11 October 2010 By Northern Lights
Today we have asked Phil Byrne, one of the UK’s foremost Web optimisation experts, to give us his take on blogs and their importance to good SEO. Here are his tips for the day
Why Is Blogging Great For SEO?
Some people blog for fun, others because they have something to say, and some blog simply because they know how to……but all of them have one thing in common, they want to be seen and read. There are many great things about blogging, but here I focus on why it is so good for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Many people view blogs as having some kind of ‘magical’ power, with the ability to rank high within search engines for no logical reason! The truth is that blogs do have their own special ‘magic’, however, this so called ‘power’ is heavily underpinned by a series of logical principles.
And it is by understanding these principles at a simple level, that will help your blog posts work better. Here’s my summary of blogging’s black ‘magic’..…
1. Creating Content Consistently and Easily
Blogs are inherently easy to set-up and run. By utilising an editing screen, based largely around the common word processor interface we’re all used to, most people find blogs easier to update than websites, which often use more complex Content Management Systems (CMS). However because blogs usually only require open thoughts, opinions and words, they are easier to write, especially when compared to more corporately driven websites which often require people to follow strict brand guidelines. As a result people tend to create more blog content because they have greater artistic freedom.
There are three good things about creating lots of content. Firstly search engines love it. If you update your blog often, they will visit it regularly and, generally, reward you with higher rankings. Secondly, more and more content gives other blog and website owners more opportunities to read, enjoy and link to your pages – the more pages you have out there, the more unsolicited links you probably get. And thirdly……..read the next point below!
2. Catching Long tail Keyword Searches
Short Tail keywords are those which are searched for regularly each month and tend to be the ones we web marketing types focus on – because they are predictable and measurable. However, short tail keywords only make up 30% of all web searches, which means that 70% of all keyword searches are unique in some way and hence cannot be tracked or predicted. This, in turn, means that the web pages out there with the most words on them (see point 1 above!) have the best chance of top ranking for long tail keywords. Blogs, by their nature, are more about words than pictures and, hence, one of the major reasons why they attract good web traffic, is because they tend to catch long tail searches – our third great thing about content creation. Put simply, more content = more long tail traffic.
3. Auto Pinging & Other SEO Features
One of the blog’s most useful features is its ability to ‘ping’. Pinging is the process by which you tell search engines and blog directories that you have some new content for them to crawl. Most of the major blog platforms have inbuilt functionality that instantly tells search engines and directories when a new post has been published. This means that regularly updated blogs are ‘crawled’ often and new blogposts are often indexed within hours of publication. So, if you have a regularly crawled blog, one of the easiest ways to get a new website indexed is to place a link straight to it from your high content blog!
4. Opportunities To Spread Blog Content
Blog posts can be utilised more than once in a variety of ways / areas.
There are a number of ‘exclusive’ places on-line where you can promote your blogposts. The best of these are, undoubtedly, ‘blog carnivals‘. A ‘blog carnival’ is, essentially, a collection of the most informed blogposts – from all over the world – on a specific topic. To be featured in one offers you a highly relevant and highly powerful link, which often has an immediate and positive impact on your search engine rankings.
5. Another Domain, Another Feed
Your blog will require its own address to run from – isn’t this a great opportunity to go and buy another keyword rich domain? Just like your website, your blog can target ‘short tail’ keywords too – and so it should. Do your research and target another set of keywords that complement the ones already chosen for your main site. If you get both your blog and your website ranking you’ll make some serious dents on-line
In many ways, blogs are actually easier to promote than standard websites. This is down to the fact that ‘blogging’ is what we call a web 2.0 property and hence comes ready made for the new on-line world of social networking, mobile sites and rss syndication. Being web 2.0 ready means that a blog can be found, and marketed, in many places that websites simply cannot. Remember to link out from your blogposts to your main website when the opportunity arises. Anything that does good things for your blog will, in turn, feed through to your main site.
Phil Byrne, SEO Director, The H2 Company, www.theh2.co.uk
Thanks for this article Phil. I think we all overlook blog ‘carnivals’ but it’s a really good point for our clients.
Have you got any top favourites to recommend?
A pleasure writing for your blog! The best place to find good, relevant blog carnivals for your topic area is http://www.blogcarnival.com. Look out for carnivals that are both topic relevant and that either publish regularly or are set to publish soon. This will ensure that your content reads fresh if it is chosen for publication.
Really useful, Phil. Thanks. I’ve learnt something new here!