SEO

Blogs Are Great for Search Engine Ranking

Blogs Are Great for Search Engine Ranking

Blogs have had a profound effect on communications and marketing since their development and early adoption but are still a mystery to many. According to Google Definitions (enter: define:Blog into Google search window), Blogs can be several things to different people but the simplest definition of the word is “web log”, or B-log for short.

Blogs are online journals that are easy to update and require little technical knowledge to maintain. They appear on-screen as normal web pages and are generally updated on a regular basis. First emerging three years ago, blogs were originally used by programmers and techies to rapidly pass messages that could be displayed and read like a website, much like the WIKI environment is today. Since then, blogs moved into the mainstream, starting with Google’s purchase of Blogger in February 2003. Blogger was already a popular geek-tool but with Google’s involvement, both it and the environment it creates have become an increasingly powerful communication and marketing tool.

Due to the unique nature of the web, blog owners, or bloggers, tend to cross-link with other bloggers often creating huge networks of topically relevant links. Political bloggers will read other political blogs and cross-link between them. Search engine marketers read each other’s blogs as do software developers and other professional groups. Topical blogs tend to link with other topical blogs.

Google sees and treats these online journals as websites. Due to the text-based nature of blogs, they are a perfect, spider-friendly environment and can be used very effectively to enhance search engine rankings. They can also be used to grossly manipulate Google rankings as evidenced by the “Nigritude Ultramarine” Google ranking contest and various Google-Bomb pranks.

Search engine marketers have long known the power of blogs on Google. It is obvious. High and relevant link-density combined with topical content that is frequently updated and placed on a well optimized template will almost always produce strong Google rankings. As the blog-site grows and acquires more relevant links, its power can rival an authority site such as Adobe, Macromedia and Microsoft. The major advertising agencies have discovered blogs as well, as noted in today’s NY Times. (registration required)

This power, along with a brilliant and easy to use communication environment has made Blogs an important web-feature for businesses in almost any sector.

Now, how does this help you make sales or help your website achieve strong rankings?

First of all, establishing a Blog for your business is pretty easy. The basic template resides on your server and is for all intents and purposes part of your business site. Visit www.blogger.com or, if you wish to use a different product, go to Yahoo and type Blog software into the search query. Follow the instructions and within an hour you will have established an account and be ready to either choose from a pre-made template or upload your own. Once you have a basic template and install it, you can begin writing to your blog.

The interface is like any online content management system. When you enter, it looks a bit like a basic word processor with buttons allowing you to bold and italicize words and another button allowing you to add links to the text. For instance, if you were an investment adviser and wanted to offer your clients a daily overview of your thoughts in order offer them guidance, a Blog would allow you to easily place a link to web pages or articles supporting your opinions. Assuming you are part of a network of other investment analysts and advisers, you would also establish links between your Blog and that of like-minded colleagues. Every day you add to your Blog, you are not only doing your clients an added service, you are also working to improve the rankings of sites linked to from your Blog and in turn, your own.

This phenomena has had a fairly significant effect on Google. Many marketers have found how easily manipulated Google can be if you can harness the power of Blogs. In the example above, an investment adviser uses his or her Blog responsibly and gets good results from it. The power of Blogs goes both ways though. Similarly, if you were a lobbyist for a pharmaceuticals giant and you wanted to influence political decision makers, you might publish an industry specific Blog touting the accomplishment of your clients. You could link to doctors, research teams, and published studies supporting your lobby, eventually turning the Blog into a de facto news site. If you were a sneaky lobbyist, (not that one thinks lobbyists might be sneaky), you might use the strength of your Blog to ensure your clients’ websites come up high in Google’s index by incorporating the daily Blog entries into a much larger SEO/SEM campaign. The strategy is again obvious but it obviously has highly dubious applications. Nevertheless, it is being employed by search engine marketers and is likely about to be picked up by Madison Ave. While it doesn’t exactly spell doom for Google’s search results, overuse and gross manipulation of Blogs for their SEO advantages will almost certainly push Google to reconsider the weight it gives links originating from them.

Today, Blogs are powerful communications tools that should enhance your web presence and bring the benefit of improved rankings. A well kept Blog can also be a good solution for difficulties faced when considering link-building campaigns by providing positive and topical link densities. Blogs are an extremely versatile client relations tool and are very easy to use. As evidenced by the example above and some notable SEM manipulation, they are also easy to abuse. If used properly though, Blogs will improve your website and your rankings.

Jim Hedger is a senior editor for ISEDB.com. Also he is a writer, speaker and search engine marketing expert based in Victoria BC. Jim works with a limited group of clients and provides consultancy services. He has worked as an SEO for over 5 years and welcomes the opportunity to share his experience through interviews, articles and speaking engagements. Hedger can be reached at jim.hedger@gmail.com

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