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How Much Does Fresh Content Matter in SEO?

One principle of SEO that is fairly widely accepted and taught by SEOs is the benefits of having frequently updated content.

The idea that Google and other search engines feed on fresh content is one that I’ve heard talked about on many occasions. However it doesn’t always seem to be so. I was just doing a Google search for digital photography and noticed one of Weblogs Inc’s blogs still ranking 3rd for the term – despite having retired 9 months ago and having no fresh content added (although there are continual changes to other elements of the page via it’s footer). The same blog ranks 3rd in Yahoo.

I guess it goes to show that frequently updated content isn’t quite as important a factor as other elements of SEO (particularly all the other WIN properties linking to it).

A Process for Persuasive Blogging

Today I was digging through Joseph Sugarman’s ‘Advertising Secrets of the Written Word‘ and came across a section describing how he teaches students to work out the sequence of ad copy.

Without rehashing the whole chapter his style is very much about identifying a reader need and then leading them through a logical process of asking questions and providing answers to a point where he can close the sale.

In asking the right question at the right time in an ad he argues that you get the to read on and establish a flow for your readers to progress through your ad (or if you’re blogging, your post).

In the same section Sugarman also suggests copywriters use a Flow Chart to outline the process that you’re attempting to lead readers through.

At each step along the process you state a problem or question that your readers need to overcome and present an answer to that problem or question.

Post-Process-1

The idea of a flowchart is probably not something that most bloggers would do on any given post – however it’s a good exercise to do occasionally on longer posts (or series of posts).

In fact I used to use this type of approach when writing sermons and have applied it quite a few times over the last couple of years in writing posts.

Another way of thinking about it is like this:

1. State ultimate Problem – starting with a problem that your reader needs to overcome (or a need that they have) is a great place to start if you want to call them to some action. People rarely take action on things if there’s no felt or perceived need.

2. Outline sub-problems – break down the larger problem into sub problems that need to be overcome for that problem to be solved. You’ll then tackle each problem one at a time.

3. Answers/Solutions – Logically step through each of the identified sub problems one at a time. Every time you propose a solution for one of the smaller problems you make a stronger case for the solution of the ‘ultimate’ problem

4. Call to Action - once you’ve tackled each of the smaller issues or problems along the way you’re in a good position to restate the ‘ultimate’ problem and call readers to an action that will answer it and meet the need that they have.

Post-Process-2

This sort of process will obviously work better for some blogs than others (the way I’ve written it is ideal for ‘how to’ blogs) – however it can be applied in a variety of situations.

It works because of the weight from the accumulation of answers. Give it a go and tell us how you find the process.

Speedlinking – 18 May 2007

  • Modern Life has put together an interesting analysis of the length of posts that the Technorati Top 100 blogs have done in their most recent 10 posts – ‘The vast majority of posts were over 100 words and under 500.’ I wonder what ProBlogger’s average was!
  • Jeremy builds on the model I linked to yesterday for estimating a blog’s worth with another one
  • TechCrunch highlights the power of blogging by showing how a post on Engadget caused a serious fluctuation of Apple’s share price
  • AddThis (a social bookmarking tool) has released a trends page to highlight what bookmarking services users of AddThis are using. The summary graph looks like this:

Top-Bm-All

PS: AddThis have also added a little graph that shows what services readers are using for bookmarking on a blog by blog basis. Here at ProBlogger – here’s what readers use the AddThis service for:

Demo255

WP Text Ads Review

Wp-Text-AdsA couple of days back I linked in a speedlinking post to a WP plugin called WP Text Ads – a plugin that allows bloggers to sell their own text links. In that post I asked if anyone had used it and offered to publish a review of one if anyone wanted to write it.

Ryan Imel from who reviews WordPress themes and plugins at Theme Playground kindly offered – here’s his review.

After kicking around WP Text Ads on my blog, I think it’s one of the best all around plugins for WordPress I’ve used, let alone reviewed. And if you get nothing else from this review, know this – Text Ads is fun to use.

It’s really fun to manage your own text ads.

IMPRESSIVE CONTROLS

The first thing I noticed was that updating aspects of the plugin on the Dashboard didn’t require a refreshing of the page. It updates and you save your place on the page. This is a huge timesaver. When will the rest of WordPress operate this way?

