To be successful at Search Engine Optimization, it’s important that you continually test out new theories and ideas. Before I use new SEO techniques on a client’s website, I always test them on one of my own. In order to better understand the application of SEO to blogs, I decided to implement the following experiment:
I would create a blog for each American Idol contestant. Using a pseudonym, I would blog each candidate until they got booted off the show.
Once the final 12 candidates were decided, I would step up my posting pace. Being that this was an SEO project, I didn’t aim to provide any valuable insights into the candidates…I only planned to “blurb” news articles that mentioned each contestant.
The goal at the end of the project (besides gaining useful knowledge) was to have 1-2 “sustainable” blogs in place, while generating massive traffic the week of the final show.
Several weeks into the project, I discovered two things:
The Bo Bice Blog received considerably more traffic and better search engine rankings than the other blogs I had created.
Bo Bice was the first Idol contestant in 4 years that TOTALLY ROCKED. I very much wanted him to win.
So, while keeping my SEO experiment going, I decided to really “blog” about Bo Bice. In doing so, I learned many valuable lessons about creating a successful blog that can generate sustainable traffic, including many repeat visits.
Have a narrow focus: The quickest way to drive traffic to your blog is through excellent search engine rankings. If you blog about lots of unrelated topics, you won’t rank well for any of your key terms. Even if you don’t know much about SEO, you can still create a blog that will rank well in the search engines. Pick a narrow topic and keep your posts on topic. Choose a group of keywords relevant to your chosen topic and make sure you feature these terms prominently in your posts.
Build a base of content: Unless you already have a built-in audience, very few people are going to read your early blog posts because they will be extremely hard to find in either the blogosphere or the search engines. So, save your best content for when you’ve already developed a steady stream of web traffic. Blogging newspaper articles is a good way to build up relevant content quickly. All you need to do is subscribe to Google news alerts to get relevant articles featuring your top keywords. As your receive new articles, create a blog entry for each article, excerpt a relevant snippet (making sure to credit the source), and comment on the piece. This might not be interesting to your readers…but the objective here is to reach a point where you can start creating original, unique content that people will actually read because your blog can be easily found. For the more advanced beginners, adding an RSS feed that is focused on your targeted niche will also be of great value to your blog.
Try to make several posts each week. You’ll be amazed how much content you can build up in a short period of time.
“Blog and Ping”: There is a reason why news spreads so rapidly through the blogosphere. When you update your blog, depending on your blog host, a “ping” might be sent to one or more blog search engines that track the blogosphere, showing that you’ve made a new post to your blog. People who have subscribed to your blog, or people interested in your blogging topic, can be notified about your post and read it / link to it. An active course of “blogging and pinging” will help greatly in building links to your blog and generating more traffic.
Websites and software exist that will allow you to manually send pings to dozens of known blog search engines. Ping-o-matic is a website that allows you to ping 18 different blog search engines on demand. I’ve been using RSSSubmit from Dummy Software to submit all feeds to over 70 such services at the push of a button.