Close
Close

Blogs, Links, and SEO

Blogs and links are the perfect couple. Of course, everyone knows that. You don’t have to be a hopeless romantic or some SEO techie type to figure that one out.

Talk about stating the obvious.

As we all know, almost everyone talks about how powerful blogs and their linking power are for search engine optimization (SEO). The reasons for the strength of blog links in achieving high search engine rankings are discussed much less frequently. It’s time to change all of that.

Let’s talk blogs and links and SEO.

Blog links have search engine power for several reasons. One of which is the different types of linking featured on blogs. All blog links are not the same, and that is part of their secret search engine rankings power. Different types of links provide different rankings boosts, in several different ways. In the end, the links add up to your blog being placed highly, for your most important keywords, in Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search.

Links appear on a blog’s home page as links to other blogs. Other blogs link to your blog from home page link lists and blogrolls as well. As the most powerful page on your blog, the home page passes along quite a bit of search engine power. The problem is that home page mojo is divided among many different blogs. The piece of the pie for each one is not that large.

On the other hand, the age and permanence of that link has some real value. The links also get value from arriving from other blogs sharing similar themes and topics. Interlinked blogs on cooking help one another more than a cooking blog and a welding blog. All links have some value, but theme related ones provide even more.

Links also appear in posts. Those are expecially valuable links. When someone links to one of your posts, they often double link to the home page as well. Because of the strong and obvious theme relevance of the post, the search engines give in post links some real power. As such, writing interesting posts that attract natural inbound links, and trigger discussions on other blogs are especially important. Note the value of providing great information to your readers.

Trackbacks provide a bit of link power, but not as much as some bloggers believe. Being open to spamming has reduced their link strength. Links in comments have little if any link power these days as a result of abuse. Trackback links provide their power more indirectly, in attracting discussion links and finding new potential linkers to your blog.

There is some evidence that linking out to other blogs helps gain search rankings for the generous blogger. Instead of being a drain, linking out can result in a net SEO gain. Now beat that for great karma!

Keep in mind that your goal should not be to game or trick the search engines. On the contrary, those sorts of tactics are counterproductive and fail to provide the desired results.

Instead, think of the needs of your readership first. Provide them with good useful and interesting blog posts. Links will arrive naturally, and as a result of your generous linking habits, your blog can rise to the top of the search engine rankings.

What in the World of AdSense

After a couple of non-eventful AdSense weeks earlier this month, the past week or so has seen plenty of new AdSense changes, many coinciding with the WebmasterWorld of Search Conference.

First, Google AdSense engineers were in abundance at the “Meet the Engineers” evening that Google hosted. Set up at several tables, publishers got the opportunity to chat with AdSense engineers and product managers, and ask pretty much anything they wanted. And from what I heard back from publishers, they were open and more than willing to discuss all things AdSense, and write down all the suggestions and feedback that publishers gave. There were very few “no comment” responses (mostly to “what is the revenue split”, I’m sure!) and most publishers felt it was a great experience and a perfect opportunity to voice any concerns or questions in a format other than the Google support form or email.

Gokul Rajaram, one of the AdSense Product Managers, also participated in one of the contextual publishing panels (yours truly was on the other one) and discussed the new features AdSense has rolled out recently, including the new Ad Links formats as well as the new AdSense for Feeds that bloggers (including ProBlogger & JenSense) are currently beta testing.

But the biggest surprise was the announcement Matt Cutts made in the Super Session about spam reporting AdSense sites. Now, if you see a site violating the AdSense terms and policies, click on the “Ads by Google” link, and be sure to include the keyword “spamreport” (one word) in the form, as well as what you believe the violation is. You can keep yourself anonymous, or you can include your email address.

AdSense continues to make great steps forward as we all await the inevitable launch of the Yahoo Publisher Network. It will be interesting to see what YPN does to attempt to dazzle publishers away from AdSense.

What Makes a Good Guest Blogger?

If ProBlogger was a real estate property, it can probably be likened to a snazzy professional suite in a condo. Top floor – latest furnishings and decor — hip, business-like, but with a comfy feel to it — and a nice view of the world around it.

So, when Darren first invited me to become a guest blogger here at ProBlogger, I was honoured and pleased. It felt like being invited in to someone’s home – someone’s personal space – and genuinely telling me to make myself at home.

