Phew, feelin a bit rough today after the Google dance. Us geeks can party! Walked in just in time to share a plug in the very very front. What a bonus, I’ll be able to see the screen too lol 🙂
Rebecca Lieb, ClickZ
Lee Odden, TopRank
Amanda Watlington, Searcing for Profit
Daron Babin, Webmaster Radio
Finding out more about organically optimizing blogs and feeds is really important to us this year. All of our clients have blogs, and we want to help their visitors maximize the experience, get better value, and create a bigger buzz. Let’s see if this session has any insight.
Amanda started, stating that Blogs, SEO, and Marketing are your winning trifecta. So what’s the big deal with blogs? They:
- create alternative keyword media
- extend reach
- build a community
- build brands
- are link and traffic magnets
Tactics: What should you do BEFORE you launch a blog? Think…
- Is it official or personal?
- Will it have its own domain or live on a company subdomain?
- Will it look and feel Corporate or personal?
- Multi-blogger or single blogger? (companies should have multiple. we sure do)
- What platform is best for me? (wordpress, blogger, some other?)
4 step process to make basic blogs bling:
- customize and optimize the CMS (content management system)
- customize and optimize RSS feeds
- conduct and apply keyword/and tag research
- socialize and create a community around the blog
Steps To optimize:
- tweek css
- robots.txt, favicon and sitemaps
- wigets. Don’t fidget with too many widgets, they will break from time to time. Look for blidgets, your blog feed widgets
- validate: tweek then stay put
Customize your CMS
Use wordpress plug ins and movable type or the like. Don’t just leave it out of the box.
Optimize feeds. Think:
- How many feeds are appropriate?
- How much content in the feed? She likes full text. Me too, gimmie all the goods.
- Push your default from 10 to 20 on the.. ???? sorry I missed it.
- How will you handle video and audio?
- Manage feeds with feedburner
Why doesn’t my blog work right?
I need to get this slide too, the fingers don’t go so fast when I have no coffee and Google still dancing in my head!!
One tip she said was to start your blog with a letter early in the alphabet if you’re trying to get indexed, most feeds go in ABC order. I learned this from Kristi when she taught me how to submit to directories…oh….was it 8 yrs ago? Its still a good trick to know, I use it a lot (um AskAngie, Cal Coast…not an accident)!!
6 Step Content creation process
- Review keywords
- Include and integrate those keywords
- Review the body of the post
- Write tags
- Link and post
Sooo…write then spice it up!! This was great to hear, this is what Cal Coast VAs already do, and I recently taught Randi our real estate assistant to do the same. I also told her to occasionally search city names first and see what’s hot in a city, and devise a related post. May as well talk about something the majority cares about, huh?
- Make it easy with buttons
- Join the conversation yourself and reference other people’s posts!!!
- Become a link hub and make your blog a hub
How to keep your mojo, baby!
- Develop a mindset that the blog is not a project, it is part of the long term marketing effort
- Plan for community
- Revisit keywords often
- Weed out spam comments
- Use more read most popular and related posts
So in a nutshell: Use blog software as a marketing tool, leverage your assets by customizing, socialize it, and build quality content based off your keyword list.
Lee Odden was up next, with Top Rank Marketing. Lee gave Amanda props, he said he would mention me on the blog if I emailed him a link. WHOOP WHOOP calling you on that Lee!!! We can only aspire to be “ferocious bloggers” such as yourself 🙂
Growth of blogging is amazing, there are as many blogs as websites and 100 THOUSAND blog posts per hour. Did you know average blogs only have about 20 inbound links? The big ones have 1000 relevant inbound links.
Blogs with great content can be effective marketing tools, and an essential part of your SEO campaign. Lee had a few examples to share with us…
Case study 1: Senior housing developer (aka old folks home) PR campaign
Strategy: create a communication for the company to present issues important to the target market.
Tatics: create a blog and optimized it. Created blogger outreach and connected with the power people in the community.
Results: in 5 month traffic doubled and the blog became the 5th biggest referring source to the site.
Case study 2: online book and game retailer, wants to sell more games online
Strategy: generate sales
Tatics: create an SEO’d blog, communities on facebook, twitter, and promotions on flickr and stumbleupon, etc. Also created the “cover the spot” online game and a social campaign around it. haha I just saw a Yahoo answer on that… someone HAD to cheat on the cover the spot game and Y! ask how to cover the spot. I’m not linking to it though you cheaters need to cover the spot YOURSELF 🙂
Resuls: 5X more traffic after a year
Case Study 3: Lee’s own blog.
Strategy: Increase thought leadership and industry visibility, lead generation
Tactics: Publish regular content, got on lists, furiously blog
Results: Journalists contacted him! Books contacted him! Puuuuublicity baby 🙂 Blog drove over 12K long tail keyword visits. Ranking “online marketing” #2 in Google. 4-5 business inquiries/week for people who want to work with him. People with budgets who want to work with him, not just any people.
***I was talking with Angela about this and she reminded me our Realtor clients are also having similiar results. One client Cathy had a journalist from the NY Times call her to feature one of her Duck Creek, UT listings in the Escapes section of the Times. Deedee had press on a new listing, and I had a paper from London call me about our Mexico Fractional. Who would have ever thought blogging did THAT?