*Cough* 2.3 *Cough*

Note: Remember to activate all three plugins when you add this one. That’s two widgets and the main plugin.

[Read more...]

Are You a Music Blogger?

If you’re a blogger with a passion for music then the team over at b5media are keen to chat to you about the launch of our new b5media Music Channel.

These are paid positions and we’re looking for bloggers to help us start new blogs.

There are a large variety of genres, artists and locations that we want to cover so if you’ve got an idea for a great music blog check out our call for bloggers here (and the ad on the job boards).

disclaimer: I’m VP of Training at b5media

Blog Bash Postponed – But ProBlogger Meetup to Happen

I’m sad to say that the b5media/ProBlogger NY Blog Bash event that was planned for 9 June has been postponed. The issue was not the level of interest from those wanting to attend (I’m confident that we’d have come close to selling out looking at the expressions interest we received – but instead the issue was around timing (or the lack of time we had to pull off organizing a full day event).

I want to apologize to those who this effects – speakers, sponsors and attendees.

ProBlogger Meetup

While a full day long event is not possible I would still like to get together with NY bloggers for another meetup (like last time I was in town) – we can still have a party!

I’m pulling together a small group of NY bloggers to help me find a venue and will post details as soon as possible to give everyone time to plan. It’ll be a pretty informal night and unless a sponsor comes forward (shoot me an email) it’ll be a cash bar (everyone cover their own costs).

Speedlinking – 17 May 2007

A Secret to My Productivity Success

Startup-1One of the little tricks that I use every morning when I first log onto my computer that gets me off to a flying start is to open up my ‘StartUp Folder’ on Firefox.

This is a bookmark folder that contains 15 or so key sites that quickly give me an indication of what is going on across my blogging business. Within 60 seconds I know what’s hot, what’s broken, where there’s a fire that needs to be put out and where I can give things a nudge to make them go viral.

Here’s how it works.

Firefox (and other browsers) allows you to arrange your bookmarks via folders and place these folders in your bookmark toolbar across the top of your browser. These folders can be accessed in two main ways:

  • by clicking the folder and selecting a bookmark from the drop down menu
  • by right clicking the folder and selecting ‘Open in All Tabs’ (if you have tabbed browsing turned on).

It’s this second method that I use every morning (and 2-3 times per day).

Inside this folder I have the following items bookmarked:

  • Google Reader (my RSS reader)
  • Earnings Stats - AdSense, Chitika, Amazon, Clickbank (and two or three others)
  • Metrics Stats – Google Analytics and Sitemeter for my key sites
  • b5media Pages – Dashboard (we have a cool dashboard that gives us a glance at the whole network’s performance on one page) and Forums
  • Blog Pages – I have it set to open to ‘awaiting moderation’ page in the back end
  • Forum – DPS Forum

I find that by opening all these pages at once in tabs I’m able to quickly get a handle on what’s going on across my blogs and am able to immediately set my agenda for the next session of work.

For example I logged on this morning to find a post had gone up on the main page of Digg and was able to modify that post to make the blog more sticky. This afternoon I noticed a hot topic in forums that I needed to step into. Last night I noticed one of my blogs was down on traffic and was able to track down a little problem in one of my templates that was slowing things down.

PS: I also use these types of folders to cluster other types of websites together. I have one for ‘metrics’ that opens up all of my blogs stats, one for ‘affiliate programs’ which opens up the earnings for all affiliate programs, one for ‘blogs’ which opens the front page of all my blogs, one for ‘edit blogs’ which opens the admin/back end of all my blogs and one for ‘b5′ that contains key pages from b5.

While I use many of these bookmark folders via method #1 above (ie opening pages once at a time) there are times when I use the ‘open in all tabs’ option to do a sweeping check of everything at once.

PS2 – The reason Google Reader is in my StartUp folder is because at the top of my list of folders of feeds is my A-list. I leave this folder open and fill it with feeds that are essential reading and that have a history of breaking stories in the niches that I write about. This means that when I do my ‘startup’ process I immediately know if a story is breaking in my niche that I need to cover. I’ve outlined how I use my A-list previously if you’d like to read more about it.

Speedlinking – 16 May 2007