The concept of a Magic Bullet is an intriguing one — a magical solution to solve a vexing problem without the fear of any side effects. This is especially true in search engine optimization, where there is so much money to be made by ranking at the top of a Google search result page for a key term.
Well, what if I told you...
... Search Engine Optimization may just have a “Magic Bullet,"
And it is BLOGGING.
Half of you just stopped reading. You were ready to hear something new and exciting, and instead were given the same ole same old. Allow me to explain.
Several months ago, SEOmoz.org released their Search Engine 2009 Ranking Factors. (For those who don’t subscribe to this blog, you’re missing out on some of the most advanced and useful thinking on the topic.)
The 2009 Ranking Factors rate the importance of search engine ranking factors based on the opinions of 72 SEO experts. Below I’ve detailed how a blog can impact the factors ranked as “very high importance” or “high importance.”
(It is important to note that while blogging can have a big impact on the factors below and growing your business, to have the greatest success, it should be one part of a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes search marketing, social media, content publishing, and PR. Learn more here.
On-Page (Keyword-Specific) Ranking Factors:
Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag (Very High Importance)
Blogging makes it simple to continuously generate new Web pages, all with keyword-rich Title Tags. In most blogging platforms, your Title Tag is taken from your headline, and if you follow SEO best practices, you are already integrating keywords here anyway.
Keyword Use as the First Word(s) of the Title Tag (High Importance)
This again falls in-line with writing effective headlines. By positioning your keywords near the beginning, you can easily satisfy this factor. Word of caution however, don’t get to focused on search engines when writing headlines. First and foremost, headlines should be written to catch the attention of your readers. Always be thinking user-friendly first, optimization second. Search engines are smart enough to understand what you’re optimizing around.
Keyword Use in the Root Domain Name (High Importance)
If your company is looking to boost its site's search engine rankings through blogging, don’t worry about this factor. For a blog to provide the maximum SEO value it must be attached to your site as a subdirectory or subdomain (i.e. www.CompanyName.com/blog or blog.CompanyName.com). The root domain name should ALWAYS be your main site.
On-Page (Non-Keyword) Ranking Factors
Existence of Substantive, Unique Content on the Page (High Importance)
Blogs give you a medium to consistently publish new, original content that addresses specific subject matters. By keeping in mind your buyer personas and objectives, there is no limit to how much keyword-rich, unique content you can create.
Recency (freshness) of Page Content (Moderate Importance)
As Russ Jones commented in the SEOmoz post, “If Google only ranked the ‘tried and true,’ their results would be old and outdated.” A blog gives you the ability to quickly publish timely content. The more often search engines find new content, the more frequently they’ll return to your site. Every new blog post you create is another page for Google, and other search engines, to index.
Page-Specific Link Popularity Ranking Factors
Keyword-Focused Anchor Text from External Links (Very High Importance)
At first look, it may appear that you have no influence over what anchor text people use in their links. Not exactly true. Typically, when creating links, others will use the title/headline of your post — another reason to focus on getting keywords in your headlines. Something else to keep in mind — a number of bloggers understand the value of keywords in link anchor text and may automatically integrate words you use, or even consider changing their anchor text if you ask nicely.
External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links) (Very High Importance)
The beauty of quality, useful blog content is that if you share it using the right social-media channels (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.), your network will spread it for you. As more people see your content, the chances of generating links increase exponentially. Always be trying to grow your reach through social media in tandem with writing good, useful blog content.
Diversity of Link Sources (many root domains) (Very High Importance)
This goes hand-in-hand with External Link Popularity (above). The greater your social media reach, the broader your audience of potential linkers. Consider pushing the boundaries of your niche and expanding how you can impact other topics or industries through disruptive innovation. The more you can do this, the more diverse your audience will become.
Page-Specific TrustRank (whether the individual page has earned links from trusted sources) (High Importance)
The Internet is full of online resources created by thought leaders expanding their industry’s thinking on a specific topic. Support your posts by citing these resources with links from within your content. If the source is using analytics, they will see any traffic coming from your post to theirs, consequently making them aware of you. If your post supports their thinking, and they find value in your content, the chance of them linking to you increases.
Topic-Specificity/Focus on External Links Sources (whether external links to this page come from topically relevant pages/sites.) (High Importance)
Blogging gives you the opportunity to become a thought leader. Your blog can amplify your reach to thousands of people who are interested in learning about your subject matter, many of whom are probably writing about similar topics on their own blogs. The more of a resource you are, the more your links you can expect.
Keyword-Focused Anchor Text from Internal Links (High Importance)
Integrate your blog posts throughout your site, whether it’s through a feed on your homepage, links on related product or service pages, links from other blog posts, or a list of posts in a media room. If you’re using a feed, your keyword-rich headlines should do the trick. If you’re linking from within page content you have complete control over what words you use as anchor text. Use your priority keywords, and consider using synonyms on different pages to expand the terms for which the search engines index your post.
Keith Moehring is a consultant at PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. Follow Keith on Twitter @keithmoehring.
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