Tuning Up a Serviceable, Yet Neglected, Website
I freelance on-and-off for what was a boutique SEO firm that my two bosses built up from scratch. A technical guy with extensive knowledge of the hidden, back end world of meta-text, tags and html code, and a cerebral, analytic type with extensive real world and online marketing experience, the two made a good team. However, like other time-pressed online entrepeneurs whose focus is on providing service to existing clients and seeking out new business, they had of necessity scrimped a bit on the time and effort necessary to build the profile of their own website.
‘Jacks-of-all trade’ in garnering top page rankings for their clients’ varied keywords, they were ‘masters of none’ when it came to boosting the rankings for their own website. Like a good mechanic who drives a seeming heap of a car, the site was serviceable but not tuned up for high performance. It was high time to ‘Pimp Their Ride!’
When a key client took a seasonal hiatus, they asked me to shift from writing his blog to focus on ‘guest-blogging’ on other sites to raise their online profile. With social media booming, Google (I’m told) has shifted the emphasis in its algorithm from the sheer number of inbound links to the ‘quality’ of such links, based on their relevance to the target site and the strength of the site where the inbound link originates. Guest blogging has become a preferred method for building high quality links.
The ‘Guest Blogging’ Experience
After a month of guest blogging, two things were clear:
- the strategy is solid in terms of increasing page ranking, and
- even with the advent of Twitter and Facebook that generate reams of user-content, the appetite of sites is as voracious as ever for original high-quality, interesting copy. ‘Content’ still remains ‘King,’ even with the heavy shift of web traffic to social media sites.
Starting at MyBlogGuest.com – a forum for tips, techniques and social networking, as well as an exchange for guest bloggers and guest blog hosts – and devoting a few hours per day solely to our guest blog marketing campaign, we were able to place several articles a day to unique host sites, each with quality back links to our underperforming website. Guest blogging, although it generally has a ‘long tailed’ effect, did show a perceptible boost in our keyword rankings within the first few weeks. Our guest blogging campaign, to date, has been cost-effective; however, it does come with a cost.
Time and Cost-Effectiveness
First, there is the time cost to research and produce unique, quality content. Low cost off-shored content will not cut it for guest blogging. Copy that is low-interest, non-informative or rife with typos and grammatical errors will not be picked up by well-ranked web-masters concerned with the quality of their blogs. (My practice is to proof the copy as I write it, proof again before posting, and proof after posting to catch the all-too-blatant mistakes that can occur when entering article titles, description and tags etc.)
Second, time must be allocated for social networking. I am admittedly networking-adverse, preferring the creative rather than social aspect of blogging, but keeping up with all the e-mail guest blogging generates, building an online profile on multiple social media sites, and breaking out to become a featured author on others’ blogs takes both time and effort. Perhaps it is bu rdensome but it is, I fear, essential to gain recognition as an ‘authority’ online.
Third, further time and effort must be dedicated to tracking the performance of guest articles once they are posted. I have found that tweaking the titles and descriptive summaries of these digital ‘left-overs’ most often results in their being picked up for distribution before the content reaches its ‘best-before date.’ Changing the tags on an article also seems to have the same effect. Additionally, if I get access to reply to comments on a guest post, these replies seems to give a guest post (and its back-links) ‘legs,’ which should help build online ‘authority’ and, hopefully, link juice.
‘High Performance’ Results
Is the time and effort worth it? Definitely. Our underperforming website’s ranking in Google’s organic search results has jumped, and it has caused all of us to pay attention to our website’s performance instead of narrowing our focus solely to the performance of our clients’ sites. It is not that the time and effort devoted to clients suffers; rather, that the extra time and resources devoted to our site’s performance enhances our brand marketability, which is important to both prospective and existing clients.
Guest blogging has, so far, been cost-effective, motivational and fun. It is the difference between a time-burdened mechanic driving an old jalopy, or working on a high-powered dragster to fly his colors at the local track on the weekend. Go ahead. Give it a shot. ‘Pimp Your Ride!”