Blogging as an Effective Search Engine Marketing Strategy
Web 2.0 has had many success stories as the integration between web content and user interaction becomes evermore seamless. However, the most popular of this new series of web technologies is blogging – a means whereby users can post articles and opinions on any topic of their choosing on their own web space. The result of this is an online community where posters and readers can post comments, and more importantly, hyperlinks. As a SEO strategy, this can be a very effective method of communicating not only the existence, but the significance of your website in the industry, especially if corresponding blog posts speak favourably of your site. The major benefit is that blogs can reach very wide audiences if implemented and promoted correctly.
Imagine a situation where everytime you had an idea to share, 5,000 people who trust your opinions see it in your blog. The majority of those 5,000 people also write blogs in your field or related fields. Some of those bloggers may frequently mention your site on their blogs, and they themselves could have thousands of subscribers. Within a short space of time your blog could have the attention of hundreds or even thousands of users. Where people go search engines follow, so if many users link to your blog, it will also boost the search engine ranking for other parts of your site.
It is important however that your blog postings avoid ‘commodity status’, which includes short comments on somebody else’s work, and simply posting for the sake of generating optimised keywords. Posts must maintain quality, originality, depth and have its content driven by the user’s expertise in order to acquire popularity amongst web communities. I have studied in-depth, the work of usability expert Jakob Nielsen, and I have found an interesting article of his; Write Articles, Not Blog Postings, which encapsulates this matter perfectly. He asserts that leadership (or prevalence of the poster’s expertise) in blog postings, blog-post variability and regularity are of high priority in gaining trust and recognition. I believe he wants to encourage you to personalise your posts, by giving your own opinions and judgements on your subjects to provoke interest and even raise debate.
He also points out however, that if the content isn’t the main concern for your site, and you simply want to communicate simple answers to your user’s questions then “you should comply with the bulk of content usability guidelines: be as brief as you can; use bulleted lists and highlighted keywords; chunk the material; and use descriptive headings, subheads, and hyperlinks.” These guidelines all fall nicely into the standard Search Engine Optimisation requirements. I believe it is therefore essential that blog postings for SEO manage to achieve a balance where expertise and content usability can work together simultaneously to bring the right users to your site.
One of the chief objectives of Web 2.0 and web logging is to make the Internet a more community-based entity, and by using the blogging practice in the most effective way for your website, you can take advantage of this. This doesn’t just mean writing articles on your chosen topic and leaving it there, but it means interacting with the wider community. Quoting and linking to other popular bloggers, leaving useful comments on other related blogs, writing articles for other blogs and actively soliciting & replying to comments can really push users towards your blog.
With RSS feeds also enhancing the likeliness of your articles being noticed and linked to, it will only improve your website’s probability of being picked up by Search Engines, making blog posting a valuable resource for optimisation.
Wall, A M (2007). Search Engine Optimisation Book. California: Aaron Matthew Wall. 87-91.
Jakob Nielsen (2007) Write Articles, Not Blog Postings [online] available from <http://www.useit.com/alertbox/articles-not-blogs.html> [15 January. 2007]