multiple blogs with the same content don’t duplicate: either funnel people from one blog to the other or if you are going to post on another blog via syndication, be sure to link back to the original content.
Can you keep a blog if you do not necessarily have the bandwidth internally (ie – you’re a small business with no time)
Think of yourself as a publisher, create an editorial guide – get organized and follow your plan to achieve success. It’s highly worth the effort – the ROI over time will only go up, if done correctly. From a content creation perspective, there is probably a lot of content you are already creating. See what you can re-purpose and re-use. Also, every company has a story – really think about what that is and what makes your company compelling and unique.
If you can write good content and new, how do you best start?
Embrace social media, if you create things worth talking about people will share them.
Learn more search media marketing and search engine strategies from 2009 SES SJ coverage by TopRank Online Marketing