“Blogs are long form, mature. So why should we still use them in our organic search strategy or SEO?”
Tweets, YouTube, Facebook, and LindedIn. They seem so wonderfully short form and new. But, experience and research both prove out that blogs, as SEO expert Rebecca Lieb puts it, “are built for SEO …Their structure and architecture offer a baked-in SEO platform” [http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Search-Engine-Optimization/dp/0789738317].
Lieb is on the money. That’s because text, which dominates blogs, exerts a pull force on search engines. Great graphics might attract readers but not search engines which favor words. There’s more.
Done right, blogs attract inbound links and allow for plenty of outbound ones. Search engine algorithms are programmed to follow links [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization]. See, linking flags, in the spirit of the wisdom of crowds fashion, what’s popular. In addition, blogs can be updated often, which excites search engines the way blood does sharks.
A 2010 survey by Toprankblog.com of communications/marketing leaders in corporations and outside in agencies, and consulting firms found that 95% use blogs as part of the SEO strategy. Of those, almost 88% increased measurable SEO objectives through blogging. Here are details of that study [http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/01/survey-seo-blogging/].
But not all blogs are created equal. Here are the best practices to make blogs get attention from search engines and readers as well as influentials online and offline:
- Keywords. These are the words which search engines and readers look for. With SEO, words must have a topical tie-in [such as the mid-term elections] but relate to the subject matter [following them on Plasma TV] smoothly. For readers, they must be aligned with their thinking. For example, customers for fish oil have in mind curing their depression, not improving their nutrition. Front-load the words in the subject head and first few sentences of text. Review competitors’s sites for their keywords. This is must-have intelligence to achieve higher rankings on search engines.
- Unique Voice. Blogs as a medium are personal. That means they must have a strong voice. That becomes the blog’s brand identity. Test out a number of tones before going primetime.
- Unique Content. Blogs should provide information, perspective and/or entertainment not easily available elsewhere. That’s the value the site creates. Get lazy or stale and SEO results will plummet, immediately.
- Links to influential sites, topical material. What’s linked to provides a form of added value that search engines and readers notice. It also gets the blog on the radar of those linked to.
- Frequent postings. Search engines note this and return often to check out what’s new. Continual updates also provide incentives for readers to bookmark your site for easy access throughout the day.
- Course Correction. Decrease in the measurements important to blog authors is a red flag to analyze every aspect of daily operations, from topics to keywords to tone to content. Experiment with changing what might not be effective any longer. Failing fast is the new rite of passage in business [http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/fail_accept_defeat/]
Everything is in flux, including digital best practices. Stay up-to-date by keying in “SEO blogging tactics” on the web.