And, with just a few “house rules” to follow, I can do just about anything else as Darren’s guest. I can sip peach iced tea in the jacuzzi in a red bikini. I can jump up and down on the water bed. And best of all, I can talk to all his friends and colleagues who come by to see him on a regular basis. Many of whom probably don’t give squat about seeing me anyway. They’re not here for me. You’re not here for me.

But, it doesn’t matter. Darren’s just happy to introduce me and to let me in on the fun. And I think that’s nice.

Nice people deserve nice things. That’s why I wanted to be a good house guest. From the beginning, I kept thinking about what makes a good guest blogger. Even though I had guest bloggers on my own blogs, I’ve never been one. And Darren’s post, ProBlogger – Reflections on Guest Blogging – and the comments that followed – made me think even harder about this.

So, I took notes. Based on comments by ProBlogger readers, these are some of the things that make a good guest blogger:

1) Good guests want to give – not get. We should not guest blog because of what we’ll get out of it, but what we can give to our “host” – and everyone else invited. It’s up to the host, the other guests, and everyone else how they’d like to say ‘thank you’ in return. We don’t impose our ‘thank yous’ through blatant self promotion.

2) Good guests follow house rules. Both the official ones – and the unwritten ones.

3) Good guests like to offer fresh entertainment. No one wants to hear the same joke and story repeated more than once.

4) Good guests keep their promises. We should do what we said we’d do.

Hmmm… So, what else do you think make good guests/guest bloggers?

In any case, it’s almost time to pack up and end the month-long party. I really enjoyed my stay. Thanks! It was nice to meet some of you who managed to say hello. I hope you’ll stay in touch.

And, no matter how much fun I had guest blogging here, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Darren around this snazzy place called ProBlogger.

Other Than Search Engines – Where Do You Get New Blog Traffic?

Yesterday was another typical Monday – back to work, back into the routine, another Carnival of the Capitalists. I’ve been participating in the Carnival of the Capitalists (CoTC) for some time, it’s pretty effective at drivng new readers to my blog. I usually pick-up a few new readers each week from CoTC, yesterday was no exception.

Other than CoTC, I routinely pick-up new readers from comments and trackbacks I do on other blogs. Obviously, you can pick-up referer traffic and new audience through trackbacks from your blog and references to your site or a particular post on other sites, but you can’t control those events…they just happen.

I’ve also had some luck in article submissions and noticed some traffic increases from e-zines I’ve given content to. On one ocassion, I even ran a paper direct mail campaign to bring more people to my blog…resulting in about 200 additional readers.

Other than those things I’ve listed above – and excluding search engine traffic – how do you get new readers to your blog? Are there any forums or Carnivals out there that work well for you?

ProBlogger – Reflections on Guest Blogging

I thought I’d give a quick update – we’ve finished our tour of Turkey (amazing) and are back in London for a couple of days. I’m slowly leaving holiday mode as I have a couple of meetings lined up over the next day or two. Some are blogging related, others are not.

On the blogging front I’m trying to hook up with some of the gang at Shiny Media tomorrow (update – just heard from Ashley and we’re doing it). I’ve been a big fan of some of their blogs for a while now and am looking forward to picking their brains and perhaps having a beer with them.

We’re only here for a couple of days so I’m also trying to fit in a bit of sight seeing and relaxation. I’m going to see Coldplay tonight which will be fun.

Tomorrow night we head for Singapore for a few last nights of holiday before heading home at the end of the week when normal blogging here at ProBlogger will resume.

In the mean time I’m left pondering my ‘guest blogging’ experiment over the past month here at ProBlogger and am interested to hear your reflections both as readers and guest bloggers. Have you enjoyed the change? How have you found the group blog experience? Has it added to the value of ProBlogger? Would you like to see it continue in some way?

A couple of people have already emailed me to say they’ve both appreciated the new voices and to say that next time I go away perhaps I should only have one guest blogger. I’m interested in others opinions either in comment or via email. One person suggested I continue to allow this blog to be a group blog – another suggested I invite one guest blogger to join me each month so there is some rotation of new voices. I’m unsure as I’ve barely been online to follow how its gone. My only initial impressions have been:

- unique readers are a touch lower than normal (I suspect this is largely due to a slightly lower posting frequency than normal)
- comments levels are up (on a per post level) – the blog seems to have been more interactive in my absence. (I suspect this is partly due to less posts per day which means posts stay on the main page for longer – it also says something about the quality posting that has been done over the last few weeks).

Anyway – I’m not thinking too much about it until I get home – but am interested in your thoughts.

