Below follows an article from one of my favorite SEO’s (Can an SEO admit that about a competitor?) Yes, when she is one of the recognized industry experts, I sure can. Robin speaks at conferences, teaches others the art of SEO in her trainings and offers great articles to educate others. You can always trust her with good advice and excellent resources. The floor is yours Robin …
Blogs with a Purpose Part 1
By Robin Nobles
Few people can dispute the power of blogs. We saw how they affected the U.S. presidential election of 2004. When used correctly, blogs can have an amazing effect on your Web site. In fact, I would go so far as to say I believe every business site needs a blog . . . if used properly and in the manner in which they were designed to be used.
What are Blogs?
Blogs are online journals that can be used in a variety of different ways. In a personal sense, families can keep track of each other across the globe by posting to a family blog. One family member posts, then another member adds their comment underneath the post, and so forth.
Businesses can announce new products and services, discounts, discontinued items, or holiday promotions in their blogs. I’ll cover additional ideas for the use of a business blog further in this article.
The biggest challenge is to get your target audience to read your blog. That’s why you need a “blog with a purpose.” You need a reason for your audience to visit your blog on a regular basis. What would make your blog special to your audience? Why would they want to bookmark your blog? Why would they want to link to it and tell others? That should be your ultimate goal.
Think about your own site, and let’s start talking about “blogs with a purpose.”
Five Example Blogs with a Purpose
Free Directory Listings http://webseodesign.com/blog/
Wordtracker KEI Observation Deck http://www.searchengineworkshops.com/weblog/
For some time now, I’ve been steering people away from reciprocal linking, due to the inherent problems associated with it. Submitting to directories can certainly help your Web site from a link popularity standpoint, which we all know is crucial, but how do you know which directories to submit to? There are a lot of scammy directories out there, so you need to know which ones to stay away from. Plus, it can cost you a lot of money to submit to directories. What if your pocket book is a little tight at the moment?
Martin Preece at WebSEODesign came up with a novel idea. He decided to submit his site to free directories, and then keep track of when the site was accepted into each directory, the PR of the directory, whether he has to link back, and other statistics. He shares all of his experiences on his Web site for readers to follow. All you have to do is follow in his foot steps. Here’s the link to the actual listing of free directories: http://webseodesign.com/resources/free-directory-listings.htm
Then, he set up a free directory listings blog where he reports on the progress of his free directory reviews. He also writes “how to” articles in his blog, such as how to submit to directories. http://webseodesign.com/blog/2005/04/free-directory-listing-101.html
Martin has created a “blog with a purpose.” People visit his blog, because it benefits their Web sites and their link popularity building efforts. Why should they spend the time finding and researching directories when Martin will do it for them?
How does it benefit Martin? He’s getting traffic to his site, building link popularity, gaining potential clients, and getting visibility from the search engines. It’s a win/win situation for everyone.
Plus, his free-directory-listings.htm page isn’t doing too badly in the rankings. It’s #1 in MSN for “free directory listings” out of 6.5 million, and #14 in Yahoo! out of 130 million.
What has he done, in part, to achieve those rankings? He’s linked to his free-directory-listings.htm page from his blog using absolute links and using “free directory listings” as the link (anchor) text.
For example, this is an absolute link:
http://webseodesign.com/resources/free-directory-listings.htm free directory listings
Below is a relative link. This is the type of linking convention most Web site owners use when linking to a page on his/her own Web site.
“free-directory-listings.htm” free directory listings
Tip: Always use absolute links when linking to interior pages of your site from your blog, and always use keyword phrases in your link text when pointing to those interior pages.
Yes, this sounds like blatant self promotion, but when you hear the story about this blog, you’ll understand why it needs to be included in the article.
A few years ago, we had a plain old blog. We posted information about our site on the blog, articles, etc. The search engines loved it, but the visitors didn’t. Why? We didn’t give the Web audience a compelling reason to want to visit.
The blog was . . . boring.
My partner, John Alexander, and I teach Wordtracker strategies in our courses, and we believe that the key to success with any Web site begins with solid keyword research. We constantly hear students tell us how they can’t find high KEI numbers in Wordtracker – that the competition is just too high.
So John came up with a fabulous idea. He set up the KEI Observation Deck on our blog. He spends about 10 minutes a day finding high KEI values and posting them on our blog. He’s using the blog as a teaching tool, because we’re educators.
People love it. He’s proving to them that Wordtracker is full of high KEI values, if you only know how to find them. Affiliate marketers flock to his page to see what John will come up with next. SEOs have syndicated the blog through the RSS feed, so they can keep up with John’s latest research. Search engines spider the page almost every day.
How is it benefiting Search Engine Workshops? John can use it to promote our other products and services. Wordtracker has linked to the blog, which is definitely a plus for the site.
The blog is no longer boring . . . it’s effective — a blog with a purpose.
(Continued in Part 2)
Robin Nobles conducts live SEO workshops (http://www.searchengineworkshops.com) in locations across North America. She also teaches online SEO training (http://www.onlinewebtraining.com). Localized SEO training is now being offered through the Search Engine Academy. (http://www.searchengineacademy.com)
Copyright 2005 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.