Blogging for Search Engine Optimization

I’m back at my U.K. desk after another North American tour and a spell sitting at my desk in Los Angeles. I must just quickly congratulate my good friend Andrew Goodman for chairing his first (very successful) Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in Toronto. And also my friend Nacho Hernandez for his second (and growing) SES Latino conference in Miami last week. Both shows were packed with excellent content.

I did my usual round of moderating and presenting at both. A question that comes up ever more frequently at these shows is: is a blog better for search engines?

This is always a little frustrating for me. It’s a question that suggests right from the start someone is planning to create content primarily for search engines. So my stock answer is usually something along the lines of explaining a blog is just a Web site (driven by a content management system). Is it the format the end user would prefer to receive your content in?

I understand people ask the question because blogs create and attract fairly dense linkage data. Everyone knows how important linkage data is. But that always leads to my quality-over-quantity mantra.

Last year at SES Latino, I had a few beers with a group of people. Our entire conversation was on linking. One guy in particular was adamant that he simply needed more links. And then some more.

I put forward a case that, in my own experience, spending time thinking creatively about getting the all-powerful, super-booster link is where time and effort should be spent. Such a link is from a long-established authority site. When I met him again this year, I was delighted to hear he’d taken my advice and worked on getting the super-booster link. It worked a treat for him, catapulting his site to the very top of a competitive market place (I was also delighted that he was happy to offer me free drinks every time I visit Miami.)

When you’re juggling with how to present your content, consider the end user first. Then, consider whether the content is valuable enough to attract a super-booster link. If you get both components right, you’re less likely to be led down the path of developing a blog (or any other Web site) purely because you think it may be more appealing to a search engine crawler.

For those who already know they have an audience to target with an industry blog for two-way communications, I can thoroughly recommend a book I just read on my travels.

Strategies and Tools for Corporate Blogging” by John Cass is a mine of useful how-to information. It’s not a technical resource, it’s much more of a marketing book.

Cass highlights not only how blogging can improve a company’s relationship with its customers, but also how blogging fits into the marketing mix. He covers in depth how public relations, SEO (define), and marketing are critical marketing communications mechanisms.

Plenty of books about corporate blogging have appeared over the past couple years. But with its real-world profile on the automobile blogging community, this book highlights how companies can use blogs to better relate to their audiences. It also includes excellent corporate blogging strategies and tactics.

It covers:

  • How to transform public relations and search marketing through consumer-generated media, RSS feeds, and comment interaction strategies.

  • Tools for companies to interact with customers through blogging communities.
  • How to optimize blog articles for search engines.
  • Content strategies for writing articles.
  • Planning tools to evaluate a company’s blogging community and company resources for effective blogging.

All in all, a very useful resource and a must-read for anyone in the SEO space considering launching a corporate blog.

Join us for SES Travel on July 26-27, in Seattle, WA.

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