- Goals drive content. Speak to pain points in the minds of potential customers if your trying to sell
- Automate SEO as much as possible
- Socialize. Write something provocative and link to the power players in your arena if you are the new guy on the block
- Measure. Use crazyegg to see what people click on
- Refine and repeat
Toprankblog.com – don’t forget to send the link to the post and you’ll get a linkback
Success Tip: repurpose and re-post your content from conferences again on your blog and relate it to clients and cases. Great idea, Lee! I also pick a session to discuss when I am speaking for my LeTip group or the SOC Chamber, and then I ask everyone to go and comment on it. They don’t, though……..Lee do you have any ideas how I can get the locals more involved in the blogs we sponsor for them??? We’ve been blogging during networking meetings as a pay-it-forward name recognition, and the test is working well on that side, but we want interaction… not just SERP results.
Next up Chris Boggs, Search Engine Watch blogger. Chris wanted to remind the group that its best practice to host the blog on your main domain, so if its not there, then it needs to be! Just contact us if you need help.
Blogs need to take care of your readers. Make sure yours does.
Up comes a blogger real estate blog (not one of our clients) for the example. He showed how the blog was incorporated into the website and how it can be successful. But the search for Destin Flordia real estate did not bring up a ton of blogs in Google. So the key is to not always expect the blog to be the big ranker, it will usually be your website. I agree, especially in the Real Estate industry your SITE needs to rock, and your blog needs to supplement. Real Estate is such a long sales process you need excuses to keep people coming back to the website besides your IDX, and the blog covers that well!
Friends don’t let friends link to Yahoo news: Yahoo news isn’t always the best bet to link to because remember a lot of those news websites and feeds change their links, which will create a broken link on YOUR blog.
Keeping links correct: use link sleuth, W3.org validator, link to the industry leader or the brand if you’re linking to a press release
Advance apology for the nerdyness….vanity searches for Chris Boggs at Technorati and google news bring up some really interesting posts – is this blackhat techniques? They are using his name because it has clout?? Don’t click on the underground.info link tho it’s a scary redirect! So Chris’ crackpot theory is that people use his name to spam. Interesting.
Next to the mic we had Daron with Webmaster radio. Don’t forget to go to Search Bash tonight!!!! He took a podcast and audio approach to the blogs. He wanted us to know he hates blogs, lol.
Daron suggested we take a risk, build it and test it. He drives everything on his network by using a feed source to deploy content.
He uses feedburner to optimize the feeds, and by doing that, they stay at the top of search for a long time.
Mefeedia.com is a dirty secret – it sends a huge amount of feed traffic.
Yahoo is tricky with the content sometimes it will link to your media but other times it will link to the page. Google was linking mostly to the deep page that had the media on it. Make sure you watch what’s going on there…
Article promotions are a great way to syndicate your content. Write it right, submit the RSS feed right, optimize your media right.
Its ok to automate your feeds and publishing now-a-days.
Feed analytics – do this through feedburner. When you put a lot of content through feeds it will help you measure the effectiveness.
Use the auto discovery tag!!!! Very IMPORTANT! The engines look for that tag to know that its found good feeds to sniff. It improves your trustrank over time.
Blackhat domain technique: rather than putting it on the 3rd level domain, split it up and share those valuable links. We’re obviously white hat, this is not part of our practice.
What platform should I use? WordPress, blogger, what are the panel preferences? You should choose the platform that will allow you to do what you want to do. Amanda likes wordpress, so do many of the other panelists. Also remember it sucks to redirect your blogger blogs, but you can do a million 301’s if you want to transfer and Daron said it would work. Everyone agreed wordpress was good for SEO growth.
Is there an alternative to feedburner? Not a good one
What tools should I use to identify influential bloggers? Social media monitoring tools. Raw data collection like google alerts, or collective intellect or buzz logic companies. Also check out radient 6..but you have to pay to play.
How do you handle cross linking? Its soo important don’t worry about linking to outside parties or other sites within your group. Example of putting up past newsletters and cross linking relevant keywords was wildly successful.
How did you automate those sitemaps, Daron? Building in coldfusion. URL structures and architecture was laid out with keyword targets.
Should I do a subdomain or should I do domain.com/blog ? Its up to you. Don’t move just to move if you’re doing well where you are.
Should I use LinkedIn / social media as a blogger? Not really, you are in a walled garden. Use it only to drive traffic, don’t host your blog on these social media websites. Ask questions on LinkedIn and Facebook, and then ask them to continue the conversation on your blog.
How do you avoid getting banned and kicked off when you comment on blogs and want to include links? Use your name as anchor text and be open and transparent. Make your tone educational not salesy or spammy. Add value!
How can article marketing / article sender be used to explain to higher ups at a company? Draft an article, build an SEO critiqued module and compare it with that, then put into your database. Diligently create your Title, description, body copy, summary, BIO. Put your BACKLINK IN THE BIO!
Good stuff guys! This session was good to be in because I know we are doing all the right basics for our clients, now we just need to add a little more Cal Coast creative flair to the mix. Happy blogging everyone!