Let's Blog - SEO SOS #12
I'm sure you have heard the term Blog before, but you may not know what it means. Blog is a word derived from Web and Log. That is, it is similar to an online journal that you can post in addition to your core website. Blogs are created as journals or as soapboxes by many people who don't even have a website, but seem to have something to say.
So how does blogging drive traffic to your website? Frankly, it is not all that important that anyone actually visits or reads your blog. Really? Why, you might ask. Because as a traffic generation strategy, we are mainly concerned with letting the search engines know that the blog has been updated. This is done with a procedure called blog and ping. Pinging simply means that search engines are notified of a change in your blog and it creates an indexing of the blog and the links from the blog. Now the search engines are paying attention to your blog and your website. So, let's get started with the basics.
Setting up your blog.
As a first blog, Google's Blogger is the best way to begin. It's free, easy to set up and maintain. Start by going to
www.blogger.com and click on the orange link, "Create A Blog." In setting up your account, you will need an existing email address, a password (you choose and it must be at least 6 characters long), and a display name. The display name is what your blog will be called. So, come up with a good name that describes your blog. You then need to pick a blog name that will become part of your blog URL. For example: If your blog is BioFeedCat, use biofeedcat as part of the URL. The resulting URL that will direct visitors to your blog would be: http://biofeedcats.blogspot.com. This is the link you will put on your website to direct visitors to your blog. Next you are asked to choose a template. There are 12 templates from which to choose. If you know HTML, you can actually modify the template further. However, for our purposes, just pick a template and go with it. Your blog will now be created.
Posting your first blog article.
You are now ready to create your first posting. What to say, what to say? The main focus for your blog posting is to create an entry that is keyword rich and about 200 to 400 words long. Not only do you want to add targeted keywords that support your website, but you also need to link those keywords to specific web pages on your website. It is this linking strategy that the search engines will use to begin indexing your pages more frequently. Your posting should contain relevant information that supports the purpose of your website. For example, if your website is a veterinarian website, pet care topics are almost endless. Especially if those articles are only 200 to 400 words in length. When should your new puppy get his shots? How old should my puppy be before I take him to doggy training? What are the pros and cons of declawing my kitten? What is the best food for my kitten? And on and on. And no matter what your website focus is, there are many things to say if you know your business. You can even take an article that you might have written for your website and break it into smaller chunks and post it to your blog. However, make sure that you modify the posting by at least 25% before you post to the blog. Search engines are very conscious of content and you are rewarded for content - but the rewards are limited to unique content. It is not difficult to rearrange words, sentences and paragraphs to make your postings different enough from your website articles to be considered unique. You will notice that the blog entry screen is very similar to a word processing program with buttons that allow you to bold, italicize, change fonts and font sizes, align text, create bulleted paragraphs and add images. However, one of the most important buttons on this button bar is the link button. When you write a keyword or keyword phrase that can be used to lead the viewer (or the search engine) back to your website, highlight the words, click on the linking button and type in the destination URL. This is the means of creating tracks back to your website that will lead the search engines to find your pages.
Once you have created your posting, you need to look further at the settings for your blog. In actuality, most of the default settings will work just fine without adjustment. However, there are a couple settings that need to be addressed. Click on the Settings tab; notice that there are 8 sub-tabs. On the Basic tab, add a description of your blog that will be displayed under the blog name. Do not change any of the other default settings on the Basic sub-tab. On the Publishing sub-tab, change Notify Weblogs.com from no to yes. This setting will result in an automatic ping to the search engines every time your blog is changed. The Formatting sub-tab does not need to be changed. The Comments sub-tab does not need to be changed this early in the game, but if you are getting unwanted comments to your blog, you may want to modify some of these settings. No changes are required on the remaining sub-tabs (Archiving, Site Feed, Email and Permissions). Go back to the Posting Tab, preview your posting and if it looks okay, Publish the posting.
Pinging your posting.
Finally, the last step in this process is to Ping your blog. By setting the Notify Weblogs.com setting to yes, you are automatically pinging that important notification site. However, one more ping site to use is pingomatic.com for pinging several notification sites at once. You will enter your blog name, blog URL (http://biofeedcats.blogspot.com/ for example) and then check off all the ping services. Some will not be appropriate, but they will just be ignored. Click on Send Pings, and you are finished with your first blog entry. For this traffic strategy to be effective, you should be blogging and pinging regularly and frequently. Minimum should be once a week, but no more than once a day is necessary. It is more effective to post one time each week than to post 4 times in one day each month. Make this a part of your daily routine. It should take no more than a half-hour to do this procedure each week, but the benefits are tremendous. Eventually, when you look at your web stats, you will see traffic coming from your blog to your website, even if that was not the goal. And more importantly, you will find that Google will rank your blog, sometimes as high as your website.
Copyright © 2012 TAO Consultants, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission.
Your homework this week is to setup up your new blog and then find or write several short 200 to 400 words articles that you can quickly post to your blog. Remember to respect the copyrights of others and don't plagiarize their work, but rather create your own. Don't forget the most important step of linking your keywords and keyword phrases back to your website.
Chicago area ERP consultant with over 40 years of experience in Sage 300, Sage Pro, Quickbooks ERP and other systems