I’m also interested in the reflections of guest bloggers from my other blogs who’ve been doing an amazing job while I’ve been away.

Can I (auto)discover you?

Is your blog set up properly that I can use one click subscription with it?

As more and more people start using aggregators to follow their favorite blogs, many of them are using easy services like Bloglines or a tool build into their browser.

Yesterday for example, Microsoft showed at Gnomedex how their Internet Explorer 7 will read RSS feeds and make it subscribeable right out of IE.

Well, so far, nothing overwhelmingly new, because many tools are available to subscribe to RSS feeds. But the new thing with IE is, that suddenly a lot of not very tech savy people will discover the fun of subscribing to blogs and websites. They will get use to just hitting this new “subscribe” button and expect the blog to be in their IE favorites then and be updated automatically.

And will get disappointed at many blog sites, because the blogs are not “ready” for this. Will they be disappointed by your blog, too? [Read more...]

Friday Fun – Productivity Tips

I’m often asked how I get so much done and I often think, I don’t get that much done. I know I could do more! I’ve had “notes” on this entry for a while, but seeing Darren’s post on Blogging and the Art Time Management made me want to finish it up.

I guess I do get a lot done. I work 8-5 Monday through Friday. I sleep from 12-6:45, workout for 30 minutes then off to work. At night I work out, fix dinner and do dishes from 5:30-7:00. That leaves just 7:00-11:00 for other stuff and 11:00-12:00 to get things ready to do it again the next day. Plus quite a bit more time on the weekends, and some time used at lunch or during lulls when I’m at various places (doctors office, work, parents etc.) This is my normal schedule. Right now it’s on I’ve turned it on it’s ass because my wife is currently fighting cancer. That’s our #1 priority, everything else comes last. Not second, not third, but last. I have a office at home, but I’ve moved out of it with the laptop and do must of my work sitting on the couch with Aeryn now.

There a couple of points I want to make before I get into how I do things. So many people complain about not having time to do stuff, or that their kids get in the way or that they are just too tired when they get home etc. The fact is, if you want to do more, or not even do more, but do something other than your’re doing (maybe your’re spending all your time watching kids, or working in the garden, whatever) then you need figure out what your priority is. You can tell me all day long that you want to be a writer, blogger or web developer and do more, like I do, but if you don’t make it a priority then you’ll never do any of it. If you really want to do it, then do it. It’s that simple. Don’t tell me about why you can’t do it. There are days when it’s hard for me. Don’t lecture me that it’s because I don’t have kids, Aeryn and I decided not to have kids. Don’t tell me you have other things to do. I do too. I just decide what’s most important to me. Watching TV, reading a book, going out to eat, laundry and the million other daily chores, or is my priority writing, blogging and working on my web sites? Sometimes I have just as much trouble getting to what I love to do because of life just as much as the next person. But at the end of the day, I want to be a writer. I want to blog. I want to build up my websites. So, before you decide that you need to get something done, you need to decide what that really is. That will make the rest of the decisions easy. [Read more...]

Big news from Gnomedex

Probably lots of the guest bloggers are going to write more and better about this, but the big news from Microsoft today is that RSS will be natively supported in Longhorn.  We also got the first public preview of IE 7 here at Gnomedex.
 
And the API and information will be released under a Creative Commons license!
 
Lots of great discussion about this.  Standards, the Evil Empire and the Jedi keeping the peace.
 
Bottom line.  This is a great first step.  What we’re seeing is admittedly still too geeky for mom, but it’s supposed to get better and easier.  I know that some cool, cool stuff will be coming out for this.  I hope Apple follows suit.  Fast.
 
Technorati Tags : , , ,

Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
Powered By Qumana

Blog Tip: Shake it Up

The following blog tip has been submitted by Jon Gales – the editor of the wonderful MobileTracker blog. Learn more about Jon from this interview we did with him earlier in the year.



Sometimes being a pro blogger means being a sole blogger, but that’s not always the best cawe. Try and bring in other contributors from time to time to shake things up and provide another voice for your readers.

If you can’t afford to pay people, that’s not always a problem. Writers need exposure, something that you can offer for free. This post itself is an example of unpaid writing, I decided to write it because I consider Darren a friend and I want to further the helpful relationship we have. In the future if I need a guest poster, I have full confidence that Darren would be happy to come to my aid.

Having multiple voices on a site helps equal out bias and stylisic monotony. It’s also nice to get a break :).