Whether you are working with a search engine optimization consultant or negotiating the tangled web of SEO on your own, you have probably heard about the astounding value of blogging. The traditional buzz about blogging is that each blog can generate links back to your site. Most people who publish websites or offer SEO services for a living have figured out that quality links can improve your search engine ranking and drive additional traffic. Quality is the keyword there. Many people take this concept to the extreme and inundate blogs around the Internet with little snippets of text and some form of embedded link back to their sites. Is this beneficial or detrimental to your SEO efforts? Is blogging everything that it is cracked up to be?
First of all, blogging needs to be discussed in general. The word ‘blog’ is a blending of the term ‘Web log’. With current social media resources and Internet venues, the concept of blogging may be applied to many things. The traditional blog is a site where articles, comments, and ongoing discussions can be published. Often, a business utilizes a blog to create credibility and provide valuable information to their customers. Typical blog entries should be 250+ words in length and contain quality content. A standard blog development platform is WordPress which is an open source content management system (CMS).
Social media sites such as Twitter are also forms of blogs. Due to the “tweet” length constraints, this is sometimes referred to as a micro-blog. Search engines definitely monitor blog activities. Social media blogging has gaining in popularity and is quickly becoming part of most SEO campaigns.
Micro-blogging takes much less time than traditional blogging, but these campaigns should still have a good mix of value and information for the recipients. Every single entry should not be an advertisement for your website. With any type of blog, you are trying to develop a resource or community for your target audience. Give them a reason to keep coming back and to tell others.
In the purest sense, blogging can be a very beneficial part of your SEO strategy and can generate quality links to a site. However, bloggers need to watch out — one form of blogging is commonly considered to be spam and does not provide any benefit to anyone. This is the practice of logging on to blogs and posting fake comments with embedded links. Presumably, these links would point back to your website for search engines to see. Remember that both link quantity and link quality add to a site’s value or relevance and this can increase search engine rankings.
Several years ago, this rather dubious tactic actually worked and provided links back to your site. Today, this is not considered to be an acceptable practice for a range of reasons. Blog administrators usually have to approve most comments on their site. Spam comments are usually discarded or marked as Spam and never see the light of day on the site so it is a waste of time and resources for everyone involved. Many blogs automatically embed a “nofollow” tag into links in comments. Search engine algorithms have become very intelligent and look for a “nofollow” tag. This tells the search engine not to consider this link. Finally, blog spamming is annoying and does not add value to the true users of the site. If done to the extreme, this could get you reported to search engines and your ranking could be negatively affected.
So, how can blogging be beneficial? Quality blog content is like gold in the world of SEO. Creating a blog site of your own can provide you and your customers or users an excellent forum to share information. This also is an excellent place for you to build credibility and drive keyword-based content. With any blog, you have two main options for building links back to your site. You can embed the link into your blog content or you can add a blogroll to your main site. Both have benefits and drawbacks.
Embedding the links into your content allows you to be somewhat flexible on the terms that you use. As a rule of thumb, try not to embed more than two links into any one blog. Each link should point back to a different page on your site for different keywords. The drawback of this approach is that you may not get the keyword concentration that you want on the blog site as content changes. Blogrolls should not change often. This is a trigger to search engines that it may be there solely for SEO purposes. Regardless of which option you chose to implement, make sure that your content supports the keywords that you want to compete for and that any links are associated with these same keywords. Keywords associated with links are called anchor text. As a side note, it is critical that these same keywords are present on the site that is being linked to. Content is king in any SEO strategy. Your content should reflect the keywords that you are competing for and this should be consistent throughout your website, blog entries, link strategy, and anywhere else that your site is being referenced.
You can also contribute content on other blogs with content similar to yours. Anytime that you post on someone else’s blog, make sure that they know that you wish to be a positive and beneficial contributor to their site. Get their permission to post a link back to your site. Make sure that their search engine ranking is higher than or equal to yours. Typically, you want to look for sites with ranks of 3 at a minimum. The higher the ranking, the higher the quality of the link back to you. Please note that the word “quality” is used quite a bit, which usually implies that there is no true SEO shortcut. It will take planning, time, and effort. Shortcuts may get you some quick results, but it is not sustainable and could get you penalized by search engines if done in the extreme of if you get reported by one of your competitors.
This article was supplied by Jody Williquette from Constant Content.